See National Operational Guidance: Incident Command - Interoperability and intraoperability
Transport related incidents are highly likely to involve a multi-agency response and it is therefore important that the responding fire and rescue service dealing with the incident work closely with other responders and relevant people throughout the incident.
The basic principles of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) should be embedded in services including the use of the M\ETHANE acronym as a common model for passing information and the use of the joint decision model. The principles of joint working are:
- Jointly understand risk
- Share situational awareness
Establishing effective communications at the scene will be vital in sharing situational awareness and co-ordinating a safe and effective emergency response plan. The availability of fixed communication systems will vary across the transport infrastructures and be dependent on the location of the incident.
The use and compatibility of radio systems and technology is key to effective liaison at incidents. However, fire and rescue service personnel should be aware of the radio traffic demands on the aerodrome incident commander between:
- Aircraft pilots
- Air traffic control (ATC)
- Rescue and firefighting services' appliances and watch room (if staffed)
- Aerodrome ground operation vehicles
- Emergency services rendezvous points (RVPs)
- Aerodrome manager
- Aircraft engineers
The aerodrome emergency plan will contain details of the action to be taken in the case of aerodrome accidents occurring outside of the aerodrome boundaries.
Fire and rescue service incident commanders need to be aware that pressures will be placed on the aerodrome fire manager if resources from the aerodrome rescue and firefighting service (RFFS) are deployed off-site. This is because deployment away from the aerodrome will reduce the site's ability to meet the required rescue and firefighting capability under the terms of the licence. The aerodrome will need to drop its operating category, resulting in flights being cancelled or diverted.
Incidents involving the rail environment are likely to involve all emergency services including the British Transport Police. Other key responders may include Network Rail, train operating company representatives, freight operating company representatives, Rail Accident Investigation Branch, Office of Rail and Road, local authority liaison officers and specialist rail units.
At the scene of operations
Robust communication must be established and maintained to preserve scene safety. Particular consideration must be given to personnel entering tunnel environments, confined spaces or complex building structures inside stations.
Messages to fire and rescue service control, which may be subsequently relayed to the infrastructure manager, require accuracy in formulation and transmission. To assist the infrastructure manager in implementing safe systems of work, carrying out fire and rescue services operations and reducing risk, it is necessary to include relevant details such as:
- Whether people are on or near the railway
- The location of the incident
- The level of control required, and over which infrastructure
- The geographical area over which controls should be applied
- Nature of the fire and rescue service activity being undertaken
Rail systems usually have a comprehensive telephone network enabling communications between control offices, stations, depots, most level crossings and signal boxes via trackside telephones. These can provide additional communication routes, however, it will be necessary to ensure adequate training is undertaken to ensure understanding of appropriate usage. Therefore, fire and rescue service operations should, whenever possible, communicate with infrastructure managers via the fire control room and arrangements for the methods of effective communication should be identified in preplanning.