The UK's Basic Incident Command Model

Steve Dudeney takes us inside the London Fire Brigades incident command model. Is it much different than what we are doing?

  • Set up a Command Post, even the front of the first Engine will suffice, there must be an identifiable point for everyone on the Incident ground to identify as a focal point

  • Set up a Command Structure; Sectorize and appoint sector commanders. Brief each Officer as to the boundaries of their responsibility, who and what they are responsible for and get them to confirm understanding

  • Allocate Radio Callsigns for the sector or Officer in that sector?i.e. Sector Commander Alpha, Sector Commander Bravo?this will avoid confusion over ranks and or names.

  • Detail Crews and confirm understanding at smaller incidents without sectors

  • Identify & confirm Communication Chains?In the event of a larger incident do not become overwhelmed? if you have too many sectors, appoint a sector coordinator or Operations Commander. Let them ?filter? information coming from the ground so that you only get to hear what is important to you and the overall command of the operation. If a length of hose gets burst in Sector A?let Sector Commander A deal with it?you do not need to concern yourself with that.

  • Establish regular feedback from the sectors, this will ensure you are getting regular reports on the progress of your plan.


Once you have your plan up and running and are getting regular quality information back, then you will know how the plan is progressing, of course you will see this for yourself. Is the fire darkening down, have the rescues been made, is the Fireground activity beginning to settle down. If what you intend to happen is not happening then there must be something missing?was this on the information gathering side? Did something change or did the fire spread? This is why constant re-evaluation around the loop is critical. The Incident Command Model is flexible and dynamic. It is not a ?one off? appraisal as you roll onto the job, it is a constant check of information about what is happening that will allow you to plan and deal with what you face effectively.