Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Avoid smoke plumes

Control measure knowledge

Where possible, contact with smoke plumes should be avoided by selecting upwind approach routes and adopting defensive firefighting techniques. Avoiding contact with smoke and fire gases will reduce the need for respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and post-incident decontamination.

See National Operational Guidance: Environmental Protection - Smoke plumes

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure that all crews are aware of the risk to health presented by working in smoke and fire gases

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Adopt an upwind approach to smoke plumes and fire gases, and to avoid where possible

  • Consider the effects of wind and ventilation on smoke and fire gases when positioning firefighting personnel

  • Advise relevant agencies if a smoke plume presents a risk to the safety of the public
  • Consider the impact of smoke plume on downwind life risk, road users and other transport networks

  • Obtain advice from the hazardous materials adviser (HMA) on the size of any downwind protection zone