13 or so years ago, when conducting Incident Management and Incident Command System training and exercises with municipalities across the country, we used this video to demonstrate a key and central theme about the subordination of a major killer: EGO.
It is a serious, but humorous, undertaking to have a candid look at incident management — for all types of critical incidents. Fundamental to all public safety incidents are these objectives:
1. Life safety. Are there occupants in need of rescue or protection from the fire?
2. Incident stabilization. What needs to happen to make the situation better?
3. Property conservation. What needs to happen to prevent further loss of property after the incident has been stabilized?
An example of incident goals, in priority order, for a structure fire in a two-story, single-family dwelling with fire showing from a kitchen window on Side C at 2 a.m. would be: account for occupants, extinguish the fire, overhaul the fire area and stop property loss.
The creator of the video, then Virginia State Trooper Tom Martin, shared this presentation at a conference and it quickly became quite popular for its message and the innovative way he sent the message to responders. Since then, Martin was promoted to Captain and subsequently retired from policing. Today, he’s Deputy Project Manager Virginia TOC/SSP, AECOM.
“Communities across the Nation experience a diverse set of threats, hazards, and events. The size, frequency, complexity, and scope of these incidents vary, but all involve a range of personnel and organizations to coordinate efforts to save lives, stabilize the incident, and protect property and the environment. Every day, jurisdictions and organizations work together to share resources, integrate tactics, and act collaboratively. Whether these organizations are nearby or are supporting each other from across the country, their success depends on a common, interoperable approach to sharing resources, coordinating and managing incidents, and communicating information. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines this comprehensive approach.”
Life-threatening incidents are chaotic, dangerous, fluid and incredibly difficult to assess and manage. So many moving parts — so many people and so much confusion — add enormous degrees of complexity to the situation.