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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Manage congestion of digital network communications on the incident ground

Control measure knowledge

During major incidents, the ability to communicate intraoperably and interoperably is essential and because of the nature of major incidents the channels used to communicate can become many and complex. All of the three emergency services have trained operational communications advisers who are able to assist in managing the digital network communications. In most cases this is done by providing incident commanders with advice and, if necessary, producing a communications plan which takes into account the needs of the incident as well as the capacity of the local digital network base site for radio and mobile communications. The network monitoring centre (NMC) can also assist in managing capacity and will provide appropriate advice and information throughout the duration of a major incident.

To reduce the potential impact of loss or congestion of the digital radio network during multi agency incidents, incident commanders and control rooms should consider an early request for a multi-agency talk group via police control.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Have 24/7 access to an operational communications adviser

  • Ensure operational staff and fire control staff are fully aware of the limitations of the secure digital network and correct training is in place

  • Have procedures and arrangements to inform the NMC and to mobilise an operational communications adviser when a major incident is declared 

Tactical actions

All personnel should:
  • Follow standard communication protocols and keep radio and mobile communication to a minimum

At the scene of an incident, tactical incident commanders should:
  • Obtain advice from an operational communications adviser to avoid radio and mobile  communications becoming congested at an incident