The uncontrolled arrival and deployment of emergency fire vehicles and crews on the fireground may lead to poor vehicle positioning and insufficient accounting for personnel deployed at the scene. In an explosion, a sudden worsening of fire conditions or structural collapse, failure to follow proper deployment protocol may lead to injury, damage and a delay in locating or failing to locate affected personnel.
Vehicle drivers and commanders need to be aware of the appropriate cordon and safety distances applicable to hazardous materials, the likely development of fire and the nature of building collapse for different types of structure. Other significant hazards and risks include:
- Members of the public who may be distressed, excitable or unaware of the nature of the emergency
- The operational imperative, which may place moral pressure on crews, or the imperative to act in a way that is directed at satisfying that need rather than the operational needs of that particular incident
- The working environment, which may include available light, distance to the scene of operations, terrain and conditions underfoot
- Remote locations, which may lead to poor radio communications, increased workloads on firefighters, difficulties with water supplies and increased attendance times
When deploying resources to the fireground, incident commanders should be aware of the strategic disposition of resources in their service and release or withhold from deployment any resources that are not needed or have become surplus to requirements.
At larger incidents, commanders should consider nominating a rendezvous point (RVP) for emergency fire vehicles to attend before arrival at the incident. At major incidents a strategic holding area (SHA) or tactical holding area (THA) may be necessary, where resources may be held for longer periods, and where welfare arrangements are in place and dedicated enhanced logistical support available.
For further guidance see National Operational Guidance: Operations – Time of alert to time of attendance