2. Command and Control Rules

  1. Lieutenant Colonel Rob Russell MB, BS, MRCP(UK), FCEM, DipIMCRCSEd, RAMC Clinical Lead (Emergency and Critical Care) Consultant Senior Lecturer1,2,3,
  2. Colonel Timothy J Hodgetts CBE, QHP, MMEd, MBA, CMgr, FRCP, FRCSEd, FCEM, FIMCRCSEd, FIHM, FCMI, FRGS, L/RAMC Professor Consultant3,4,5,
  3. Colonel Peter F Mahoney OBE, TD, MSc, FRCA, L/RAMC Defence Professor Consultant5,6 and
  4. Nicholas Castle MSc, DipIMCRCSEd, RGN, SRPara Nurse Consultant Honorary Research Fellow7,8

Published Online: 18 NOV 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444329681.ch2

Disaster Rules

Disaster Rules

How to Cite

Russell, L. C. R., Hodgetts, C. T. J., Mahoney, C. P. F. and Castle, N. (2010) Command and Control Rules, in Disaster Rules, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444329681.ch2

Author Information

  1. 1

    Emergency Medicine, Peterborough, and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK

  2. 2

    Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, UK

  3. 3

    Emergency Medicine, University of Birmingham, UK

  4. 4

    College of Emergency Medicine, UK

  5. 5

    University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, UK

  6. 6

    Royal College of Anaesthetists, UK

  7. 7

    Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK

  8. 8

    Durban University of Technology, Republic of South Africa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 NOV 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405193788

Online ISBN: 9781444329681



  • Command and Control Rules;
  • Convert chaos to mild confusion;
  • Good morale results from conscientious leadership;
  • ‘media major incident’;
  • emergency department (ED);
  • Ramstein Air Show disaster (1988);
  • Disasters are dynamic – it is already happening;
  • Good notes, good defence; poor notes, poor defence; no notes, no defence!


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Rule 7: Convert chaos to mild confusion

  • Rule 8: Good morale results from conscientious leadership

  • Rule 9: Even when all appears lost, keep your nerve and keep going

  • Rule 10: A major incident for one emergency service is not automatically one for the other services

  • Rule 11: The end of the incident does not end the need for medical support

  • Rule 12: Disasters are dynamic – it is already happening

  • Rule 13: Avoid the massed blue (or red) disco lights

  • Rule 14: There are few bad decisions worse than indecision

  • References