The LCAN report can be a simple way for members responsible for transmitting reports to remember the key facts they must convey. This acronym can also serve ICs on the receiving end of a report to prompt the sender for missing pieces of information.
For company officers operating at an incident, the LCAN becomes not only a format but also a reason to transmit a sit-rep to command. When an officer must redeploy his company for any reason, the LCAN may be employed to report the new location as well as the conditions requiring the move, the new actions undertaken, and any new requirements for support.
Changing conditions may require a change in tactics by members assigned to a task. When the actions of a company need to be revised because of a successful outcome or a worsening condition, the IC must be advised. The actions of an individual company often affect the entire fireground. Any tactical changes should be transmitted immediately for approval by the IC, who, looking at the operations on a large scale, may have other plans or options available. This viewpoint is usually not available to companies deployed at the task level.
The company officer or member transmitting the LCAN should provide an honest assessment of conditions and needs. An overly optimistic report may put your members in unnecessary jeopardy. Self-reliance and company pride are well known characteristics of firefighters. However, professionalism dictates we provide the most accurate report possible for the safety of our members and the efficiency of the operation.
The next time you need to give a sit-rep, think about the simple elements of the LCAN report: location, conditions, actions, and needs. These four basic words will help you fill in the vital information needed to ensure the safety of your members and the efficiency of incident operations.
David DeStefano is a 22-year veteran of the North Providence (RI) Fire Department, where he serves as a lieutenant in Ladder Co. 1. He previously served as a lieutenant in Engine 3 and was a firefighter in Ladder 1. He teaches a variety of topics for the Rhode Island Fire Academy. He can be reached at email@example.com.