Purpose. The General Message form is used by:

  1. Incident dispatchers to record incoming messages which cannot be orally transmitted to the intended recipients.
  2. Incident Command Post and other incident personnel to transmit messages (e.g., resource order, incident name change, other ICS coordination issues, etc.) to the Incident Communications Center for transmission via radio or telephone to the addressee.
  3. Incident personnel to send any message or notification to incident personnel which requires hard-copy delivery.

Initiation of Form. The General Message form may be initiated by incident dispatchers and any other personnel on an incident.

Distribution. Upon completion, the General Message may be:

  1. Delivered to the addressee.
  2. And/or delivered to the incident Communication Center for transmission.


  • The ICS 213 is a three-part form, typically using carbon paper. The sender will complete Part 1 of the form and send Parts 2 and 3 to the recipient. The recipient will complete Part 2 and return Part 3 to the sender.
  • A copy of the ICS 213 should be sent to and maintained within the Documentation Unit.
  • Contact information for the sender and receiver can be added for communications purposes to confirm resource orders. Refer to 213RR example (Appendix B)The 213RR is a Resource Request Message form.

Instructions for Completing the General Message (ICS Form 213).
Incident Name (Optional) Enter the name assigned to the incident. This block is optional and is only on the 2010 version.
To Indicate Unit/Person the General Message is intended for. Be specific.
Office Indicate the location where the Unit/Person is located, e.g., Ground Support Unit Leader, Simpson Camp, Communications, etc.
From Indicate appropriate designation and location of sender.
Subject Fill in if applicable.
Date List the date and time.
Message Briefly complete. Think through your message before writing it down. Try to be as concise as possible.
Reply This section is intended to be used by the Unit/Person who receives the message to reply to your message.
Date Record the date and time of reply.
Signature Record signature and title of person replying.

If signature is your call sign, add your unit number.

Message Number Since the form does not have a place for a message number, place a message number in the top heading to the right of "GENERAL MESSAGE." This number can be one you generate (use at least three digits and use leading zero's) or one generated by the message center.
White Copy /
Pink Copy
Both copies are sent by the person who initiates the message.
Yellow Copy Retained by the person who initiates the message.
Pink Copy May be returned to the person who initiates the message.

We hope you find this information useful with your public service events and RACES/ARES operations.

Garland RACES/ARES Informaton - 7/7/2006

Last updated 12.28.2010