Incident Command for IT talk at O'Reilly Velocity conference, 23 June 2008

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On June 23, 2008, I'll be reprising my popular Incident Command for IT: What We Can Learn from the Fire Department talk for the O'Reilly Velocity Web Performance and Operations Conference. From the blurb for my talk:

The Incident Command System (ICS) is used by public safety agencies nationwide (fire departments, police departments, Coast Guard, etc.) to manage emergency responses to events ranging from single-vehicle car crashes to wildfires involving thousands of personnel. It provides a standardized organizational structure and set of operating principles for quickly and effectively coordinating the efforts of multiple parties in response to an evolving incident even as the response changes in scope, scale, and focus.

In this talk, Brent will introduce the concepts and principles of ICS, and discuss how these can be applied to IT events, such as security incidents and service outages.

As I've mentioned before, besides my professional work in the networking field, I do a lot of volunteer emergency services work. For example, I used to be one of only about 40 fully-qualified air search and rescue Incident Commanders in the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and I currently help teach community disaster preparedness classes for the Mountain View Fire Department. So, I have a fair understanding of the tools (methods, structures, and principles) that such agencies use to organize themselves to deal with emergencies, and I've long pondered how some of those tools could be applied to emergencies in information technology.

The conference program looks pretty interesting; I'm looking forward to sitting in on several of the other talks.

Velocity, the Web Performance and Operations Conference 2008


Perhaps those of us who were not at the conference of
23 June, 2008 could benefit by the poblication of the
"talk" on this website.

Hey Brent

What other type of emergency services jobs do you do?

Interested to hear.


I've been involved in a wide range of emergency services activities for nearly 20 years. Most recently, I just spent a week working as a 911 dispatcher for the Burning Man festival. I'm active as both a participant and instructor with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs in both Alameda and Mountain View (where I used to live). After Hurricane Katrina, a few years ago, I spent 2 weeks in Mississippi doing disaster relief work. Through most of the 90's, I was very active as a search and rescue incident commander, air operations director, and mission pilot with the Civil Air Patrol (the civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force).

The slides from the talk are available on our Presentations page. If you also want to hear what I had to say, check out the talk from 08 December 2005 on that same page; it was essentially the same talk, and there's an audio recording for that one.