1. #1
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    Default Incident Command, who is in charge?

    here is a question that I'm sure will have many answers. who is in charge at the follow incidents?

    MVC w/entrapment on the interstate: depts on scene: Fire, BLS, ALS, State Police

    MVC with vehicle fully involved on NJ Turnpike: depts on scene: Fire, BLS, ALS, State Police, NJ Transportatoin Authority

    Structure fire in an industrial building: fire, mutual aid fire dept EMS, local PD, building owners

    structure fire, possible arson: depts on scene : FD, Fire inspector, EMS, Police Arson units, Publc service electric and gas.

    HazMat Spill, from a tanker, on the exit ramp of an interstate: dept on scene: FD, mutual aid FD, EMS, mutual aid EMS, county hazMat unit, tow truck w/ heavy recovery unit, local PD, state police, EPA, Red Cross, tanker company rep.

    now I know many people will say a unified command is what should take place. however if the fire rep and the PD rep disagree on a course of action, who's actions take precedence? or if the EPA guy says fire can't do something, for enviormental reasons, can the chief do it anyway?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Here is the applicable NJ Statute.

    Interpret accordingly.

    40A:14-54.1. Authority at scene of fire of fire official in charge of supervision or direction of operations

    The chief or other superior officer of any municipal paid or part-paid fire department or volunteer fire company, or a State fire warden, who is charged with the duty of supervising or directing operations at the scene of any fire shall be the sole authority within fire lines established by said fire chief or other superior fire officer, or State fire warden, at the scene of such fire with respect to all firefighting operations relating to the protection of lives and property endangered by such fire, and within said fire lines such authority shall supersede that of any municipal police authority. The authority hereby invested in the chief or other superior officer, or State fire warden, shall terminate at such time as he shall declare the fire out. Nothing in this act shall affect the powers possessed by the Governor under the various emergency acts nor the powers possessed by any State agency to protect the public health, welfare and safety.
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    Default Re: Incident Command, who is in charge?

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    here is a question that I'm sure will have many answers. who is in charge at the follow incidents?

    MVC w/entrapment on the interstate: depts on scene: Fire, BLS, ALS, State Police

    MVC with vehicle fully involved on NJ Turnpike: depts on scene: Fire, BLS, ALS, State Police, NJ Transportatoin Authority

    Structure fire in an industrial building: fire, mutual aid fire dept EMS, local PD, building owners

    structure fire, possible arson: depts on scene : FD, Fire inspector, EMS, Police Arson units, Publc service electric and gas.

    HazMat Spill, from a tanker, on the exit ramp of an interstate: dept on scene: FD, mutual aid FD, EMS, mutual aid EMS, county hazMat unit, tow truck w/ heavy recovery unit, local PD, state police, EPA, Red Cross, tanker company rep.
    In all of these, in Massachusetts, the Fire Chief or his designee.

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    Originally posted by NJFFSA16
    Here is the applicable NJ Statute.

    Interpret accordingly.

    40A:14-54.1. Authority at scene of fire of fire official in charge of supervision or direction of operations

    The chief or other superior officer of any municipal paid or part-paid fire department or volunteer fire company, or a State fire warden, who is charged with the duty of supervising or directing operations at the scene of any fire shall be the sole authority within fire lines established by said fire chief or other superior fire officer, or State fire warden, at the scene of such fire with respect to all firefighting operations relating to the protection of lives and property endangered by such fire, and within said fire lines such authority shall supersede that of any municipal police authority. The authority hereby invested in the chief or other superior officer, or State fire warden, shall terminate at such time as he shall declare the fire out. Nothing in this act shall affect the powers possessed by the Governor under the various emergency acts nor the powers possessed by any State agency to protect the public health, welfare and safety.
    About every three months, someone starts an anti-cop thread. Parasite has been down this road before. This will be my only post on this subject.

    The Title 40A statute that NJ quotes is accurate. But what you must realize, at least in NJ, is that there are other statutes that, taken by themselves, will put the PD in charge of most of those scenes if there is an investigation in progress. There usually is.

    In addition, since NJSP is the lead OEM agency in the State, they will come out on top every time. I don't agree with it, but try fighting them.

    This problem CANNOT be solved with statutes. This problem cannot be solved at the roadside. It must be dealt with today. At a calm conference table in a meeting where each agency brings their concerns to the table and a mutual understanding and respect is fostered. A working plan can be developed. Then, that working plan can be put into practice so that these disputes do not come up on the street, in the heat of the moment.

    I know many of you despise the police. Many of you have made that quite clear n the past. I refuse to engage you anymore. Each agency is on the same side. The police have the same concerns as you do. Learn to work together and purge the "who's in charge" argument from your thought process.

