June 28, 2016

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Effective Emergency Incident Communications

Gordon Graham
Category: Fire

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol and Today’s Tip deals with starting your emergency incident communications in a positive and effective manner every time. 

An effective size-up communication from first-arriving firefighters can make a difference for everyone’s safety.

Anyone can be first on scene of a fire or other emergency scene and some may not be a seasoned Incident Command System (ICS) veteran. 

Without proper training on how to provide key size-up information, an incident could start poorly and endanger the safety of all personnel who respond to the incident. 

An effective size-up communication from first-arriving firefighters can make a difference for everyone’s safety. Fire personnel should be taught to relay the following on the fire dispatch radio channel: 

Occupancy of the involved structure, area or vehicle. This can be short, such as, “a wood-framed single-family residence” or “a gasoline tanker.” 

Condition of the emergency. This could be “fully involved”, “light smoke from an upstairs window” or “alarm sounding, no visible flame or smoke.” 

Rescue profile. This is a quick first-glance of the potential need for an imminent rescue. It can be as simple as “unknown if victims are present” or “three occupants trapped on the 2nd floor of the building.” 

Action should be noted. If the first on scene firefighter is going to take any action, he/she should give a quick description of that action, such as, “checking for victims” or “shutting off utilities.” 

Assignments should be noted, if appropriate for the experience level, such as, “first-in fire engine to arrive cover the exposure on the “B” side” or “On arrival setup for a second floor rescue.” 

Some agencies provide a laminated, business card sized reminder of OCRAA. Remember OCRAA the next time you are first to arrive on an emergency scene.  

And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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