About Blue Card
The Blue Card Command Certification Program is a state of the art training and
certification system that teaches Company and Command Officers how to
standardize local incident operations across their organization. The program
uses a combination of online and in-class simulation training which results in
an Incident Commander solution that finally addresses local Hazard Zone
The training is based entirely on retired Fire Chief Alan Brunacini’s Fire
Command and Command Safety Textbooks which have been used globally in the Fire
Service for over 30 years. The Blue Card Incident Commander Training and
Certification Program are designed to manage local, NIMS Type 4 and 5 incidents.
These 2 Incident Types account for more than 99 percent of a department’s
incident activity. Until the advent of Blue Card, there has not been a
curriculum or standard for an Incident Commander to manage a local, Type 4 and 5
3 Tiered Training Program That Works!!!
#1 – Online Training Program
50 hours of Instruction on the 8 Functions of Command from the authors of the
program gives all students the same consistent cognitive message.
#2 – Simulation Based Evaluation Lab
Each student must be evaluated in a 3 day simulation lab using state of the art,
high fidelity simulations in order to become a Certified IC. The sim lab is
where the program is customized to your individual department.
#3 – Instructor Training Program
A major objective of the Blue Card training program is for individual
departments or regions to quickly manage the certification and evaluation
program themselves, while customizing the system to the local topography,
resource levels, and SOPs.
"Blue Card is not just an IC training and
certification program. Blue Card is an Operations program that finally gave my
department the tools to effectively train, evaluate and actually manage our
departments’ front seat officers".
"I could not wait to tell you that I was just the
IC on my first structure fire since completing the course. I implemented the 8
functions of command and cannot believe how well the call went in comparison to
past incidents." New Jersey
"The video instruction was a big help from a
tutorial standpoint and provides interesting points to consider regarding what
to do. The radio traffic exercises were a good template for how it should sound
and made it easy to assemble my thoughts for radio communication." Georgia
"Just completed the course, very impressive.
Although fire based, is totally adaptable to EMS, ESPECIALLY to the supervision
side. Fits in with NIMS, all ICS is strengthened…. I'm totally impressed and
endorse this strongly. I found myself dealing with an incident late last week
and 1/2 way thru it realized I was already using the teachings and applying all
of this material to that event. I thank you for the opportunity… Totally
The Incident Command Certification Program is designed to first instruct, train
and then evaluate and certify Fire Dept. Officer’s who serve in the role of
Incident Commander that supervises and manage emergency and hazard zone
operations for everyday, local
NIMS Type 4 and Type 5 events.
The "Blue Card" training program provides Fire Departments with a training and
certification system that defines the best Standard Command Practices for
common, local, everyday Strategic and Tactical emergency operations conducted on
NIMS Type 4 & Type 5 events. This training and certification program produces
Incident Commanders that make better decisions that will potentially eliminate
the lethal and/or costly mistakes that cause injury, death, and unnecessary fire
losses in the local response area.
Program based on Fire Command 2nd Edition
The Hazard Zone Incident Command Standard
The Hazard Zone Incident Command Standard
was finalized in 2009 and was adopted by the IFSAC (International Fire Service Accreditation Congress) Alternative Standards Council. The state of Minnesota was accredited by IFSAC to certify their IC’s using the Type 4 & 5 IC Standard.
The Hazard Zone Incident Command Standard
professional qualifications are a direct reflection of the IC’s checklist in the back of each of the Fire Command 2nd Edition Command Function chapters. The IC’s checklist for each command function outlines the cognitive and manipulative skills the IC needs to posses to successfully manage/fulfill/complete/perform that individual command function.
The IC checklist bullet points were broken out and covered in detail in the Command Safety© textbook. Command Safety© was also extensively used to author the on-line training program.
The Blue Card program is designed to produce safe and effective hazard zone operations. Because fire departments routinely operate at the scene of incidents with an IDLH atmosphere (immediately dangerous to life and health) it forces us to simultaneously manage incident command, strategy & tactics and firefighter safety.
