Incident Command Vests: Use and Styles
Incident vests are a key component of many work uniforms across multiple industries. The incident
vest is commonly used to indicate that the personnel wearing the vest is in a role that concerns safety, whether that is pedestrian safety around a traffic accident, or safety at a public city event. Incident command vests can be used for protection as well, but are mostly used as a way for the crowd to recognize the personnel. Who Uses Command Vests? Vests are most commonly used in the work uniforms of police officers, fire and emergency personnel, road crews, and school safety patrols. For instance, if you see a crossing guard wearing a yellow, orange, or other colored vest, it is most likely a command vest. It is used around school neighborhoods because traffic immediately recognizes what it means, and that they need to halt. Emergency personnel, such as paramedics, will often wear very visible command vests as these signify that they can provide medical attention to those who are critically injured. It also allows everyone in the vicinity to see them, and locate them. You may also see these on people who are directing traffic after an accident has occurred. Or you may see it on volunteers who are working at construction sites. Types of Command Vests There are several types of incident command vests, but they all serve a similar purpose. They fall into four different categories including: Poncho Style Vests: Come down over the head, have open sides, and almost always have a clasp that connects the front to the back along the open sides. They come in a large variety of colors, are made out of mesh, and can have a banner across the front that states what type of personnel they are. Split-Front Style Vests: Come down over the head, have open sides, and almost always have a clasp that connects the front to the back along the open sides. This type of vest has a split top portion, and can contain writing on both sides of the front flaps. Some styles also have front pockets. HICS/HEICS Vests: Are specifically designed for hospitals, are almost always white in color with either a green, red or black border. They are a split-front style vest that comes down over the head. They have an open space for the arms, but are otherwise connected on either of the sides. Service Vests: These come down over the head, have open sides, and are connected with clasps on either of the sides. They come in white, red, burgundy, blue, green and yellow and almost always sport reflective strips. They also have a spot for a notepad and pen, as well as zippered pockets. Choosing the right type of vest for your work personnel is important, and the color will be dependent based either on work uniform regulations or field of work.