At premises without salvage or disaster plans, or where these plans are not available, incident commanders should develop a damage control plan.
Damage control can be categorised into three phases of operations:
- Phase 1 includes work undertaken at the same time as firefighting. This is usually the most important phase if significant damage is to be prevented.
- Phase 2 is aimed at mitigating the damage that has already occurred and preventing further deterioration
- Phase 3 deals with preventing subsequent damage or losses including removing and temporarily storing items
Incident commanders are expected to consider each phase of operations when formulating the damage control plan and ensure that it is fully integrated with the overall incident plan.
There is no clear demarcation between each phase of operations. They will overlap as the incident progresses and consideration should be given to prioritising damage control, working away from the area of highest risk outwards to other areas. This may be across floors and could include adjoining property.
The effectiveness of damage control activities is directly proportionate to the following:
- The speed and skill with which they are carried out. Incident commanders should aim to resource and implement damage control plans at the earliest opportunity.
- The implementation of safe systems of work. All staff involved in damage control should be aware of the hazards, should be fully briefed on how conditions may change and appreciate how their work fits in with the overall plan to resolve the incident.
- Effective communication. Incident commanders should be aware of the actions of damage control crews and these crews should be aware of the impact of their actions on the successful resolution of the overall incident.