Non verbal fireground communication

There is much talk about fireground communication in relation to fireground emergencies and LODD.

As an experienced incident commander i have come to realize that all communication, does not have anything to do with radios.

I am am a firm believer that every firefighter should have a radio, but only half of them should get a battery!! I am joking of corse, but i think any of you might get the satire here. Not everything that is said in fireground audio is meaningful.

So what is non verbal fireground communication?

Sending a crew to floor 2 of a 2 1/2 story wood and telling them the fire is in an upstairs bedroom, then several minutes later you hear glass crash, you see steam and white smoke, and you see a fog pattern ventilating on side D (delta), that is communication. The crew made the top of the stairs, turned right, and got water on the fire, it is knocked down and the attack crew is ventilating after fire control. A radio message would be great, but an experienced incident commander should know and understand what it means.

For some reason the second due ladder cannot get a position on side A and has no access to side C, but suddenly 3 firefighters come down the street with a 35′ and or a 24′ or 28 ‘ and some tools and reports to you on the A (alpha side). That certainly is communication and speaks to the company charachter and the officer credibility.

As IC you assign a RIT and they report to you with no tools, PPE not on properly, and no ancillary equipment. That is communication.

As an IC you issue orders for an interior attack, and nothing is getting better and smoke and heat signatures are getting worse. That also is communication.

My point with these simple examples is that a fireground IC must be fully engaged and not distracted and must be attentive to all that they see, hear, and observe.

Communication has a lot more to do than radios!