Incident Command

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Incident Commander in the orange tabard at an incident

Incident Commander with firefighters inside the Incident Command vehicle

Incident Commander in the orange tabard at an incident

An Incident Commander is the officer who is in charge of all the operational incidents that Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service attend. This includes all incidents such as property fires, animal rescues, water rescues, road traffic collisions and chemical incidents.

The Incident Commander wears an orange jacket / tabard at an incident so that he is easily identifiable by the fire crews and any other agencies that may be involved at the scene.


Levels of Incident Command

There are three levels of Incident Commander depending on the nature of the incident.

Level 1 All fire crews have a Level 1 Incident Commander who is in charge of the incident.

This is normally a Crew or Watch Manager.

Level 2 There are four Level 2 Incident Commanders.

These officers attend all significant incidents to monitor and support the Level 1 Commander. If necessary, a L2 IC will become the officer in charge at larger incidents that require greater Command and control and or where operations are likely to be protracted.

Level 3 If the Level 2 Incident Commander is in charge of a larger incident then an Executive Officer who is a Level 3 Incident Commander will attend the incident for monitoring purposes. These incidents usually involve commanding numerous fire crews and may involve specialist support including breathing apparatus and HAZMAT.

The level 3 Incident Commander may become the Officer in Charge at major Incidents. A L3 ICO will wear the Senior Officers Tabard.


Other responsibilities

Incident Commanders are also responsible for the following day-to-day operational procedures:

  • Operational Brigade Orders
  • Risk inspection co-ordination
    Firefighters visit large properties and businesses in order to create a contingency plan in case of a fire. Therefore if a fire occurs at one of these properties the crews have data including the building layout, how many people are expected to be in the building at any given time of night or day and where the lifts and stairs are situated and the availability and location of water supplies
  • Heritage risk register
    A list of all properties within Shropshire that are classed as Heritage buildings
  • Flooding plans
  • Command training
  • Structured debriefs
  • Specific Incident Procedures (SIP)
    Includes procedures for specific incident types such as: animal rescues, aircraft incidents, chemical incidents, flooding, thatched properties, water incidents.
  • Standards Operational Procedure (SOP)
    Includes procedures such as: different types of incidents, specialist officers, fire investigation, liaising with other organisations, press and transport.
  • Water strategy
    This includes the decision where to place new fire hydrants and how to obtain water in remote areas where there are no fire hydrants.


Incident Commanders pictured with the Incident Command Unit Incident Command Unit

The vehicle carries a wide range of equipment to assist in the command and control of an incident, these include: a large air shelter including tables and chairs, IT equipment including 2 smart boards, MDT lap top computer, fax, mobile phones, digital camera, printers, it also carries the numerous hand held radios and Tabards required by the specialist support officers that attend an incident.

A Sector Officer fills in the BA main control board Control boards
Level two board, Major Incident board and BA main control boards are kept on the Incident Command vehicle to afford the Incident Commander the most up to date information at an incident so that all decisions are structured and consistent.