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    CT's version:

    Sec. 7-313e. Authority of fire officer during emergency. Notwithstanding any provision in the general statutes or a municipal ordinance to the contrary, the fire chief of the municipality, or any member serving in the capacity of fire officer-in-charge, shall, when any fire department or company is responding to or operating at a fire, service call, or other emergency, within such municipality, have the authority to: (a) Control and direct emergency activities at such scene;

    Which takes some common sense to implement. By statute, any emergency goes to Fire if they're on scene (unless you have a local ordinance giving it to the Police). You come up to something the Police should have lead -- say a shooting -- talk to them and ask them what they'd like you to do and follow their lead within reason. Sameway you'd expect them to come up to you at a fire and find out what you'd like to have done and then go and do it.

    "Emergency" is also one of those words that seem so clear...until you nitpick. An "Emergency" is not a "Disaster" at which point politicians like the Governor & local Mayors get authority to direct the response. And at what point does, say a tanker overturned, go from being an "Emergency" to just being a big friggin mess. Clearly while you're trying to stop immediate danger to life & health (rescue a trapped driver, initial evacuation, getting lines laid to put water on that cylinder, etc) you're in an "Emergency." At some point this is going to become a big friggin mess when the Fire Chief gets to look at the State Haz-Mat guy and go, "So Fred, I'm thinking this is your scene now. Whaddya like us to do next? " That's at a point where the State Haz-Mat guys can be deciding where the line is between property damage & environmental damage, how long they want people to stay evacuated for, etc. The FD handled the "emergency" part by getting everyone out of the way and taking any initial actions they could to stabilize the situation while waiting for more appropriate agencies to arrive -- and now it's a clean-up operation. The clean-up may still blow-up, but it's a clean-up none the less.
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    Learn to work together
    and this is best done in advance.
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    Can't speak for NJ but I do know it Vermont the fire department is in charge of all scenes "where there is a fire, or imminent threat of fire" per Title 13. However MVAs on the interstate were always a sticky issue , especially when it came to closing the road. In fact.we had one instance where our asst chief was almost arrested after he ordered us to put an engine across both lanes when VSP refused to close the interstate at his request.
    I's unfortunate but there will alwsys be struggles for power.

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    We have had some rather complicated accidents over the last few months. At the two major accidents there was about as close to a "unified command" that I ever seen in action. It basically composed of our Chief, the ranking BCAS (British Columbia Ambulance Service) supervisor, and the ranking RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officer. All three of them had on their green "command" vests. Initially they were close together and discussing what each agency would look after, etc. Further into the accidents each supervisor basically set up its own command area. The RCMP used the traffic investigator's mobile unit; BCAS used their supervisor's unit; and our chief used the back of the Rescue (also our staging and man-pool area).

    Traditionally, each agency looks after a different aspect. At a MVA (or MVC):

    Fire looks after extrication, fire suppression, scene safety, patient care (under the guidance of BCAS), and traffic control (in conjunction with RCMP).
    BCAS looks after patient care and transport.
    RCMP looks after crowd control, traffic investigation, and traffic control.

    BCAS looks after patient care, with our First Responders doing the initial work until they arrive. Once they are on scene, they take over and we assist (depending on manpower we may do the bulk of the medical work, or vice versa). However, we try to look after the patients during the actual extrication. This is more of a safety and speed factor. It has always been my opinion that a Firefighter wearing the proper protective clothing, and who is familiar with extrication operations, is the better choice for patient care during extrication. I am not sure what the "official" stance is.

    Traffic control is were things get tricky. The RCMP, technically, is supposed to look after setting up and maintaining traffic around the emergency scene. However, since Fire usually outnumbers them 2-1 in units, and 5-1 in manpower, we will set up "initial" operations and maintain them until RCMP takes over (which in some cases means we take care of traffic through the entire evolution).

    When it comes to MVAs or MVCs, the Fire Chief is in charge. He calls the shots and everyone else fell in line under him. However, in order not to micro manage the scene (which happens to often sometimes) he lets the RCMP look after their own operations, and BCAS look after theirs and co-ordinates the best he can.

    Overall, we tend to work well together because we have learned to anticipate what each other is doing. For example, we an ambulance is loaded and ready, we'll have the traffic flow stopped and an opening ready for them. We'll spot for BCAS and RCMP while they are backing up, and we always try to make sure that we have "parking" available for them for when they get on scene.

    As for on the fire ground, the Fire Chief is also in charge. Most Fire Chief's are also LAFCs (Local Assistant to the Fire Commissioner). During an emergency, his LAFC credentials actually give him more power and control than an RCMP officer. As the LAFC he assists with the Fire Commissioner when he comes to scene, which is usually well after the fire is extinguished and the scene secured. In some cases the Fire Commissioner will not attend and the LAFC will complete paperwork by themselves.

