Command and Control: aspects of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Incident Command System

Examines the Service’s effectiveness and efficiency of areas within the SFRS Incident Command System (ICS), Organisational learning and IC Training, with particular focus on the Command and Control of Operational Incidents.

This document is part of a collection

5 Recommendations

5.1 IC policy and supporting information

1. The SFRS should, as part of the incident command policy review, reinvigorate fully inclusive governance structures for monitoring the practical application of the policy, to ensure stakeholder investment in the process.

2. A strategic direction of travel for SOPs should be agreed and a programme of modernisation implemented, addressing the concerns of users and stakeholders such as HS&W, to ensure appropriate coverage of subjects and ease of use.

3. Confidence in the use of the Operational Discretion Policy should continue to be promoted during incident command training and culturally through operational assurance and improved attitudes to its use.

5.2 Inter and intra operability, supporting the incident ground

4. The SFRS should review its resilience governance, including the SCAF document, in co-operation with wider resilience partners to enhance and promote, fully integrated partnership working.

5. The SFRS should reinvigorate strategic focus on the CAR and implement a fully representative working group to progress issues that are disenfranchising partners.

6. The phased implementation of the tac-ad role should be progressed covering all identified specialisms, ensuring an equitable spread of advisors across all duty groups and representative of risk in geographical areas.

5.3 Incident command system

7. The SFRS should ensure that the scrutiny of the management of the Command and Control Futures project, involves consideration of contingency planning for systemic failures in current control systems.

8. The SFRS should further develop a formal, bespoke course and training requirements, for CSU operators. The layout, staffing and operation of these units should be consistent.

9. Consideration should be given to OC staff supporting CSU staff, on location, at larger protracted incidents when availability or opportunity allows.

10. The UIG for the procurement of new digital fireground radios should include Scotland wide collaboration with SD end users ensuring representation from urban, rural and remote rural station groups. Adequate provision of intrinsically safe sets should be incorporated into the project.

11. The SFRS should evaluate the understanding and ease of use of the current call-sign format and if required devise, in consultation with end users, revised call-signs.

12. A standardised SFRS incident command pack should be introduced as soon as possible along with a comprehensive training package in its use, with particular additional support provided to remote rural areas on its introduction.

13. The SFRS should monitor compliance with the GIN Official Notebook, potentially through the station audit process, and take remedial action when deficiencies are found.

5.4 Organisational learning

14. The SFRS should establish and promote a culture of carrying out incident ground operational assurance.

15. The SFRS should review its debriefing process to:

  • Encourage the generation of shared learning from smaller incidents.
  • Allow a more efficient method of significant findings informing future practice.
  • Improve the storage and access of debrief documents.

16. The SFRS should continue the good practice of FDO command seminars, but consider opening up access to Watch Commanders.

17. The SFRS should consider implementing a more formal process of FDO duty group meetings, to support all officers.

5.5 Incident command training

18. The SFRS should review its incident command training and assessment criteria to:

  • Introduce a practical training aspect, incorporating problem solving and critical decision-making under pressure.
  • Develop and conclude its work in mapping across elements of the incident command assessment with the incident ground operational assurance process.
  • Utilise a reflective journal template for ICs to provide evidence of incident command competence, with a view to extending re-accreditation timescales.

19. The SFRS should train all its RDS and Volunteer Commanders to the level of ICL1 or develop an achievable alternative, incorporating practical training which safely meets training aims and requirements.

20. The SFRS should develop a process of quality assurance to assess the effectiveness of its training delivery.

21. The SFRS should pursue further opportunities for the collaboration of training with emergency service partners.



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