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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.
Thank you, John Bierling

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Replies to This Discussion

I think we are on the same page here. I'm lucky in one way, I get to structure ICS exercises and training outside of the fire service in the private sector, in my paid job. No, we haven't used ICS beyond establishing IC and an Ops Branch, but we train as if a Category Three Hurricane were here. But the guys who really need to train in the ICS, our emergency services, don't, for the reasons you state. One chief, after taking the now required ICS-300, told me that he doesn't think we will ever use it, because we are so isolated, right under the busiest Europe-NY flight path, unless one comes down; to which I added the cruise ships that go by, the HazMat that goes through, the houses (including his) in the Wild-Urban Interface, the passenger trains and buses that travel out here in the season, and coastal storms, and suddenly I saw the lights turn on in his head.
The point is, like all of our tools, we have to practice with it to get good at it, and we have the opportunity to practice at every drill, every fire, every rescue, every EMS call. We just need to establish command and work from there at every call.
Thanks for working on this. BTW, I'm still in NY, but am really looking forward to "retirement" down in Swan Quarter!

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