    As far as I know, the Fire Chief is also in charge at Hazmat calls as well. Fire will do the initial response and evacuation, with a Hazmat Team coming in and taking over (and fire assisting were needed). However, this is were the system usually falls apart. Right now, there isn't a readily available Hazmat team in the area (though, there is talk of establishing one, but we all now that will take a while to happen). The last time one was called in for our area (July 17, 2001 ~ a fully loaded propane tanker roll over), it was, if my memory is correct, over 12 hours until they arrived.
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    In Ohio the Fire Chief or his desginee unless the FBI takes it over (terrorism)
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    George, I do know that there is an AG ruling saying that the NJSP Trooper is the IC on highway incidents (MVA, Haz Mat,etc) where it isn't completely clear to me is the conflict with Title 40, does the fire chief still have control of highway fires or areas where the NJSP has jurisdiction? BTW, I agree the best plan is to discuss it early and work together. We are working on some new highway response plans with the NJDOT, NJSP and the local fire agencies and are considering replacing IC with FIRE BRANCH for the responding fire agencies

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    Wish you had asked me a few months ago.

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    In Maryland, Fire rules the roost. Period. We even operate the Bomb Squads. We do have, IMHO, an outstanding working relationship with the other agencies that respond with us on a day to day basis. Any time that you get a lot of people from different agencies all operating on the same incident, there is a chance for disagreement. We have, however, been able to keep any dissent at a minimum, usually a "personality" problem between two people, not a inter-agency thing. One thing that we smiled at, a few years back, was the new Baltimore Police Commissioner. Gentleman came from NYPD, widely thought to be a good cop. His only misstep was when he wanted to create a NYPD ESU style operation in Baltimore. His boss, the Mayor calmly and politely told him "NO." Seems the mayor liked things the way they were, and thought the NY style operations would bring the NY style feuds. Fire still does all Rescue in Baltimore, and they're darn good at it.
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    Originally posted by Halligan84
    George, I do know that there is an AG ruling saying that the NJSP Trooper is the IC on highway incidents (MVA, Haz Mat,etc) where it isn't completely clear to me is the conflict with Title 40, does the fire chief still have control of highway fires or areas where the NJSP has jurisdiction? BTW, I agree the best plan is to discuss it early and work together. We are working on some new highway response plans with the NJDOT, NJSP and the local fire agencies and are considering replacing IC with FIRE BRANCH for the responding fire agencies
    The AG opinion is as good as law. You won't win this in a fight on the highway, especially the toll roads. Go to the barracks today and talk to the station commander. Include them in every discussion and meeting. Then put the discussion in writing and send it to him. Then you have documentation when one of the road troops gives you a problem. You also want it in writing because commanders change. Consistency is a good thing.

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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI

    Go to the barracks today and talk to the station commander. Include them in every discussion and meeting. Then put the discussion in writing and send it to him. Then you have documentation when one of the road troops gives you a problem. You also want it in writing because commanders change. Consistency is a good thing.
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    Down here it is simple.

    MVA. Injury only, Ambulance and Police attend. Amb for victims, Police for Scene Safety and Investigation. Fire may be called to assist with HAZMAT / clean-up etc

    MVA with Entrapment. Police Amb and Fire attend. FIRE are in charge of the scene until all victims/bodies are out. PERIOD. We will do our best to preserve evidence for the Police and work with Amb for the victims, but victims and scene safety are the priority.

    HAZMAT / Fire. No matter who else is present Fire lead the way. Progressing up through the rank structure with the scope of the incident.

    Major Incidents can fall into a combined multi agency operation, in this case CIMS (Combined Incident Management System) comes into operation. In this scenario the Agency most suited to the incident takes overall command , with ONE person overall, instructing and taking advice from the OIC or person from each service present.

    Then these people filter the orders down throught their respective service.

    CIMS has been used here very well in a few incidents, especially on regional disasters such as flooding.

    As far as someone telling us what to do at a HAZMAT, from outside our Fire Service, they would be asked politely to "Get the F*&^ off my Fire Ground." (Unless it is a good idea, then they can stay.)
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    You also want it in writing because commanders change. Consistency is a good thing

    Which tickled my memory banks.

    The Lieutenant...whoever it is this six months...at the local State Police Barracks is an ex-officio member of our Dispatch center's board. Part of that of course is they're located in his barracks. But whatever the reason it does give an "in" for regular contact between the local fire guys & the SP Commander.
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    In Wa. State (at least in our response area) there is no issue with this, the F.D. takes care of the fire department stuff, and P.D. or WSP take care of their part. Maybe I'm just lucky to work in an area where these entities have a great respect for each other and an excellent working relationship, but there never seems to be a problem. Command duties are shared with each entity controlling their own, with the exception of Haz-Mat, which the State Patrol commands (and even then, they leave the mitigation decisions to the FD).

    Too bad this doesn't seem to be the case everywhere...as Brunnacini likes to say "Egos eat brains".

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    7134 already said it.......... The fire chief or his designee is in charge.........

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