INCIDENT COMMANDIntroductionInvestigation report from an incident often cited the lack of an organized and effective fire department command structure. The death of two gallant fire fighters at the high-rise flats incident in Harrow Court substantiated the fact that an impulsive and uncoordinated response can be fatal. Our report will focus on the concept of incident management and the importance of Incident Command System in handling various emergencies. We will discuss the role of different commanders and agencies in incident management. Present the significance of sectorisation and dynamic risk assessment, and analysis and evaluation of the Harrow Court incident. Incident Command and its Implementation in Major IncidentBrief History of Incident CommandThe incident command system or ICS was developed exclusively for the fire service as an emergency management structure for fighting forest fires (Beavers 2003, p. 580).
The ICS provides for coordinated response, a clear chain of command, and safe operations (Gustin 2007, p. 302; Brennan 1998, p. 36). ICS was developed under the FIRESCOPE organisation in California in the 1970s (Ward 2005, p. 294; Cameron 1994, p. 62). The concept of an ICS was actually developed in the aftermath of devastating wildfire in California in 1970s.
During 13 days in 1970, 16 lives were lost, 700 structures were destroyed, and over one-half million acres burned. Although all of the responding agencies work together to the top of their ability, various problems with communication and coordination weighed down their usefulness (Radvanovsky 2006, p. 98; Paton and Flin 1999, p. 264). Bronze, Silver, and Gold Levels- The Role of the Incident CommanderAccording to Gray et. al. (2004, p. 275), the services involved at each level depend on the type of incident. Bronze command or ‘operational bronze’ is entirely concerned with gaining control at the scene and the coordination of life and property saving process.
Crew focus on their own role until directed otherwise after the establishment of silver and gold command. Silver command or ‘tactical silver’ comprise of senior public service officers based at the scene of the incident or as close as is safe to be. Their main tasks include determining the resources necessary and planning and coordination when certain tasks will be carried out. The Gold command group is in inclusive strategic command of an incident and deals with matters such as applying recognized policies and plans and providing the media response to an incident.
Gold strategic command establishes the precedence of requests from silver command and resolve which request is most essential. The ICS is structured such that there is a sole authority with overall task to administer the incident. This person is recognized as the Incident Commander. He is the man responsible for front-line management of the incident (Gustin 2007, p. 303). His job are in general centred at the command post include information, safety, and liaison with other agencies and groups who are responding.
With unified command, officers from fire operations, rescue, law enforcement, and officers from other responding agencies join the incident commander at the command post. The IC is in overall command at the scene throughout the duration of the incident until relieved by a senior chief officer or a transfer of command during a long-term event (Pollak and Gupton 2006, p. 845).