If you took a poll of experienced firefighters and asked them to identify a common problem at incident scenes, how many of them would answer that there were too many chiefs all trying to stir the fireground "pot" at the same time? Photo by Bill Eisner Command interaction involves...
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After his own size-up of conditions in his sector, he reported that there was heavy fire throughout the cockloft and that there was one line in service and firefighters were opening up the ceiling. He requested one more engine company and two more ladder companies for his assignment and that he would contain the fire with those resources.
Because of good command interaction and trust in the skills of this chief officer, I was confident that the fire would be checked in this exposure. It was.
This fire emphasizes the value of knowing the personnel who are operating at the scene and trusting in their skills. We do this assessment as a normal course of action and it can have great merit in gauging conditions at a scene.
Like pre-planning the target hazards in your area, effective command interaction requires planning, forethought and practice to ensure that the command and coordination of firefighting resources, including chiefs, are used in an optimum manner. With good command interaction, the notion that there are too many chiefs trying to stir the "fireground" pot can be eliminated.
Bernard D. Dyer, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department in charge of the Fire Prevention Division. He holds a master's degree in public safety from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD, and has completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.