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by the NFCC


Driving to incidents

Hazard Knowledge

When driving to incidents, personnel may encounter hazards including:

  • Other road users taking inappropriate or unhelpful actions, inactions or reactions
  • Traffic conditions that hinder progress
  • Pedestrians or animals in the road
  • Road conditions, such as:
    • Heavy rain or flooding
    • Snow
    • Ice
    • Width or height restrictions
    • Security barriers, bollards or ramps
    • Obstructions, such as parked vehicles
    • Steep gradients
    • Driving off-road
  • Hazards relating to the incident, such as:
    • Debris
    • Collapsed structures
    • Hazardous materials
    • Presence of other emergency response vehicles
    • Presence of emergency response equipment

If these hazards are not avoided or negotiated by using appropriate driving techniques, they may result in:

  • Road traffic collisions
  • Injuries to personnel, other emergency responders or members of the public
  • Damage to vehicles or property

A number of factors may increase the likelihood of a fire and rescue service driver being involved in a road traffic collision, including:

  • Perception of urgency
  • Peer pressure
  • Impairment due to:
    • Fatigue
    • Stress
    • Alcohol
    • Drugs

The classification of the incident or event, in addition to the choice of words and phrases used in mobilisation messages, may influence a driver’s perception of urgency and therefore their driving behaviour; this could apply to personnel mobilising to a fire station, from a fire station or from elsewhere.

Delayed or aborted travel to an incident

If mobilised resources are delayed or unable to get to the incident, it may result in not having sufficient and appropriate personnel and equipment at the incident. It is critical in all cases of failed or delayed attendance for the fire control room to be promptly notified so that appropriate action can be taken.

Causes for delayed or aborted travel include:

  • Vehicle breakdown
  • Road traffic collision en route
  • Being unable to locate the incident
  • Weather conditions
  • Road conditions

Traffic congestion at an incident

Any congestion at the scene of the incident may result in the delayed arrival of required fire and rescue service resources, which may impact on the development of the incident. Congestion may obstruct the arrival of resources from other agencies, such as the ambulance service vehicles, which could impact on the condition of casualties.