Firefighter Training Drill: Safety Officer: Monitoring Incident Communications

Fire training drill by Forest Reeder

Drill #4 in our Incident Safety Officer series discusses the importance of monitoring radio communications as an evaluation tool of imminent and potential safety hazards. One of the best ways to keep tabs on what is happening during an incident by the safety officer is to closely monitor radio transmissions. You should be listening for transmission barriers such as open keys or broken transmissions, and instructions that are not acknowledged or followed through on. Keep an ear on transmissions that are unclear or incomplete also.

When the incident commander (IC) contacts a company, division, or group for a progress report, make sure you take in all of the available information and match it up with what you see. The safety officer must be an active part of the incident communication process. If progress reports are lacking, prompt IC to get them. Your job is to try to ensure that everyone knows what is happening and who is where and what they are doing.

Download this drill as a PDF HERE.


Firefighter Training Drills by Forest ReederForest Reeder began his fire service career in 1979. He currently serves as Division Chief of Training & Safety for the Des Plaines (IL) Fire Department. He is a past recipient of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) prestigious George D. Post Instructor of the Year award and has been responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of in-service firefighter training activities as well as a full-service fire training academy program. Forest holds numerous Illinois fire service certifications and holds a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.


  • FOREST REEDER began his career in 1978 and is chief of the Tinley Park (IL) Fire Department. He is the author of drills featured on and He has instructed at FDIC International since 2000 and instructs on fire service training, safety, and officer development programs. He received the 2008 ISFSI George Post Instructor of the Year Award.

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