Control measure knowledge

Debriefing, also referred to as post incident review, can be formal or informal. Debriefing can range from 'hot debriefs', which occur at the incident before crews leaving, to large multi-agency debriefs or a public inquiry following major incidents. They are an important part of improving personal and organisational performance. They should take place whenever there is an opportunity to improve service delivery. Active monitoring during an incident can inform and support this process.

Debriefing forms an essential part of the management of health and safety on the incident ground. Debriefing will identify any significant information or lessons learned, and whenever possible, the incident commander should debrief crews prior to leaving the incident. Equipment, PPE, systems of work and training can all be improved as part of this performance management system. HSG 65 - Successful Health and Safety Management gives further guidance on the principles of effective health and safety management in the workplace.

Debriefs should be used to review the performance of individuals and teams against relevant standards with effective performance and meritorious conduct being acknowledged where appropriate. Debriefs can be used to highlight any unconventional system or procedures used that were successful or made the working environment safer. The recording, monitoring and review of incident debriefs and the outcome of investigations can support the identification of trends to support future learning.

Consider whether existing information held about a premises or location should be reviewed, or whether there is a need to add a new premises or location into future pre-planning, for example, by adding to a visit or an inspection programme

Managing for health and safety (HSG65), HSE 2013

Joint Doctrine: The Interoperability Framework, Part 1, Annexe A, Page 6, Para 8, Joint Learning

Fire and Rescue Authorities, Health, safety and welfare framework for the operational environment Section 4,7.1, 7.2, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 12)

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Have post incident debriefing procedures suitable to a range of incident sizes that consider multi agency involvement and fire control at all levels
  • Have procedures which capture and share operational learning and instigate changes to risk information, policy, procedures, equipment, PPE and training, as applicable
  • Effectively communicate lessons learned from debriefs to all personnel

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Conduct a structured debrief at a level appropriate to the size of the incident
  • Record and share significant findings from incident debriefs