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Hazard

Insufficient resources: Fires and firefighting

Hazard Knowledge

The deployment of resources at an incident involving fire will be key to the success or failure of subsequent firefighting strategy and operations.

Any failure to mobilise sufficient personnel, equipment, specialist skills and other agencies to a fire incident may result in delayed operational intervention, increased fire development and reduced firefighter safety. Attempting to extinguish a fire with insufficient media available could result in the incident plan being only partially successful and the risk of reignition. As part of an initial plan, incident commanders should consider those resources available and whether there is an opportunity to save life or prevent the incident escalating.

In some cases, resources such as firefighting media may be critical to a specific type of fire 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.

See National Operational Guidance: Operations for further information.

Commanders should be aware that any congestion on the fire ground can lead to delays in important resources arriving and the likely impact on any fire development. 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.