Situational awareness: Survival guidance

Control Measure Knowledge

Situational awareness will support fire control personnel to identify the hazards and risks associated with the incident. This will enable them to share risk-critical information with operational personnel and other responding agencies, provide appropriate survival guidance and react dynamically if the incident or the situation of the people at risk changes.

Situational awareness can be gained from:

  • Questioning callers
  • Risk information relating to occupants and the location of the incident, for example Site-Specific Risk Information (SSRI)
  • Risk information shared by other agencies
  • Situational updates from operational personnel and other responding agencies
  • Live footage and visual aids

Known risk information may not be accurate, therefore appropriate assessment and questioning should be carried out to determine if identified hazards and risks still apply, and if there are any additional factors to consider.

There are several factors which may affect the advice given to callers by fire control personnel, as well as the ability for operational personnel to rescue people at risk. These include:

  • The immediate threat to people at risk
  • The condition, number and ability of people at risk, for example:
    • Existing illness, condition or physical injury preventing them from leaving safely
    • Disorientation or unconsciousness
    • Being non-ambulant
  • Location of nearest resources
  • The development of the incident

To ensure there is joint understanding of risk, all relevant information gathered should be shared with operational personnel and other responding agencies.

Due to the dynamically changing situation, and potential escalation of incidents, it is vital that information gathered is continually reviewed for accuracy. A change in situation may affect the ability of operational personnel to rescue people at risk or mean that people at risk are in imminent danger.

Any change in advice being given to the caller or the situation should be communicated to operational personnel and other responding agencies immediately.

If possible, a method of contact should be maintained with the caller until people at risk have reached a place of safety or are in the care of operational personnel or other responding agencies. This contact will ensure that survival guidance can continue to be given, regular re-evaluation of the incident and the caller’s situation continues throughout, and that any change of advice can be passed on to people at risk. If a call is disconnected, fire control personnel should attempt to recontact the caller if necessary. The recontacting of callers should not put the caller at any additional risk. If contact is unable to be maintained, consider informing operational personnel and other responding agencies.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions