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Pre-Incident Planning - Stay Current

 

In Command

Volume II

 

Countless industry articles have been released identifying preplan features, raising awareness & support, and passing-on tricks of the trade.  Yet, today preplans are typically reported as ‘aged’ or worse. With some teetering on the edge of misinformation, often leading to a costly but justifiable wholesale change, it is essential to learn from the failures of history so not to be destined to repeat.

One common theme, from the feedback we’ve received over the years, is that well-intentioned initiatives fade as quickly as they rise. In a constant ‘do more with less’ environment, execution fails under the pressure of other responsibilities that have a measurable process and benchmarks (shift/weekly/monthly training hours, number of inspections, revenue expectations, number of public safety events, etc).  The safety of your firefighters and your community hinge on preparation. Develop a ‘will not fail’ strategy with term goals and stay firm but reasonably flexible for all of the unknowns.

At the same time, preplanning can be a daunting task, and a likely disaster, if the goal is to blast through it all at once. There is sage advice in the Q&A quip - “How do you eat an elephant? …one bite at a time!”. Imagine if you announced a department-wide resolution that all of the man-hours of training will be completed in the first quarter of the year… You might wish you hadn’t!! Know your overall goal, but break it down to bite-sized portions (daily/weekly/monthly). Commit to a strategy to include frequent assessment of target hazards, rapid evaluation of new sites, and regular reevaluations of existing sites. If you collect ‘activity duration’ as part of your data, you’ll be able to better plan in the future.

In short, Pre-incident planning (preparedness) is a continuous improvement assignment – not a “set it and forget it” project. Successful programs credit a refined strategy and a developed process for achievement and sustainability. Every department’s approach will vary slightly, but success will come under a pledge to set practical and attainable benchmarks, develop a process for managing activities and measuring results, as well as employing a reasonable level of oversight (quality management). If this seems like a lot of work – it is, but Infinite Command (www.infinitecommand.com) handles all of the heavy lifting, with the added benefit of ultra-efficient tools for the firefighters collecting the information onsite (adding time back into the day!).

There are simply too many variables/lessons to list in a single article, but there are many more to discuss. Our commitment to firefighter safety is second to none.  As an active industry leader and innovator, we look forward to developing your successes and driving further discussion.   Contact us today!   

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