Control measure knowledge

Fire and rescue services may require assistance for dealing with people at incidents. This assistance could include: 

  • Providing welfare or shelter 

  • Controlling members of the public, including crowds 

  • Dealing with unpredictable, aggressive, violent or illegal behaviour 

Welfare or shelter arrangements may be required for people affected by the incident, either directly or indirectly. 

Food and water may need to be provided to people who are not able to leave the surrounding area, for example, where transport networks have been affected. Or, depending on the scale and nature of the incident, it may be necessary to identify and arrange suitable locations and logistics to provide shelter for large numbers of people. 

The following publications provide detail about such arrangements: 

HM Government’s Evacuation and shelter guidance 

HM Government’s Emergency Response and Recovery 

HM Government’s website for Emergency preparedness 

Members of the public may put themselves at risk, or encourage others to put themselves at risk – for example, to attempt to rescue a person, animal or property. Communicating with people about the risks they are taking or are contemplating taking may prevent them from entering the hazard area. 

However, it may be necessary to request that the police control members of the public. The safety of fire and rescue service personnel should be maintained, even if they are faced with the moral pressure to act. 

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Liaise with local authorities and partner agencies to pre-plan for public shelters, as part of the community risk assessment 

  • Assist with pre-planning local support service arrangements for people affected by emergencies 

  • Have processes and arrangements in place for requesting local emergency support services

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider the welfare or shelter arrangements for people directly or indirectly affected by the incident

  • Request police assistance to control members of the public, including crowds

  • Consider adopting defensive tactics if people are displaying unpredictable, aggressive, violent or illegal behaviour 

  • Request police assistance for dealing with unpredictable, aggressive, violent or illegal behaviour

  • Request support for people affected by the incident, from the local authority, partner agencies or police family liaison officers 

  • Provide timely advice to members of the public