Incident Critical Command and Risk Understanding Services
Why ICCARUS? We really wanted ICARUS but the trade name was taken!
The Icarus of Greek mythology resonates with the Fire Service in many ways, not least in the concepts of understanding risk and decision making. Icarus was the son of Daedalus, the master craftsman who designed and built the Labrynth within which King Minos of Crete imprisoned the Minotaur, a half man, half bull monster. Daedalus also created a 'clew', a ball of string, which he gave to Ariadne to help Theseus navigate the Labrynth and slay the Minotaur. Arguably, the first operational use of a 'guideline'.
Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son. Daedalus tried his wings first (a risk assessment?), but before taking off from the island, warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea, but to follow his path of flight. Overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax. And so Icarus, although aware of the risks, fell into the sea and perished.
In psychology there have been synthetic studies of the Icarus complex with respect to the alleged relationship between fascination for fire, enuresis, high ambition, and ascensionism.
Henry Murray having proposed the term Icarus complex, apparently found symptoms particularly in mania where a person is "fond of heights, fascinated by both fire and water, narcissistic and observed with fantastical or farfetch´d-imaginary cognition".
Ring any bells?
Henry Alexander Murray (May 13, 1893 – June 23, 1988) was an American psychologist who taught for over 30 years at Harvard University. He was Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic in the School of Arts and Sciences after 1930 and collaborated with Stanley Cobb, Bullard Professor of Neuropathology at the Medical School, to introduce psychoanalysis into the Harvard curriculum.
During World War II, he left Harvard and worked as lieutenant colonel for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). James Miller, in charge of the selection of secret agents at the OSS during World War Two, reports that Murray was the originator of the term "situation test". This type of assessment, based on practical tasks and activities, was pioneered by the British Military. Murray acted as a consultant for the British Government (1938) in the setting up of the Officer Selection Board. Murray's previous work at The Harvard Psychological Clinic enabled him to apply his theories in the design of the selection processes used by WOSB and OSS to assess potential agents. The assessments were based on analysis of specific criteria (e.g. "leadership") by a number of raters across a range of activities. Results were pooled to achieve an overall assessment. The underlying principles were later adopted by AT&T in the development of the Assessment Centre methodology, now widely used to assess management potential in both private and public sector organisations including the UK Fire & Rescue Services.