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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Air quality cell function

Control measure knowledge

If major air pollution occurs at an incident, the environmental agencies and public health organisations will set up an air quality cell. This will include other organisations, including the Met Office, Solutions from HSE, the Airborne hazards emergency response (AHER) service in Scotland and local authorities.

A joint understanding of risk and shared situational awareness should be developed by the members of the air quality cell. The fire and rescue service should provide the air quality cell with updates on the development of the incident and the operational response, to inform the monitoring and review of the potential impact on public health. This should also be used when carrying out operational risk assessments and developing tactical plans.

The air quality cell will co-ordinate air monitoring and provide air quality information. Public health organisations use this information to provide health advice to emergency responders and the public. For more information refer to Foundation for environmental protection - Air quality risk assessment.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure relevant personnel understand how to obtain and apply the information provided by the air quality cell 

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider requesting that an air quality cell is set up

  • Develop a joint understanding of risk and shared situational awareness with the air quality cell

  • Use air quality cell information to inform operational risk assessments and tactical plans

  • Monitor and review the potential impact of the incident and operational response on public health with the air quality cell