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Deployment of Breathing Apparatus wearers

The incident commander will only deploy breathing apparatus after identifying the operational outcomes and objectives to be achieved. They must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks involved using all the information and local intelligence available, including:

  • Risk assessments
  • Site-Specific Risk Information (SSRI)
  • Local fire and rescue service standard operational procedures
  • Other local or circumstantial information

Refer to National Operational Guidance: Incident command – Ineffective safety management 

Consideration should be given to:

Operational practice

The appropriate level of BA command and control procedures and safe systems of work outlined in this foundation document should be used at all incidents where BA is deployed. Incident command system principles and practices should be adhered to at all times. Refer to National Operational Guidance: Incident command.

BA will only be used on the instruction of, or with the authority of, the incident commander. Only the incident, operations or sector commander may nominate BA entry control operatives. During an incident, the incident commander may delegate authority to deploy BA wearers to operations or sector commanders. However, operational personnel have the right to request BA for respiratory protection, such as when a sudden change of wind direction affects a pump operator and the crew’s safety would be compromised by leaving the pump unattended. In such instances, the firefighter should inform the incident commander and BA entry control operative, who should initiate the appropriate BA entry control procedures whilst the firefighter dons BA. Such requests should be considered as part of the normal risk management process.

Procedures for briefing and debriefing BA wearers and teams are critical to establish safe systems of work and maintain firefighter safety. Full and effective briefing and debriefing of BA teams should therefore take place every time BA is deployed.

Suitable, sufficient and resilient means of communication methods should be established at all times to ensure the effectiveness and safety of BA wearers. Communications between the BA entry control points, BA wearers and, where established, command support are essential.

Suitable and sufficient firefighting equipment must be provided whenever BA teams are committed to a risk area involving fire or a flammable atmosphere.