The effect of the program is two-fold. First, it develops the personal skills in officers required to supervise and manage incident operations that occur in a hazard zone. The second and more powerful effect is the Blue Card program standardizes incident operations across the entire department. The Blue Card Program has standardized operations across different mutual aid boundaries, different battalions, shifts and stations of 100’s of fire departments across the country.
There are 3 main components of the Blue Card Program. They are:
- Must be a FF I & II
- Minimum of 5 years of field experience, or
- With the permission of the Instructor
Online Training Program Overview
- The online program
- The 3-day certification lab
- The 3-day Train-the-Trainer program
The Blue Card Online Program is a 50 hour course that teaches the cognitive portion of the Blue Card program. The online program is based on the Fire Command curriculum package. All of the online content has been developed in a manner to support, compliment and integrate with NIMS.
The online program marries the critical concepts of incident management, strategy & tactics and key firefighter safety requirements with high-fidelity structure fire simulations. This moves the material beyond the theory into the actual application of the work. Using the Internet to package and deliver the training provides a much more interactive experience for the student. Hot coaching via short video clips from subject matter experts reinforces and standardizes the material.
Online training offers many advantages. It is more affordable, the student can access it anywhere there is an Internet connection, it keeps units in service, it standardizes the cognitive delivery of the material and the students progresses at their own pace and completion is recorded and tracked within our record keeping system. Recent studies indicate that students learn and retain more with an online approach versus traditional educational methods.
The most recent 700 students to have completed the Blue Card online course rated it between good – excellent. It is important to note that these students were firefighters who had just completed 50-hours of online training and they still gave it a 3.4 out of 4.
What fire service professionals from around the globe are saying about the Blue Card online program:
"Just finished my online Blue Card and wanted to say thanks and congratulations for putting together the best IM training package I have ever seen. I undertook my own departments Company Officer training in 1996 and our Battalion Chief IM program back in 2003, both were crap....online Blue Card lifts things to a whole new level.... I look forward to any future updates you guys produce."
Access to All Blue Card Training Material
Each On-Line subscriber will receive 1 full Year of access to All Blue Card
3-day Certification Simulation Lab
Each student will have 1 full year of access to their 9 Blue Card training
modules once their On-line access has been activated.
1 new - 4 hour CE module is posted every 3 months to the training system. This
gives the student or certified IC at least 16 hours of additional Continuing
Education per 1 year subscription.
Each C.E. Module will focus on a specific building type or tactical problem. All
C.E. modules are followed up with 5 command and control scenarios similar to
ones performed in the on-line training modules
Students will also have continued E-Access to the Fire Command text book series:
Fire Command, Command Safety and a downloadable PDF version of the Fire Command
Once the student has successfully completed the Blue Card online training program, they will be eligible to participate in the evaluation/testing phase of the program.
The evaluation portion of the program incorporates:
- Standard 8 Functions of Command
- Regional Standard Operating Procedures
- Tactical Operations Templates for 5 local occupancy types
- High fidelity structure fire simulations
The online program uses a wide variety of structure fire simulations throughout each of the 9 modules. The Blue Card program uses 5 distinct building types for size up and incident action planning.
These building types include:
Search & rescue, fire control and property conservation are all done a little bit different based on the occupancy type. Search and rescue is going to be managed differently in a vacant building than it will be in a fully occupied apartment complex.
One of the foundational elements of the Blue Card system is all tactical action is based on the actual incident conditions (or critical factors). This makes the size up and review and revision process major ongoing IC responsibilities.
The evaluation portion of the course merges the Hazard Zone Management - Incident Command Standard with the local; resources, SOP’s, tactical hazards, and the standard operational action required for conducting safe and effective locally based operations. The simulation based training provides the students with valuable hands on training and experience for high risk, low frequency events.
Simulations are typically delivered at a Command Training Center (CTC). Each student must successfully serve as the Incident Commander’s (IC) in a fast attack position (mobile) and a strategic command position (inside a BC’s rig) for each of the 5 building types (a total of 10 times) to become certified.
The Hazard Zone Management – Incident Command Standard Certification Program requires that each student successfully pass evaluation on both command positions for each of the 5 different building types.
The Incident Command Certification will be valid for a 3 year period. At the end of the 3 year period, the Certificate holder will need to have enough continuing Strategic and Tactical training hours to re-certify, 12 hours per year (3 hours per quarter).
Using the same simulations for the sim lab that are also used throughout the online program builds familiarity for the students and leads to much smoother simulations. The ultimate goal of the program is to give the students the necessary tools to safely and effectively manage hazard zone operations. Central to this mission is the curriculum. One of the biggest pitfalls of simulation-based training is delivering it in the absence of a curriculum. Attempting to run a command training program without a curriculum turns the program into an opinion-based, Easter egg hunt.
No other training tool will expose operational shortcomings better than a well-run simulation lab. You can’t bullshit your way through a well-designed simulation lab.
The Blue Card program not only builds the personal skills of each student, it also serves as means to make improvements to the systems we use to manage the hazard zone (ICS), the strategy & tactics we employ and the systems we use to keep firefighters operating safely. On the surface these may appear to be separate systems but in application they all must connect, align and work together simultaneously. Used to its full advantage, the Blue Card program can serve as the system used to manage the Operations Division.
Multi Position – Tactical Simulation
A multi-position simulation provides the most realistic training experience possible. Just like a real structure fire, a multi-position simulation has multiple positions that must be addressed simultaneously. The picture to left is the main view of the Alpha side of this large, 2-story apartment building. The pictures below provide views of the different critical positions that must covered. Each simulation has been designed to keep the sequence, timing and pacing of the simulation as realistic as possible.
The simulation lab is typically delivered over 3 days but can be customized to suit your department’s needs. To customize the Blue Card curriculum to match your department’s resources and staffing levels, response times and tactical approach requires sending member(s) through a Blue Card Train-the-Trainer program. This will enable your department to set up its own command training program.
Train-the-Trainer (T-t-T) Program
A major objective of the Blue Card training program is for
individual departments or regions to quickly manage the
certification and evaluation program themselves, while
customizing the system to the local topography, resource
levels, and SOPs. Future instructor/certifier’s will first enroll
in the Blue Card online training portion of the program
available at www.bluecardcommand.com). When the
on-line portion of the program has been successfully
completed, the instructor will be eligible to attend the
Train the Trainer program.
The Train the Trainer program consists of 5 consecutive, 8 hour days. Much more time is spent reviewing each simulation with the student/instructor in order to cover all of the teaching and evaluation points of the certification process. The TtT participants will also get much more detailed lesson plans and instruction on the 5 basic occupancy/building types, tactical level operations, command team operations and mayday operations.
Instructor candidates must have at least 5 years of fire service experience. The ideal Blue Card instructor would be a Department Training Officer, Response Chief or Ranking Operations Chief (Shift Commander, District Chief, etc.).
After the instructor has successfully completed the entire program, they will be provided with an instructor’s package that includes:
- Over 20 multi-position, tactical simulations. Each simulation includes a PowerPoint review and Instructors guide.
- 8 Functions of Command Function Overview PowerPoint and Instructors guide
- Communication Overview PowerPoint and Instructors guide
- 5 Tactical Template PowerPoint presentations and instructor’s guides for the 5 basic occupancy/building types
- Several other program related PowerPoint’s
- Fire Command DVD video series (9 DVDs)
- Critical Fire Ground Factor DVD video series (3 DVDs)
- Managing Mayday video series (4 DVD’s)
In addition, the Blue Card on-line training program hosts an Instructors’ Support site. This site provides certified instructors with additional media and teaching resources that includes; additional simulations, instructor packages for both command, tactical, and task level training.
The Blue Card TtT program offers FD's with incredible,
turn-key resources that will help implement a
comprehensive, local command training program at a fraction
of the costs it would take a FD to produce the material/
program themselves. It will also provide departments with a
core group of instructors/evaluators that are now trained and
equipped to deliver the Blue Card evaluation and certification
process to the members of their own department or region.
