Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

Thinking Like an Incident Commander

Issue 10 and Volume 170.

Thinking Like an Incident Commander By Thomas Dunne The chief or incident commander (IC) is expected to devise a strategy, assign the necessary tactics, and monitor that strategy until the incident has been successfully concluded. Since most fire personnel are primarily involved in hands-on tactical work, it can be tempting to leave the big strategic decisions to the “person in charge.” In a typical career path, firefighters will master increasingly difficult technical skills as they perform physical tasks over and over at various fire operations. This “hands-on” perspective is reinforced by the fact that most firefighter recruit school training involves the development of physical skills rather than encouraging the ability to view a fire from a strategic point of view. However, there will be occasions when individuals will have to exercise skills that are “above their pay scale.” Big decisions often involve big risks. They also call for an ability…

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