Skip to main content

Control measure
Maintain individual situational awareness

Control measure knowledge

When firefighters are alerted to respond to an emergency incident, the information contained in the notification to respond may cause the firefighter to make a judgement about the urgency of the incident. In some people this may cause a stress reaction that may affect their physical and mental ability to respond safely.

Firefighters should also be aware of the hazard that can be caused when the notification to respond distracts them from their current activity. This may occur during fire and rescue service activity but also during secondary employment, leisure or domestic activities.

See National Operational Guidance: Operations - Failure to manage health, safety and welfare - Safe person principles

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure responders have appropriate information at the time of call where possible, so that they can make appropriate decisions about how they respond
  • Ensure that responders understand how their physical and mental ability can be impaired by the transition from rest to response, so that they can take conscious action to respond safely
  • Ensure responders are also made aware of team safety protocol; for example, the safe person individual responsibilities, "Maintaining situational awareness means: being vigilant for personal safety and the safety of team members, being observant and able to identify and react safely to new or unexpected hazards, particularly when working without supervision.”

Tactical actions

All personnel should:
  • Perform tasks in a competent and responsible way and exercise self-discipline within the command and control system
  • Recognise physical limitations in performing tasks and personal limitations in knowledge and experience
  • Be vigilant and able to identify and react safely to new or unexpected hazards
  • Reduce risk by taking action to reduce personal and team exposure to risk
  • Communicate safety critical information and unexpected developments to supervisors and commanders