The curriculum is packaged up and corresponds to the 5 buildings types. Here is the standard package that comes with each building type:
Blue Card Instructor Support
What the Instructor Gets:
Blue Card Instructors will receive 1 full year of support from the date of their
Instructor certification. This includes at least 1 - Multi-position tactical
simulation uploaded every quarter. Each of the new simulations added to the
Instructors package will fit into the 5 building types and will continue to
build on previous Blue Card themes. Each Blue Card simulation also comes with a
PowerPoint Sim Review and an Instructors Guide.
PowerPoint Sim reviews have been streamlined since the beginning of the
Instructors program. Each sim review is now designed to guide the sim review
discussion around the Strategic Decision Making model, while stressing the need
to perform good communication skills around the 6 standard radio transmission
types. The Instructors Guide that is included with each sim gives the Instructor
an excellent overview of the simulation goals, the primary positions in the
Sims, the conditions they will encounter, along with the sim Eval sheets and
benchmarking already included in the Instructors guide.
All of the
programs Instructor material is loaded up into, and is ready to be downloaded
out of the Instructors Download Center. This is an invaluable resource for the
Instructors. It contains all of the Instructor support material, new material is
constantly being added, while the older material is updated and re-posted as
necessary. The download center can be accessed on any computer with an internet
connection. This makes all Blue Card training material available to every
Instructor 24/7/365, no matter where you are, you’ll have access to the training
Instructor Tracking, Certification, and Continuing Education Tools
PowerPoint’s authored by the Brunacini’s are frequently added to the Instructors
download center. In the last 6 months, 5 auxiliary Shows have been added to the
downloaded center. This gives Instructors the materials to customize and make
similar presentations to the members in your own department who would not
otherwise get a chance to see these materials being presented.
TASK MANUAL - Because the
most important operational level on a hazard zone is the Task Level, Blue Card
will devote a great deal of time and energy in presenting best practice, task
level skill evolutions. Knowing the time it takes and the difficulties in
carrying out the routine tasks that we perform on regular basis, directly
correlates into an IC’s effectiveness when assigning units while forecasting
fast moving events. Every issue of the Instructors Newsletter and BSHIFTER
magazine will detail these standard evolutions with videos; SOP’s and company
level evaluation sheets.
Newsletter - Every month,
all of the Blue Card Instructors will be emailed the monthly Blue Card
Instructor’s Newsletter. The newsletter will detail all of the new material
added to the system, along with any new enhancements or changes made to the
training site. The newsletter will also feature the material in Drill Down that
focuses on the task level skill sets that solve our hazard zone problems.
The Blue Card
training staff is 100% committed to sustaining and constantly improving the
training and information we produce. The only way to do this is to connect with
the Instructors who are actually delivering the program in their departments.
The Semi-Annual Blue Card Instructors
Meetings gives the Blue Card staff a chance to meet with our Instructors on
a consistent basis, listen to their input on how to improve and enhance the
program, as well as showcase the improvements and the new training materials
that have been added to the system over the previous 6 months. These are great
get together’s and they are free to all Blue Card instructors.
Instructors (and other designate administrators) have access to all of their students training records and online progress through the admin interface. The information displayed includes the student’s:
- Online training program progress
- Current online tests scores
- Certification status
- CE modules completed
- The total number of CE hours completed
- Subscription status
The online RMS program will also help the Instructor to manage:
Setting up your own Command Training Center (CTC)
- Certification and CE Events
- Certification and CE Event Rosters
- Student Sim Lab Evaluations
- Student Certification and Re-Certification
- BlueCardCommand.com CTC Hosting
The training and certification program is not facility driven. All you need is 6 to 8 computers (work stations, laptops, or iPads) a set of radios, a projector with a computer, and a white board. We use the software program Fire Studio, produced by Digital Combustion, to build our simulations. You must have this software in order to run and use the simulations we provide. For current pricing and the computer specs needed to run the software, please visit: www.digitalcombustion.com
The intent of the T-t-T class is to assist the students with customizing the curriculum to match their fire department. The true value of the Blue Card program is the ability to customize the material for your own department.
Here is how the program is generally implemented into a local fire department or region:
1. Identify the individuals in your department/region who will become the command trainers. These individuals should have a very strong operations background. Shift Commanders, Battalion Chiefs, Training Officers and Safety Officers are all well suited to this task.
2. Put these individuals through the Blue Card online training program. After they successfully complete the 50 hour online training program, they are qualified to enter into a 5 day TtT session.
3. Instructors are encouraged to enroll in a 3 day certification lab prior to entering into a TtT course, although it is not required.
4. Enroll in a 5 day TtT course at http://training.bshifter.com/selectBlueCardCommand.aspx
. The first 3 days of the TtT session, all students will go through a 3 day simulation check off (even if they have already been previously certified). Once the IC check off has been successfully completed, over the next 2 days, students will get much more detailed lesson plans and instruction on the 5 basic occupancy/building types, tactical level operations, command team operations, and mayday operations. There will also be an in depth look at the online Instructor/administrative, student tracking, and certification tools.
5. After completing the TtT program, instructors and the individuals responsible for managing the operations division in their fire department or region should have a series of meetings to determine what (if any) changes need to be made to the curriculum and/or their own department’s operations manual before the certification program is presented to the rest of the department (Blue Card provides SOP’s and other training materials that streamlines and makes the implementation process much less time intensive).
6. All members that are identified as needing the certification will need to be put on the Blue Card online training program. This represents completing the necessary cognitive portion of the standard.
7. After your members successfully complete the online training program they are ready to go through your department’s sim lab. The evaluation portion of the IC certification process should be tailored to your department’s local topography, resource levels, and SOPs. The simulation lab can be done "academy" style using a 3-day sim lab, or using other schedules that works for your department. This represents completing the necessary manipulative/hands on evaluation portion of the standard.
8. Instructors must use the online Instructor tools to manage their students online progress, evaluation process, and the students three (3) year re-certification process.
Instructors have access to their students through the admin interface. Information recorded includes how much of the online program they’ve completed and their score (pass/fail), how many CE modules they’ve competed along with their score (pass/fail) and electronic sim lab evaluation sheets. The sim lab eval sheets also have areas where the instructor can record comments.
Pricing and other info
Blue Card On-line training program - $385.00
Blue Card Annual Continuing Education (CE) program - $90.00
Blue Card Annual Continuing Student Record Management Access - $24.00
Blue Card 1st Responder Incident Command System Overview Module - $60.00
Blue Card Train the Trainer Instructor Program - $4,000.00
Blue Card Annual Instructor Support Program - $1,750.00
Blue Card online subscription - $385.00
You get 1 full year of the following:
Blue Card Annual Continuing Education (CE) - $90.00
- Over 50 hours of comprehensive, state of the art, highly interactive, simulation based, online training on the standard 8 Functions of Command delivered by the Author’s of the program; Alan, Nick and John Brunacini (along with several other renowned presenters)
- The Blue Card on-line training program fulfils the cognitive requirements of the IFSAC – Hazard Zone Incident Command Standard For NIMS Type 4 & 5 Incidents (accredited in Minnesota)
- Full access to all completed training modules
- Fire Command 2nd Edition, E-Textbook (IFSAC Standard reference Textbook)
- Command Safety, E-Textbook (IFSAC Standard reference Textbook)
- Fire Command 2nd Edition, PDF-Workbook
- 4 – 3+ hour, Quarterly CE modules (access for the remainder of the 1 year subscription once the core modules are completed)
*Subscribers MUST complete the Blue Card on-line training program prior to getting access to the CE modules.
