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Control measure
Use the Geographical Information System (GIS)

Control measure knowledge

Fire control rooms benefit from being able to clearly visualise caller, incident, resource, and in some cases, risk data. The map-based visualisation of information provided by geographical information systems (GIS) helps them to make more informed decisions.

Many resources deployed by fire and rescue services now carry communication equipment that makes use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to provide details of location. These are usually referred to as 'automatic resource' or 'automatic vehicle location systems' (ARLS or AVLS). This information can be displayed on the GIS in control rooms, enabling fire control room operators to confirm the locations of resources.

The GIS functionality in mobilising systems may enable fire control room operators to attach or create risk information for specific locations. They may, for example, denote temporary road closures, planned major events, site-specific risk information (SSRI), hydrant data, tactical and COMAH plans. These can aide mobilising decisions and may also be used to provide information to crews.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Confirm the location of an incident: when the location details for an incident are entered into the incident capture form on the mobilising system (either from EISEC or manually by the operator), the incident location can be displayed on the GIS. If there is any doubt or ambiguity about the information the caller is providing, fire control room operators can refer to the map on GIS to obtain information on adjacent properties, streets and landmarks. This can be used to confirm any location on any incident
  • Select deployment points: the GIS supplied with some mobilising systems enables Control Staff to 'click' on the GIS to designate the location of an incident, rendezvous point or deployment point rather than selecting from the gazetteer. This provides useful information on larger incidents, for example general hospitals, motorways and trunk roads and gives a more precise location of incidents and information to responding crews
  • Display the location of resources: use GIS linked to AVL software to show the location of available fire and rescue resources
  • Display the availability of resources: the operational status of a resource can be displayed on the GIS. This enables fire control room operators to view the availability of resources
  • Validate resource proposals: fire control room operators can use the GIS information for resource status information, which validates resources proposed by mobilising systems. This ensures that the nearest appropriate resources are dispatched to an incident. It will also provide a sense check for search engines embedded in the mobilising systems
  • Inform closing - in moves: using the operational status and location information provided by the GIS, fire control room operators make informed decisions on fire cover moves. If an area is depleted of fire cover but resources are available on mobile duties nearby, fire control room operators may choose to send a standby appliance to an empty station or area
  • Add risk information: the GIS functionality in mobilising systems may enable fire control room operators to attach or create risk information for specific locations. They may, for example, denote temporary road closures, planned major events, site-specific risk information (SSRI), hydrant data, tactical and COMAH plans. These can aid mobilising decisions and may also be used to provide information to crews

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Use relevant resources such as GIS mapping to obtain further information on adjacent properties, streets and landmarks to confirm the location of the incident. This is especially applicable where there is doubt or ambiguity about the information the caller is providing
  • Designate the location of an incident and, where appropriate, rendezvous or deployment point
  • Retrieve and mobilise the nearest relevant resources after collating call handling information and retrieving the correct pre-determined attendance
  • Validate resource proposals: Fire control room operators can use the GIS information for resource status information, which validates resources proposed by mobilising systems. This ensures that the nearest appropriate resources are dispatched to an incident
  • Inform closing-in moves: Using the operational status and location information provided by the GIS, fire control room operators make informed decisions on fire cover moves. If an area is depleted of fire cover but resources are available on mobile duties nearby, fire control room operators may choose to send a standby appliance to an empty station or area
  • Risk Information: Attaching/informing crews attending incidents of any additional risk information collated in the fire control systems that is relevant to the incident
  • Carry out a dynamic risk assessment of each call. This should take into account:

    • Any requirement to redeploy resources from one incident to another
    • Validation of resource proposals
    • Passing of any relevant information to crews attending the incident
    • Considering the need for any fire cover moves
    • Re-evaluating initial risk assessment and updating emergency responders as necessary