Welcome Strategists!

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Welcome to the Strategy Blog!

The purpose of this Strategy Blog is to explore incident management solutions (ims) that will address common strategic and tactical challenges that pop-up on a regular basis. (Examples: radio communications and tactical accountability.)

Competent incident management can be compared to the game of chess. At task-level chess is very easy, the rules for moving chess pieces around the chessboard are simple and straightforward.  However, if you want to be a good chess player you must become a good chess strategist. Nobody becomes a Chess Master until they have mastered chess strategy.

Likewise, nobody can become a master craftsman fireground officer (read: competent incident manager) until they have mastered fireground strategy.

Fire officers are not task-level resources. When a company officer is 'on the knob' you no longer have a company officer. You will find hose, nozzle, and ladder operation in IFSTA Essentials — not in the IFSTA Company Officer manual.

The fire service has a propensity to focus on aggressive tactical and task-level stuff rather than aggressive strategic-stuff. Operating a nozzle has great entertainment value; task-level stuff is fun and exciting.

Competent and aggressive strategy is downright challenging; competent, aggressive strategy requires the poise and confidence of a , master craftsman fire officer. Just like we teach fire fighters to rely on structured and systematic processes for manipulating ladders and hose, fire officer need structured and systematic processes for executing strategy: size-up, action planning, tactical accountability, radio communications, Command Post management, aggressive span-of-control, Division/Group supervision, Branch direction, determining risk versus value, and more.

How many fire fighters would be alive today had a fire officer taken 20-seconds to view and factor conditions at the rear of the building? Any fire officer that says (s)he doesn't have 30-seconds for aggressive strategy is not poised and confident. Uninformed tactician fire officers become emotionally attached to problems that they didn't create; informed strategists always inventory fireground problems before commiting to a tactical operation.

Read the NIOSH reports, it's interesting how many fire departments slow down, stop tactics, get everybody accounted for, devise a plan of action, and organize resources after a fire fighter has gone missing.

Chasing tactics with strategy is backwards and it doesn't work. Aggressive actics should always follow aggressive strategy.

By sharing your thoughts and experiences, perhaps we can liberate the informed strategist that waits patiently inside each of us. 

I appreciate your thoughts and ideas.