The following are the Rules of Engagement for Incident Commanders, developed by the Safety, Health and Survival Section International Association of Fire Chiefs.
These are very clear set of expectations and directives. It would seem to be an easy movement to be dedicated (wholly committed to something, as to an ideal, political cause, or personal goal) to. But dedication is only talking about it. So I would say that the fire service is dedicated to the Rules of Engagement for Incident Commanders.
We must insist on commitment. Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. The actions of commitment, speak louder than the words.
In the Fire Service we talk a great deal about safety and safe behaviors… but we don’t act on that talk consistently! Over the past three decades we have been talking about firefighter safety and survival and we still talk about it today.
We need to commit to Firefighter Safety and the first step towards this is following and demonstrating the Rules of Engagement for Incident Commanders. Lets start with the first three rules of engagement:
First the 360° Size up, we are dedicated to the 360° assessment but are we showing the commitment, because it is not always completed. When it is completed do we know what we should assess. At SGA we have created a step-by-step system to use
to identify the important factors. This system is known as DECISIONS
Design and construction features
Entry and egress points
Survivability profile & Risk Analysis
Incident needs reassessed
Overall strategic goals and tactical objectives communicated
Name and assign work groups and tactical objectives
Situational awareness management
The first five bullets in the DECISIONS mnemonic deal with observations and are thebasis for incident action plan.
We look at design and construction features of our building with the fascination of our society to make things to appear different than they are. An example of this would a unreinforced masonry look like a modern lightweight construction building. Building kill firefighters we need to adapt to them or we die. Our 360° allows us to verify the design and construction before we commit to the fire attack.
Entry and egress points are designed and evaluated for both civilian exit and entrance and in the case of emergency – firefighters entry and exit. These firefighter entry and egress points are evaluated based on the location of the victims and the
ease of use. The fire service must consider at least three when dealing with entry and egress points. They are softening the building forcible actually and emergency egress.
The conditions found during the 360° assessment we must identify the Fire’s location and intensity. We must also identify the smoke’s location, color, velocity, volume and density, and understand what these conditions are telling you. During the 360° assessment firefighters must determine the presence of occupants, their location along with any obstructions to get to them. The firefighters must also identify any safety issues and any hazards associated with the utilities.
Fire location and the flow path effects how it travels through the structure. Firefighters must identify if the flow path is bi-directional or unidirectional. A unidirectional flow path allows for a more rapid growth of a high intensity fire. Where a bi-directional flow path grows in size and intensity at a slower rate than the unidirectional flow. The firefighters must also assess what damage the fire has already done and where it is headed.
In order to have a positive survivability profile an incident must meet 2 criteria.
If both conditions do not exist then there is no survivability profile. Other item that should be considered when considering the risk analysis are what is the level of risk to firefighters, the opportunity to save any exposures and the probability the fire
building will survive. Risk Analysis should always consider that we are willing to risk a lot in a calculated manner to save savable lives, we will risk a little in a calculated manner to save savable property, but we will risk nothing to save lives
and property that have already been lost.
These first five bullets must be observed during the 360° assessment, and communicated during the secondary size up. The information gathered from the Initial Radio Report and the first five components of DECISIONS provides you with the required information to create an Incident Action Plan.
The Incident Action Plan is developed utilizing the RECEO VS. Lloyd Layman set incident priorities utilizing this process. As you set your incident priorities be sure to consider Rescue, Exposures, Confinement, Extinguishment, Overhaul, Ventilation and Salvage.
Apply standard risk management plan throughout the incident. The standard risk management plan is the understanding that we are willing to risk a lot in a calculated manner to save savable lives, we are willing to risk a little in a calculated manner to save savable property, but we will risk nothing to save lives and property that have already been lost.
Decide on the Overall Offensive / Defensive Strategy and develop the Incident Action Plan using the “Critical Factors” The critical factors are the facts, probabilities and possibilities of any incident. The facts are what we know to be true. Probabilities are what is expected based upon what is seen. Possibilities are what is believed based upon what cannot be seen.
Declare the Strategy as part of the Initial Radio Report. This decision is made evaluating the information gathered from the 360° assessment considering design and construction features, entry and egress points, conditions found, interior flow-
path, survivability profile & risk analysis. Your options are Offensive or Defensive. Always manage & control operations within the Basic Strategy
Implement an Incident Action Plan to match the overall strategy.
Branches are broken down by discipline. Divisions are divided up by Geographical units and Groups are divided by function or task. Each unit should be given a tactical objective to guide their operations.
Develop and support an organization that outlasts the event. The need for command continues until all incident scene tasks have been completed.
Develop & Monitor Exit Strategy Triggers Consider the following when developing triggers:
While in on-going command operations you should complete periodic re-assessment of SHOWING & DECISIONS:
Repeat assessment within 2 minutes of “Water Applied” notification Personnel Accountability Report conducted at established intervals
Re-assessment & personnel accountability report upon sudden change or significant event