Joint understanding of risk: People at risk

Control Measure Knowledge

Joint understanding of risk can be achieved by sharing information about known, likely and potential impacts of hazards. The sharing of information will allow all hazards to be considered and their risks understood.

A joint understanding of risk should be maintained between fire control and operational personnel as well as other responding agencies when handling calls from or about people at risk. This will support the safety of operational personnel and other emergency responders, reduce the impact that the hazards may have on members of the public and operational personnel and allow a co-ordinated response to an incident.

To prevent a delay in the sharing of risk-critical information with operational personnel or other control rooms, the fire control commander should ensure that information from an emergency call that is in progress is shared with operational personnel and other agencies. This task may be allocated to another member of the team. More information can be found in  Fire control command – Emergency call supervision and Fire control command – Organisation of the fire control function.

When it is established during emergency call management that there are persons reported or persons trapped, the use of appropriate incident types within the mobilising system will provide an early alert to operational personnel.

If new information is obtained after mobilisation has taken place indicating that there are persons reported or persons trapped, this should be communicated promptly to operational personnel and additional resources mobilised if appropriate.

‘Persons reported’ declarations or information indicating that there are persons trapped should be passed to other emergency service control rooms promptly to enable them carry out effective risk assessment, prioritisation and response mobilisation.

When an ‘all persons accounted for’ message is received, or a message is received that states people trapped have been released, fire control personnel should confirm with the incident commander whether other responding agencies are still required to attend, and for what reason. This new information should be shared promptly with other agencies, allowing them to carry out a further risk assessment and to adjust their response if necessary.

When sharing incident information, the M/ETHANE structure should be considered. Incident information may be shared with:

  • Operational personnel
  • Fire and rescue service command officers
  • Fire and rescue service specialist officers and emergency responders
  • Other fire control rooms
  • Other emergency service control rooms

To ensure the most up-to-date and accurate information is shared, the collation of information in the M/ETHANE structure should be easily identifiable within the incident log and any changes to the M/ETHANE information should be updated promptly. This will ensure all those viewing the log can easily locate current information.

To support the effective and timely sharing of information, a single method of communication should be agreed and established with operational personnel and other agencies to allow information to be shared and received. The options available include:

  • The use of a dedicated radio channel to communicate with operational personnel
  • The use of a telecommunications link or conference call
  • Using the Emergency Services Inter Control (ESICTRL) talkgroup

When deciding which method of communication to use, consideration should be given to the most appropriate method that will support timely, efficient and accurate sharing of risk-critical information. Where possible, methods of communication should be via a system that is recorded. This will allow the review and validation of information when required.

To support consistency of the information shared, a single point of contact between fire control and the incident should be established. This should also be considered for the sharing of information between fire control and other emergency service control rooms.

Before operational personnel are in attendance and a command structure or a command point has been established, information regarding people at risk should be shared with responding operational personnel via an agreed method that enables officers in charge to confirm receipt of information. Once operational personnel are in attendance and a command point has been designated, ongoing communication and sharing of information should take place via this channel. Fire control personnel should be informed what the designated command point is, and this should be recorded and made clear on the incident log.

If fire control personnel cannot make contact or share information with operational personnel via the designated method of communication while enroute to an incident, or with the designated command point once in attendance, efforts should be made to make contact via alternative methods, for example:

  • Mobile phone or radio for an alternative fire appliance that is enroute or in attendance
  • Mobile phone or radio for an officer who is enroute or in attendance
  • Mobile Data Terminal (MDT)
  • Pager message or other direct messaging method

To support joint understanding of risk, procedures should be in place for incident commanders to provide regular updates to fire control personnel about people at risk.

Any critical information received in fire control should be shared with all fire control personnel using an agreed method. Critical information may be shared electronically or verbally, and fire control personnel should confirm that they have understood. This should then be recorded appropriately. Examples of critical information in this context include:

  • A change in evacuation strategy
  • A change to the advice or guidance that fire control personnel are giving

Emergency calls may be routed to other fire control rooms. If these calls involve persons reported or people who are trapped and are receiving survival guidance, they should be prioritised appropriately and all information regarding the people at risk and the advice they have been given should be shared with the host fire control room using agreed methods. This will enable the information to be shared with operational personnel and other agencies to support a joint understanding of risk.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions