Control measure knowledge

Without common terms and symbols there is a risk of misunderstanding between emergency responders and supporting organisations. At best this can lead to delays in obtaining support services and at worst people could be put at risk.

A common standard for terms and symbols is critical to effective interoperability between emergency responders and other supporting organisations, as well as intraoperability between fire and rescue services. Without a common approach and dialogue it would prove difficult to maintain interoperability between the fire and rescue services, other emergency responders and supporting organisations. This includes technical aspects of communications.

Issues include:

  • Words, terms, phrases, symbols or graphics with different meanings or context
  • Words, phrases, symbols or graphics with no meaning in other organisations

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Make arrangements with other agencies and category 1 and 2 responders to develop a common understanding of terms and symbols
  • Ensure that incident commanders are familiar with the responsibilities of other agencies and category 1 and 2 responders and the roles of their representatives that may attend operational incidents. (See JESIP)
  • Review the guidance issued in relation to the Civil Contingencies Act, which has sought to provide some standardisation of common terms for interoperability, and the information contained in the Cabinet Office - Civil Protection Lexicon and Common Map Symbology

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Use common terms contained in the Cabinet Office Lexicon (See Civil Protection Lexicon)
  • Use plain English to communicate information where a lack of common understanding exists