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Critical Incident Command
Emergency Services and Response Series Chapter 1
  1. What is a critical incident?
  2. Officers in command
  3. Initial reaction
  4. Communication during incidents
  5. Tips during critical incidents
This guide is part of a series titled 'Emergency Services and Response' which will cover a wide spectrum of incidents and how to deal with them effectively. In this chapter (1), we will be looking at Major/Critical Incident command and how to deal with major incidents.

The key to any successful emergency service;
Always respond to calls such as backup, panic or calls when your requested. Remember to announce that you're responding also. Never ignore calls. Especially panic.

What is a critical/major incident?
A critical/major incident is usually an incident that a large amount of resources have to attend - e.g. explosion. These will usually resort in specialist resources being deployed (e.g. USAR or SWAT) and will almost certainly end in casualties. You have to understand that your goal during a major incident is to secure, contain and resolve the incident and the area around it.

Officers in command
You have to understand that the President is not the on-scene commander. The on-scene commander depends on the type of incident that there is; anything that involves weapons will be commanded by the Sargeant (presuming he is there), and any situation which has a high-risk* factor to it and involves some sort of firearm will be commanded by the SWAT Sergeant. Incidents such as Multi-Vehicle Accidents will be commanded by ECFD/EMS personnel and ECPD will act as a supporting agency, and vice versa during ECPD incidents.
You must understand that if SWAT is going in, stay out unless they ask for support. You'll only get in their way. Generally, the SWAT Sergeant is the highest ranking non-political offical online. He'll have the power to tactically withdraw ECPD officers /EMS/ ECFD from a situation if he deems it too dangerous. He'll be the situation tactical commander and should be consulted before movements are made.

*high-risk - an incident which exposes personnel to higher than normal amounts of danger.

Initial Reaction to a Critical Incident

First Responder;
Your role is to assess the situation as quickly as possible and convey information through the radio. Generally ECPD first responders will have to set up a cordon unless there is an immediate risk to life or severe danger to an innocent and there is minimal risk to the officer if an intervention is carried out. This means you don't peg it into a hostage situation, park your car diagonally across and keep your head down until SWAT arrives and kicks ass. You'll only make the situation worse. Stay out of their way - you'll help more by keeping some wandering rebel with an AK47 stuffed down his pants from entering the area. Same with car accidents. Close the road off and wait for EMS arrival, don't just drive past like a dork. 
The 'Incident Area' is a no-go for units not required for the job. It's the immediate area of the incident. Stay well clear of hostage situations or fires if you're not the unit for dealing with them. Unless backup is requested, remain clear.
Please remember to support the agency needed, not preform their jobs for them.
I've never seen a regular police officer enter with a SWAT stick into a house. Don't do it.

Specialist Unit Arrival;
Once more units are on scene, including the specialist unit (if that's you, get a SITREP from one of the officers) keep and maintain a cordon to prevent people getting in, as mentioned before. Stay well out of their way. As the specialist unit, go into the incident zone and deal with the situation. If you're first on scene as the specialist unit, wait outside for a cordon. You don't want randys walking into you when you're halfway through negotiating with hostage takers.

Set up a incident control center on or near the premises where you can plan and gather intel and communicate with other units. This must be a secure location. You should preform a final equipment check before you enter the situation here.

I honestly cannot stress enough how much a cordon is important during these situations. 

Remember to set up a cordon, park your car across, and divert civilians away from the situation.

Containment of an Incident
You should always try and contain the incident from spreading (cordon!!!). Assess the situation and make sure the surrounding area is secure. It's all common sense really.

Effective Communication During an Incident
Keep the channel clear unless it's a priority call during the incident.
Always, always when first on scene relay the status of the call back. e.g.

Control, arrived on scene, hostage situation, request SWAT and additional.
Control, drive-by incident, MVA, requesting EMS and FD with additional for traffic control.

Presidents and Senior Officers should always have in mind a MIRG or a Major Incident Response Group, which is the officers/units that will respond during a major incident, so there's no waiting about. As soon as the call comes in you're not standing about. Roll those units immediately so that you're not waiting for backup. e.g.
(Request) Hostages at Pool Road!
SWAT Sergeant: SWAT en route, requesting 3 additional cars and EMS to cordon, over.

Tips for critical incidents
Take your time - rushing in isn't always the best option. Assess and move.
Keeping the public at bay - use cars or barrier props to tell them to back the hell off.
Strategic Vehcile Positioning - posisition your car in a way that gives you cover and an escape route if needed.
Make a plan - Use the rescources at your disposal effectively. Maybe negotiate? Or flash and clear? It's all up to you - remember that communication is key.
Double tap and double think - Check your plan twice.

In this series;
C1 - Critical Incident Command - Released 
C2 - Tactical Interventions - WIP
C3 - ECPD Incident Response - WIP
C4 - ECFD Incident Response - WIP
C5 - Commanding and Asset Deployment - WIP
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