Checklists for Modern Day Firefighting

Posted by William Pigeon on Dec 4, 2018 10:21:21 AM
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As Firefighters and Paramedics we must often make critical decisions during very dynamic, time-compressed and stressful situations. We have all attended trainings such as High Rise Firefighting Command and Rapid Intervention Crew Deployment that have included tactical worksheets, checklists and other reference materials. However, during an incident these types of resources are not always utilized and we revert to working from memory.As a product of the fire service I was no exception until I read, “Checklist Manifesto, How to Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande. In this book, Gawande explains that humans are more effective completing critical tasks when we use a checklist.

In one example, the World Health Organization realized a 36% reduction in surgical complications and a 47% reduction in mortality by the simple act of executing a checklist prior to surgery.

The same goes for the aviation industry. It is a proven fact that pilots reduce errors by completing checklists before both low-frequency, high-risk events and high-frequency, low-risk events.

Managing a fluid, often complex incident and relying too much on one’s memory can expose emergency responders and the public to potential harm. Even our most experienced incident managers can miss critical steps.

Fire departments across the country are adapting to this challenge and are relying on Ipads and Smartphones with a program called Tablet Command to help them better manage any incident.

One of the most valuable features of Tablet Command is the ability to create checklists and templates.



Checklists can be created by incident type and are quick and easy set up and use. Tap the screen on the Checklist button and you are prompted with a customized checklist…

  • Proper Sizeup
  • Establish Command
  • 360 Complete
  • Water Supply Addressed
  • Announce any Hazards
  • And much more…

This electronic checklist promotes proper risk assessment, adherence to incident command SOP’s, improves communication, reduces the chance of forgetting critical tasks, and reduces stress of the incident commander.

With Tablet Command you can customize the checklist according your needs. Plus, it provides you and your department with a myriad of other benefits including…

  1. Reduced turnout times through early notification
  2. Enhanced situational awareness
  3. Improved personnel accountability
  4. Better access to critical information
  5. Improved emergency scene safety for all responders

Learn more about Tablet Command by watching a 90 Second Video (click here) or go directly to our website at


William Pigeon is one the founders of Tablet Command and has been in the fire service since 1995. William currently serves as Assistant Fire Chief of Communications for his dept.

Topics: standardized operations, best practices, Cloud-based incident command software

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