Ep 32: Command Post vs. Tactical, Triage, and Transport

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Episode 32: Command Post vs Tactical, Triage and Transport

An important discussion on the fundamental difference between the work that gets done at the tactical, triage, and transport area versus the work that gets done at the command post.

Bill Godfrey:

Welcome to the Active Shooter Incident Management podcast. My name is Bill Godfrey, I'm the host of the podcast and I'm here today with three of the C3 Pathways instructors I got with me on the law enforcement side, Ron Otterbacher. Ron, thanks for coming in.

Ron Otterbacher:

Thanks for having me.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. We also got Don Tuten, coming in from Jacksonville. Don, how you doing?

Don Tuten:

Hey Bill, doing great. Thank you.

Bill Godfrey:

And a familiar voice to many of you Mark Rhame, like myself on the fire EMS side. Mark, how's it going?

Mark Rhame:

Very good. Thanks Bill.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. So, let's start off talking about what is the fundamental difference between the work that gets done at the tactical, triage, and transport area versus the work that gets done at the command post? Ron, why don't you start us off.

Ron Otterbacher:

Tactical operations, which I include triage, transport and tactical, they are focused on the tip of the spear, they're going after whatever the situation they face at that time, whether it be to provide Rescue Tack Force support, whether it be to stop address the driving force where in fact the command operation has got a broader perspective and they're looking at things well beyond that, how it may affect the community, how we communicate, what we want people to do, how we notify our political oversight group, which is so important in these situations. So, just their perspective is a little different, we all want the same end but how we go about it and we also understand that we don't just say, okay, tactical you go do what you want because there has to be some oversight.

Don Tuten:

Yeah. And I agree with that. And tactical, triage and transport is utilizing those resources that are currently on duty. They're utilizing what they have to make that problem go away. They're not looking at the command side of that broader cold zone answers to questions on political payment, how much of this is going to cost? What additional resources you're going to need that the tactical triage and transport is how do we fix this now, utilizing the resources that we have while operating in this hot and warm zone.

Mark Rhame:

In addition to that, the command post keeps the heat off of that tactical, triage and transport group because you do not want the police chief, the fire chief, the mayor, elected officials, their supervisors, coming to the scene and wanting to interact with those tactical, triage and transport individuals because they've got a right now, right now, problem, they're dealing with everything in that hot and warm zone and that's what that command post is going to do. They're going to deflect all that stuff and take care of it in addition to what Don and Otter said.

Bill Godfrey:

So Mark, why not just have the command post deal with all of it and just add some people to the command post? Why do we need to put some layers in here?

Mark Rhame:

Because it needs to be a true separation between the two. I mean, as I said before, tactical, triage and transport are dealing with all that stuff in that hot and warm zone. They are dealing with things that are right in their face and if they don't deal with them right now, right now, people will die. I mean, that's the bottom line. They've got to take care of those issues right now. The command posts can reevaluate stuff, they can look at it as Ron said as a broader picture, broader view if you will, and they can maybe make more calculated decisions based upon, what's going to happen an hour from now? What's going to happen 12 hours from now? And what do we need to accomplish those goals? But again, we've got that tactical, triage and transport, they're dealing with the things that are right in their face right now, which is that threat and all those people who have been injured.

Bill Godfrey:

So Ron, talk to us a little bit about what goes into deciding or what should go into deciding, I guess I should say where tactical, triage and transport should establish themselves and position themselves versus where we parked the command post.

Ron Otterbacher:

Again, as you look things out, I'll answer it probably in a different way though. The hardest transition I ever had professionally was going from being a tactical operator to being an incident commander because it was entirely different. I was used to being right there, taking care of the right now, right now, stuff and then I had to focus beyond the right now, right now stuff. It's a situation where the tactical operations whether it be triage, transport, whether it be the tactical group, they're using the tactics that are down there. Your command post representative may not be familiar with all the tactics so he has to count on the people that are downrange and say, these are our options and the commander weighs out those options say, okay, I agree with this house safe, can we do this? And they simply make a logical decision or at least the most logical decision they can make with the information that they're provided.

Bill Godfrey:

Don, you got any insights you want to add on that?

Don Tuten:

Yeah. I just want to say that the tactical, triage and transport and like Otter and both Mark said, is there downrange handling the right now, right now problem. They're not thinking about the little things like, is there a school in session? What am I going to do with the kids getting off the school bus that is two blocks away? What am I going to do about the library that's around the corner that's open 24, whatever the case may be. They're worried about that threat, that threat going mobilized or continuing, diminishing that threat as soon as possible. And then transporting those victims, if there is victims on scene, out of there as soon as possible and not the impact that it's having on the community. That is the command responsibility is diminishing that impact on the community, as well as supporting this incident and the first responders there, if this is an elongated event.

Mark Rhame:

But also think about it, if you didn't have two different groups dealing with this incident and you have a school administrator or that owner of the mall or that airport official administrator who comes to the scene and you've got this person, who's the tactical director or the tactical person and they're dealing with the right now, right now problem and now all of a sudden they got this person in their face asking them questions and saying, Hey, when are you going to reopen the mall? When are you going to allow me to bring planes back to the airport, all that stuff. They don't have time for that, they got to deal with that threat and all those people who are injured and clear in that building, that's why the command post can separate it and deal with those other issues in a more sterile environment, if you will in that cold zone.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. So, tactical, triage and transport are handling that downrange piece, the hot zone and the warm zone. How close should they be? Because they're obviously, want to be close to the problem not in the problem but close to the problem and tactical is going to be the first one there, right? They're going to tactical is going to stand up a for triage and transport does, what goes into picking a spot?

Don Tuten:

I think tactical, triage and transport number one, they all work together. They have to be in a position where they can evaluate the scene whether it be visually, whether it can be within close proximity but they have to get a common operating picture that is clear to them. They can't be miles and miles away because then they're operating off communication and we all know what happens with communication. So, they have to have that visual, they have to see what's going on, they have to make determinations based upon their experience and the resources that they have. So, they do need to be in that warm zone area, they need to be in an area to where they can obviously, they can redirect if possible but they have to be close enough to actually make those tactical sound decisions on like I said, doing tactical work, as well as removing patients.

Mark Rhame:

Plus you got to give them the option if they choose to do so of doing a face to face direction on the contact teams or RTFs or any of the teams that come into that location. Have them come to their location and say, this is where I want you. Here's a map, here's where you need to go and go forth and conquer. If you're a mile away, you're not going to be able to do that, you're not going to be able to give them that face to face direction.

Bill Godfrey:

So, we're talking about them being edge of the warm zone?

Don Tuten:

Yeah. I think depending on your location of your incident would dictate a lot of how far away that edge of warm zone is, but I think that's a fair valuation.

Ron Otterbacher:

I think, where you can say fairly safely ensure that your triage and transport can be there with you and doing a relatively safe fashion because we surely don't want to put them in a kill zone and because we want to be close and maybe we should be, then we put everyone in harms way. We've got to weigh the two out and make the best decision for the operation.

Mark Rhame:

Consider that if you neutralize that initial threat, you don't know because you haven't cleared the rest of the building out. Is there another threat? Is there something else right around the corner? Is there a secondary device? So, obviously you don't want to stick that triage and transport person so close that they are in harm's way. Obviously, we don't want to send anyone into that area let them be in harm's way, but obviously that tactical officer has that advantage in the very beginning. So, whatever place you decide, you've got to have that ability to hunker down, hide behind something large but it's close enough that you can get that visual and give direction.

Don Tuten:

And be fluid based upon the intelligence coming back out of that incident, be fluid. Be fluid to make adjustments.

Bill Godfrey:

So Ron, I think if I was reading between the lines on where you were going with that, tendency might be for the tactical group supervisor, maybe to get a little closer than triage and transport might be comfortable with?

Ron Otterbacher:

And I think it's got to be a marriage and it's got to be a marriage that works. You may have to, if your tactical, you may have to back off a little bit from what you're more comfortable working with because triage and transport may not be as comfortable working in that area. So, it goes back to being a marriage. We're a team, there's a reason we [inaudible 00:10:32], there's a reason we want them hip to hip. And so, we'll want to do it in a safe fashion or a safer fashion as we can do it. That I've seen tactical commanders that want to be right at the front door and this isn't the time to be right at the front door probably.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. So, I'm going to call out some tasks that would need to be done. You guys tell me whether it's tactical, triage and transport or whether it's the command post. We need more contact teams to do whatever?

Group:

Yeah. Tactical. Yeah.

Don Tuten:

Absolutely.

Bill Godfrey:

We've got one or two RTFs but we need more RTFs so we need more manpower?

Mark Rhame:

Well, the build the RTFs is going to be the responsibility of direction from triage but to get the assets to staging, that is what our medical brands should be looking at those asset management. Do we have enough pieces and parts and do I need to order more of them?

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. But in terms of you get a call from downrange it says, I need more RTFs or I need more medical people. Who's handling that problem?

Mark Rhame:

Triage.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. All right. And what's some other good examples that fall in the gray zone. I'm just trying to give some illustrations of the differences in the roles. What some of the other things that tactical, triage and transport would be handling?

Mark Rhame:

Well, one may be perimeter. Where you may think that that's a job of tactical really that's what that command posts with the law enforcement supervisors is going to make a determination. Do I stand up an inner and outer perimeter? Think about it for a second. If tactical right now is just trying to figure out, is this the only threat? Do I have more intel that's coming in that says, there maybe someone else in the structure because we've taken down the initial threat. They shouldn't be worrying about where the perimeter is being set up, that's what the command post can do because they're in that sterile environment and they can make a rational decision based upon the intel they're getting and send those teams in from staging.

Don Tuten:

As well as your federal response. Your guys that are downrange right now at tactical, triage and transport, when you get these outside resources coming in, they need to be vetted to some extent, what do they bring to the fight? And your command post has an opportunity to do that? What are your resources? What are you bring to the fight? And where can I best utilize you within this situation?

Ron Otterbacher:

I look at it where if the tactical command person is focused on where I'm putting perimeter units, my focus is wrong. I've got other people to do that, I've got other people to take care of that, my focus should be right downrange, what's happening right there again, are we talking about a driving force? Is it to stop the killing, stop the dying. That's where my focus should be. I've got other people, if I'm doing my job as tactical commander that are responsible for those other things and I need to understand that.

Bill Godfrey:

So Ron, you've used the word focus several times here, and I think it really is fitting because part of the reason that we've set the structure up the way we have is so that nobody ends up with too much focus. Nobody ends up spread too thin. What are some examples you've seen where somebody takes on too much? They're maybe a little bit outside their lane without realizing it and they're getting themselves overloaded. Can you give some examples?

Ron Otterbacher:

I think we see it everyday when we do these exercises is people want to run everything. They don't realize that their focus is to contact team downrange, the RTFs, the ambulance exchange point and anything beyond that is beyond our focus. I look at it as shooting at a target. If I'm shooting a rifle at a target, my focus, if I'm going to shoot well, although I've got an 18 inch target, my focus should be about a quarter inch. And if I go beyond that, then my angle [inaudible 00:14:37], is far greater so my shot's worse. But I've also got people on my side that are focused with everything else downrange so if something else pops off over the left, they've got it in their sights and I don't have worry about it.

Don Tuten:

I don't think there's any incident where one person can handle it all. And I think at the end of the day, our focus is we work together with all aspects of emergency services and public safety. I think we all have the best in our fields, no matter where you're at. And if we don't rely upon those, then we're doing ourselves and our community a disservice, if we're not utilizing those resources that are the best in their field.

Mark Rhame:

But If you want to dig down to some of the important issues but they're the boots on the grounds decisions who makes a decision where the casualty collection point is or where the ambulance exchange point is. If the command post is making those decisions, they have no visual acuity. They have no clue what's going on inside of that building and they are not going to be the best source for that information. That's got to come from those people who are actually inside that structure, relaying that back out to tactical, triage and transport to approve what they've come up with and then to say to all those responding units, this is where you need to go because this is where it's been established. If command post is trying to make those decisions, they're probably going to come up with a wrong answer 99.9% of the time.

Bill Godfrey:

And you guys were in the fire service, you guys were chiefs, how many fires did you fight from your office on structure fires at the guys were downrange? And was that successful or not successful?

Mark Rhame:

How many times did we try to put out a fire on the radio?

Bill Godfrey:

Right?

Mark Rhame:

A lot.

Bill Godfrey:

Correct.

Ron Otterbacher:

Getting back to what Mark was saying just a second ago. We tell everyone to paint a picture. The only people that know what's actually happening in this whole thing are the boots downrange, everyone else is guessing. And like he said, if we're guessing as a command component, that this is the best place to put someone we're in error. We've got to count on the people that are downrange that are actually seeing what's going on to let us know, wait, if we put our ambulance exchange point at this location we don't have to care, our patients is far. We don't know we're guessing. So, that's critical.

Mark Rhame:

But on the flip side of that, we wouldn't expect tactical, triage and transport to determine where's a good place for reunification. We don't expect them to take out a map book and go, ah, let me think of this place, let's make some phone calls and see if they will accept all of these witnesses survivors at this location and build out how we're going to do that. No. They are dealing with things that are right now, right now problems and the command post has got to handle that sterile, clean environment in that cold zone.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. That's not their job. One of the ones that popped in my mind, is it a specific example, and I'm wondering if any of you can think of any others that I see on a fairly regular basis. When the incident first kicks off, there's a heavy role for law enforcement obviously, and tactical, it's a tough job and it can get overwhelming very quickly. One of the things that we train on is how not to have that happen.

But once you get the triage and transport group supervisors up with you, and you've got your RTFs downrange, all of that medical traffic, all of that medical information that's coming across the law enforcement channel should really almost die down and go away because it should be going on the fire department channel or the EMS channel or the medical channel.

And I see fairly often, they just miss the opportunity to do that transition and we end up, instead of the medical traffic, basically disappearing from law enforcement and shifting over to the EMS channel, you end up with duplicate medical information coming across both channels. So, that's one specific one I've seen. Can you guys think of any others?

Ron Otterbacher:

No. And I think a lot of the times we see that is because we forget to stay on our own lane. Most of the time that happens because law enforcement tries to drive what's going on in the medical side and you turn them say, wait, this person next to you as a medical person, anything that has to do with medical stuff, they take care of it. Stay focused and same with triage, transport. If I'm tactical, I should just say, Hey, my guy is saying they need to extra RTF. That's all I should say, nothing else.

I don't care as far as tactical how many reds I got, how many greens I got, how many yellows I got, someone's taken care of that. I know they're taking care of it. And if they need my help, they turn and say, Otter, I need some more cops down here and I send them more cops. We got to make sure again, getting back to focus. What is your focus? If I'm tactical, my focus is the tactical side of things, if I'm triage and transport, it's the medical side of things. And we need to maintain that.

Mark Rhame:

But also I see in the, where we don't have that true separation of duties, when you get a medical branch command posts start asking who transported what patient to what location? Well, we already have someone doing that job. That's transport. And you go into the command post and you look on their board and they're writing those notes that you know the transport supervisors already doing.

That's their responsibility, they own that lane, same thing with deploying the RTFs. You've got medical branches hearing that RTFs are being built out and staging and all of a sudden medical branch from the command post says go ahead and deploy the RTFs and you're going, no, no, no, wait a second, that's not your job. That's not your lane of traffic. That's triaged job, let them do their job.

And for me, it's a very simple concept from the command post, if you have people doing that work for you downrange in that hot and warm zone and there's two things the command can do wrong in that environment. First off is micro-managing. All of a sudden they try to get into their world. To me, if that individual's not doing their job, you need to replace them or support them otherwise, get out of their business back off and let them do their job because that's why you put them in that position.

Bill Godfrey:

And Mark, I would not only echo that but the word that I would also add is over driving. Sometimes it's not necessarily micromanaging, it's, you don't need to be on the radio that much, you're asking questions that are not appropriate, they're not timely, it's not stuff you need to know right now, you're asking questions that's in their job and their business, you're just over driving it. They're down there, they have a job, they should have your confidence to do the job and if they don't then replace them and put somebody else down there. But you can't do your job and their job.

Mark Rhame:

Yeah. In fact, I would say most successful command posts are silent command posts. They're listening, they're taking care of their own jobs but they're not getting on the tactical channel unless there's something they have to take care of, they're not getting on that medical channel or that transport channel, they're letting those people do their jobs. Again, either let them do their jobs or support them or replace them.

Ron Otterbacher:

Most times we see a situation go sideways, especially in these exercises is because of that same thing. We've got someone from the command post trying to overdrive everything and the way we fix it is, we tell them, turn off your radio. You've got someone here that will listen to the things that involve you but you're not. It doesn't matter if you're incident commander, doesn't matter if you're medical, doesn't matter if you're law enforcement branch, if you're overdriving the situation, oftentimes the best way to fix it is, shut off the radio. We've still got someone that's listening and taking all the calls for that person, just this person isn't on the radio talking all the time.

Bill Godfrey:

Okay. So, let's flip to the other side of this coin and when I say that, I mean, let's get to some of the situations where the command post should step in because something's not getting done or they're not hearing something get done. Now, on the medical side and then I'm going to ask Don and Ron to chime in on the law enforcement side and maybe give some examples. On the medical side, Mark, what I'm thinking is we always teach, you're looking for a handful of benchmarks, you're looking for the report that the threat's neutralized, RTFs are up, AAP is established and then ambulances are transporting patients.

And so, one of the things that when I'm doing the command post coaching is saying, look, you're listening for these benchmarks, if you hear the threat's neutralized and five minutes goes by and nobody's talking about RTFs, that's a call on the radio to say, medical branch's a triage, where are you at on your RTFs? And maybe there's a very good reason for it, but let's, tell me what that reason is? And if the RTFs have gone down range, and nobody's talking about an ambulance exchange point, and I'm not here in transport talking about moving ambulances, same thing. It's like, all right, medical, you need to find out, get an update on what's going on with that because we should hear them out. Are there any others, Mark that jump in your mind on the EMS side?

Mark Rhame:

When you mentioned that issue about the medical branch inquiring, thinking why aren't the RTFs moving down range or why aren't the transport units engaged in going into the scene and start moving those people off the scene? What I see that becomes a conflict is that we've got some issue going on between tactical, triage and transport. There's a conflict there, there's maybe a little in-fighting, maybe Tactical is holding a ground and saying, I'm not going to allow you to bring in your triage or maybe that triage person is a little reluctant to send people in even though tactical is telling them they got the green light-

Bill Godfrey:

The whole thing a warm zone. If the whole thing's not a warm zone, we're not-

Mark Rhame:

Exactly.

Bill Godfrey:

We're not going to move.

Mark Rhame:

And that's where the command post probably needs to ask that question, is this the right person for the job? Do I need to get support in there or do I need to give them some recommendation? The clock's ticking, that's the enemy, that's red is our primary enemy, but that clock is going to kill those people. So, if they see that this scene is not moving in an efficient quick manner, especially after law enforcement says that the threat has been neutralized or contained and RTFs are being held in place, you probably need to ask the question what's going on over there?

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. And then, now the flip side of that is there can sometimes be a very legitimate reason.

Mark Rhame:

Yes.

Bill Godfrey:

Something we've missed in the command post and tactical and triaged are having a conversation about, well, we still got a threat over here, we're not ready to move them up or, and sometimes there's a very good reason for that. So, Don, Ron, what jumps out at you on the law enforcement side where the law enforcement branch needs to step in on the radio to get something clarified from tactical?

Don Tuten:

Yeah. The biggest thing, Well, there's two ones that just stick out to me right away. That's one, there's no longer a threat. What are we doing for the intelligence piece now? Where are we putting the investigators moving down range to start getting the information out, doing the back check on what happened? How it happened? how are we messaging this? And how are we putting our message together to notify the community? And then I guess there is a third one is, what are we doing with the people that are not affected within this area? How are we setting up a reunification? If this isn't moving fast enough. Where are we to do this? How are we going to message those parents and those loved ones?

And those are the things that are time sensitive, that when you're handling the right now, right now problem, you're not thinking about that as tactical, triage and transport but as a commander an incident commander, you should be thinking about it because it's just a matter of moments before you start getting those telephone calls in and setting up those hotlines and all the little ancillary things that as these events evolve, unfortunately around the country that make the news because the first thing is the news comes on and wants to answer all of those questions versus, how was the suspect killed? Doesn't matter. They don't care about that. They want to know how have you lessen the impact on our community.

Bill Godfrey:

Ron, what about you? Anything that jumps out.

Ron Otterbacher:

Right. I think the benchmarks aren't that far apart. If you hear they're sending RTFs and you're saying, okay, did they establish an AAP? I want to hear at the same time where my people downrange are saying, I've got security for the AAP. I better hear that. I better hear once I say the bad guys down, okay now, where is your casualty collection point because now we've got to send the RTFs to a location. We don't just send them to a building, we got to give them a specific location, specific route to get to that location.

So, we're listening to similar thing, we just understand different responsibilities for those similar things. So, I don't think our benchmarks are that far off, they're all co-located and that's why it's so important to work co-located. Because we could turn around and say, if I'm tactical, I can turn around a triage and say, okay, we've got the AAP set, it's here, I've got security on AAP, you're good to start sending in your ambulance, so transport starts sending in ambulances. It's just all that communication.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. And Ron and Don, have you guys seen occasions where okay, the rescue operations going fine. So we've dealt with the threat, priority number one. Priority number two is to deal with the rescue. Rescue operations move, and it's unfolding, it's good but you've got a tactical that may not have shifted gears to start with this clearing operation simultaneous with this rescue operation. You've got another 50 cops in staging, you've got plenty of people to put together some more teams. Is that one where sometimes there might need a little prompting from the command post to say, Hey, what are you working on this? What's your plan?

Ron Otterbacher:

Yeah, absolutely. You may have to look at it. But again, as we focus on what our driving forces at that time, my priority is getting the injured people out, providing security for the uninjured people that are there and then we start clearing. But we can do a lot of that, like you said, in conjunction with each other but I don't want our zeal to finish clearing. We always talk about the plus one factor and most of the time, plus one factor is not there. So, I don't want their focus to be clearing, when in fact we've still got people we're trying to move off the scene and I don't want to compromise security for that to say we cleared.

Don Tuten:

And I think we as a nation-

Bill Godfrey:

I'm sorry, before we do that, can you explain the plus one theory because not everybody listening may know.

Ron Otterbacher:

Okay. Well, we talk about plus one theory is we've got one bad guy, so there's always got to be another one. We've got a bogeyman behind the counter. We've got a boogeyman somewhere else and it could be a boogeyman, but most of the time there's not. And we waste valuable time and we talk about the clock being one of the threats we have to deal with to save lives, we waste time because of that. Still in the mentality more of a lot of law enforcement is, before we can send anyone downrange to try start saving lives is, we've got to clear and make it safe. And we've had to change this paradigm shift that we had to go through and we all have to understand that.

