Information shared in a commonly understood way

Control Measure Knowledge

M/ETHANE information structure

It is easier to understand information that is shared between agencies in a commonly understood form and structure. The M/ETHANE model (major incident, exact location, type of incident, hazards, access, number of casualties and emergency services present and required) is the agreed method of structuring incident information and will be recognised by all Category 1 and Category 2 responders. It may be used to organise information when communicating verbally or electronically.

Sending information in a M/ETHANE structure

M/ETHANE is a structure for incident related information, which is likely to be commonly recognised by Category 1 and Category 2 organisations. The consistency of the M/ETHANE structure reduces the likelihood of missing out vital information.

If the incident is not major, the ‘M’ is not used and the message becomes an ETHANE message.

Operational and fire control personnel who routinely use the M/ETHANE information structure are more likely to use it confidently and effective during significant multi-agency incidents to gather and share incident-related information, such as sending informative messages to fire control or sharing information with other agencies (for all levels of incidents).

Receiving information in a M/ETHANE structure

Fire control personnel should be prepared to receive incident-related information from operational personnel and personnel from other agencies in the M/ETHANE structure.

Mobilising systems can help fire control personnel to record and retrieve M/ETHANE messages using an electronic incident log. Many mobilising systems allow fire control personnel to highlight vital information, such as M/ETHANE messages, using:

  • Message categories
  • Distinct colours
  • Incident tags and labels

These methods will help fire control personnel to:

  • Effectively identify, retrieve and share information
  • Clearly identify the time information was received
  • Clearly identify the source of the information

Common briefing structure

Once commanders have made decisions and decided on actions, information should be shared in a commonly understood way that can be easily understood. Using the IIMARCH briefing structure (information, intent, method, administration, risk assessment, communications and humanitarian issues) as a guide, a brief may be prepared in a commonly understood way.

Fire control commanders may benefit from understanding and following the IIMARCH structure when they receive and provide briefings to:

  • Incident commanders
  • Commanders and supervisors in other emergency control rooms
  • Other fire control personnel (for example, to communicate effectively during handovers; refer to Effective communication for more information)

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions