Make Sure Your Incident Command Vehicle Meets Your Needs

In nearly all National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviews, command or an difficulty with command is referred to as a place in want of development in the event of a hearth or other catastrophe. But we seem to be transitioning faraway from greater formal command vehicles. The general assets of an enterprise and its trendy operating methods generally dictate a vehicle’s design.

I recently noticed a big hearth branch displaying off its new command vehicle wherein rescue ropes and numerous hand tools have been packed into the cubicles of a pickup truck’s shipment bed. I actually have also seen some command vehicles that don’t have the conventional command board, which has been a not unusual sight for years.

The IC’s Job Is Complicated

The Incident Commander’s job is to coordinate the sports at a fire or emergency scene and enhance general safety by implementing an incident motion plan (IAP). The IAP can be as easy as remembering that the first engine to reach at a automobile fireplace ought to extinguish the blaze. The plan may also be more complex, concerning a place command organizational shape that incorporates a community disaster.

Obviously, the IC is aware of the first IAP. Often, there is no want for a greater complex IAP that will utilize many Incident Command System (ICS) 200 series bureaucracy.

Ninety-nine percent of the activities that the everyday IC responds to are never written down in a proper IAP. But all and sundry who has ever been the first operational IC at a main occasion is aware of that the earlier an IAP is tracked and written out, the quicker the chaos is introduced under manage. Any ICs who have encountered hours of chaos from an escalating disaster with out a formal IAP will let you know that their consolation level with the IAP manner and the ICS 2 hundred series bureaucracy turned into poor, due to the dearth of everyday use.

The 2d a part of the IC’s activity is to music the gadgets from a command vehicle. While Type 1, 2 or three incident management teams (IMTs) effortlessly technique loads of units at an event, the first IC to reach is regularly alone or has an aide who is attempting to arrange and procedure the other arrivals whilst also growing early responsibilities for a couple of devices as extra data at the scene is accrued.

Depending on the alarm card and dispatch machine, monitoring devices could be as smooth as shifting gadgets on a laptop screen to the proper location in the organizational chart within the ICS 207 or 203. On the alternative stop of the spectrum, the IC might be looking to parent out who and what next alarms require and inquiring for man or woman gadgets.

Hopefully, first responder businesses have frolicked inside the making plans phase and created standardized alarm cards. Even if alarm cards are created, maximum ICs still should ask the dispatcher what units had been dispatched, and then move them via staging and into assigned regions. Beyond the second alarm, it is hoped that via then a staging officer has been assigned to process and song new gadgets’ arrivals.

Additional Command Resources

The first automobile to reach on scene need to have the speed, equipment and equipment that may be deployed quick. If the 1/3 alarm summons a command vehicle large enough to hold all of the phase chiefs and command body of workers, a battalion car geared up with forty square feet of whiteboard may be overkill.

However, if you depend on a regional command unit that requires you to name in responder personnel, get to the command car’s place and pressure it to the incident scene, you can want better provisions in your operations than just a small, pocket-length command board.

While it’s miles understood that IMTs work from mounted centers and feature many sources, there’s the initial operational period when the first IC to respond have to create a easy transition to a proper command group. Research in catastrophe response has proven that if a catastrophe is prepared from the begin, control of the event is far advanced to one that is poorly or insufficiently managed.

Types of Command Vehicles

It seems that we’re heading in the direction of using non-command vehicles in many regions. Some responder agencies are designing vans that haul ropes, non-public flotation gadgets, water cans and air packs. While battalion commanders have numerous obligations, their vehicles ought to have good enough command area.

Several forms of vehicles — automobiles, SUVs, vehicles and trucks — are usually used as command vehicles for battalion chiefs or shift captains.

Each car has benefits and downsides. So it’s miles essential to understand each car type to make sure proper use of resources.


For many years, sedans were the best vehicle used as command motors. Most of the system had to be saved within the trunk.

Today’s vehicles are frequently Ford Focus fashions or other mid-length vehicles. But motors with big trunk space no longer exist because car manufacturers have deserted them in prefer of SUVs.

Today’s vehicles have very little space to carry gadget and informational products, such as pre-incident plans. Command boards are small as a way to fit into the trunks of these motors. If different gear is carried, the logistics of retaining doubtlessly contaminated tools away from passengers is compromised.

If a vehicle is used as a command car, it’s beneficial to maintain a clipboard in the front seat or use it on the lid of the trunk. Space is constrained whilst the IC stays inside the automobile, so handiest a clipboard can be used. As a result, statistics past the first alarm can be hard to song and write down. If the trunk lid is used, any inclement climate will bog down operations.


Trucks are available in many versions, with functions along with a work mattress attachment, a cab with a slide-out tray or once in a while four doorways. While the work bed attachment appears extra suitable to a miniature rescue truck, it may allow multiple command employees workstations across the vehicle if it is designed successfully.

A slide-out tray inside the command automobile provides a useful floor for several responders to work with masses of space.

When the IC remains inside the cab, there is more workspace than in a automobile. But space remains restrained to approximately a -foot square region, due to the fact radios and computers are mounted within the center of the cab’s front and restrict the to be had work location. This small workspace could imply tracking no longer tons extra than a first alarm or in all likelihood a 2nd alarm.


Full-size SUVs allow for tremendous command modules inside the rear with mobile radios. They can also include storage drawers for plans and other paperwork.

One of the most important restricting factors of the SUV is the shortage of a slide-out tray that would allow several people to paintings collectively. Smaller SUVs have very little room for command box and conversation device.


A van has tons greater workspace. Vans with windows are a very good work space for more than one commanders. Full-size desks, computer video display units and different gadget can be built into this form of car.

A van is ideal for use as a commander’s vehicle in a large town, due to the fact its arrival at a catastrophe scene frequently suggests more than one alarms. The biggest disadvantage is the price. A absolutely geared up van runs into the $a hundred and fifty,000 to $200,000 variety. Most departments would suppose this is too much to spend thinking about how frequently massive-scale activities happen in their place.

The maximum critical aspect of selecting an incident command car is to keep in mind your barriers. Don’t assume to run a 4-alarm fireplace and defensive making plans from the the front seat of a small automobile, except you could manner operations, planning and logistics concurrently.

Some groups often get in the attitude that they best have small events, then they frequently experience problem operating large occasions with their setup. Be sure that the command car you select may be true enough to meet your developing wishes.

Randolph Palmer

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