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Control measure

Use local knowledge

Control measure knowledge

Technology aside, comprehensive knowledge of a station's local area can significantly contribute to successful and efficient incident outcomes. Fire and rescue service personnel should endeavour to learn as much as possible about major hazards in the area so they are aware of the risks they may face if they are called to attend an incident and any precautions they should take.

The ability to read maps/street atlases may be key to locating an incident. Appliance drivers should have a good understanding of local road networks and be able to anticipate the effect that the incident may have on approach routes. Other local factors may affect attendance times, for example:

  • local events
  • activities affecting the roads
  • large numbers of members of the public may be congregated
  • knowledge of road traffic pinch-points
  • smoke from the incident obscuring driver's vision
  • flooding making road impassable

In rural areas, firefighters should have an awareness of accessible farm tracks and the extent to which they can be used to reach isolated incidents. They should know the make-up of open land and susceptible areas, including sites of special scientific interest and they should keep themselves posted, as far as possible, about changes in road conditions due to the weather.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide effective means to enable personnel to gain the required skills, knowledge and understanding of their potential work area, for example, topography and map reading
  • Provide effective means to update personnel of any activities or changes in their area, which negatively affect attendance times.
  • Provide effective systems and processes to update personnel who are en route to an incident of any additional information which could affect their attendance

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Use local knowledge, topography and map reading skills to aid navigation to an incident

  • Consider delegating responsibility for navigation to suitably qualified members of the team

  • Confirm details of the incident with fire control rooms to assist in locating the incident
  • Identify and communicate alternative routes to the incident where appropriate