Fire control New operational policy guidance on incident command has been launched at the recent CFOA Incident Command Conference.

Over two years in the making, this key piece of operational doctrine for the fire and rescue service includes:
• A new firefighter safety maxim
• An examination of how commanders process information, plan and make decisions at an incident. This follows significant research and testing of command skills at live incidents
• The principles to adopt for risk-critical decision making
• An explanation of decision traps and decision controls.
• Using operational discretion when incident commanders are faced with a unique set of circumstances with no service procedure available
• A reduction from three to two tactical modes: Offensive and Defensive

Commenting on the new guidance project executive CFO Simon Pilling said: "Incident Command is fundamental to the way that fire and rescue services resolve emergency incidents. Command is practiced at every incident. 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.

"Excellent command decision making requires practice. The opportunities to practice command in large-scale exercises are limited as they can be resource intensive and the number of command positions are limited. The new operational guidance acknowledges this and encourages Services to consider whether the traditional emphasis on gaining experience predominantly through attending incidents is sufficient for the future safety of their communities."

Read CFO Pilling's full insights into the new guidance by subscribing to our July/August edition of FIRE Magazine

The guidance is accompanied by foundation material aimed at increasing the underpinning knowledge and understanding of commanders, trainers and aspiring commanders.

Produced as part of the National Operational Guidance Programme, the new policy guidance was first considered on 4 June by the Programme’s Operational Guidance Group. Following the Board’s approval to publish, the guidance is now available on the National Operational Guidance Programme website