Maintain safe access, egress and escape routes for fire and rescue service vehicles

Control Measure Knowledge

It is important to maintain safe access, egress and escape routes for fire and rescue service vehicles at all times. The egress and escape routes in particular should be continually assessed throughout the incident to ensure that vehicles and personnel do not become trapped. It may be necessary to develop contingency plans or recovery in the event of a vehicle becoming trapped or breaking down.

Personnel need to be able to access fire and rescue service vehicles throughout the incident, to obtain equipment or seek refuge.

Fire and rescue service vehicles may be compromised by operational activities or the development of the incident. For example:

  • Surrounded by smoke
  • Damaged by fire
  • Being stranded if they are moved or positioned away from roadways, designated routes or hardstanding
  • If large quantities of firefighting run-off water or foam cause the surrounding area to become unsafe for vehicles
  • Collapsed structures or debris preventing their movement

If it is necessary to drive fire and rescue service vehicles off-road, personnel could be sent ahead on foot to assess ground conditions and identify an appropriate route.

Access, egress and escape routes for vehicles should take into account:

  • The likely development of the incident
  • The impact of operational activity
  • Width, condition and gradient of roads and tracks – being aware that vehicles may ‘bottom out’ on undulating ground
  • Width and weight limits of any bridges, taking into account that there is no requirement to mark the weight limit on bridges on private land (such as bridges not on a public highway)
  • Risk of overturning when crossing steep slopes
  • Saddlesre-entrants or other landscape features that may impact fire behaviour or are prone to flooding
  • The type of vehicles in attendance
  • Wind direction, weather conditions and visibility
  • The presence of:
    • People
    • Personnel and equipment
    • Fenced and unfenced roads and tracks
    • Animals, including livestock
    • One way systems
    • No through roads
    • Suitable turning and passing areas
    • Unmetalled rural roads
    • Locked gates, parked vehicles, machinery or other obstacles
    • Security barriers,bollards or ramps
    • Hidden obstructions, such as tree stumps or pot holes

It may not be possible to move fire and rescue service vehicles immediately, especially if their function or type prevent this. Additional measures should be considered to limit the risk that the vehicle could be subjected to by changing conditions. Actions that can protect vehicles and enable them to be moved if necessary include:

  • Placing covering jets near to vehicles at a fire
  • Not using the vehicle as an anchor point
  • Avoiding situations where equipment is placed near to or attached to the vehicle

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions