Situational awareness is a person's perception and understanding of the situation they face. It includes their anticipation of what the situation might become, including the impact of their actions. For an incident commander, it is their perspective on the scene of operations. For further information on situational awareness see National Operational Guidance: Incident command.
At incidents that involve working at height there may be instances where the incident commander cannot observe all areas of the incident and may not initially have enough information to maintain situational awareness. It is essential for the incident commander to gather this information, so they can understand and interpret the situation and anticipate what is likely to happen next.
Various sources of information may be available:
- On-site personnel
- Tactical advisers
- Reconnaissance crews at the scene of operations
- Reconnaissance crews remote from the scene of operations, such as adjacent buildings/structures
- Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones)