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Control measure

Warn, inform, instruct and update people: Major incidents

Control measure knowledge

For generic guidance on warning and informing the public that are directly affected by an incident see National Operational Guidance: Operations – Warn, inform and advise people.

Electronic media is generally the fastest way to broadcast a message and it is a useful way to get out very detailed information, in particular for those at work or who have no immediate access to television or radio during the day. It will need to be regularly updated during an incident or emergency. In addition, fire and rescue services’ own websites and social media can also be used to stream press conferences. The information is constantly available and it serves as an audit log to show that information was provided at certain times.

The release of sensitive information (such as the number and details of those involved) must be strictly controlled and should follow the established multi-agency process between the relevant organisations such as the police, disaster victim identification (DVI) and the coroner.

The UK Resilience section on the Cabinet Office website and other sites can be a central source of information for the media inside and outside the United Kingdom, including press releases, briefings, statistics, response figures, maps, graphics and instructions. It can also be used to distribute emergency plans and transmit alerts and warnings.

The scale and nature of any emergency will dictate the level of national involvement in its handling, particularly in communications. If ministerial involvement becomes necessary, then the News Co-ordination Centre (NCC) will be set up by staff in the Cabinet Office. The NCC will function alongside the government department leading the response and liaise closely with staff from the Central Office of Information News and Public Relations at the scene of the emergency, if outside London.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Have established protocols with other category 1 and 2 responders to:

    • Agree the process to be used to identify the lead responder to warn, inform and advise the public on any other type of emergency
    • Agree the identity of lead responders to warn, inform and advise the public on those scenarios which can reasonably be anticipated
    • Agree joint working procedures and allocation of responsibilities in support of the lead responder for warning, informing and advising
    • Agree the trigger points for the handover of the lead responsibility for warning, informing and advising from one responder body to another and the procedures to achieve this
    • Agree how services or products for warning, informing and advising (e.g. equipment for media centres) will be sourced
  • As appropriate, agree with local companies and organisations the circumstances in which their facilities or resources (e.g. premises, call centres), may be made available to the responder bodies, to help deliver advice and information to the public

Tactical actions

At the strategic co-ordinating group, commanders should:
  • Agree protocols for sharing information and brief relevant personnel