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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Gain and maintain safe access and egress: Rescues

Control measure knowledge

Safe access and egress will need to be gained and maintained for any incident involving rescues. When determining safe access and egress routes, all available sources of information and an assessment of the developing incident should be considered. It may be necessary to use equipment to create or maintain access and egress.

When personnel are briefed about the incident, this should include details of the safe access and egress routes. They should also be reminded that situational awareness is essential for their safety while they focus on the rescue activity; this includes the use of identified routes. It may be beneficial to appoint a safety officer to monitor the safety of access and egress routes.

Ground conditions and current and forecast weather should be considered throughout the incident, to determine if the access and egress routes may be impacted. In reduced visibility, the use of lighting or physical barriers should be considered, especially for the egress route. Access and egress routes near water can also be affected by tides; this impact should be included when determining routes.

Access and egress routes for the hazard area should be maintained, taking into account that an alternative egress route may need to be established if the stability of the mode of transport or structure changes.

The routes need to take account of the number of emergency responders and casualties, along with equipment such as stretchers, that may need to use them. This can impact on the ability of an egress route to support the rescue, due to reduced space, increased weight and other demands on it.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Consider providing equipment that can be used to indicate the safe egress route

  • Consider providing equipment that can be used to create and maintain access and egress

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Determine the safe access and egress routes, based on the environment, conditions and requirements of the rescue

  • Identify and communicate access and egress routes to personnel who are involved in the rescue activity

  • Consider the use of equipment to create and maintain access and egress

  • Monitor access and egress routes throughout the rescue incident, and notify personnel of any changes

  • Consider appointing a safety officer to monitor the safety of the access and egress routes for rescue activity

  • Consider the use of lighting or physical barriers to indicate access and egress routes for rescue activity