Local residents may have different views on disaster-response modes depending on their cultural and socioeconomic background. The purpose of this study was to examine Taiwan residents' opinions on the Incident Command System (ICS). We performed a structured survey through face-to-face interviews in mudslide-affected communities. Quantitative analysis showed that the residents exhibited a clear preference for the ICS core-principle attributes of ‘integrated communications’, ‘transfer of command’ and ‘modular organisation’. By contrast, the residents tended towards a non-ICS approach for ‘incident action plan’ and ‘manageable span of control’. Qualitative analysis revealed an uncertain attitude towards ‘transfer of command’ and ‘incident action plan’. Community acceptance is important in the promotion of the ICS. A better understanding of residents' preferences should be acquired through a broader community survey, allowing us to understand perspectives on the ICS among different societies and facilitate implementation of the ICS at the basic community level.