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Control measure
Make a safe and controlled approach to the incident: Transport

Control measure knowledge

See National Operational Guidance: Operations - Time of alert to time of attendance.

By its very nature, an incident affecting the transport network will present challenges to responding emergency services. Some incident types will enable a degree of pre-planning for the location of access and rendezvous points (RVPs) but more remote incidents may present significant difficulties.

When considering the safest and most effective access to an incident the following should be considered:

  • Location: May be given by grid reference, last known location or by a member of the public
  • Terrain: Consideration should be given to the type of terrain the appliance is driven over. In some cases the shortest distance may not always be the quickest.
  • Wreckage: Must be avoided, as it could be covering casualties, could cause damage to vehicles and will form part of subsequent investigations
  • Casualties: May self-evacuate and travel considerable distances from the incident. Drivers must be aware that these people may be injured, disorientated or confused. Others may have collapsed and could be difficult to see, especially in adverse weather conditions.
  • Fuel spillages: Fuel spillages may be difficult to detect, especially if the incident occurred at night, during inclement weather or away from areas of hard standing
  • Animals: Disruption to the transport network could result in unconfined animals being encountered on roadways or by crews travelling on foot

Larger, more complex incidents may involve multiple resources from many responding agencies. Rendezvous points (RVPs) or strategic holding areas should be identified and communicated, if not pre-planned. Where the evacuation of casualties is likely to be involved, or they require conveyance by the ambulance service, a clear route to and from the incident will be required.

On attendance at incidents, drivers must display appropriate warning beacons in accordance with the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 and be aware of the legal requirements of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 101 & 105 in addition to other relevant legislation.

Air

Designated rendezvous points (RVPs) for responding emergency services attending the aerodrome will be located around the aerodrome and included in the aerodrome emergency plan. These areas will be designated for emergency services only and should be kept clear at all times.

Depending on the size of the aerodrome the facilities will vary, but may include:

  • Immediate access to airside areas via an access gate or equivalent
  • Designated parking areas for all emergency services
  • Shelter or control room facilities
  • Radio communications with the aerodrome fire service and/or air traffic control
  • Telephones
  • Detailed aerodrome crash maps and additional critical information
  • Aircraft hazard sheets and seating configuration for the aircraft that regularly use the aerodrome
  • Tabards and associated incident command facilities

See specific control measures relating to military aircraft and helicopters in this guidance.

Rail

Railway incidents are often linear by nature, with limited access points. This can have a significant effect on the provision of equipment and personnel to the scene of operations.

Whatever the source of information about an incident, the relevant fire authority mobilising control centre should establish contact with the appropriate railway traffic control. A considerable problem may be identifying the location of an incident. Members of the public supplying information are likely to be very imprecise, particularly in areas unfamiliar to them or in areas of open countryside where no specific landmark is available.

Assistance in specifying the location of an incident comes from the individual numbers marked on bridges and tunnels, on most signal gantries, and on all overhead line equipment supports. There are also mile-marker posts alongside all lines, and there may also be quarter-mile posts. Network Rail also makes common use of National Grid references to identify locations, and firefighters are recommended to do the same where possible. Adjacent roads, buildings, main rail junctions, level crossings and tunnels will also give a good idea of the whereabouts of an incident.

Access points or emergency response locations are areas that can be used as a means of access for an emergency response. They will also provide integrated facilities for fire and rescue service actions and managed evacuation by the relevant infrastructure manager (incorporating train design, cross passages and rail-managed evacuation trains) and may also incorporate evacuation facilities for members of the public. They can vary greatly from basic access stairs to complex, purpose-built structures. Emergency responders should be aware of the following features:

  • Rendezvous points (RVPs)
  • Access arrangements
  • Plans
  • Water supplies
  • Communication facilities

The urgency of the situation should be assessed when determining the most appropriate method of accessing the infrastructure. Some fire and rescue services have obtained specialist vehicles for use at rail incidents to reduce access issues to specific infrastructure.

It is always preferable for fire and rescue service crews to gain access to the infrastructure by means designed for public or fire and rescue service access purposes. This principally involves stations, emergency response locations or access points, and purpose-built walkways.

Fire and rescue service personnel must not move from an area intended for normal public use (e.g. station platforms or the public highway) to an area on or near the railway where there is a hazard from rail vehicles or the infrastructure, without first implementing appropriate control measures. Any signage provided should be considered as part of the risk assessment process.

Roadways

Build-up of traffic caused by drivers being unable to leave the area can present significant difficulties for responding emergency vehicles and fire and rescue services should consider dual approach procedures for incidents involving the road infrastructure.

When approaching any incidents where animals are located on or near to carriageways, or are believed to be involved in the incident (directly or by virtue of being cargo), the warning devices on all emergency responder vehicles will only add to the animals' distress and potentially increase the unpredictability of their actions.

Consideration should be given to turning off all flashing lights and preventing the use of audible warning devices as soon as is practicable. Approach to these incidents should be slow, without any undue noise or visual stimuli. Approaching or passing any vehicles carrying animals should also be carried out with caution to avoid unduly distressing them.

Waterways

The dockside is a high hazard environment and multiple risks are evident; vehicle and plant movements, high tensile mooring lines, falls into water, maintaining safety cordons and controlling the numbers of personnel at the scene.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Identify predetermined access and rendezvous points (RVPs) in Site-Specific Risk Information and incident plans

  • Identify areas that are unsuitable for vehicular access in Site-Specific Risk Information and incident plans
  • Include access and rendezvous points (RVPs) on identified sites in training and multi-agency exercises
  • Consider having dual approach procedures for incidents involving severe disruption to transport networks

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Access and consider Site-Specific Risk Information and incident plans when considering the most appropriate routes, access and rendezvous points
  • Make a safe approach at an appropriate speed and consider wreckage, casualties, fuel spills, animals etc.

  • Consider the effects of geography on equipment logistics, casualties and crew welfare
  • Consider a range of alternative means of access such as using specialist vehicles or cutting through fences
  • Consider appointing a marshalling officer to manage the logistics of emergency response vehicles at the scene or RVP
  • Observe variable message signs and other road signage to identify traffic delays
  • Establish the type of road and the status of the affected carriageway (live or closed)

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