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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC


This guidance has been developed to assist fire and rescue services identify common hazards and implement reasonable control measures in the event that a fire control receives multiple calls, is required to manage multiple incidents or both.

Although managing multiple incidents and managing multiple calls are different, the subjects have been combined because the hazards and control measures may be similar, or in some cases the same.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with:

In this guidance, ‘multiple calls’ refers to more than one emergency call being managed at the same time, and ‘multiple incidents’ refers to more than one incident occurring at the same time.

Periods of multiple calls and multiple incidents may be considered ‘spike’ or ‘spate’ conditions when they exceed normal expected levels for a fire control and fire and rescue service and may:

  • Exceed normal emergency call management capacity
  • Exceed available operational resources

Spike conditions occur with little or no warning when multiple emergency calls about the same incident are received, such as a fire with plumes of smoke that can be seen over a wide area. These calls usually reduce or stop when operational personnel arrive at the incident, depending on the type of event

Spate conditions occur when emergency calls are received simultaneously for multiple incidents at various locations, which are more than normal emergency call levels. Spate conditions can last for hours or sometimes days. Events causing spate conditions, such as a significant weather event, may be forecast and therefore planned for. Spate conditions are likely to lead to fire control personnel managing multiple incidents simultaneously.

Affected control refers to the fire control that covers the geographical area in which an incident or event is located.

Assisting control refers to those emergency controls that manage emergency calls on behalf of an affected fire control.

Repeat calls are calls about an incident that fire control personnel are already aware of and have most likely mobilised to. These may also be known as duplicate calls.

Remote area is an area that is outside of a fire control’s normal geographic area of responsibility, such as beyond the county border.

Remote emergency call is an emergency call that is being managed by personnel in an assisting emergency control on behalf of an affected fire control as part of pre-arranged agreements, such as call redistribution plans. This does not include misrouted emergency calls.

The call handling agent, BT Plc, receives emergency calls and routes them to relevant emergency control room in the UK. The call handling agent is also responsible for providing accurate caller location information to the emergency services.