Don Tuten:

Yeah. And I think Otter brings up a good point and I think we're at that shift. And I think this class talks about it, I think this class shows a cohesiveness behind it, I think with the education of the clock is the enemy, not just the bad guy downrange. And it's funny because as we teach around the country, we're starting to get the seriousness of how fast these cops want to move these patients off scene as well. So, I mean, it's phenomenal through a tragic event that we're re-educating ourselves in our response.

Bill Godfrey:

So, if I'm hearing the two of you correctly, our priorities are threat rescue clear. We don't want to get into the clearing phase unless we've either number one, got the rescue well in hand or we've got capacity to do the two things at a time. But if it's going to jeopardize the efficient rescue, then we don't want to get into it. Is that-

Ron Otterbacher:

Absolutely.

Bill Godfrey:

Am I saying that right-

Ron Otterbacher:

And we may decide because we've been so involved in everything that's going on, whether it be going after the bad guy, treating the patients, getting them transported, we may decide as we go to clear that these people may not be the best ones to do the clearing, let's bring in other resources so they can be focused, they can be fresh and they can take care of going from there.

Bill Godfrey:

All right.

Mark Rhame:

Well, one other issue that and this is a law enforcement lane, so I'm really going to pose that question back to you guys is that we don't want that tactical officer to be chasing every single little bit of intel that's coming in because they could be chasing their tail all day long. I mean, that's what the command post has an intel officer standing up, and they're trying to clear and clean all that information and relay all that information, that good information to that tactical officer, so they have that awareness and presence and the ability to send their contact teams in there.

But the worst thing to do, if you're the command post is every time you get a social media hit, every time you get an intel blast, every time dispatch gets another text message or 911 call, they send that to the tactical officer and it's not cleaned, it's not sterile, they haven't reviewed the information to see if it's valid or not. But I mean, from a law enforcement perspective, I would think that'd be very problematic if tactical got all that stuff, all that information.

Don Tuten:

We've seen multiple information that's never been vetted and that's one of the things we talk about is putting the investigative piece and intelligence up in communications. And I'll stick to the communications because that's one of the biggest ones as you get multiple calls come in that have a variance of the same information that gets put out as 10 different pieces of information or suspect information or suspects. And it ends up being the exact same. And we've seen it at different places where this is a long elongated events, too.

Bill Godfrey:

It reminds me, we have one of our instructors that was the incident commander at one of these events a while back, and there was an international flavor to it. He was chasing ghost reports or echo calls of the shooter man with a gun, people still injured, a guy was seen last seen here, last seen there. Four hours after they had neutralize the threat, four hours later they were still chasing that stuff. And one of the things he said is he readily recognizes looking back on it, there was plenty of information. Had they had somebody going through it, there was plenty of information to say, that's a repeat, we've already done that, we've already checked that, we've already cleared that and not chase his tail so much. So, that's a really interesting comment Don.

Don Tuten:

And that's a piece where your incident commander should be forward looking to say, look, we don't need to be chasing our tail. We need to put the right people in the right positions and let's get ahead of this thing.

Bill Godfrey:

So, that's a great jumping off point to talk about some of the things that are unique to the command post. So, what are some of the tasks that command really needs to be looking out for? So, I think, we've covered the downrange stuff and frankly, I think everybody gets that anyways. What's some of the stuff that's going to come up to the command post that they're going to need to deal with? Mark.

Mark Rhame:

Standing up PIO, the community message. Remember standing up PIO is not a one way directional message or whatever, PIO has got to look at social media hits. They got to look at what's the information they're hearing out there in the field and give that back to the command staff so they can properly address that when they get into a press briefing. But also remember we talked about that initial press briefing is controlling the environment. I think I've heard Ron, say this numerous times that if you don't get the message out quickly and you don't control the message, it's going to be mismessage, they'll be chasing that message all day long, if not days, if not weeks. So, PIO is a very important and vital thing you need to stand up as quick as possible as a command post.

Don Tuten:

I'm going to say the intelligence piece as well as the reunification. There are so many things once again, that they need to get together and find the right resources to get those things handled. They can't be handled downrange by tactical. So, the intelligence piece that obviously feeds the PIO and then the reunification piece.

Ron Otterbacher:

I'm going to speak of something we don't like to talk about necessarily and that's a political oversight. We have to brief either the chief of police, the Sheriff, the Mayor, the Governor-

Bill Godfrey:

The Feds.

Ron Otterbacher:

We had everyone. And it's not what we like to do, but it's something we have to do and a lot of times the only person they will talk to is the incident commander. So, we've got to be prepared for that, we got to understand that we may have a press brief but our press brief may not be the same thing we give some of these people but we also understand if we go too far out on a limb with these other people, they're going to turn around and go right to the press and leak everything that we just told them in confidence. So, we've got to understand what we're dealing with and how to deal with it in a professional fashion.

Mark Rhame:

And one other issue that probably doesn't get addressed in training enough is that the command post also has to think about what is the cost of this thing? Because if you're a tactical officer, if you're the triaged or transport, you going, just keep giving me stuff. I want that, I want this. But the command post has got to look at the bigger picture. Is there a price tag to this? And I mean, literally, is there a price tag to this? And they've got to look at and say that for our organization, we got to re-evaluate that request. Maybe we can't do exactly what they're saying but here's what I can give you.

Bill Godfrey:

And I think the one I'm going to mention since Ron stole mine, I think the one I'm going to mention is that transition planning for what's the next step?

Ron Otterbacher:

Next operational period.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. And I hesitated to call it the next operational period because it may actually just be a few hours in, but you're going to have to transition. Once you've dealt with the threat and you've got the patients transported, you've got to get the uninjured off to reunification, family assistance center stood up and get the messaging out, messaging to the community. So, all that's the first couple of hours. Then what? You've got to begin to get to work on your investigation. You've got to begin, what is the long-term recovery in this facility? How long are we going to have operations going on? Are we going to be here overnight? Or we're going to be here for several days-

Don Tuten:

Tip lines.

Bill Godfrey:

Several weeks? Do we need fencing to lock it down? And I think all of those things are absolutely responsibility to the command post and if they're neck deep into the tactical piece of this, it's two hours before they ever start thinking about this stuff.

Ron Otterbacher:

Sure. Absolutely. Yes.

Mark Rhame:

And also you need to consider emergency management standing up and assisting the command post. How about dealing with your local communities and letting them know what you're dealing with because they may be dealing the same thing and you don't know it. How about your state notification site? How about your fusion center? Those discussions need to take place at the command post.

Bill Godfrey:

Well, and speaking of emergency management, we don't like to see the incident commander have to get involved in doing the callback and move ups for covering the rest of the city or the rest of the county. That responsibility should fall to somebody else but it takes some coordination, it takes some communication and emergency management has obviously a huge role, not only in the incident but also in the continuity of operations for that community, that's had a lot of their resources sucked down by this incident.

Don Tuten:

And the recovery.

Mark Rhame:

Yeah.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely.

Mark Rhame:

Debriefing your people, rehabbing your people, backfilling your troops, I mean, all that falls on the command post. You cannot expect the tactical, triage and transport to be even thinking about those issues. They're dealing with the stuff right in their face right then.

Ron Otterbacher:

I also think something a lot of agents are doing now is create an incident management teams to respond to all of these situations. So, the incident commander doesn't have a single focus. Anytime I responded to something, I had an incident management team that responded. And if it went into another shift, I had a relief team that responded too. So, it gives you those extra resources to help you with what's focused on use, but they've also have that relationship with the emergency management folks that, as their requests and extra resources for you, it allows them to know where those resources are going and everything else. So, it all works together.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, gentlemen, thank you very much for this conversation today. And for those of you listening, I hope you've enjoyed it. If you have any suggestions for future podcasts or some questions that you would like us to address, please send them in to info@c3pathways.com. That's info@c3pathways.com. And until next time stay safe.

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