Creating an Incident Action Plan

Page updated: 27 November 2020

The Incident Action Plan (IAP) is an overarching plan. It brings together the high-level elements of planned search and rescue activities in a simple document.

Document high-level detail

Your Incident Action Plan needs to outline how you will use SAR resources to achieve an overall objective (for example, finding and rescuing the subject). Include specific objectives and strategies to achieve those objectives in your Incident Action Plan.

Read the NZSAR forms for Incident Action Plans (below) to find out the high-level information you need to include. 

Include supporting information

At a minimum, you should include:

  • a profile of the subject
  • a chronological log of communications
  • a decision record
  • a graphic of the area of probability and its sub-areas
  • calculations of the subject's movements
  • taskings
  • debriefs
  • high-level detail on your information collection plan
  • resource tracking.


More detailed information will appear in sub-plans

These sub-plans include:

  • readiness plans
  • search plans
  • rescue plans
  • information collection plans
  • communication plans
  • logistics plans
  • demobilisation plans.


Document the Incident Action Plan

Document the Incident Action Plan (see links above).


Review and update the Incident Action Plan

Review the Incident Action Plan constantly, and update it each time an objective has been achieved.

Continue to review and update the Incident Action Plan until either:

  • the subject is located
  • the operation is suspended or terminated.