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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Maintain safe access, egress and escape routes for fire and rescue service vehicles

Control measure knowledge

It is important to maintain safe access, egress and escape routes for fire and rescue service vehicles at all times. The egress and escape routes in particular should be continually assessed throughout the incident to ensure that vehicles and personnel do not become trapped. It may be necessary to develop contingency plans in the event of a vehicle becoming trapped. 

Personnel need to be able to access fire and rescue service vehicles throughout the incident, to obtain equipment or seek refuge.

Fire and rescue service vehicles may be compromised by operational activities or the development of the incident. For example:

  • Surrounded by smoke
  • Damaged by fire
  • Being stranded if they are moved or positioned away from roadways, designated routes or hardstanding
  • If large quantities of firefighting run-off water or foam cause the surrounding area to become unsafe for vehicles
  • Collapsed structures or debris preventing their movement

If it is necessary to drive fire and rescue service vehicles off-road, personnel could be sent ahead on foot to assess ground conditions and identify an appropriate route. 

Access, egress and escape routes for vehicles should take into account: 

  • The likely development of the incident 
  • The impact of operational activity
  • Width, condition and gradient of roads and tracks – being aware that vehicles may 'bottom out' on undulating ground 
  • Width and weight limits of any bridges, taking into account that there is no requirement to mark the weight limit on bridges on private land (such as bridges not on a public highway) 
  • Risk of overturning when crossing steep slopes 
  • Saddles, re-entrants or other landscape features that may impact fire behaviour or are prone to flooding 
  • The type of vehicles in attendance 
  • Wind direction, weather conditions and visibility 
  • The presence of:
    • People
    • Personnel and equipment 
    • Fenced and unfenced roads and tracks 
    • Animals, including livestock 
    • One way systems 
    • One way systems
    • Suitable turning and passing areas 
    • Unmetalled rural roads 
    • Locked gates, parked vehicles, machinery or other obstacles
    • Security barriers,bollards or ramps
    • Hidden obstructions, such as tree stumps or pot holes 

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide suitable fire and rescue service vehicles

  • Ensure personnel are aware of the capabilities, limitations, dimensions and weight of fire and rescue service vehicles

  • Have arrangements in place to recover vehicles that become trapped or have broken down

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify, review and communicate suitable access, egress and escape routes for vehicles

  • Mark or delineate access, egress and escape routes for vehicles where possible

  • Consider the impact of the incident and operational activity on access, egress and escape routes for fire and rescue service vehicles 

  • Consider the impact of the transport infrastructure on safe access and egress routes

  • Implement contingency plans if a vehicle becomes trapped

  • Consider using personnel on foot to assess ground conditions and identify appropriate routes when driving vehicles off-road