Assist the rescue of people at risk: Survival guidance

Control Measure Knowledge

People who are directly affected by an incident and unable to safely evacuate will need to be rescued by operational personnel.

Operational personnel often use four phases in a search and rescue scenario, as detailed in Search, rescue and casualty care. These are:

  • Locate
  • Access
  • Stabilise the situation and any casualties
  • Transport to a place of safety and definitive care

Fire control personnel can assist operational personnel with all stages of search and rescue. Throughout the call, fire control personnel should continually share all relevant information with operational personnel and other responding agencies, both prior to and when they are in attendance. This should include information about the incident and the casualty, to support a shared understanding of risk and to inform accurate situational awareness.

Fire control personnel share information to assist with the rescue of people, aiming to reduce the amount of time people and operational personnel are in the hazard area, which reduces the risk of harm. This information may lead to operational personnel requesting additional resources. However, this does not replace the discretion and professional judgement of dynamic mobilising applied by fire control personnel.

The following information should be gathered by fire control personnel where possible. This information should be used to aid dynamic mobilising decisions and shared with operational personnel and where relevant, other responding agencies to assist the rescue of people at risk:

  • Location of all people at risk
  • A visual description of where they are located
  • Age and number of people at risk
  • Condition and mobility of people
  • Access and egress information
  • Location of the incident and the conditions people at risk are experiencing

This list is not exhaustive and the reasons why people were unable to evacuate should be considered, as this may affect access and egress for operational personnel.

Location or mapping services can be used to share information with operational personnel, to assist them in locating people at risk.

Depending on the situation and if safe to do so, people at risk should be advised to make themselves known on arrival of operational personnel or other responding agencies.

People may be advised to:

  • Make noise
  • Use a visual aid, such as waving an object out of the window or using a torch or phone light
  • Wave to operational personnel or other responding agencies

Depending on the situation, when advising people to wave they should be advised to wave both arms and fists to indicate they are waving for assistance. This is particularly relevant if attempting to draw the attention of air support.

Animals may affect the ability of operational personnel to rescue people at risk. If safe to do so, people should be advised to restrain or move away from companion animals or move away from livestock prior to rescue.

Situational awareness gained throughout the call should continually be reassessed for accuracy to ensure advice being given is relevant and up to date.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions