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                        Making Good Decisions Things To Consider as an Incident Commander

                        When an incident of sudden potential danger arises, the Incident Commander will be expected too make fast, effective and successful decisions with an ultimate purpose of keeping those in their charge safe. The Incident Commander will be looked upon as “the expert”, “the one with the training and qualifications” and therefore expected to know exactly what to do. The best Incident Commanders will work in advance to train everyone in their charge to not only protect themselves, but to provide them with reliable and appropriate information. The best Incident Commanders will train everyone in their charge to be as proficient in making their own decisions as they are. The problem with proficiency in Incident Command is that every single situation that arises is unique and dynamic. This makes it virtually impossible to prepare for any one specific situation. It is, therefore, necessary to become proficient in managing fear, remaining calm and establishing some general goals that must be accomplished, regardless of the details of the incident that you are managing.

                        When an incident of sudden potential danger emerges inside of your school, you must immediately consider what you will need to know to make fast and effective decisions.

                        Some of these things are:

                        Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

                        The success of decisions will only be as good as the information considered in making the decisions. So, as far as advance planning, who is going to provide you with this information? Most likely it could be one of many people. This means that everyone must be trained, in advance. How might you train one to provide good information? In general, it’s extremely difficult. In order for an incident to be successfully resolved it must include far more than just the Incident Commander directing others. So if an Incident Commander must be proficient in managing fear, controlling their heart rates, and making good, fast and effective decisions, then everyone within an organization must be proficient in the these same areas.

                        Some things to consider when someone reports a problem?

                        Your immediate goal is to obtain as much information as possible so that you can make good decisions. Consider what first responders will need to know to quickly address the threat Consider the level of the threat. Is it really a threat or only a potential threat? You can elevate a potential threat to an actual threat if you do not handle it properly. What do you need to do to isolate the threat? Should you even attempt to isolate the threat? Should you attempt to confront the suspect on your own? What do you need to do to keep as many safe as possible? Partial lockdown? Partial evacuation? You need get as many people to safety as possible.  

                        The Importance of Team

                        The decisions above, and many more, are types critical decisions that must be made and executed in seconds, or less! While you will be expected and required to make the ultimate decisions, you cannot expect to receive the details required to make these decisions without relying on others, your team, to provide them. What is a team in this case? Everyone within your organization! This includes administrative, supervisory, employees and students! Think about this: Your administrative staff to student/employee ratio is, relatively speaking in instances where the more overall people that you have the better, very low. In an active shooter situation it should be hundreds vs. one, in most cases (there have been instances where more than one shooter was present). In instances of violence you need your entire team trained to react to protect themselves, stop or contain the threat and provide you with information. If you take the majority of your potential overall team, your students, out of the team equation, you have suddenly cut your advantage way down. Consider this when you question whether or not students should be required to assist and/or potentially proactively offensive: They are there regardless! You can either train them to do something productive for themselves or the good of the overall team, or you can ask them to potentially be “lame-ducks”. One way or the other, they are there! You are doing them a tremendous disservice by not properly training them as a critical and core function of the team.

                        Training and Planning

                        So the best thing that you can do as a likely Incident Commander is plan and train. Just like an Commander on a battlefield, coach of a sports team, CEO of a company, you must prepare all of your team members in advance in their respective areas of responsibility, train, and practice. You must regularly think about various incidents and exactly how you might respond to them. You are not going to be an effective Incident Commander if the first time you have to make real decisions is the first time that you think about the decisions that you might have to make. Training, in order to be effective, must include a good combination of both classroom and practical (Live Drills and Table Top Exercises). Again, consider a football or any sports team – you practice regularly, study, receive lecture, get into the appropriate physical condition for the game. Why? So that you are best prepared to win! Imagine how bad a team would perform if they never practiced! Imagine how much worse they would be if they never did anything except talk periodically about playing. Just gather a bunch of people together and go play a game against another team! It would be absurd. You cannot expect to perform any differently than how you train. If you don’t train, discuss, mentally prepare, and constantly better yourself, you will lose!

                        Training in Incident Command is a must! Please make arrangements to get it done.

                        Published Oct 06, 2014

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