Who’s in command at your fire department’s responses? I mean overall, permanent command from the moment units arrive until the operation is completed. Many departments leave this important task to a company officer who arrives at the scene on an apparatus as part of a company. Yes, I know the...
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What’s the solution? Have an incident commander at every response. The incident commander should arrive in a vehicle other than a fire apparatus and be solely responsible for command of the incident from arrival until the incident is concluded. The incident commander could be a chief of department or maybe a battalion or district chief. Some departments have a captain who is the “shift commander” and responds in a “chief’s car” along with an assignment of engines and ladders to certain categories of alarms.
The jobs of incident commander and company officer are important. One person cannot do both jobs effectively. If your department expects someone to do this, the only comment I have is, “Where’s the chief?”