Ep 55: Lost in Translation

Episode 55

Oct 16, 2023

Duration: 39:07

Episode Summary

This week we talk about avoiding the temptation to over-complicate terminology and creating unnecessary confusion. Keep it simple!

Episode Notes

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Bill Godfrey, Ron Otterbacher, and Jill McElwee discussed the challenges of terminology and the importance of simplifying it in a potentially chaotic active shooter incident. We must use straightforward terms that everyone understands and limit conversations between Command, Law Enforcement Branch, and Medical Branch to avoid confusion. Cultural differences between Law Enforcement and Fire and EMS are discussed, with an emphasis on simplifying terminology and having one Command for everyone involved.

  • The group reflects on the experience of crafting a checklist, noting their inclusion of the fifth man concept to get resources organized into teams.
  • Using the correct terminology is essential to ensure clear communication.
  • Local jurisdictions should determine staffing for their Contact Teams and RTFs based on their resource levels in the first 10 minutes of response.
  • How different jurisdictions may staff differently for urban, suburban and rural areas, noting that law enforcement officers may have medical training.
  • Issues of span of control, radio traffic, and unity command, emphasizing that all responders should understand their role and report updates as needed.
  • The importance of dispatchers was highlighted, which can help maintain span of control and mitigate blue-on-blue situations with clear communication. Dispatchers are a vital component for mitigating confusion by providing instructions in an informative, urgent, and professional tone.


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