Risk assessment of fire control activities

Control Measure Knowledge

The law requires fire and rescue services to assess and reduce the risk to personnel as far as is reasonably practicable. As well as this duty of care to fire and rescue service personnel, there is also a duty to safeguard others.

The objectives for fire and rescue services are to resolve incidents with minimal impact on the community, and to prevent or minimise harm to people and the environment.

Fire control personnel should continuously assess risk during all aspects of fire control activity. This will ensure that appropriate resources are mobilised to incidents based on situational awareness, response plans and professional judgement, and that fire control resources are appropriate to ensure delivery of the fire control function while considering fire control personnel welfare.

The fire control commander should ensure that the risk-critical activities of fire control are prioritised and allocated appropriately while considering the other activities required of the fire control function. They should ensure appropriate methods are used to share situational awareness with incident commanders and that incident logs are updated appropriately.

It is essential that fire control commanders consider radio operation and the monitoring of national and regional talk groups when planning the activities of the fire control function; incident ground and personnel safety rely on this link to ensure appropriate resources can be requested. Fire control commanders should prioritise the monitoring of national and regional talk groups because it allows resilience in the sharing of situational awareness between fire control and other emergency controls.

The fire control commander should continually assess fire control activity, considering the varying levels of skills and experience of fire control personnel. To assess a situation and know how and when to request additional support or supervision, all fire control personnel should understand and be aware of their own abilities and limitations.

Emergency call handling and management can be very stressful and sometimes traumatic, and fire control personnel should be offered access to appropriate methods of post-incident support.

Individuals’ needs must also be understood and considered when planning activities to ensure appropriate rest and meal breaks are included. Failing to consider individuals’ needs may lead to poor communication and decision-making and reduced effectiveness of the fire control function.

Where sustained increased fire control activity is anticipated, such as during a major incident or spate conditions as a result of extreme weather, the welfare needs of personnel should be considered when planning personnel arrangements. It is essential that fire control commanders consider their own welfare needs as well as those of their team members.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions