How to Play Well with Others


A major part of incident management involves being able to quickly and effectively integrate a group of highly motivated, very active responders into a common incident strategy and action plan. The incident commander (IC) must develop and maintain an incident organization that assigns fire companies to perform the critical functions in the critical areas. A major part of overall operational effectiveness involves how the responders behave and how they treat each other while they perform at the incident. When the troops play well together, the boss can concentrate on putting out the fire rather than ďherding cats.Ē The following little behavior blivits* might provide some simple-to-understand and pretty easy ways to be nice when you go to help.

1. Go only if invited (dispatched); no spontaneous deployment.

2. Respect and fit into the other respondersí normal arrival order.

3. When you arrive, check in/stage.

4. Stay staged until assigned (work should be assigned/reassigned).

5. Come to work/help.

6. Stay in your assignment (position/function); stay on your levelóno freelancing.

7. Bring your own stuff. Leave with everything you came with (mostly your troops).

8. If you make a mess, clean it up. If you break it, fix it. If you borrow it, return it. If you open it, close it. If itís not yours, leave it alone, etc.

9. Leave your ego at home. Take your manners with you: listen a lot; be quiet a lot; say please and thank you. Be nice.

10. Do what you are first (engine, ladder, squad, rescue, chief, special ops), then do what needs to be done.

11. Stay connected to the incident strategy/incident action plan (IAP) and to your chain of command.

12. Be/act empowered within your assignment. If you respond to a critical condition outside the strategy/IAP, tell the IC.

13. Those with more should always help those with less: troops, stuff, skill, energy, wisdom, water, command.

14. Get in and stay in the accountability system.

15. Operate safely or go home.

16. If you see something, say something.

17. Always manage and control your troops.

18. Accept and follow orders. Work hardódonít avoid dirty work.

19. Fit into the hostís management/command system.

20. Be cooperative, not competitive.

21. Make the hostís customer your customer.

22. Donít take advantage of anybody or anything.

23. Public information: Donít talk unless the host asks you to.

24. Donít count calls or keep score.

25. Control social media. What you hear here and what you see here, should stay here when you leave here.

26. Donít leave until your released. Donít leave early.

27. When you are released, check out, demob, verify the troopsí welfare and go home.

28. Assist and participate in the post-incident review/critique.

*These items were originally developed by Fire Chief Jane Ellis (ret).


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