Prioritise critical fire control functions during periods of multiple calls and multiple incidents

Control Measure Knowledge

A period of multiple calls or multiple incidents will affect individual fire and rescue services differently and therefore their ability to perform other business-as-usual functions.

Critical functions

Fire control personnel should focus attention and resources on performing critical functions during periods of multiple calls and multiple incidents, including:

  • Emergency call management
  • Mobilisation of operational resources
  • Multi-agency communication
  • Incident management and support
  • Management of operational resource coverage
  • Troubleshooting issues with critical fire control systems, such as mobilising systems, to identify the cause and rectify or report as necessary


The impact that a period of multiple calls or incidents has on the completion of business-as-usual tasks may be mitigated by pre-planning and inclusion in fire and rescue service degradation plans, in which fire and rescue services consider which functions fire control personnel can perform while working under such conditions at any time of day. Fire and rescue services should recognise that sustained periods of multiple calls or incidents may mean fire control personnel are unable to perform any non-critical business-as-usual functions for protracted periods of time.

Re-allocation of non-priority tasks

It may be appropriate for some non-critical functions to be temporarily re-allocated to other suitably trained fire and rescue service personnel. It is important that these functions and their methods for re-allocation are pre-identified and involve as little intervention by fire control personnel as possible.

Pre-identifying functions that are suitable for re-allocation avoids fire control personnel becoming overwhelmed and allows them to concentrate on fulfilling critical functions.

The re-allocation of non-emergency functions normally performed by fire control personnel may include:

  • The overseeing of fire and rescue service resource availability to other suitably trained personnel
  • The diversion of public, non-emergency lines of communication away from fire control personnel to other suitably trained personnel
  • The re-allocation of the monitoring and response to other non-emergency public queries (such as social media) to other suitably trained personnel
  • The re-allocation of fire and rescue service personnel sickness absence reporting and processing and other administrative functions to other suitably trained personnel

The work required and any strategies to re-allocate it should be pre-planned and clearly understood by fire control personnel and the suitably trained personnel to whom the functions are assigned.

Personnel monitoring and responding to non-emergency methods of contact from the public should be made aware how to pass any emergency calls or relevant incident-related information that is incorrectly routed to them, to fire control. This may include instructing the member of the public to dial 999 to speak to fire control personnel.

Share situational awareness

Fire control personnel may reduce the amount of non-essential contact they receive from the wider fire and rescue service by sharing situational awareness of the current situation with other fire and rescue service personnel. This may be achieved through suitably trained personnel, such as communications and media personnel, using email or other electronic messaging systems to reach a wide audience quickly.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions