Thread: Nims

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    Default Nims

    here is the question
    If I am the ic of a scene and a office with more rank show up and I tell him I wish to give up IC does He have to take it ? My officer says no.. and I say yes .. I need to know where it says in in the nims materials so please provide

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    No he doesn't have to take it, he does have to accept if he takes it though. Once taken...he owns it. Just know that the first person there accepts IC automatically, and someone with higher rank can accept it if desired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firerk View Post
    here is the question
    If I am the ic of a scene and a office with more rank show up and I tell him I wish to give up IC does He have to take it ? My officer says no.. and I say yes .. I need to know where it says in in the nims materials so please provide
    NIMS ICS-100.a Introduction to Incident Command System I-100

    Visual 4.4:

    "Upon arriving at an incident, the higher ranking person will either assume command, maintain command as is, or transfer command to a third party.

    In some situations or agencies, a lower ranking but more qualified person may be designated as the incident commander."

    I read this as he has an option...
    1) Assume Command
    2) Maintain Command as is
    3) Transfer Command to a third party

    So, in my opinion, NIMS is stating he does not have to take it and your officer is correct by way of Option 2.

    The above was taken directly from ICS-100 as is in my hard copy.

    Be safe, R2

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    It is beneficial under some circumstances for the more experienced officer to allow the junior officer to remain in command and offer advice and assistance to allow the junior officer to gain experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    It is beneficial under some circumstances for the more experienced officer to allow the junior officer to remain in command and offer advice and assistance to allow the junior officer to gain experience.
    Agree 110%! Having somone giving helpful advice and being there if things get too heavy is a great way to OJT junior (or potential) officers.

    Be safe, R2

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    As stated here, the higher ranking officer is not required to take command, and it is sometimes a good idea to let a junior officer keep command to get experience.

    What I would worry about is a "senior" officer who refuses to take command when asked by a "junior" officer. He or she shouldn't be in that position if they are going to refuse to take command. Now, if they want to provide experience to a junior officer, all they have to say is "your doing fine, I'll be here if you need me."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    It is beneficial under some circumstances for the more experienced officer to allow the junior officer to remain in command and offer advice and assistance to allow the junior officer to gain experience.

    Bing-freaking-oh!
    It's the only way to learn... and you are there to take over if you see the potential for the defacation hitting the oscillation...

    What I would worry about is a "senior" officer who refuses to take command when asked by a "junior" officer. He or she shouldn't be in that position if they are going to refuse to take command. Now, if they want to provide experience to a junior officer, all they have to say is "your doing fine, I'll be here if you need me."
    Some "junior" officers got to that position by being smart for once or twice in their career by passing the promoitional exam or by a popularity contest. Some love the title, the salary/compensation and the power.. but when push comes to shove, they are "scared sh*tless" to make a decision.

    A good senior officer will know the limitations of their personnel under their command and act accordingly.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 12-29-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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    Default Ranking Officer on Scene

    Everyone is correct in stating that the higher ranking or more experienced individual does not have to assume command from you. However should something go south at the incident, that individual is held responsible for the incident. It's a catch 22 situation; do I as the ranking individual assume command and take away an opportunity for my younger officers to gain experience or do I let him or her run the scene and hope they do not screw up and I become responsible because I was there and did not take any action.

    What the senior fire officer can do is stand by and act as a consultant or mentor to the younger officer. It's a good idea to have a second set of eyes and another brain to think things through especially when the incident starts to increase in magnitude due to whatever reason.

    I've personally had the opportunity to take command from my Fire Chief or Assistant Chief and run an incident to get the feeling of what I need to do regarding reaction to certain events, be able to comprehend the stress that being in the "hot seat" entails as well as grasping a better understanding on how quickly things can get lost in communication and having to repeat or ask several times what was said because you sometimes get trapped in"tunnel vision". Having that additional set of ears, eyes and experience watching over you is a good feeling, but don't let that be a factor from making your own choices; good or bad.

    But again, I have to emphasize that if the senior officer is on scene when things go wrong, he or she is not responsible no matter if they assumed command or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kferrara2002 View Post

    But again, I have to emphasize that if the senior officer is on scene when things go wrong, he or she is not responsible no matter if they assumed command or not.
    I think you mean they are responsible? You may have thrown a "not" in there.

    According to NIMS the IC, regardless of rank is responsible. That is why he/she is IC. It's pretty clear that they are the one in charge thus responsible. I'm sure there will be some 'splaining to do if something does go wrong and they didn't step in but will they be held responsible as the IC would be... Not sure on that to be honest. If you go by NIMS, they won't be. If the department/entity has an SOP that the senior should take it then I wouldn't rely NIMS to bail you out.

    I can't think of any situation right off the top of my head where that has happened so it's all pretty much a guess. Hopefully, we will never have to find out.

    Be safe and Happy New Year!!!

    R2
    Last edited by robertr2m; 12-31-2008 at 07:07 PM.

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    Robert,

    Good catch. Thanks. Yes they ARE responsible no matter if the assume command or not.

    In the military, I've seen several incidents occur where the Assistant Chief of Operations will be the IC but the Fire Chief may come out and "Observe". Thankfully nothing occurred to the point that an explanation was warranted, but the possibility was there. In that case and those similar, the Fire Chief would have had to explain the action of the incident and the decisions of the Assistant Chief. I'm sure that if something negative occurred, that Assistant Chief would be replaced or dealt with accordingly because as we all know, Fire Chiefs do not enjoy explaining their actions when questioned for decisions that resulted in property loss or worse an injury or fatality.

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    Say what you want about NIMS and rules but I'm confident that if a lower ranking officer is the IC and the Chief is present and something bad happens, the Chief will be found responsible in court. With rank comes responsibility, no ICS model or NIMS should change this. If you want to let a subordinate run the scene, fine, but you need to ensure he/she does a proper job and step in when things go awry. There is a reason some people are put into higher positions of authority, I cannot imagine a court letting a higher ranking (implying more qualified in most cases) officer off the hook if he/she stood by while a less qualified person made mistakes leading to injury, death, further property loss or other.

    I would not count on NIMS to base your decisions on how to run incidents. It's a model to integrate into existing rank structures for multi-jurisdictional responses. Rank structure is a very important part of any organization, requiring clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 01-02-2009 at 07:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Say what you want about NIMS and rules but I'm confident that if a lower ranking officer is the IC and the Chief is present and something bad happens, the Chief will be found responsible in court. With rank comes responsibility, no ICS model or NIMS should change this. If you want to let a subordinate run the scene, fine, but you need to ensure he/she does a proper job and step in when things go awry. There is a reason some people are put into higher positions of authority, I cannot imagine a court letting a higher ranking (implying more qualified in most cases) officer off the hook if he/she stood by while a less qualified person made mistakes leading to injury, death, further property loss or other.

    I would not count on NIMS to base your decisions on how to run incidents. It's a model to integrate into existing rank structures for multi-jurisdictional responses. Rank structure is a very important part of any organization, requiring clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
    If you think being or not being the IC will somehow prevent lawsuits or mitigate responsibility, then think again.

    The Chief could be in another state and could be named in the lawsuit.

    Don't let the worry of lawsuits be the guiding force in determining how to operate, unless you are an attorney. The law is much more complicated then most people think and those of us who are not attorneys tend to oversimplify it (ie: doing this will prevent a lawsuit).

    Use good, solid and proven firefighting tactics that are "industry standards". Your responsibility as a fire officer is to make sure your department SOP's are followed. If you are a Chief Officer, your responsibilities are to provide SOP's that will provide your department with acceptable practices.

    Best way to do this is to be familiar with your state regulations, NFPA recommendations, and by reading fatal fire case reviews.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    If you think being or not being the IC will somehow prevent lawsuits or mitigate responsibility, then think again.

    The Chief could be in another state and could be named in the lawsuit.
    Sorry no, you and I are in agreement here. My point is that NIMS is not the factor that determines responsibility. Of course the Chief will always be responsible, again, given the OP's comment and the related discussion I wanted to make the point again that just because you don't take command, does not release you from responsibility. It seems some people are looking at NIMS as an excuse for many command and rank issues within their organizations.

    I also agree that if you're always looking at this from a perspective of the legal system you're probably not cut out to be in the upper ranks, but one must fully understand all the implications of rank. Far too many do not understand that they assume huge responsibility as they rise in rank, and as you've noted, your presence is not required for responsibility.

    Lastly, your FD must have some sort of organizational chart with defined roles and responsibilities. I am a firm believer in not always taking command from subordinate officers when they are functioning well. But, in my presence I never stop running the incident in my mind and comparing their actions to what I believe is the way I'd do it. The point at which I feel their way is too far from mine is when I'll speak up or take over. Without allowing them to make decisions, they'll not get the OJT for the day someone isn't there to take over. Often you must look at what's being done and ask if it's safe and not causing more damage? If the answer is yes, then don't take over, but realize you're still responsible for every decision made.

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