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Developed and maintained by the NFCC


Breathing apparatus (BA) enables firefighters to breathe safely in otherwise irrespirable atmospheres. Using BA is one of the  control measures likely to be employed as part of the overall incident plan for any incident involving fire and hazardous materials.

This document is designed to complement and support National Operational Guidance and defines how breathing apparatus procedures should be used at operational incidents. BA command and control procedures provide a clear framework for operational activities to function effectively, structured around the incident command system. The procedures will allow efficient, effective and safe working practices to be adopted and can be adapted to all sizes and types of incident that require the use of BA.

Operational guidance review protocols

The commissioning and review of this foundation document, including decisions on revision and amendment, are the responsibility of the National Operational Guidance Programme and its governance structure.


This foundation document describes in detail the principles underpinning the planning, use and command and control of BA. It also describes the responsibilities of relevant personnel when BA is implemented as a control measure.

The tactical guidance in this document will assist fire and rescue services with:

  • Developing safe systems of work
  • Managing BA operations
  • Defining specific roles and responsibilities in relation to BA
  • Intraoperability at large or cross-border incidents where more than one fire and rescue service is in attendance
  • Interoperability at incidents where other emergency responders are in attendance