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Insufficient resources

Hazard Knowledge

Effective deployment of resources may be key to the success or failure of an incident commander’s strategy or plan to resolve operational incidents. Any failure or delay in mobilising sufficient personnel, equipment, specialist skills and other agencies to an incident may delay operational intervention, increase risk to the public and reduce firefighter safety.

To ensure adequate resources are mobilised to incidents each fire and rescue authority has to decide their strategic direction via their risk management plan and adoptive powers under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, The Fire and Rescue Services Order (Northern Ireland) 2006, to plan for and respond to incidents within their areas and in other areas as reflected in their risk management plans.

See National Operational Guidance: Operations - Failure to identify foreseeable risk

To appropriately respond to these identified emergency calls and mobilise resources in a timely manner, fire and rescue authorities should develop or adopt a clearly defined methodology for recording the types of incident that may require their response, assigning standardised pre-determined attendance for these identified incident types.

See National Operational Guidance: Operations - Failure to handle emergency calls and mobilise resources in a timely manner

Having appropriately agreed pre-determined mobilisation of resources provides a consistent and robust method of ensuring the initial resource requirements for incidents are mobilised.

See National Operational Guidance: Operation - Use incident typing

As no two incidents are the same, it is imperative that on arrival the incident commander is able to correctly identify the resources currently available to take immediate action and request those likely to be needed to deliver a full incident plan.

See National Operational Guidance: Incident Command - Command decision making.

In some cases, resources such as firefighting media may be critical to a specific type of incident and may need to be considered for a particular risk as part of pre-incident planning, including site visits, Site-Specific Risk Information, tactical plans and foam plans. For example, a fire in a flammable liquid storage facility may require large quantities of foam and associated equipment to apply it effectively. Fire and rescue services should consider special factors such as the requirement for large volumes of specific extinguishing media and make the necessary contingency or resilience arrangements to obtain them when required.

At large-scale incidents, fire and rescue services and the incident commander may need to consider additional resources that may be required as part of a protracted deployment. These may include fuel supplies for emergency fire vehicles and equipment, particularly for firefighting pumps that may remain in position for days or even weeks at a time.

Commanders should also be aware that any congestion at the scene can lead to delays in important resources arriving and the likely impact on the escalation of an incident. It may also obstruct the passage of vehicles from other agencies, particularly ambulance service vehicles, where efficient arrival and departure may be key to achieving good patient outcomes.

Maintaining effective communication is important at all incidents and accurate information should be relayed between the incident commander, crews and fire control rooms to ensure they maintain an accurate picture of an incident including the deployment and availability of operational resources.

See National Operational Guidance: Operations – Communicate the availability of resources