You get 1 full year of the following:
Blue card annual continuing student record management access (no ce) - $24.00
- The CE program consists of four (4) separate CE modules. 1 three (3) hour module, delivered every three (3) months. All of the CE’s continue to build on, provide exercises, and reinforce Fire Command’s - 8 Functions of Command
- Continued access to Blue Card modules
- Continued access to E-Textbooks
- All CE’s are tied into the Instructors Support Packages
Blue Card 1st Responder Incident Command System Overview Module - $60
- Instructors will get 1 year of access to all of the Student’s training, certification and re-certification records using the Blue Card Records Management System
- Full Blue Card office support
- The student will have no on-line access to any Blue Card training material
The Command Overview Module provides other personnel who do not fill a hazard zone management role/position a detailed overview and a basic working knowledge of a NIMS Type 4 & 5 Hazard Zone Incident Command System.
This online program will give Firefighters, Drivers/Pump operators, dispatchers and EMS personnel a general working knowledge of the command system being implemented and used in your department. It will also give junior members of your department a good look at the type of training their officer’s are involved in and what’s to come in their future.
Blue Card Train the Trainer (TtT) Instructor Program - $4,000.00
* All TtT students must successfully complete the on-line training program prior attending a TtT session.
What an Instructor receives During a TtT session:
All Instructors will receive the following material in their Instructor Media Package:
- Five – 8 hour days of instruction by Certified, Blue Card Lead Instructors
- First three (3) days of the session the student must successfully complete the Blue Card IC evaluation/certification process
- The last two (2) days of the session will focus on:
- Instruction and detailed lesson plans on the 5 basic occupancy/building types
- Instruction and detailed lesson plans on Tactical and Embedded Safety Operations
- Instruction and detailed lesson plans on Command Team Operations
- Detailed lesson plans and instruction on Mayday Operations
- Certification management, the RMS tools, and system delivery
What an Instructor receives for 1 year after a TtT session (Trainer Certification date):
- Command Functions Review and Communications Overview PowerPoint and Instructors Guides
- Residential, Multi-Unit Residential, Strip Mall, Commercial, and Big Box Tactical Template PowerPoint’s and Instructors Guides
- Several Residential, Multi-Unit Residential, Strip Mall, Commercial, and Big Box Simulations. All with Incident Review PowerPoint's and Instructors Guides (20 simulations total)
- 16 DVD video package that includes; Fire Command Video Series, Critical Factors Video Series, Managing Mayday Video Series; On-Deck, Recycle, 3 Deep, and SDG Operations DVD videos
Quarterly Instructors Training Packages
- Continued access to all Blue Card online modules
- Continued access to all E-Textbooks
- 4 - 3 hour, Quarterly CE modules
- CE’s are also tie into and correlate with the Instructors Training Packages & BSHIFTER Magazine
- Access to the Blue Card Instructors Download Center
- Administrative rights. This allows Instructors to monitor all of their members’ progress on the on-line training program and CE modules. This is a state of the art, RMS that helps the instructor with student tracking and certification, and re-certification that includes many features to assist an Instructor in coordinating dept wide Blue Card training.
- At least 1 - Full blown simulation with several tactical positions. Included are the Instructor Simulation Overviews and the classroom Simulation PowerPoint Reviews
- Updates to previous training materials
- Task, Tactical, and Strategic Level training packages
- Videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more…
Enrolled Instructors will also be invited to the Blue Card semi-annual Instructors support meetings (free – you just have to get there). These meetings will be held during the Annual Brunacini Hazard Zone Conference in Oct. at the University of Notre Dame and in the Indianapolis, IN area during FDIC week. The focus of the Instructor meetings will be to review the Instructors material sent out the previous 6 months, to get input from all Instructors and it will also give all the Instructors a chance to network, coordinate and trade ideas.
Blue Card Annual Instructor Support Program - $1,750.00
After the 1 year subscription has ended, Blue Card certified Instructors have the option to continue subscribing to the Blue Card Instructor Support Program. The Instructor will continue to receive all of the year’s previous services outlined above.
For department’s that have more than one instructor and want to have all their instructors continue their subscription and admin services, the 1st Instructor subscription will be $1,750.00, each additional instructor subscription will be $500.