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Incident information

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Approach hazardous material incidents at slow speed from upwind and higher-level ground where possible 

  • Control measure - Guidance

    When approaching the incident use visual and other incident indicators to inform situational awareness

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Use weather information systems to identify impact of wind, rain and temperature on the incident

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Gather incident information from a suitable safe distance based on hazard assessment

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Identify clear avoidance routes to the scene of operations and confirm them to all personnel

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Observe individuals for signs of exposure or contamination and check for consistency against identification

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider Step 1-2-3 Plus: Safety Triggers for Emergency Personnel

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider the potential for secondary devices and share any intelligence with other responder agencies

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Recognise indicators that hazardous materials may be present in unexpected places (e.g. Drug labs, IEDs, ICE)

  • Further incident information

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Access any operational or site specific risk information (SSRI) and confirm accuracy

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Access any available emergency response plan and implement appropriate predetermined actions

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify and contact the responsible person to understand incident factors and history

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Adopt a cautious approach to situational awareness where there are no immediate threats to life

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Set up improvised wind monitoring devices to indicate current and changing conditions

    • Control measure - GuidanceControl measure - Guidance

      Use waterproof chemical/substance information boards to retrieve information from the scene

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider deliberate reconnaissance based on a joint understanding of risk

Resource information

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider requesting the attendance of hazardous materials adviser (HMA)

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Request appropriate specialist resources and equipment for hazardous material incidents

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider requesting the attendance of a competent person, subject matter expert or tactical adviser

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider requesting specialist resources for detection, identification and monitoring (DIM)

  • Further resource information

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use specialist advisers to carry out hazard specific assessments and interpret information and advice

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Request the appropriate emergency response for a confirmed or suspected CBRN or CBRN(e) event

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify best access route, rendezvous point (RVP) and marshalling area and communicate to all responders

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider the availability of pollution control equipment and/or pollution containment facilities on site

Risk information

  • People

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Determine whether people should be advised to evacuate, shelter in place or 'stay put'

    • Identify the evacuation strategy and potential routes from SSRI, responsible person and building plans
    • Control measure - Guidance
      Consider occupants that need assistance to evacuate (e.g. disabilities, medical needs, refuge areas)
    • Consider methods of communication to inform occupants of the evacuation strategy

  • Release or spill of hazardous material

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use signs, labels, markings, container types and detection equipment to identify substance

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Assess the construction, condition and stressors acting on the ineffective containment systems

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify the presence and effectiveness of secondary and tertiary containment (e.g. bund)

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure that all personnel wear the level of PPE identified by service risk assessments, procedures and training

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify additives that may treat or neutralise chemical hazards in liaison with a hazardous materials adviser (HMA)

    • Control measure - Guidance

      When approaching the incident use visual and other incident indicators to inform situational awareness

  • Toxic health hazards

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use signs, labels, markings and container types to identify the presence of toxic materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Establish exclusion zones, inner and outer cordons based on level of risk from toxic material

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider options to contain or disperse the spread of toxic materials in consultation with HMA

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider the potential reaction between the toxic material and containment material / water

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider reducing vaporisation or gassing-off by covering or reducing the surface area of spills

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider absorbing spills with inert materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider reducing vaporisation or gassing-off by reducing the temperature of bulk containers

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider reducing vaporisation or gassing-off by covering or reducing the surface area of spills or absorbing spills with inert materials

  • Asbestos

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify the presence of asbestos containing materials and assess the level of risk (High or Low Hazard)

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Avoid disturbing or releasing asbestos materials wherever possible

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Avoid committing responders into areas that may lead to contamination with asbestos if possible

    • Control measure - Guidance

      If entering the hazard area follow HSE agreed method of working with asbestos-containing materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure that all personnel wear the type of RPE identified by service risk assessments, procedures and training

  • Corrosive materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use signs, labels, markings and container types to identify the presence of corrosive materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use detection equipment to identify and monitor any corrosive materials involved

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Attempt to contain the spill or release of any corrosive substance as close to the source as possible

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Attempt to neutralise any release or spill of corrosive materials based on specialist advice

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider dilution and dispersal of corrosive materials as a last resort following consultation with relevant environmental agency

  • Biological agents

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use signs, labels, markings and container types to identify the presence of biological agents

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Make contact with biological agent specialist staff to determine the controls that can be operated – and the effect of operating controls

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Attempt to contain the spill or release of any biological agent as close to the source as possible

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use minimal water to attack a fire involving biological agents

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Introduce decontamination additives for biological agents that provide a free-chlorine-based option

  • Radiation

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use signs, labels, markings and container types to identify the presence of radioactive materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use detection equipment to identify and monitor levels of the radioactive materials involved

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Establish, record, communicate and continually monitor the level of background radiation

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Keep exposure to ionising radiation ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ (ALARP) in all cases

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Employ the principles of time, distance and shielding

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ascertain if the packaging or shielding for the radiation source has been damaged

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Attempt to contain the release of any radioactive materials as close to the source as possible

  • Contaminated or exposed members of the public

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use the most effective methods for communicating with people who are either directly or indirectly involved in the incident 

    • Remove casualties from the immediate area to avoid further exposure

    • Remove the outer clothing of members of the public and issue disrobe packs if available

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Remove the substance from skin using dry decontamination (or wet decontamination for caustic substances)

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Establish interim decontamination using standard frontline equipment based on hazard assessment

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Instigate the deployment of mass casualty decontamination resources as soon as the need is identified

  • Contaminated or exposed of responders

    • Control measure - GuidanceControl measure - Guidance

      Instigate emergency procedures if personnel or responders are accidentally contaminated or exposed

