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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Withdrawal from public disorder

Control measure knowledge

It may be feasible to plan for known areas or events where public disorder has previously occurred, or may be predicted to occur. Regularly updated intelligence and information from the police should be used to inform the risk assessment, as well as providing advice on the safety of personnel. Incidents should be approached with caution, and appropriate tactics used.

Incident commanders should maintain situational awareness, including changes in the behaviour of members of the public gathered at the scene. For example, a sudden dispersal of a crowd may precede a planned attack on emergency services or escalation in the disorder.

The incident commander should consider requesting the advice or assistance of the National Inter-agency Liaison Officer (NILO).

If personnel are at threat of, or subjected to, violence or aggression it may be necessary to withdraw fire and rescue service personnel, vehicles and equipment to a safe location.

Operational activities may have to be adjusted to allow for the rapid withdrawal of personnel, or for alternative means of transport from the scene provided. For example, the use of an appliance pump, hose reels or other equipment attached to an appliance may prevent rapid withdrawal; therefore, alternative procedures to deliver water may need to be considered.

Vehicles should be positioned to allow for rapid withdrawal, for example in clear sight of egress and facing the route away from the scene. It may be not be possible to retrieve all equipment when withdrawing, but the potential for its illegal use should be taken into account when prioritising its recovery.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Participate in multi-agency planning and training for public disorder

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Establish and communicate the signal and plan for rapid withdrawal during public disorder 

  • Gather regularly updated information and intelligence from the police

  • Consider requesting advice or assistance from the National Inter-agency Liaison Officer (NILO)

  • Maintain situational awareness with regard to the behaviour and movement of members of the public gathered at the scene

  • Ensure operational activities allow for rapid withdrawal of personnel, vehicles and equipment during public disorder