Control measure knowledge

The possible impact of critical incidents on employees can be minimised through raising awareness of the causes and potential effects of the pressure and stressors that may occur at operational incidents. These should be reflected in occupational health policies and operational policy development. Incident commanders should be aware of the effect that traumatic incidents can have on themselves and others in both the short and long term.

Consideration should be given to the provision of critical incident debrief procedures following incidents that involve exposure to traumatic scenes.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Carry out strategic risk assessments to identify foreseeable hazards within their area and identify control measures that eliminate or reduce risk
  • Consider the provision of or access to engineering controls that can assist with manual handling tasks

  • Develop service policy and procedures for the acquisition, application and maintenance of operational competency

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Handover responsibility for traumatic incidents to an appropriate agency where the fire service does not have primacy

  • Minimise number of personnel exposed to traumatic scenes where possible
  • Erect screens to restrict the view of traumatic scenes
  • Instigate service procedures for the support of firefighters exposed to traumatic scenes