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Incident Command

we use a command structure to resolve incidents.

During major incidents we set up a command structure to manage crews and resolve the incident as safely as possible.

When an incident becomes large, typically four fire engines or more, a command unit will be sent to where the incident is taking place.

Incident Command is made up of a number of roles including the Incident Commander who manages the way the incident is handled and the safety of the firefighters involved.

Incident Commander

The Incident Commander is responsible for developing a tactical plan and overall strategy to resolve the incident as well as ensuring that operational crews are safe. The Incident Commander can change throughout an incident. If the incident needs more fire engines and firefighters, a more senior or experienced officer will take over the role.

An Incident Commander leads the overall management but relies on a number of other people to give them up-to-date information about what is happening in all areas of the incident.

Monitoring Officer

A senior fire officer who offers support and guidance to the Incident Commander. A monitoring officer doesn’t always have to be at the incident. They can listen in and offer advice over the radio.

A monitoring officer will be sent to incidents when certain risks appear, for example if members of the public could be at risk.

Operational Commander  

An Operational Commander is responsible for putting the Incident Commander’s plan into action.  They are in charge of a number of areas are called sectors. These sectors are all directly involved in the incident.

Sector Commanders

Sector Commanders manage a specific sector of a building and the crew working in that sector. Sector Commanders stay in touch with the Operational or Incident Commander to tell them if there are issues or the situation changes, and how those changes might impact the incident overall.

Creating a plan

The Incident Commander will create a plan for tackling the incident based on a number of factors:

  • number of firefighters, fire engines and pieces of equipment that are needed
  • potential hazards and risks
  • what the the fire crews and equipment are capable of

Dividing up the incident

The Incident Commander will split the location into areas or sectors depending on the size and type of building.

Tower blocks are usually split into areas because of the nature of the building it is easier to work and move areas if needed.

Houses are usually split into sectors e.g. front, back, upstairs and downstairs this is because the building is smaller so firefighters can manage a larger area of the building.