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Control measure

Safe system of work: Being alerted to respond to an incident

Control measure knowledge

Individual situational awareness

Personnel should be made aware of team safety protocol, which includes maintaining individual situational awareness. The following points particularly apply if working without supervision:

  • 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

Personnel should be provided with appropriate information when they are alerted to respond to an incident, enabling them to make appropriate decisions about how they respond. For further information refer to Follow the standard message process.

Personnel should also understand how their physical and mental ability can be impaired by the transition from rest to response, so that they can take conscious actions to respond safely.

Fire stations

As with all working premises, fire stations must provide a safe working environment. This should take into account the effect on personnel, and others who may be on the premises, of being alerted to respond to incidents.

The installation of fire station alert systems that provide a phased increase in sound volumes and levels of illumination may be beneficial, especially for personnel who are asleep while on call.

Dress code

Fire and rescue services should consider having dress codes in place, based on local risk assessments. This should include arrangements for personnel who may need to respond to incidents while performing other work; the aim should be to improve their safety when in transition between roles.

When alerted to respond to an incident, it is the responsibility of personnel to wear clothing and footwear that is appropriate to the weather and environment.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Have reliable arrangements in place to ensure that responding personnel receive the alert to respond

  • Provide personnel with appropriate information when they are alerted to respond to an incident

  • Consider a phased increase in sound volumes and levels of illumination in station alert systems

  • Make personnel aware of the possible impact of impaired appraisal of the situation

  • Provide fire stations that are a safe working environment, and which undergo regular safety inspections

  • Have dress codes in place for personnel who may respond to incidents

Tactical actions

All personnel should:
  • Be aware of the need to maintain individual situational awareness

  • Follow dress codes

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear having been alerted to respond to an incident

  • Follow team safety protocols