Hello folks,

I want to pick your brains for a second in regards to incident ground situation reports.  Generally these are given at random points throughout an incident here, there is no set time frame or situation that states a sitrep should be relayed to the incident ground at any specific time .......... being a Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer the majority of incidents I command are longer duration events ..

Personally I think a sitrep should be sent to all staff on the fire ground when new resources arrive on the incident ground, at a change of command and atleast once an hour ................. is this overkill for the incident ground or not often enough?

I am relatively new to my command role and would appreciate the benefit of your experience and expertise.

let me know what you think .............


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Replies to This Discussion

Morning Brandon,

I think sitreps are an important part of an incident and like you said need to be given on a "reguler" basis. Definitely when command changes and depending upon the incident, once an hour could be sufficient. When new resources arrive on scene, this information should be relayed from the staging officer to command & operations. Don't think this would necessarily be something that everyone on scene needs to know.

I will try to give a sitrep every time somethings importants transpires, ie....fire under control starting overhaul, primary/secondary search complete, closing/opening lanes of roadways during traffic incidents. Command is only as good as the "eyes" that are providing him/her information.
Thanks Tom,

Makes perfect sense to update everyone when the tactics change, such as going from offensive attack to overhaul etc ....... didn't think of that.

The hardest part I find as IC is standing back and letting others put themselves at risk on my instructions. Those "eyes" on the ground are most times the only information we have.

Thanks for your input
The standing back part is definitely one of the harder things to "learn"! I still get the jitters on bigger incidents when I have command. I do find it a little easier if it's just "your" department on the scene because you know the training and skill levels of your members. If starts getting "hairy" when mutual aid departments start coming in and you don't know their skill levels.

At this point I really rely on the officers or senior guys from the mutual aid departments. As I've worked my way up from the rank of sgt, I've learned so much about how much responsibility goes along with being the IC. There's no doubt it keeps a little scary at times.
Good afternoon Brother, I am Lt. Mike Scotto, FDNY. At all fires, or incidents were necessary, we give reports every 15 mins. At that time our dispatcher will inform the IC of our total operational time we are @ incident. For fires this will keep the IC current with the 20 min rule. This continues until our Chief of Dept. arrives or situation is under control or an ongoing incident will be continuing for an indefininte period. At that point they will give reports every hour, for the staff. This is just one way of doing it.
Thanks Mike,

We also have a requirement to send a quick verbal sitrep to our communications centre every 20 minutes, this is not enforced at all and this does not inform those on the incident ground.

One thing I am picking up very quickly is that there are a lot of similarities in the command and control functions between the US and New Zealand, oddly enough this is very reassuring.

Stay safe Brother
Good topic….. I have recently moved to a new state and unfortunately I have to “relearn a few things”. Where I originated from our dispatchers gave us “benchmark checks” every 30 min. If he had other info than it could be relayed at anytime (fire under control, search negative, etc). But at that 30 min mark we would give a quick, but detailed update (I.e. 3 lines on the fire, all companies still working, fire contained to floor, etc).

With my new department, we do not get that reminder, so it is up to us to pass along the info on our own, so I set my stopwatch to alert me every 30 min so I remember to do it, seems to work and other area Chiefs are beginning to do it as well…….So I guess we “can teach old dogs new tricks”. Hope this helps and stay safe out there.

I have always been used to the 10 mn rule in the first hour and then you can ramp back after that.

When you hit the 24th hour in is usually a bit less to report but an hourly report should be given if

only to state that there are no new updates from the incident.

The major events rule I think applies no matter where you are in the world. As another poster said,

if your dispatch does not ask for an update, provide one from the CP.

If you fill out your Log with all info from sitreps it will aid you in AARs and in determining what you have done and when.

Good luck and hope since this original post you have gained some confidence in commanding at large incidents!


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