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National Operational Guidance is divided into three main activity categories: fires and firefighting, performing rescues and hazardous materials. All these activities take place in certain contexts. Some hazards apply to all activities but how they are controlled depends on the context of the incident.

This National Operational Guidance sets out the high-level knowledge, hazards and actions that should be considered in operations occurring subsurface, at height, in confined spaces and within/around collapsed or unstable structures. These are some of the most complex areas that fire and rescue services work in and include both geological and manmade structures.

Fire and rescue services frequently attend incidents that involve a combination of these contexts, where danger to operational crews and the public is significant. This guidance aims to promote and develop good practice and to support the development of safe systems of work to minimise the dangers faced by fire and rescue services in these environments. It also supports the development of intervention strategies and operational procedures.

This guidance specifically deals with potential hazards occurring subsurface, at height and in structural and confined space environments. It also suggests a number of potential control measures and links to other National Operational Guidance. Fire and rescue services can build on this guidance in line with their local risk assessment. This guidance may suggest further information to be considered when reviewing the hazard and control statement and the resulting guidance.

The guidance should be read in conjunction with other pieces of National Operational Guidance.

When reference is made to working with other agencies, please refer to the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) Joint Doctrine for further information.