Incident Command: When 'Quantity' Communications Overcomes 'Quality'. When in charge, do you over do it?

I understand the need for scene size up, ect... but what about the micro-chief???

Who is it you say, we all have one or seen one in action. They assume command and fill up every comm channel with chatter failing to use others around to gather the important info.

Everyone has a job on the fire scene but what about giving a sit rep every 30 seconds. Too much too little? Should it be on single company, large or all scenes?

Yes all comms today are crappy, most radios neither work outside let alone inside building.

Where does leadership degrade to a point needing they micro-manager?

Micro managers need to comment here too. There's one in all of us at times.

Im not for either side just here to spark a discussion, that all can learn from. Which may cause some to get their feelings hurt if you take it personaly, if so then do some soul searching.

This is for all to get in on and voice your view "not voice it to me."

Let others see your point of view and what you belive. No book answers here. 1. 2. 3. not needed here.

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Comment by Richard Williams on January 15, 2010 at 10:55pm
thanks Jack yes is what I am trying to get to, radio hogs and what about too much info???
Comment by Richard Williams on January 4, 2010 at 1:10pm
Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich thanks for your comments and to try and clear the air, Micro-Chief or Micro-Manager same creature. I put out generalized statments so to gather a broad and wide view of others and so others may add to the blog.

Comm chatter ie... talking to much when short and to the point should do, not to say that in some situation you need to be informed and need it now. Also on certain comminucation systems you are correct that one primary freq. should clear it up, but some systems used a talk and dely feature which If two people try at the same time to communicate its first come first serve so as the 2nd transmission is taken but not broadcasted until the freq. is clear I find this to be a pain espically with a large scene and you think you have clear comms but then nothing you try again then realize your report went through but now have stepped on the response on accident ect... I hope this example gives a type of situation that is more understandable.

Nothing wrong with runners to if avaiable to utilize them as I said above to gather important info. Meaning information that is needed but not a high priority to warrent excess radio traffic.

I ask about giving a sit rep every 30 seconds, Is it Too much? It it Too little? and Should it be use with a single company, large or all emergency scenes? What times do others think is effective?

Also glad you have the funding for great radios, so do we but still they lacking, as many articles are published about such downfalls ie ""

Also again most questions I present here are fictional what if type. Just asking for others to give a view, maybe a workable solution or effective sop/sog standards....ect.........

But I thank you again for you ideas, and that you reached the conclusion that I wanted others to express "your last sentence " Foll SOG's Be concise and brief in messages. Avoid idle chatter. Clear traffic for emergency transmissions"" this is what I seeking what you know, feel and practice what you preach.........Thanks FETC and Art"ChiefReason" Goodrich.
Comment by Jack/dt on January 4, 2010 at 12:26pm
How about the view from this hose monkey?
I haven't yet seen (heard?) an issue from IC that would meet the definition of 'micro-managing'. Depending upon the size of the incident there may be sit-reps, PAR's, feedback from the officers, request for additional manpower, tools...etc.

Our radios appear to work just fine. Small-ish town/response area with 3 repeaters. Biggest issue I'm aware of is the occasional stepping on another transmission and that's more of an issue the larger the incident.

In just general terms regarding communication, we have some chatty cathy's and we have some that wouldn't say shit if they had a mouthful. I chalk that up to personality differences. We do on occasion have someone key the mike before they've engaged their brain but you learn to live with that.

So in answer to your lead question, in my paltry experience it tends here to be more of a 'quality' thing than a 'quantity' one. I guess every department is different.
Comment by Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich on January 4, 2010 at 11:23am
FETC isn't the only one confused here.
First off; egos aren't playing into it. We are all very down to earth.
You threw out a couple of generalized statements and said "now discuss". It doesn't work that way. Leaves too many questions unless you are asking questions. But it appears that you want to lead a discussion. Lead by taking the lead. You list several critical points, but offer none of your own solutions. Case in point:
1) you identify a micro-chief. Define this phenomenon. I was a chief for 14 years and this is a term that I am unfamiliar with. EDUCATE me.
2) Filling every comm channel with chatter. How is that possible, if everyone is suppose to be on the same primary frequency? Are you suggesting that the chief use "runners" for his information?
3)Sit reps too much too little? You brought it up. You tell us and then we will have a point to discuss.
4)All comms today are crappy? Not the ones we use. You just broad brushed the entire comm world. Most radios neither work outside let alone inside building? Not true. Maybe for you, but we spend money here to get good equipment. Cobra handhelds 2 for $40 might look good on the pocketbook, but you get the results you just alluded to. You get what you pay for.
5)Where does leadership degrad to the point of needing a micro-manager? Hell, man; it could degrade as soon as the size up was done. Who knows? We weren't there.
6)Micro-managers need to comment? One in all of us sometimes? How is that? First; you have to be a "manager" in order to "micro-manage". Some do not aspire to be managers. They would rather stand back and bitch. So, let them. Better yet: manage THEM; the bitchers.
7)If you want to spark a discussion, spark it. Don't throw out general statements and the broad view and then get upset because there is a little confusion.
See; if I thought that there was too much chatter on the radio at a fireground, then I would hold class on radio communications and teach it. You know; follow SOGs for channel selection. Be concise and brief in messages. Avoid idle chatter. Clear traffic for emergency transmissions. Stuff like that.
Hey: but it's your blog.
Carry on.
Comment by FETC on January 4, 2010 at 11:09am
Richard, first off I took no offense with your blog with my ego??? But if one is going to blog and you asked for people to get it, but not to you is BS. One wouldn't blog about micro-managers unless they had or seen an issue with the problem.

