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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Spread the load

Control measure knowledge

Applying pressure to an unstable surface will increase the likelihood of collapse. It may also result in a responder, appliance or casualty sinking or becoming engulfed. The greater the pressure the higher the likelihood.

Where movement on an unstable surface cannot be avoided, consider spreading the load, reducing weight and pressure. This can be achieved using specialist equipment or by taking simple actions such as removing unnecessary equipment or sitting down.

Spreading the load may prevent or slow movement of unstable ground and can be used to stabilise a casualty’s position prior to rescue or aid responders.

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider spreading a load to reduce the risk from an unstable surface