Incident command future

The Future of Incident Command

Incident Command is fundamental to the way that Fire and Rescue Services resolve emergency incidents. Command is practiced at every single incident, each time a 999 call is received, every time a response is required. Incident commanders are trusted by the public when they are at their most vulnerable, and they are trusted by crews working under dangerous conditions. Quite simply, incident command lies at the core of what fire and rescue services do.

Todays command context is increasingly challenging. There is considerable public, peer and legal scrutiny of the way in which incidents are dealt with, more so today than ever before. Fire Incident Commanders are expected to work in challenging and highly pressured situations. Under these pressures, an incident commander needs to understand the situation as it unfolds, make many and varied decisions about resources and operational tactics, plan how to deal with the emergency and communicate these plans in a way that crews understand.

This process involves a number of command skills that allow these processes to effectively take place. These include situational awareness, decision-making, leadership, communication, understanding the dynamics of the team as well as resilience and pressure management. Fire and Rescue Services have a clear responsibility to prepare incident commanders to operate in such environments effectively and safely.

This report outlines some recent work led by NFCC that aims to advance Incident Command in the UK.