In order to have succesful interventions, one needs a good command structure. This is a challenge for the fire service in Belgium. 251 municipal fire departments were amalgated in 34 fire zones. The importance of a command system will increase when firefighters from different stations have to work together. In the past everybody was working "under the church tower". There was very few cooperation between stations. 


In order to have a good command and control, there needs to be a structure. When we want a structure that works, it needs to be used all the time. A structure that is only used during catastrophes will not work properly. Firefighters will not be used to work with it. The fire service needs an Incident Command System that adapts to the size of an incident. By dooing so, we end up with a small ICS with one chief officer and one company officer for a chimney fire for example. This can be expanded with 10+ chief officers, 100+ company officers and 1000+ firefighters with catastrophes. In several countries a similar system is in use. During wildfires the number of firefighters that are fighting the fire can be very high. Still, the same ICS is used as with an ordinary house fire.  


Dimi Vercammen and Bert Brugghemans wrote a series of articles about ICS for "de brandweerman" (in Dutch):


ICS gestructureerde aanpak van incidenten - deel 1

ICS gestructureerde aanpak van incidenten - deel 2

ICS gestructureerde aanpak van incidenten - deel 3


Dimi Vercammen wrote another article about decision making for "De BrandweerM/V" (in Dutch):

Decision making bij de brandweer 


Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is a very special lady who started her fire service career when she was 18. During the past two decades, she gathered experience in several operational roles. Currently, she is deputy assistant commissioner with the London Fire Brigade. During that time she earned a degree in Psychology and she wrote a doctoral dissertation about decision making in the fire service. Recently, she wrote a very interesting book about this: The Heat of the Moment. It is a very interesting read.

heat of the moment