EMERGENCY Screenshot and Box. Photo by arhn.eu

For Those That Want to Play Incident Commander

After many years of attending lectures, workshops, classes and tabletops on incident command, I encountered the EMERGENCY – Fighter’s for Life PC game. At the time, these games were largely considered to be non-sense and ineffective at training. In fact, I don’t ever remember anyone mentioning that you could teach incident command using a video game, but this game, I feel was a really good way to get the process going.

Sure, some of the game was a little bit crude and not realistic, but it seemed to get the general premise of being an incident commander – such as how to develop quick thinking in an emergent situation where time was running against you. I actually found it to be helpful in prioritizing scenes in real life as a Battalion Chief/Supervisor.

And the game came with several missions, which I found to be incredibly realistic, even for the time period in which the game came out. Debuting in 1998, the German company, Sixteen Tons Entertainment came up with a game that was able to capture the essence of both complex fire and EMS situations requiring the deployment of multiple units.

Life-Like Playability

Also life-like was the damage that could be done in the event that the scene was not properly addressed. The developer obviously paid good attention to hazardous scenes as well as the importance of public safety and keeping bystanders safe. In some cases, if you are not careful, a bystander can actually become a victim and if too many bystanders or patients die, you fail the mission.

EMERGENCY even has a mobile gaming application if you want to play incident commander while waiting for real calls to take place.

Aside from the game available for download on your phone, since 1998, EMERGENCY has produced several other PC games with the latest, EMERGENCY 2016 being available for purchase on Steam.

Again, the EMERGENCY series is not 100% realistic, but it by far the best available simulation for the price to give aspiring incident commanders a chance to practice.

The game offers many more options for responding units and personnel as well as an open gaming world where you have an incredibly large number of choices in how you delegate units. The game is available for download on Steam by aspiring Incident Commanders, but don’t spend too much time playing as this game can be quite addicting! 


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Ruben Major
Editor in Chief at EMS Wire
Ruben began his career in Emergency Medical Services in 2000. He holds a Master's Degree in Military History and has experience as a Paramedic and EMS Supervisor in the field. He has taught CPR and First Aid Programs for several years. Ruben spent 2 years as Program Director for an EMS/Paramedic Program in the valley prior to working as Program Director for EMS University in Phoenix, Arizona. Ruben has published several articles on public safety and Emergency Medical Services in several prominent magazines and is responsible for creating the nation's first Native American APCO EMD Program. Ruben is currently seeking a Juris Doctor from Concord Law School. He has served
as CEO of EMS University since 2003 and is Editor in Chief at EMS Wire. Ruben enjoys astronomy, bicycling, hiking, other outdoor activities, and spending time with his family.

EMT-B, Mesa Community College (2000)
EMT-Paramedic, E-Med., Inc. (2002)
A.A., General Studies - Scottsdale Community College (2003)
B.A., History - Arizona State University (2003)
M.A., Military History - Norwich University (2008)
J.D., Candidate - Concord Law School (Class of 2016)

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