Breathing apparatus emergency arrangements

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure is supported by the:

Establishing emergency arrangements

Whenever breathing apparatus (BA) is deployed, the need for appropriate emergency arrangements should be considered; having these in place can provide prompt and effective emergency assistance to BA wearers in distress. The type and extent of emergency arrangements should be proportionate to all reasonably foreseeable risks to BA wearers.

Once established, emergency arrangements should be maintained, including replacement of emergency teams if deployed.

The need for emergency teams will depend on the type of incident, and the situation that is being dealt with, which may have resourcing implications. During the initial stages of operations, incident commanders should consider as part of their incident plan whether BA emergency arrangements will be required, including the potential need for BA emergency teams and associated emergency equipment such as:

  • First aid supplies
  • Emergency air supply equipment
  • Drag mats
  • Breaking-in gear

Deployment of emergency arrangements

In situations where BA emergency teams are in place, their deployment should be considered when certain conditions arise, or have the potential to arise. This is subject to an appropriate risk assessment being carried out by the person responsible for the BA entry control point, and includes when:

  • A BA wearer fails to return to the BA entry control point before the pre-determined activation time of their low pressure warning, and they cannot be contacted to confirm their safety and wellbeing
  • A distress signal is heard or received by a telemetry device, unless it can be established immediately that it is an accidental activation
  • Audible or visual indicators suggest that a BA wearer is in distress, imminent distress or danger
  • There is a prolonged and unexplained breakdown in communications
  • Requested by a BA wearer in the hazard area

Declaration of a BA emergency

A BA emergency should be declared if any of the above conditions arise and communicated to the incident commander and fire control room at the earliest opportunity. The declaration can be instigated by:

  • BA entry control operative
  • BA entry control point supervisor
  • Sector commander
  • Operations commander
  • Incident commander

On receipt of the declaration of a BA emergency, fire control personnel should mobilise a minimum of one appliance with adequate BA capabilities to support BA operations. They should also inform the ambulance service of the emergency, and request their attendance.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions