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by the NFCC

Fire control room guidance: Fire survival guidance

During a fire, people at risk may be trapped and unable to reach a place of safety due to:

  • Their ability
  • The location and behaviour of the fire
  • Physical limitations of the environment
  • Physical entrapment

There may also be situations where people at risk have the ability to reach a place of safety, however the actions they take and their reasons for doing this may prevent them from doing so. For example:

  • Religion
  • Cultural or social beliefs

During these situations, the provision of fire survival guidance (FSG) may be necessary to improve their chances of survival. FSG is defined as the advice and guidance given by fire control personnel to people at risk, who are directly affected by flames, heat or smoke and cannot get to a place of safety.

All possible means of safe evacuation should be explored prior to the decision being made to give FSG.

FSG will follow the three principles of emergency call handling to:

  • Assess
  • Protect
  • Assist rescue

The provision of FSG is not a linear process and fire control personnel will need to use their professional judgement to continually reassess which of the 3 principles is relevant throughout the call.

This guidance covers the provision of a single FSG call within specific environments. However, the principle of FSG can be applied to other fire situations, as well as being provided to multiple callers.

FSG may need to be passed on by someone else; for example, if a translation or text relay service is being used, or if the caller is relaying information to others. This will not change the advice being given; however, fire control personnel may need to tailor their call handling techniques.

During FSG calls where people at risk are trapped and unable to reach a place of safety or follow advice due to their ability, religion, cultural or social beliefs, fire control personnel should identify the reasons why, what their abilities and limitations are and explore alternative options with the caller to protect them and improve their chances of survival.

This guidance document should be read in conjunction with:

  • Emergency call management people at risk, which will provide guidance on evacuation, effective communication techniques and joint situational awareness

The guidance documents below provide additional information which fire control personnel may find useful:

  • Wildfires, which will provide additional details on the hazards and risks associated with wildfires
  • Search, rescue and casualty care, which will provide additional details on how operational personnel use information received from fire control rooms to develop their search plan