Therefore your original blog comment (I quote) "Yes all comms today are crappy, most radios neither work outside let alone inside building." Is also not applicable to some who are reading your blog. We personally have spent 600,000 thousand dollars on radio upgrades, repeaters (for both inside and outside buildings) and every firefighter has a personally assigned radio, etc.

You stated, Hope those who can not see past their ego's, step back and read and understand how to communicate as a group to learn from each other. Wow someone needs to check their own...
Comment by Richard Williams on January 4, 2010 at 10:44am
Just to clear the air once again for those who seem to take offense with my blog to their ego's, Its for everyone and not about a single department or IC, Its communication so actions, ideas and inspirations are shared to better ouselves through visual thinking which is a critical learning tool! Hope those who can not see past their ego's, step back and read and understand how to communicate as a group to learn from each other.
Comment by FETC on January 4, 2010 at 8:41am
Could be a micro-managing incident commander, could be a lack of trust on behalf of said incident commander, could be lack of training on ICS and Communications, could be lack of timely reports from the interior compay officers, could be the lack of training on behalf of the interior company officers, could be not enough company officers on said emergency and possibly firefighters in control of a division or company who lack experience to report in a timely manner... Heck I could go on and on here.

To post this and state we all can learn from this is untrue. It is simply impossible to compare my staff to yours, my specific incident to yours, my training to yours and then say we all must learn. Some deapartments have great communication models, are well versed and deliver timely reports, some of which are face to face to prevent frequency overload.

I have a question though... Are we an officer of this said department or just blog bitching about your incident commander or his tactics?
Comment by Jason Hoevelmann on January 3, 2010 at 2:02pm
Every incident is dynamic and needs to be handled as is appropriate. I think there are times that micromanaging may be needed, at least for peace of mind for he who is ultimately responsible. Most departments have company officers that are supposed to be able to handle the duties of running a company and should be allowed to do so. If a chief cannot trust his officers on a "simple" house fire, there may be a need for changing the way they are promoted and/or trained. Just my two cents worth.
Comment by Allen Wahlstrom on January 3, 2010 at 12:09pm
As a former company officer (took a few years off) I totally understand micro managing a scene, but at the same time we need to make sure our personnel are trained up to the point that they do not need to be mmgd.

That said, depending on the crew(s) involved micromanaging can be important. But... in the long run if your company officers are not capable of running their crews, they should not be co's.

Example 1. I have a seasoned, agressive (not overly so), safety conscious captain, who knows building construction and signs of impending collapse, reads smoke well and has a good crew, I am not going to ask for a sit rep every 30 seconds...

Example 2. I have a green, book smart, young (fire age and or chron' age) overly agressive, and impetious captain, I am going to micro manage him until I know he has grown into more of a Ex 1 type officer.

Example 3. Large incident with multiple sectors, multi jurisdictional response. I am IC, I want my Sector Chiefs checking in every few minutes (2-3). If it is an "OH Sh*t" situation, I am going to want sitrep more often, and obviously if it is a mayday or RLH environment I want updates every 30 seconds until all are out of harms way.

So ya see it all depends on the situation, personnel and or scale of the situation.

Comment by Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich on January 3, 2010 at 11:34am
I don't micro-manage. I Monday morning quarterback. I am a trustee. It is my job. After the incident, I ask for a briefing. I ask questions. Again; it's my job. I have some familiarity with incident control, so I like to know that it was. I really don't care what the others think of it in terms of "being nosy", "micro-managing", "over-reaching" or whatever. I have every confidence in the fire department and the officers. They have the responsibility of the day-to-day operations. The Board of Trustees have the responsibility of the future based on sound practical and fiscal principles.
And because of my unique situation, having been on the department before becoming a trustee, I believe that I can offer perspective to both.

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