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

100 videos, 6 hours and 37 minutes

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Expect the unexpected

Video 34 of 100
3 min 40 sec
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What we need to look at now is expecting the unexpected or planning for the unexpected. That might sound really a contradiction in terms to plan for the unexpected, but the trouble is, we have both had many, many years, myself over 21 years of frontline, and every single job you get, until you turn up on the scene, you do not really know and you cannot really trust the information that is coming your way. Because regularly you will get fed information from the control room that has come via the patient or the person that is with the patient, which is far from accurate. But when we are talking about major incidents, we are talking about hidden problems. Stuff that is on-site that probably should not be, stuff that is stored probably incorrectly or management does not even know exists. Justin, what is your feeling about this unexpected?

The reality is that it does not really matter what job you go to, there will always be the unexpected in there, and we spoke earlier about sort of aid memoirs and having a system of work. Have a plan, have a process, stick to it, return to it, and that is where things like the joint decision-making model are very useful, too. As soon as you have got new information that comes in, no matter what it is, you should assess that in terms of, first of all, "So what? How does that affect my plan?" and if the answer is it has an impact, then you need to rework your joint decision-making model, putting that information in to see whether the processes that you are applying, your plan, are still going to work or not. If it needs changing, then that is when you modify it, issue new instructions and carry on. And it is important to say that once you have issued a plan, once you have given your commands about how you want stuff to be done, is that actually, you need to assess that, as well. So the first question I ask myself after I have issued instructions and sent people away to do my bidding, so to speak, is to review that by saying, "Is it working?"

I think, again, what we are saying here is that it is better to go in with an open mind, not have any fixed things in your head, because things will change, and if you have got a fixed plan in your head when you arrive on the scene, that will throw you a curveball because you are not expecting it, so your mind has now got to revisualise, recheck in and restart the planning process. Also, the scene is fluid, it can change at any time. More information, the longer you are there, the more the information comes in, the more things will change and when things change, we have to change. And again, we go back, because of all of this stuff is difficult to remember, the aid memoirs, the decision-making plans and all this other stuff, if you have got those in place prior to any incident happening, you have a chain of events that you can follow, you have got a map, you have got a way of doing this effectively and efficiently and documenting it at the same time. So when things change, we can change the plan and we can test.

I think that is absolutely right, but it is also, you have got to remember, you are not on your own as the commander. You will be standing there with some commanders from other services. That information affects you all, so you are not on your own, you can discuss it. And use your other commanders as critical friends, as it were, to help the decision-making process.

Yeah, so if we find a chemical, then the fire service is going to say whether that chemical is a risk or not. We would not know, but they do know, so we have got to use all parties to get that information as accurate as possible to denote whether it is a risk or not.