Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kozo Saito

Second Advisor

Dr. Nelson Akafuah


A primary role of the Incident Command System is to learn from past incidents, as illustrated by its origins in the wildland firefighting community. Successful emergency response operations under the Incident Command System has prompted its nationwide spread, this promulgation critically relies on the system’s capability to stabilize and continuously improve various aspects of emergency response through effective organizational learning. The objective of this study is to evaluate the potential to apply fundamental principles of the Toyota Production System (Lean manufacturing) to improve learning effectiveness within the Incident Command System. An in-depth review of literature and training documents regarding both systems revealed common goals and functional similarities, including the importance of continuous improvement. While these similarities point to the validity of applying Lean principles to the Incident Command System, a focus on the systematic learning function of the Incident Command System culminated in the discovery of gaps in approaches proposed by the Incident Command System framework. As a result, recommendations are made for adjustments in systematic problem solving to adapt Lean principles of root cause analysis and emphasis on standardization of successful countermeasures to benefit the system. Future recommendations are also proposed based on the author’s understanding of the system.