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Liaise with multi-agency partners who are operating in the hot zone regarding decontamination

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Provide disrobe assistants in suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist contaminated personnel

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Seek advice from hazardous materials advisers (HMA) and scientific advisers regarding known decontamination additives and consider making them available to be used against commonly encountered materials

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Contain all run-off from the decontamination process until disposal arrangements are agreed

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Enforce hygiene measures and ensure personnel don't eat, drink or smoke except in appropriate areas 

Powers, policies and procedures

  • Restrict the access of persons to premises or a place if they reasonably believe an emergency to have occurred

  • Further powers, policies and procedures

    • See The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR2012) summary for further information

    • See Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) (and NI) summary for further information

    • Control measure - Guidance
      Consider the legal exemptions in relation to environmental protection i.e.
      • A discharge is made in an emergency to avoid danger to human health
      • All reasonably practicable steps were taken to minimise pollution
      • The relevant environment agency is informed of the incident as soon as possible
Why? Expectations? Benefit vs Risk?

Objectives

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Maintain the safety of all personnel, other responders and the public

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Save life and reduce harm

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Minimise the impact of the incident and fire service actions on any identified environmental risk

  • Further objectives

    • Control measure - Guidance
      Promote community recovery and restore normal operations
    • Control measure - Guidance

      Secure the scene to ensure evidence is preserved for internal and external investigations

Tactical priorities

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Assess the need to conduct immediate life-saving actions at incidents involving hazardous materials

  • Control measure - Guidance Identify the number of casualties requiring medical attention and instigate a triage process
  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider firefighter decontamination arrangements prior to committing personnel to the hot zone 

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Use specialist advisers to carry out hazard specific assessments and interpret information and advice

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Ensure all personnel wear PPE according to service risk assessment and procedures for HazMat incidents

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Establish emergency arrangements appropriate to the size and complexity of the incident

  • Further tactical priorities

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider a shelter-in-place strategy based on the number of people already exposed or potentially at risk

    • Control measure - GuidanceControl measure - Guidance

      Obtain advice from the hazardous materials adviser (HMA) on the size of any downwind protection zone

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Predict the likely hazard area using observation or modelling in liaison with specialist advisors

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Attempt to contain the release or spill of a hazardous material using a Source – Pathway - Receptor model

Operational tactics

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Commit crews to perform rescues based on the hazard assessment and joint understanding of risk (JUR)

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Attempt to contain the release or spill of a hazardous material using a Source – Pathway - Receptor model

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider dilution at incidents involving a release or spill of hazardous materials based on specialist advice

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider joint working in hazard areas based on joint understanding of risk

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider decontamination of personnel, PPE and equipment prior to redeployment

  • Further objectives

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Contain all run-off from the decontamination process until disposal arrangements are agreed

Communication

  • Control measure - GuidanceControl measure - Guidance

    Share situational awareness and establish a joint understanding of risk with other agencies

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Use the most effective methods for communicating with people who are either directly or indirectly involved in the incident 

  • Control measure - Guidance Consider joint working in hazard zones, ensuring that systems of work and emergency procedures are understood by all parties before entry
  • Further communication - H6.0

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Use the most effective methods for communicating with people who are either directly or indirectly involved in the incident 

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure effective liaison and communication with off-site commanders and co-ordination centres

    • Control measure - Guidance Inform sewerage undertakers if discharge is to foul the water sewerage system

Control

  • Control measure - GuidanceControl measure - Guidance

    Consult specialist advisers to assist with modelling potential hazard areas

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Ensure that appropriate exclusion zones, inner and outer cordons are established and communicated at hazardous materials incidents

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Predict any likely protection zone based on specialist advice, observation or modelling

  • Further control

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Enforce hygiene measures and ensure personnel don't eat, drink or smoke except in appropriate areas 

    • Log decisions including the outcome of joint understanding, priorities and multi-agency response plan

Incident closure and handover

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Ensure that hazards and risk controls are identified when handing over safety to the responsible person

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Implement service procedures for dealing with hazardous waste post incident

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider decontamination of personnel, PPE and equipment prior to redeployment

  • Further incident closure and handover

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider decontamination of personnel, PPE and equipment prior to redeployment

    • Hand over responsibility for any waste produced at the incident to a responsible person or party 

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure that all records related to the exposure or potential exposure are completed as soon as possible

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Follow service protocols for post incident health surveillance and monitoring

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Carry out post-incident health monitoring 

Additional information

  • Generic initial cordon distance guidance

    Note: continuous risk assessment should be carried out to ensure that the cordon remains appropriate and proportionate to the risks identified by the incident commander

    Incident type Initial cordon distance (metres radius)

    Explosives –CBRN(E), terrorist

    (*Consider no fire and rescue service attendance or treat as 'exclusion' distances for fire and rescue service personnel, take guidance from police and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD))

    100m for an activated device

    Unexploded devices: *

    100m for a suitcase-sized device

    200m for a car-sized device

    400m for a lorry (or when size of device is not known)

    Chemicals being transported

    25m for solids

    50m for liquids

    100m for gases, vapours, particulates

    Radiation 

    Outside buildings:

    50m – unshielded or damaged potentially dangerous source

    100m – major spill from a potentially dangerous source

    300m – fire, explosion or fumes involving a potentially dangerous source

    400m or more to protect against an explosion – suspected bomb (exploded or unexploded)

    Inside buildings:

    Affected and adjacent areas (including the floor above and below) – damage, loss of shielding or spill of a potentially dangerous source

    Entire building and outside distances detailed above – fire or other event that can spread a potentially dangerous source materials throughout the building (for example through the ventilation system