Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Locate and avoid cables

Control measure knowledge

Access and egress routes should consider the potential hazards of cables. Routes should either avoid cables, or it may be necessary to release or secure cables and their fixings.

Specialist equipment, such as anti-entanglement covers or straps, may minimise the risk of personnel becoming entangled. Cable cutters can assist personnel to carry out a self-release or release of another person in the event of entanglement.

Thermal imaging may assist in identifying internal fixings that have been subjected to heat, either from processes or through exposure to fire. The use of thermal imaging equipment may be beneficial in reduced visibility.


Lightweight conduit, trunking and cable fixings may be located by inspecting other compartments in the building, or similar nearby properties.

Confirmation that the electricity supply has been isolated should be provided by a competent person prior to electrical cables being released or secured.

For information about isolating the electricity supply in buildings, refer to Utilities and fuel – Isolate utility or fuel supplies to the premises.

Modes of transport

Understanding the design and construction of the mode of transport may help when needing to locate cables, especially when gaining access to a casualty. For further information refer to Transport – Mode of transport design and construction.

It may be necessary to isolate electrical systems in modes of transport, especially if cables need to be cut when gaining access to a casualty. For further information refer to Transport - Identify and isolate electrical systems in modes of transport.


Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Consider providing specialist equipment for personnel working in environments where there may be cables

  • Have arrangements for thermal imaging equipment to be made available at incidents

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Brief personnel about the presence and type of cables prior to them entering the hazard area

  • Assess the likelihood that cables and fixings will fail increasing the risk of entanglement

  • Consider the use of appropriate specialist equipment to minimise the risk of cable entanglement

  • Consider using thermal imaging cameras to locate cable-related hazards

  • Consider using routes that avoid cables if there is a risk of entanglement or electricity

  • Consider securing or carrying out a  a controlled release of cables