Blue Card© Hazard Zone Incident Command Training & Certification Program

Blue Card maximizes your department's command capability and standardizes incident operations for NIMS TYPE 4 & 5 EVENTS.

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Blue Card Enhances Firefighter Safety in IDLH Hazard Zones

The Blue Card Incident Command Training and Certification Program trains, evaluates and certifies fire department officers serving as incident commanders for local NIMS Type 4 and Type 5 events. Renowned internationally for defining best standard command practices, Blue Card's unrivaled curriculum-driven approach prepares incident commanders to make better fireground decisions, potentially eliminating dangerous mistakes that cause injury, death and unnecessary fire losses.

Industry Respected, Recommended by NIOSH

The Blue Card Hazard-Zone Incident Command Training & Certification Program is based on the 8 Functions of Command first introduced in Chief Alan V. Brunacini's influential textbooks, "Fire Command "(1985 and 2001) and "Command Safety" (2003). Today, the policies and procedures outlined in these publications are recognized globally as the Gold Standard for local incident command, hazard-zone management and firefighter safety. In addition, Chief Brunacini's collective works and his unrivaled incident command system have been referenced and recommended in more than 100 NIOSH LODD reports.

Blue Card Progam Overview

Blue Card's four complementary components will strengthen your department's command capabilities:

1. Blue Card Online / Cognitive Training Program

Blue Card's meticulous online training program takes about 30 hours to complete. Based on the "Fire Command" curriculum package and the Hazard-Zone Incident Command Standard, all online content supports, complements and aligns with NIMS. (The Blue Card online training program fulfills the cognitive requirements of IFSAC's Hazard Zone Incident Command Standard for NIMS Type 4 & 5 Incidents—accredited in Minnesota.)

Our online program marries the critical concepts of incident management, strategy and tactics, and firefighter safety with dynamic structure-fire simulations that require students to apply their knowledge. Targeted coaching via short video clips from subjectmatter experts reinforces the material, and lively self-assessments ensure students grasp essential concepts.

Online training is flexible, allowing students to access the program anytime and move at their own pace, which helps keep units in service. Most importantly, we track user progress within the system. Before taking the final online certification test, students must view all required videos and content.

Upon achieving a successful pass rate of 70% or higher in the cognitive assessment, participants can advance to the next phase of their training.

2. 3-Day Blue Card Simulation & Evaluation Lab

After completing Blue Card's online/cognitive training, students complete their certification by attending a three-day evaluation lab. This simulation lab is a critical step, immersing aspiring ICs in realistic incident command scenarios to rigorously test their readiness across a spectrum of fire scenarios. Blue Card's simulation-based certification training merges the Hazard-Zone Incident Command Standard with the department's local resources, SOPs and tactical hazards. Our robust simulations offer valuable hands-on training and experience for high-risk, low-frequency events.

Each certification lab incorporates the following:

  • The 8 Functions of Command
  • Regional SOPs
  • Tactical operations templates for five local occupancy types
  • High-def structure-fire simulations for five different building types: big box, commercial, residential, multi-unit residential and strip malls

Each student must pass evaluations as both a mobile IC (IC No. 1) and a strategically positioned IC (IC No. 2) for each occupancy type for a total of 10 evolutions. Upon completing these evaluations, participants are awarded the esteemed title of Blue Card Certified Incident Commander, marking their proficiency in managing a diverse range of fire incidents effectively.

3. CE & 3 Year Recertification Process

Blue Card IC Certification remains valid for three years. Blue Card ICs can maintain certification by completing a minimum of 36 hours of Blue Card-tracked continuing education over three years — including an online refresher module — and demonstrating competency as IC No. 1 (first-arriving officer) and IC No. 2 (first-arriving chief officer) within all five occupancy types (commercial, strip center, residential, big box, and multi-unit residential).

This rigorous process ensures that Blue Card Incident Commanders continue to exhibit the highest standards of competency and leadership in managing hazard-zone incidents, ensuring safe, efficient incident response.

4. Blue Card Instructor Train-the-Trainer Program

Blue Card empowers individual departments and regions to self-manage the certification and evaluation process and customize the system based on local topography, resource levels and SOPs. We offer a robust instructor program, which enables departments to process Blue Card students through the three-day simulation certification lab in any existing command training center with a modest inventory of supplies.

After meeting all prerequisites, potential instructors can attend the Blue Card Train-the-Trainer (TtT) program. These intensive, five-day workshops offer a deep dive into the system, carefully reviewing each simulation and highlighting critical teaching points. Participants receive detailed lesson plans and thorough instruction on the five basic occupancy types, tactical-level operations, command-team operations and mayday response. This comprehensive training ensures instructors are fully equipped to customize and deliver the program to meet their department's specific needs, fostering a higher level of preparedness and response capability across various emergency scenarios.

Certified Blue Card instructors receive a bounty of turn-key resources, including:

  1. A one-year license to utilize the comprehensive instructor media package.
  2. One full year of support.
  3. Simulation reviews and instructor guides.
  4. Access to the Instructor Download Center, with additional PowerPoint simulations.
  5. Access to several hours of CE credit.

These structured training and certification pathways underscore Blue Card's commitment to developing highly skilled incident commanders. By integrating theory and practice and emphasizing continuing education, the program ensures its certified ICs are well-prepared to effectively lead and manage emergency incidents, thereby enhancing overall safety.

These structured training and certification pathways underscore Blue Card's commitment to developing highly skilled incident commanders. By integrating theory and practice and emphasizing continuing education, the program ensures its certified ICs are well-prepared to effectively lead and manage emergency incidents, thereby enhancing overall safety.

Blue Card Licensing

Elevate your command skills with Blue Card Licensing. Our programs deliver specialized education for company and command officers, honing their ability to manage IDLH incidents safely and proficiently. Take advantage of Blue Card's multiple training options and improve your department's emergency response capability.


Online Training Program

Over 30 hours of comprehensive, interactive, simulation-based training on the 8 Functions of Command delivered by renowned Blue Card presenters and program authors Alan, Nick and John Brunacini.


Annual CE Program

Yearly access renewal to all CE modules and the NEW Hazardous Materials Ops Incident Command Certification Program. CEs reinforce Fire Command's 8 Functions of Command, building upon previous lessons through various exercises.


Student RMS Access (No CE)

Documentation access to all student training, certification and recertification records using the Blue Card Records Management System. The student will have no online access to any Blue Card training material.


1st Responder System Overview Module

A detailed overview and basic working knowledge of a NIMS Type 4 & 5 Hazard-Zone Incident Command System for personnel who do not fill a hazard-zone management role/position.


Train the Trainer Instructor Program

Train-the-Trainer sessions comprise five consecutive eight-hour days. TtT participants receive much more detailed lesson plans and instruction on the five basic occupancy/building types, embedded tactical-level safety procedures, command team operations and mayday response.


Instructor Support Program

After the one-year subscription expires, Blue Card-certified instructors can continue subscribing to the Blue Card Instructor Support Program. The instructor will continue receiving the year's previous services outlined above.

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Blue Card Command Training Centers