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Excellence in Incident Command is essential to our success at the emergency scene. Success or failure determines whether our members go home at the end of the day and whether we effectively serve the people who depend on us. When an incident occurs in our community, at that moment in time, we must be at our very best, no excuses, and it’s too late to wish we had the necessary training and experience to be ICS excellent.

We cannot achieve ICS excellence by studying incident command, excellence comes by “doing”. Excellence is the result of experience. Unfortunately, most emergency responders lack the essential ICS experience to grow ICS as an incident expands. This is not due to lack of desire or “good intentions” it is simply that 95 percent of all our incidents necessitate only a small incident organization. When was the last time you built groups, divisions, or branches in your incident organization? That’s exactly my point.

Please do not let this pass you by. Be a great leader. Great leaders exhibit incident command excellence. Take every opportunity you can find to have ICS experiences; organization events, community events, incidents (whenever possible) anytime, anyplace. Best of all, ICS experience training. This is not just for the bosses, it’s for everyone. Everyone operating in the ICS organization must be proficient in incident command.

Get the training, get the experience, your members and your community are depending on you, do not let them down.

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Replies to This Discussion

My department has found a lot of success with building ICS skills using a computer program called ICx. It's downloaded at The program allows you to configure fireground (or other emergency) assignments and then use drag and drop to fill those assignments with resources. Personally, my organization on the fireground has improved a lot since using this. This program will link with another program called (which is free) and allows you to have up to the minute accountability for members on scene. Another great way to enhance your on scene command. 


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