Shared situational awareness between agencies

Control Measure Knowledge

Fire control personnel contribute to an effective fire and rescue service response to incidents by ensuring that information is effectively gathered and shared between other agencies.

Effective and timely information-sharing between agencies will build shared situational awareness and understanding of risk on the part of fire control personnel and personnel from other agencies.

Information received from other agencies

Other agencies may share information about hazards, such as information stored on their mobilising systems or information from emergency responders on scene, with fire control personnel. This information may alert fire control personnel to hazards relevant to an incident where a fire and rescue service response is required or to which they have already mobilised operational personnel. It should be recorded and shared with relevant operational personnel because it may help them to adopt safe systems of work.

This information could be linked to:

  • People
  • Premises
  • Vehicles
  • Geographic areas, such as zoning during a terrorist attack

Fire control personnel may also receive information from other agencies that does not require an immediate operational response but may need to be shared with operational personnel because it may influence how fire and rescue services act.

This information could lead to:

  • Plans being put in place due to:
    • Identified threats
    • Civil disturbance
    • Weather warnings
    • Water shut-offs
  • Additional measures to protect personnel, such as temporarily relocating resources in response to an emerging hazard
  • Alternative routes when responding to other incidents due to road closures, exclusion zones or other events

Sharing information to help other agencies

There are lots of types of information that, when shared effectively, are likely to help other agencies during the response to a multi-agency incident.

These may include information that is:

  • Recorded on fire control mobilising systems, such as:
    • Site-specific risk information related to the location of the incident
    • Details of hazard areas and exclusion zones
  • Recorded by fire control personnel during the management of emergency calls, such as:
    • Information about hazards
    • Details of any injuries
    • Locations and names of emergency callers or people at risk
    • Vehicle number plates
  • Received from operational personnel, such as:
    • Information about hazards, safety cordons or safe approach routes around a hazard
    • The fact that operational personnel are working within a hazardous area
    • Impacts on critical national infrastructure, including closures to hospitals, road and rail networks, utility supplies and communications masts due to fire and rescue service operational activities
  • Pre-prepared guidance, such as wildfire survival guidance

Information shared may help other agencies to:

  • Respond effectively
  • Conduct their normal operations safely and effectively
  • Alert fire control personnel to hazards that they may not have been aware of, such as warning markers

Sharing information about the fire and rescue services’ ability to respond as normal

A period of multiple incidents or a major incident may affect the fire and rescue services’ ability to respond to incidents normally. Sharing information about this with other agencies will support shared situational awareness and understanding of risk, such as appreciating that operational resources may take longer than normal to reach incidents or the likelihood that emergency calls may be answered by assisting control rooms due to exceptional operational demand.

Recording the date and time when information is shared and with whom it is shared on relevant incident logs will allow:

  • Fire control personnel to recall this information later
  • Fire control commanders to monitor which agencies have been informed and which are still to be informed

Electronic methods of communication

Fire and rescue services may have arrangements in place to help fire control personnel to share and receive incident-related information using electronic methods of communication, including:

  • Multi Agency Incident Transfer (MAIT)
  • Email notifications sent:
    • Directly from mobilising systems of other agencies
    • From a mailing list of which the fire and rescue service is a member, such as weather warnings from environmental agencies
  • Secure, common information-sharing platforms such as ResilienceDirect
  • Messaging platforms or applications, such as text messaging services

Electronic methods of information-sharing should complement verbal communication. Fire control personnel should still be able to discuss information with other agencies when it would be beneficial, such as to provide context and seek clarification.

Recording information from other agencies

Fire control personnel should accurately record information received from other agencies, acting on it and sharing it with relevant operational personnel as necessary. The use of the mobilising system to record information by updating incident logs will help fire control personnel to:

  • Accurately record the time information is received
  • Record the rationale for key actions taken by them
  • Share information electronically with operational personnel, for example through:
    • The mobilising system (to compatible electronic devices)
    • Remote incident logs
  • Retrieve information later

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions