Build situational awareness during periods of multiple calls and multiple incidents

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with Situational awareness

Situational awareness in this context represents the understanding of fire control personnel of the current situation they are dealing with. This includes ongoing incidents, emergency call volumes and the tactics being employed by the fire control commander to manage the multiple calls or multiple incidents. It also includes the shared situational awareness between a fire control and those who are supporting them in the receipt of emergency calls, including:

  • Other fire control personnel
  • Buddy, consortium and other assisting emergency controls
  • The call handling agent
  • Other personnel supporting the fire control
  • The incident commanders for relevant incidents
  • Other relevant operational personnel, including fire and rescue service managers

Effective verbal communication between fire control personnel is one method to achieve shared situational awareness through, for example:

  • One-to-one discussions
  • Group briefings at change of duty or as required to share significant information quickly
  • Individual handovers at change of duty, using a formal handover process

Whichever method of verbal communication is used, it is important that the information has been acknowledged and understood, this should include ensuring all fire control personnel are aware when there has been a change of fire control commander.

Achieving shared situational awareness with other agencies, including other fire controls, will assist fire control personnel in maintaining a clear awareness of activities during periods of multiple calls or multiple incidents.

Communication received by and originating from fire control may include the use of:

  • Emergency lines
  • Dedicated priority lines pre-identified as being for buddy or consortium controls
  • Hailing talkgroups
  • Regional and national talkgroups
  • Electronic methods of information sharing
  • Social media or press announcements

More information about effective communication between agencies, including other fire and rescue services, can be found in Multi agency fire control guidance.

Electronic incident logs provide an effective method for situational awareness to be shared between fire control personnel. It is essential that fire control personnel update incident logs with all relevant information, including information received from the incident ground and other agencies as well as the actions and decisions they have taken themselves. Mobilising systems may also allow operational personnel or fire control personnel from assisting buddy or consortium controls to view and add to incident logs which may be useful during periods of multiple calls and multiple incidents.

Visual information displays may be used to show essential information to fire control personnel during periods of multiple calls. The use of displays may be helpful to reinforce verbal communication and to ensure that fire control personnel managing emergency calls have access to the same information.

Visual information displays may be used to share situational awareness and information such as:

  • The current evacuation strategy in the case that there are multiple calls to a building fire
  • Indication of operational resource availability
  • Maps displaying spread of incident locations during periods of multiple incidents
  • Call volume visualisation in the case that there are multiple calls
  • Instructions for fire control personnel to:
    • Queue specific types or priority levels of incidents in the case that widespread flooding generates multiple calls
    • Signpost lower-priority calls to other suitable agencies, such as local authorities and relevant contact numbers
    • Use specific methods to pass incident-related information to affected fire controls when managing remote calls

Visual indicators linked to the integrated communication control system (ICCS), for example a red light showing when fire control personnel are engaged on a call, may support the situational awareness of the fire control commander by making it clear how many fire control personnel are managing calls and incident-related activities.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions