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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Incident information

  • Make a safe approach at an appropriate speed and consider wreckage, casualties, fuel spills, animals etc.

  • Establish the type of road and the status of the affected carriageway (live or closed)

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider using affected motor​way carriageway as a two-way road, following service procedures

  • Control measure - Guidance
    Confirm and communicate the involvement, num​ber and severity of any casualties (persons or animals)
  • Identify the number of passengers, contents, cargo and any hazardous materials information

  • Identify fuel type (hydrocarbon, LPG, electric, hybrid, hydrogen), fuel spillages and potential ignition sources

  • Identify vehicle construction materials, pressurised air systems, hydraulics and refrigerants

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Survey the vehicle internally and externally for signs of un-deployed vehicle safety systems

  • Additional incident information

    • Consider time of day and effect on transport systems and working environment

    • Observe variable message signs and other road signage to identify traffic delays
    • Identify the impact of tunnels, bridges, viaducts and flyovers on access, resources and incident plan

    • Control measure - Guidance
      Consider using a range of thermal imaging resources such as aerial appliances, drones and helicopters
    • Control measure - Guidance

      Investigate the scene looking for indicators of occupancy considering seating and standing capacities

    • Consider vehicles with sleeping compartments and the potential for stowaways

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Contact commercial vehicle operators to obtain passenger numbers and cargo information

    • Identify any hazardous materials signage and other indicators as part of scene survey

Resource information

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider requesting external specialist resources appropriate to the type, size and complexity of the incident

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Request medical support at rescue incidents as soon as a need is identified

  • Confirm that required agencies have been requested or notified (e.g. Police, Ambulance, environmental agencies)

  • Additional resource information

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure that all appropriate environmental agencies are informed of the incident when required

Risk information

  • Moving vehicles

    • Ensure high visibility clothing is worn where compatible with other PPE
    • Control measure - Guidance

      Position appliances to fend-off vehicles and use warning signs, lights and cones

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure fire and rescue service vehicles display warning devices appropriate to their position on the roadway

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Liaise with the police and other relevant agencies to close roads or establish traffic management systems 

    • Seek assistance from the police or other relevant responder agency to secure a safe working area

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider implementing reverse access procedures to SMART or ALR motorways

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Appoint suitably competent personnel at safety officers

  • Working environment

    • Establish, identify and communicate safe traffic routes, establish clear zones and equipment points

  • Fuel and electrical systems

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify isolation points for alternative fuel vehicles (AFV)

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider marking alternative fuel vehicles to make responders aware of the associated hazards

    • Ensure vehicle power or fuel source is isolated by removing keys or operate emergency shut-offs when safe to do so

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Disconnect vehicle battery considering the operation of any powered systems (e.g. windows, seats)

    • Consider vehicle fuel lines and high voltage cables when planning stabilisation and extrication

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Avoid any contact with live electrical power systems or wear appropriate PPE (e.g. electrical gloves)

    • Provide extinguishing media and control ignition sources where fuel is not contained

  • Unstable vehicle

    • Stabilise the vehicle to protect against uncontrolled movement and regularly check effectiveness

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Maintain an escape route for emergency responders in case the mode of transport moves

    • Consider securing an unstable vehicle to a suitable anchor point

  • Vehicle safety systems

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Survey the vehicle internally and externally for signs of un-deployed vehicle safety systems

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Avoid placing solid objects near to undeployed vehicle safety systems, within their deployment range

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Control use of radio equipment in the area where vehicle safety systems have been identified

  • Vehicle construction

    • Identify materials and systems used within a vehicle and communicate to all emergency responders

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify and communicate hazards relating to pressurised systems to all responders

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Restrict entry to the passenger cell until hazards have been assessed and controlled

    • Provide sharps protection to responders and casualties around deformed metal and broken glass

    • Control measure - Guidance Minimise the production of airborne particulates during extrication and provide respiratory protection
    • Control measure - Guidance Consider requesting specialist cutting equipment at incidents involving unconventional or specialist vehicles
  • Vehicle contents

    • Establish the contents of the vehicle and the potential effect on fire service operations

    • Identify the likely direction of travel for any loads that may move

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider removing or stabilising vehicle contents if they are likely to hamper response

    • Identify whether the incident should be reclassified as a hazardous materials response
  • Rescue tools

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider extrication methods which do not require the use of tools or equipment

    • Control measure - Guidance Select the appropriate rescue tool considering the condition of the casualty, extrication plan and materials
    • Control measure - Guidance Provide hard and soft protection between the tool and the casualties, operators and other responders
    • Control measure - Guidance Monitor rescue tool performance for indicators of unidentified materials
    • Control measure - Guidance Consider positioning a safety officer to monitor rescue tool operation
    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure that personnel have access to the appropriate PPE

  • Body fluids

    • Control measure - Guidance Avoid contact with body fluids where possible
    • Control measure - Guidance

      Isolate or cover body fluids following casualty removal

    • Control measure - Guidance Wear body fluid gloves and cover broken skin with waterproof dressing
    • Control measure - Guidance

      Instigate decontamination procedures following exposure of personnel and equipment to body fluids

Powers, policies and procedures

  • Move or break into a vehicle without the consent of its owner
  • Close a highway, stop and regulate traffic:
    • if a road traffic accident has occurred
    • for the purpose of rescuing people or protecting them from serious harm
    • if they reasonably believe a fire to have broken out or to be about to break out
    • for the purpose of extinguishing or preventing the fire or protecting life or property
Why? Expectations? Benefit vs Risk?


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

  • Save life and reduce harm

  • Further objectives

    • Control measure - Guidance

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

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

Tactical priorities

  • Control measure - Guidance
    Establish a safe working environment for personnel and other emergency responders
  • Control measure - Guidance Identify the number of casualties requiring medical attention and instigate a triage process
  • Control measure - Guidance

    Stabilise life threatening injuries or conditions and maintain casualty care throughout incident

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Develop and communicate immediate release, emergency and full extrication plans

  • Further tactical priorities

    • Control measure - Guidance

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

Operational tactics

  • Control measure - Guidance Deal with any immediate fire risk and provide a means of extinguishing fires during the incident
  • Stabilise the vehicle and create initial access to casualties

  • Consider the management of any glass that might affect rescue operations

  • Control measure - Guidance Reveal hidden areas to aid identification of components that could damage tools or cause uncontrolled release
  • Control measure - Guidance Implement appropriate space creation techniques in line with the casualty extrication plan
  • Control measure - Guidance

    Extricate the casualty considering their injuries and overall threat to life

  • Further operational tactics

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Establish and resource a casualty care point

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Systematically search for casualties including underneath vehicles, in hidden voids and surrounding areas

    • Control measure - Guidance Consider screening casualties from the view of the public, media or other casualties


  • Control measure - Guidance

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

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Debrief personnel that have withdrawn from a working area during an incident to gain operational intelligence and safety-related information 

  • Control measure - Guidance Provide a structured handover when transferring casualty to medical responders
  • Further communication

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Identify the safest access route, rendezvous points (RVPs) and marshalling areas, and communicate to all responders and the fire control room

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Establish and maintain an incident ground communication plan considering other agencies and remote resources

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Ensure communication systems are effective in subsurface and tunnel environments


  • Control measure - Guidance

    Ensure that appropriate inner and outer cordons are established and communicated following an assessment of risk to all people present

  • Control measure - Guidance Co-ordinate the simultaneous activities of extrication teams and tool operators
  • Appoint competent safety officers to monitor specific hazards or activities

Incident closure and handover

  • Control measure - Guidance

    Consider preservation of evidence when planning, communicating and implementing tactics

  • Ensure that hazards are identified when handing over responsibility for safety to the responsible person

  • Further incident closure and handover

    • Control measure - Guidance

      Consider the welfare or shelter arrangements for people directly or indirectly affected by the incident

    • Control measure - Guidance Conduct a structured debrief at a level appropriate to the size of the incident

Additional information