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by the NFCC

Unguarded edges

Hazard Knowledge

Firefighters responding to incidents may encounter unguarded edges around, for example, roofs, cliff edges, sink holes, docks and quarries. Guards around edges may have been severely damaged in an incident, as in the case of a serious fire in a high-rise building. The safety of crews in these situations should be of paramount importance to incident commanders.

An unguarded edge is generally defined as a floor, gallery, balcony, roof or area that people can access, and where there is no solid wall or raised rail of minimum 950mm high and no intermediate guard rail to offer protection from falling.

The work at height environment and the equipment and techniques used to overcome the inherent hazards will vary from incident to incident.

Most core work at height carried out by fire and rescue services will be on ladders and aerial appliances. Fall protection methods using harnesses are often used, such as rope access and rescue techniques, while wire equipment is used by specialist teams where necessary.