Incident Command for IT—What We've Learned from the Fire Department

Brent Chapman, Great Circle Associates, Inc.


Leading companies such as Google, Heroku, and PagerDuty have developed successful incident management practices based on the public safety world's Incident Command System (ICS). This workshop will teach you these practices, and help you bring them to your own organization. It is based on my experience creating and refining Google's "IMAG" (Incident Management at Google) protocol, as well as on my experience with incident command in the public safety world as an air search and rescue pilot and incident commander, an emergency dispatcher and dispatch supervisor for major art & music festivals and events, and a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and instructor.

In this workshop, we will explore:

  • How do public safety agencies manage emergencies daily?
    • The basic principles of the Incident Command System (ICS)
    • Responsibilities of each ICS role
  • How to launch and manage an effective response
  • How to evolve your response on the fly, scaling it up and down, as both the situation and your resources evolve
  • How to communicate effectively among responders
  • How to communicate beyond the responders, to management, customers, investors, regulators, the public, and others
  • How to conclude a response and return to normal operations
  • How to follow up effectively with a blameless postmortem
  • How to deal with multiple incidents simultaneously

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@conference {212979,
author = {Brent Chapman},
title = {Incident Command for IT{\textemdash}What We{\textquoteright}ve Learned from the Fire Department},
year = {2018},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},