Hold debriefing or post-incident reviews

Control Measure Knowledge

Debriefing, also referred to as post-incident review, can be formal or informal. Debriefing can range from ‘hot debriefs’, which occur directly after the incident, to large multi-agency debriefs or a public inquiry following major incidents. Debriefs are an important part of improving personal and organisational performance. They should take place whenever there is an opportunity to identify and share notable practice, areas for improvement and to promote continued learning. They should consider and include the involvement of fire control throughout the incident or event. Active monitoring during fire control activity can inform and support this process.

Due to the scope and nature of fire control activity it may be appropriate to consider holding debriefs following periods of spate or spike conditions or following business continuity events, such as a loss of mobilising system or other situations that require the use of fallback facilities.

Structured debriefs should be used to gain operational intelligence and safety-related information during emergency call management and subsequent information gathering.

Debriefing forms an essential part of the management of health and safety and aids the identification of significant information or lessons learned. Whenever possible, the fire control commander should debrief fire control personnel as soon after the incident or situation as is practicable. Systems of work, equipment, PPE and training can all be improved as part of this performance management system. The Health and Safety Executive publication Managing for Health and Safety (HSG65) provides further guidance on the principles of effective health and safety management in the workplace.

Debriefing is an important part of reviewing and improving performance. There should be a debrief whenever there is a chance to improve standards of service delivery. Fire control commanders should choose an appropriate format for the review. They should conduct it in a way that encourages open, supportive and constructive discussion. If the review covers individual performance, fire control commanders should discuss it against the standards for that role and acknowledge good performance and conduct worthy of merit. Fire control commanders should also reflect on their own performance during incidents and fire control activity.

Debriefs can be used to highlight any unconventional system or procedures that were successful or that made the working environment or situation safer. The recording, monitoring and review of incident debriefs and the outcome of investigations can support the identification of trends to support future learning.

Other considerations should include whether existing information held about premises or locations should be reviewed, or whether there is a need to add a new premises or location to mobilising system records.

Incident reviews may also support National Operational Learning; for more information refer to National Operational Learning: Good practice guide for fire and rescue services.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions