Preparation phase: management gaps

Peter is a regional crisis manager in the North of Holland with a professional background in fire-fighting. In his context, onsite operational command teams fight the source of fire. An offsite tactical command team manages the effects of the fire and the resources for the onsite teams. Incidents and exercises have repeatedly shown problems with the speed and accuracy of communication between onsite operational command teams and offsite tactical command teams when routing units for managing the source and effects of fires.

The Trial context of Peter consists of:

  • The definition of roles and responsibilities of both the offsite and the onsite teams
  • The definition of problematic aspects

Communication and building up a shared understanding takes a lot of time and is accompanied by misunderstandings, for example, about the location of the incident, the direction of smoke and the drive-up routes. Ineffective decisions were a result of these facts. Problems occur when radio communication is used between multiple command teams and when teams work with different paper maps.


While defining problematic aspects, Peter asks firefighters to explain their challenges. The majority of the firefighter team agreed on one challenge: sharing locations and directions via voice-communication only, and thus keeping track of this information on two different, paper-based maps, is very slow and error-prone.


The crisis management gaps that Peter formulates are:

  • Limited ability in managing the source and the effects of fire;
  • Shortcomings in the ability to exchange crisis-related information among onsite and offsite incident command teams;
  • Limits in the ability to ensure a common understanding about the incident and response to it;
  • Shortcomings in decision-making about the routing of units