The Ten Command-ments of Intelligent & Safe Fireground Operations

Mark Emery concludes this series with Command-ment X: Thou shall evaluate the situation, mode and plan every TEN minutes.


The master craftsman incident commander relies on a structured, systematic, strategic process to manage strategy, resources and risk. This structured, systematic process will serve reliably during most square-foot fireground operations. However, because the fireground is dynamic, not static, this...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

The master craftsman incident commander relies on a structured, systematic, strategic process to manage strategy, resources and risk. This structured, systematic process will serve reliably during most square-foot fireground operations. However, because the fireground is dynamic, not static, this strategic framework must be flexible so that the incident commander can quickly adapt to changing conditions.

The principles in "Ten Command-ments" and the Integrated Tactical Accountability methodology have been crafted to provide a reliable, yet nimble structured, systematic process. A strategic framework was assembled with Command-ments I through IX. Prior to Command-ment I, you were introduced to "13 Fireground Indiscretions" (Firehouse®, April 2006) that have caused hundreds of firefighter deaths and injuries, as well and thousands of unreported close calls.

The "Ten Command-ments" have been crafted to help ensure that none of the "13 Fireground Indiscretions" are transgressed on your fireground. In addition, you will serve your community with a high degree of strategic professionalism. Rather than include the lack of a competent incident commander as one of the "13 Fireground Indiscretions," they provide evidence that a competent, proactive command presence was absent.

Proactive strategists are not born, they are developed and they play by the rules of engagement. It requires hard-work, preparation, discipline and diligence to become an informed, proactive command presence. It also requires poise and confidence; poise and confidence are also not genetic, poise and confidence are a byproduct of hard-work, preparation, discipline and reliance on a structured, systematic process.

Command-ment X will provide final pieces to your strategic framework; these final pieces will help ensure that you are a proactive strategist rather than a reactive tactician. Command-ment X will offer guidelines that will help you manage an effective command post during a square-foot fireground operation. If you are willing to work-hard, prepare and trust the structured systematic process, if you routinely address each of the "Ten Command-ments" and you ensure that none of the 13 Fireground Indiscretions are transgressed, you can be referred to as a master craftsman fire officer.

The 10-Minute Clock

A key component of Command-ment X — as well as a crucial component of competent incident management — is clock management. Two National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, specifically NFPA 1500 and NFPA 1561, require dispatchers to provide 10-minute notifications to the incident commander:

NFPA 1500

8.2.4 — The fire department communications center shall start an incident clock when the first-arriving unit is on-scene of a working structure fire or hazardous materials incident, or when other conditions appear to be time sensitive or dangerous.

8.2.4.1 — The dispatch center shall notify the incident commander at every 10-minute increment with the time that resources have been on the incident until the fire is knocked down or the incident becomes static.

8.2.4.2 — The incident commander shall be permitted to cancel the incident clock notification through the fire department communications center based on the incident conditions.

A.8.2.4.1 — Common procedure is for the dispatch center to announce "incident clock is 10 minutes," "incident clock is 20 minutes," "incident clock is 30 minutes," and so forth. (Author's note: I prefer "Main Street Command, you are at 20 minutes" or simply "Main Street Command at 20 minutes.)

NFPA 1561

4.3.16 — The incident commander shall be provided with reports of elapsed time-on-scene at emergency incidents in 10-minute intervals (bold emphasis by NFPA) from the ESO Communications Center, until reports are terminated by the incident commander.

This content continues onto the next page...