Leadership

THE ART OF FIRST-DUE

Issue 3 and Volume 158.

BY DAVE DODSON Most fire commanders will agree with this timeless truth, “There is nothing any more critical to an effective ultimate fireground outcome than the correct action by the first-arriving company; conversely, nothing will screw the final outcome up any quicker than incorrect action by the first company.”1 To paraphrase this quote, “So goes first-due, so goes the incident.” Never in the history of the fire service has this tenet been more challenging to the first-arriving fire officer. Classic size-up considerations, decision-making techniques, and evolutions are not keeping pace with the size, scope, and complexity of the incidents fire departments now face. Perhaps the reengineering of the basic approach the first-due company officer uses to step off on the right foot is long overdue. This article attempts to do just that-develop a process to help the first-due officer make the best “read” of an incident and engage the situation…

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