Firefighting

BEATING THE SYSTEM TO DEATH: A CASE STUDY IN INCIDENT COMMAND AND MUTUAL AID

Issue 10 and Volume 152.

BEATING THE SYSTEM TO DEATH: A CASE STUDY IN INCIDENT COMMAND AND MUTUAL AID WILLIAM C. NICHOLSON Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. It is presented for informational purposes only. The incident command system–now commonly referred to as the incident management system (IMS)–and written mutual-aid agreements are designed to work closely together to promote safety for responding firefighters and the public and to ensure the efficient use of resources. The written mutual-aid agreement is generally found in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). One key purpose of a mutual-aid MOU is to ensure that departmental standard operating procedures (SOPs) are observed in mutual-aid responses. Failure to correctly use these powerful management tools may result in tragedy. BUTTRAM V. UNITED STATES A recent case out of Idaho–Buttram v. United States, Civ. Cas. No. 96-0324-S-BLW (D. Idaho, Feb. 1999)–dramatically illustrates the fatal danger to…

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