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Command Tactics

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So. For the last 20 and a bit years ‘Incident Command’ based around the premise of the Incident Command System in the US then brought here and tweaked by West Yorks has been de’ rigueur. Every FRS in the country teaches and practices it and there’s several people formally from the sector now extremely rich from teaching it.

However. For me IC is one half of the coin. What good is IRH, sectorising, everyone nicely wearing the correct tabard, lovely messages being sent, multi agency meetings being held, JESIP being followed etc. if nobody actually knows what they are doing tactics wise? Tactics have become a lost art form.

Tactics are the other side of the coin and are no longer taught. Yes we have a Ff tactics session, which is basically forget all that don’t put jets straight on fires through windows that we have been teaching you the last 20 years and instead internally use fine mist to… put a straight jet through any windows you can see 😂🤷🏻‍♂️🤔.

We don’t teach Command Tactics which for me is a glaring, and dangerous, chink in our armour.

We have all the equipment in the world, the best PPE, IC, safe systems of work, endless SOPs for this and that… but are not armed with some basic Tactics.

How many ‘big’ fires have we had nationally where the ICS was likely followed perfectly, nobody was injured and yet the building was ‘saved’ at the damp course and is now part of the NCP estate?

Anyone else agree?

It has to change - for me I’m not waiting for a Rule 43 either in order to start doing something.

Watch this space.

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I might be a symptom of the problem here when I say, what do you mean by "command" tactics?

I've had a lingering feeling that we are scared of our own shadow and that we've helped too many buildings transition into carparks so long as we've have JESIP meetings. 

ICS is very new to me however and you don't know what you don't know....

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6 hours ago, OscarTango said:

I might be a symptom of the problem here when I say, what do you mean by "command" tactics?...

Sorry it’s probably due to the fact we teach Ff Tactics here - there is no input for Commanders (anywhere to my knowledge) on the various options and yes tactics available to them in order to resolve the incident safely but effectively 

it will be a rich person one day that combines the two to be delivered… IC and tactics not just the former.

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Current service does no such thing, Tac FF here is effectively flashover and backdraught training.

When I was still in Kent, they did combine it on the Tac Ff course, with JO’s taking on command roles at an ‘incident’ following theory session in the morning. These were generally offensive PPV, fog spikes/cobra, hitting externally, etc. Not the bee all, end all, but not to shabby either.

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The training needs a revamp and serious investment across the board, from firefighter all the way up. We've come a long way in some areas but gone drastically backwards in others. Its the old over correction we always see with these things.

Hopefully they sort it out after the election but I doubt it.

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I agree Percy, I attended a national incident command course ran at Moreton. The theory side was full of sectorisation etc just as you described, but I didn't learn one thing there actually useful in terms of firefighting tactics, different ways to resolve incidents and practical demonstrations.

It seems to be assumed that you are armed with all the tactics you need if you are a competent Firefighter and you're at the point of doing an IC course.

Using my course as an example you had a range of firefighters who had done between 3-25 years, varying from only served at single appliance stations to those at multi appliance with specials, quieter suburban grounds to city centre all with different experiences. 

Its not possible that everyone arriving at that course all know or have seen a wide variety of tactics at each incident type we go to, and the expectation if you're not armed with those tactics is that you'll develop in role and learn out on the fireground.

A tactics based incident command course sounds ideal, get yourself on dragons den!

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