At this time last year, Shawnee Fire Chief Dru Tischer and his six department chief officers completed a training program in Yukon to become certified Blue Card Incident Commanders. This week, eight Shawnee firefighters — eight captains and a lieutenant — are wrapping up a three-day simulation evaluation session to become certified in the program. The trainees also complete 50 hours of online training; Continuing Education (CE) and three-year re-certification process; and instructor training and support program.

At this time last year, Shawnee Fire Chief Dru Tischer and his six department chief officers completed a training program in Yukon to become certified Blue Card Incident Commanders. This week, eight Shawnee firefighters — eight captains and a lieutenant — are wrapping up a three-day simulation evaluation session to become certified in the program. The trainees also complete 50 hours of online training; Continuing Education (CE) and three-year re-certification process; and instructor training and support program.

The program provides fire departments with a system that defines the best standard command practices for common, local, everyday strategic and tactical emergency operations, he said.

“The Incident Command Certification Program is designed to first instruct, train and then evaluate and certify fire department officers who serve in the role of incident commander — who supervise and manage emergency and hazard zone operations for every day, local National Incident Management System (NIMS) Type 4 and Type 5 events, which are 90 percent of the incidents we respond to,” Tischer said.

He said it's vital to have someone who's able to step back and keep eyes on the whole picture at a scene, and keep communication flowing — minimally, but efficiently.

“It's not just a class,” he said. “It's involved in everything we do in fire service.”

Tischer said in firefighting, there needs to be one guy in charge.

“If residents see a (firefighter) at an incident who looks like he's just sitting back and hanging out, he's really running the entire scene,” he said.

Because of the intensity an urgency of a fire situation, Tischer said it's too easy to get tunnel vision when dealing with the task at hand. He said, for the sake of safety, his team needs someone standing back who has a “windshield view” of the big picture.

The training is designed to fit into big-scale disasters, he said, but is designed for the stuff they do every time, which is residential structure fire, commercial, rescue, etc.

“The idea is to prevent maydays, and if it can't, it's designed to help you handle it,” he said.

The class has been very beneficial for us, he said.

The video-based training program affords the firefighters the ability to practice scenarios any time.

Tischer said his plan is to put the entire department through the training.

“And we can now teach it to other area departments,” he said.