Major Incident Planning and Support (MIP+S) Level 3

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Access and Egress

Video 64 of 100
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Something we have to take into consideration and a really, really important part of emergency planning is access and egress. And again, a lot of people think access and egress start at the front gate of the factory, the quarry, the plant that you are dealing with, but actually, it's far, far bigger than that because the site we are on today. Three of us arrived in three different vehicles, and we had got two entrances, we got one postcode, and the postcode took us to the wrong entrance, and the second postcode that was given took us three miles away from the second gate. So, the postcodes were accurate enough. The site itself is spread over many acres, there is numerous entrances to it, and it's also down an awful lot of country roads, a lot of quarries, a lot of sites, especially dealing with quarrying or chemicals and stuff are off the beaten track for a reason. But that beaten track means that we are dealing with a small lawn, small roads and small lanes. So, what needs to be factored in is what is the best routine to that site, before you even get on site. What roads can we use, which is safe to use, which isn't, which is the best road in, which is the best road out, which way are we going to be going to hospitals? So they are all things that can be, should be and need to be factored into an access and egress plan. Aiden, from your perspective, what do you think that companies can do and how do you think we can improve this.

Companies on-premises could do a lot of pre-planning. The incident may never happen, but it could. It's not a matter of when, it's if it's going to happen. So location is key. People can say, "Well, give us a postcode," but actually go and put it in your satnav, does the postcode take you to the exact location if it doesn't, you need to look at all their information, how assets can get there.

Access and the egress are two words, so two routes. The road you come in is not necessarily the road you are going to use out, so you need to think about that as well. Are the roads suitable, B-roads, A class roads? Are they going to take a lot of traffic? and certainly in a major incident, sort of, scenario, but there is a lot of vehicles coming from different emergency services, so that needs to be thought about. So go back to the pre-plan and they need to have it like a crib sheet of the information that they think... The location and everything else. The numbers and type of incident will change, but the location won't. So, a lot of pre-planning can go into that.

If they called you when they made that initial call if they said your best access road to this is the B-700, you already know, which is going to be your best route for vehicles.

There are so many forms... 999 the incident will obviously go through to the control room of what agency received it first, that they will put it on the premises now... The crews and the police and the fire will take the direct route, that is there, once we get on the site then and we can start managing other roads out and other avenues out, but more often than not, the resources coming will take the quickest route.

Got you. How about yourself. What's your feeling on the access and egress. Does it...

I think the problem is that the words are too limited for the... What you actually have to consider, because people take it as a literal... Well, that is the way in and the way out, but actually, it's the way in and you got it's going to be large enough to support a big footprint from the emergency services.

Some, large vehicles, even the ambulance service has some of the largest vehicles, fire service certainly does. If you are thinking about a major incident, it's probably taking... Shall we say 25 trucks, 100 ambulances, plus officers' cars, and then you have got the stuff that doesn't come with emergency services but does come because it's the emergency service, so there's your press and everything else. And actually, you might have to have a plan where you might not want to do this, but it's easier for you to accept the press onto your site and corral them in an area within your site rather than letting them block the roads that access your site, so the emergency services cannot get in or out, something that you can only do by planning and talking to either the emergency planning officer from fire and rescue and ambulance service.

It all comes back to, again, having a simple crib sheet, a simple plan that tried and tested driven route, so you would drive it in in a vehicle, you drive it back out again to make sure it works, but all that can be done pre-accident, pre-incident, so if it does ever happen, we have a tried and tested plan, which we know will work under pressure.

This quarry is a prime example because if you look around it's all single-track roads, so if you have got a vehicle going down one way, you are not going to get a vehicle going up the other way, so you need to look at, is it going to be complete circuits? Is there a way of getting to the casualties another way?

We have got to try and limit reverse in, we have got to try and limit on-coming traffic and that sort of stuff. So if we can basically facilitate a loop where you come in at one entrance, go around the loop load and go out of a different entrance, the whole system cannot get locked up, it will continue flowing.

Certainly, I mean, the least bottlenecks we can create the better it is for getting people out of here.

Yeah, and all of this cordon should be done prior to any incident happening because the site is never going to change if they change the roads, you change the plan, and that can be done on-site before the emergency services get there.

Everything internal to the organization, the company and the premises can be done pre-incident.

It's also a matter of considering how you are going to do stuff, so if it's a small-ish incident, well, you are probably not evacuating your site... It might in vac somewhere, but you are not evacuating your site, therefore that is not going to impact the road infrastructure coming into it, but sometimes it might be worth considering, although you will want to evacuate the site, you just do it to a safe area within the site because 300 cars now leaving the site going in the opposite direction and the emergency services come in on a small A and B class roads is not going to be helpful.

I think it also what a lot of people don't take into consideration is that the emergency services nowadays look at sites or when they do reviews and when they do accident investigations and stuff like that, they are looking at sites now actually doing more for themselves, so the site itself can no longer rely on the emergency services because the emergency services are not responsible for your site, you are. I think you need to recognise that you have got the issue, you've got the problems, you need to actually address those and put it in place because that is not the emergency services problem, and when the investigation comes at the end, the more work you have done pre-incident the better you are going to come out of it in post-incident, because if you've got all this in place, tried tested and it works, you are inevitably going to get better outcomes, you are inevitably going to save more lives, and you are inevitably going to come out better when the HSE do the investigation. 

I think that's just good business sense because any investigation is going to say, was this foreseeable? and was it mitigatable?

I think also what a lot of people don't realise is the average cost of an investigation these days for one death is a million pounds, and that's is a lot of money, which you could have spent a few hundred pounds probably, and put something in place which may have stopped that death and may have mitigated the insurance claim and everything else, far, far better than sitting there doing nothing and just shelling out a million pounds for an investigation.

Even for the emergency, I believe the London ambulance service after the '77 bombings had something like 15 people for three years devoted to the after-action requirements.