A Quote for the Incident Commander

“For an IC, charged with authority and, therefore, at the hub of this sizzling network, the flood of information is almost a substance; it is, in fact, an alternate reality. The radio messages etched a vivid image in my mind. I could see it all —the fire, the people, the equipment—as a living map or board game spread out before me. As I talked on the radio, I viewed the scene from above, as if soaring over the fire on the radio waves themselves. I had a distinct vision of my “players” and how they were all moving in relation to each other. That’s not to say my mind picture was accurate in every detail, or even in its main characteristics. But the relationships of the units were critical, and those variables seemed to be coming through clearly. Each person was feeding me only his small view of the operation, and it was my task to integrate all the data into some kind of whole-that’s the principle duty (and horror) of an IC. It’s where the thrill is, and I did have the sense of controlling a dangerous, mind-boggling game of chess.”

-Peter M. Leschak in HELLROARING: The life and Times of A Fire Bum

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