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Incident Command: Tales From the Hot Seat presents a unique examination of the skills of the on-scene or incident commander who is in charge of an emergency or major incident. Experienced commanders from the police and fire services, the armed forces, civil aviation and the prison service give personal accounts of their command experiences, discuss their dilemmas and the pressures they faced, and reveal the demands of leading under extreme conditions. They share intimate details of cases where their command skills were tested, ranging from industrial fires, riots, hostage taking, warfare, peacekeeping, to in-flight emergencies. Each case ends with lessons learnt and tips for the developing commander. Additional chapters present expert accounts of the art of incident command, incident command systems, competencies for command, as well as reviews of the latest psychological research into decision making and team work under pressure. The book is an essential compelling text that captures the essence of incident command by analyzing command experiences across a range of professions.
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Kevin Arbuthnot is Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the West Yorkshire Fire Service. As Director of Operations he leads the team which devised and implemented the West Yorkshire Incident Command System. Subsequently, invited by the Home Office to join the 'Safe Person Concept' project, this was adapted into a command system for the whole UK fire service and published as a Fire Service Manual at the beginning of 1999. He is currently developing work in the area of assessment of competence to command. He lectures on incident command widely, including to the Brigade Command Course at the Fire Service College and is the lead officer on incident command issues for the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association in the UK. Rhona Flin (BSc, PhD Psychology) is Professor of Applied Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is a Chartered Psychologist, a Fellow of the British Psychological Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She studied at Aberdeen University, worked there as a Research Fellow on eyewitness memory then spent eleven years lecturing in industrial psychology at Aberdeen Business School. For the last twelve years she has directed a team of psychologists working with high reliability industries (especially energy sector) on research and consultancy projects concerned with the management of safety and emergency response. The group are currently working on projects relating to aviation safety (funded by EC and CAA), leadership and safety in offshore management (funded by HSE and the oil industry), team skills and emergency management (funded by the nuclear industry), and anaesthetists' non-clinical skills (funded by SCPMDE). Her recent books include Incident Command: Tales from the Hot Seat (edited with Arbuthnot, Ashgate, in press); Sitting in the Hot Seat: Leaders and Teams for Critical Incident Management (Wiley, 1996), Managing the Offshore Installation Workforce (edited with Slaven, PennWell Books, 1996) and Decision Making under Stress (edited with Salas, Strub and Martin, Ashgate, 1997).Review:
'This is a remarkably provocative backstage view of what it's like to enact incident command on the front lines of crisis. The book has just the right mix of experience, reflection, and explanation to show that incident command actually epitomizes organizing and managing across all sectors of human activity. This is a marvellous example of how practice and theory ought to be joined, but seldom are.' Professor Karl E. Weick, University of Michigan, USA 'A very interesting book on a VERY interesting topic' M2 Best Books 'Incident Command: Tales From the Hot Seat is required reading for all those faced with decision-making challenges as they further their Fire Service careers. The authors of this finely researched work have moved beyond the confines of the Fire Service to demonstrate that the knowledge and expertise of the incident commander are the most critical factors in crisis management. The case studies looking at the experience of an airline pilot and a prison governor are specially apposite. As the authors admit freely, the art of incident command cannot be learned from a manual...but this book is certainly a compelling and relevant addition to the armoury of all those who find themselves in the proverbial hot seat.' Brian Robinson, Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Planning, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority 'This book is required reading for those who aspire to high level incident command. It dispels effectively the "magnificent myths" of leadership, but more importantly the authors have gained unprecedented access to individuals who have found themselves in the tightest leadership spots. Their candid accounts of triumph and disaster are salutary and utterly compelling.' Tom Wood, Deputy Chief Constable, Lothian and Borders Police, UK 'Flin and Arbuthnot, both important voices in their respective spheres, managed to assemble a most impressive and gap-bridging collection of authors with a wide range of experience and expertise. The volume is chock full of experience-based knowledge nuggets begging to be tried in practice and reformulated into propositions suitable for testing in future research.' Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 'Commanders take charge in fires, riots, battles, and other high speed, high risk, complex, uncertain situations. Incident Command: Tales from the Hot Seat lets experienced commanders tell their first-person accounts and reflect on principles and themes in collaboration with researchers building new theories of decision making and leadership. It exemplifies a new development - real sharing and partnership between academic researchers and experienced practitioners. The commanders in this book are thoughtful, articulate, analytical, and often quite familiar with academic research. The academic papers help frame themes, stimulate thinking, and raise questions for further work. Anyone who actually struggles to command effectively, or to select and train commanders and leaders, or to build teams to deal with fast-paced and unpredictable events, should read this book. Researchers will find rich opportunities to build impactful theories of leadership, teams, organizations, and decision making. Aspiring leaders in all walks of life can stretch their thinking and reflect on their own experiences in the hot seat.' Professor John S. Carroll, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Insitute of Technology (MIT), USA '...the book lives up to its title, and there are many 'tales from the hot seat'. ... (it) adds to the field of incident command and decision making, and indicates how such skills can be improved.' Ergonomics Abstracts '...a valuable resource for academicians, researchers, ergonomists, and operational personnel in the field.' Ergonomics in Design
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