Control measure – ARCHIVED – Establish scene safety and cordons

Control Measure Knowledge

See National Operational GuidanceIncident command – Structuring an incident

Scene safety

Effective information gathering during an incident should identify hazards and associated risks. Evaluating the risks and considering suitable control measures should lead to a safe system of work. Operational risk assessments and procedures should be produced to support the process.

The incident or sector commanders should ensure that a risk/benefit analysis is made for all activities to minimise injuries. Assessment outcomes should be communicated to the appropriate personnel and/or agency through timely briefings with any updates communicated throughout the incident.

Initial cordon

Setting up an initial cordon may be carried out by the police or the fire and rescue service. Cordons may be physical barriers such as a perimeter fence, or a temporary barrier like traffic tape. The IC must consider the safety of firefighters, other emergency services, other agencies attending (including voluntary agencies) and members of the public. Individual agencies should ensure that personnel arriving at the scene have appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that they are adequately trained and briefed for the work they will undertake inside the cordon.

Cordons are an effective method of controlling resources and maintaining safety at the incident ground. After establishing the initial cordon the incident can usually be covered with two types of cordon:

Inner cordon

An inner cordon controls access to the immediate scene of operations. Access to the inner cordon area, which by definition is a high hazard zone, should be kept to a minimum, restricted to only those required for work to be carried out safely and effectively. However, if the incident is the consequence of a suspected criminal act, the police will assume overall control of the area. The two services will liaise to determine entry and exit protocol. Personnel should only enter after a full briefing and the allocation of specific tasks. Fire and rescue services are trained and equipped to manage ‘gateways’ into the inner cordon if the police request assistance.

Hazard or restricted area (within the inner cordon)

Sometimes a ‘restricted area’ is needed in an inner cordon, which may have been identified before the inner cordon is established. All personnel working in the inner cordon must be made aware of the conditions that apply to the restricted area.

Outer cordon

The outer cordon prevents public access to an area being used by the emergency services when attending an incident. The police will usually control outer cordons, and a traffic cordon may then further supplement the outer cordon. The police, in liaison with the fire and rescue service and the ambulance service, will identify safe routes into and out of the cordon for emergency vehicles and other attending agencies. Where one or more marshalling areas are established, they are usually located in the outer cordon area.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions