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Control measure

Local knowledge and incident orientation

Control measure knowledge

Pre-planning is the process of gathering and recording information that could be critical for fire and rescue service personnel making life-saving decisions at a fire. Pre-incident plans generally include information that will be used by decision makers at a fire. Property and lives can be saved when the incident commander has access to this critical information about the building and its contents.

Pre-fire planning is essential. A detailed pre-plan can help the incident commander determine the appropriate tactics to adopt when tackling a fire and how best to deploy firefighters and equipment at the incident scene. See National Operational Guidance: Operations for further information about pre-planning.

A detailed pre-fire plan provides a range of information such as the design and construction materials of buildings along with their facilities and systems. One of the most critical pieces of information a pre-plan can offer is the presence of hazardous materials, including the type and quantity and their location in the building. Ideally, pre-incident plans will list any materials located at a site so they can easily be found.

Historically, plans, diagrams and associated information have been paper-based and filed on fire and rescue service vehicles, with a crew member having to search through files to find the relevant plan and information for the building where the incident occurred. Today, most fire and rescue services have mobile computers or data systems in at least some of their vehicles, which can store pre-plans and other information

Technology aside, comprehensive knowledge of a firefighter's station ground is the primary requisite for successful firefighting, with the information gained growing with time and through attendance at fires on the ground. They should be familiar with the location of hydrants, supplementary and/or secondary water supplies that would help firefighting in both urban and rural areas.

Fire and rescue service personnel should try to learn as much as possible about any special industrial processes or industries in the area, so they are aware of the conditions they will meet if they are called to a fire at these premises and of any precautions they should take.

Enquiries before a fire will tell them if the police or other responsible person (or appointed competent person) holds keys to certain classes of premises. They should also make contact with appropriate individuals, such as the occupiers of large premises and officers in charge of industrial or private fire services. Good liaison with these people will foster the co-operation essential for smooth working should fire and rescue services be called to a fire at these premises.

See National Operational Guidance: Operations - Time of alert to time of attendance

Tactical actions

There are no tactical actions associated with this control measure.