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

100 videos, 6 hours and 37 minutes

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Initial assessment and planning

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So now what we are going to have a look at is actually on-site. We are going to look at the joint decision model and the first two points of the joint decision model. 

So the first box is; gathering information and intelligence, which means you need to understand the difference between information and intelligence.

Information is basic facts, what do we know? We know there has been a collapse, we know that there is large mechanical machinery in that may or may not be stable. Intelligence is something else. Intelligence is taking that information and saying, So what, how does that affect me. How does that affect my service, my organisation? This means that intelligence for different agencies is different, even if it is based on the same information because it all affects us differently. We know that we had a collapse, we know there is some machinery, we know there is a potentially large number of people underneath. What we don't know is how stable that rock face is. How stable the machinery is, and what other risks and hazards that we haven't even perceived yet, may still be present or potential.

So an important thing there is it to be able to share information because as a commander you have never really got the whole picture. You can see what you can see based upon your experience, your knowledge, but then a fire officer will be looking at it from an entirely different perspective, as will be a police officer as well, the other important element in this, the representative from the person who is got the problem in this case, the simulated fact that we have got a mechanical digger company, etcetera. They have got the expertise, they know about this ground, they know about these machines, they know what they are capable of, what they are not capable of, that is all something that needs to be fed into the pie.

So is that information kept by you or is it being sent somewhere else?

Right, so it is two-fold. So basically, it is gathered from everybody at the scene in this huddle of commanders at the front end, that are going to exchange the information they have got, so we have got the whole picture and then extraction of that is going to be given as part of the updates to control. And people often ask, "Well, how often do you have to update control?" Well, as often as necessary, and that is actually based upon the tempo or the battle rhythm of the incident itself. So if you have got a long, slow, drawn-out job with not a lot of activity on it, then actually updates maybe once an hour or even once every two hours depending upon the job, whereas a lot more fast-pacey one, I may be having to do on every 15 or 20 minutes or so.

Okay, so with Adrian in control of that information that is coming back to you, what are you actually doing with that? Where does it go from you? You're picking it up on the radio, what do you do with it?

Well initially, the information will be passed back, well, it could be requirements, further assets to the scene, whether they will be specialists or not and secondly, there will be updates. Obviously, if there is more assets required at the scene, how can we move those around because we still got the day-to-day job to carry on with. So there are still patients out there that still with chest pains and people who have fallen.

I think that's one thing a lot of people forget that this may be a major incident, we may be throwing a lot of resources at it, but there are still day-to-day work that has to be completed and has to be done, managed and controlled as well as the major incidents. So actually you have got a bigger task because you are trying to throw as much resources as required on the job, but you have also got to try and keep everybody else happy and everybody else safe in the wider community that...

Certainly, you have got to try to think a step ahead of what the incident might need with assets requirements on the scene. You might need to ask for mutual aid coming from further afield, and it is a moving stone and it depends on what... You are reliant on the information coming back.

So we keep coming back to this communication, again. The importance of the communication coming from the site to the control, from the control back to site and everybody on the site understanding how that affects them and how that is put into action.

Actually, there is some very good points in there. Actually, if we just think about the fact that the scenario we have given has got a large number of people buried under rubble. The first thing that will tell you as the command is, this isn't going to be a short job. Because of any type of... That type of rescue takes an inordinate amount of time to do because it is not just your agency dealing with it, it is others that have the expertise in these areas, they have their own risk assessments, their way of working, etcetera. Now that actually goes... You go, "So what? How does that affect me?" Well, actually rotation of personnel on scene, relief for commanders, things like we are sitting in September now, and it is sort of a half 12, this is clearly going to run on into the night, I need to be thinking about heat, light, power.

Food, welfare issues, all things that are actually outside of that, but I need to be thinking about them now. And actually one of the key things as a commander, I need to be thinking about, is my own resilience. At what point do I need to be relieved and hand over to someone else, because this is going to be a 48-hour, 72-hour type job, I clearly cannot stand here for the 72 hours and do that, so that's going to have to be managed. And it's not just a question of... Let's say Adrian is the incoming commander, "Here you go mate, cheers, carry on." There is got to actually be a cross-over period. So Adrian would arrive about an hour before he needs to. He will infiltrate himself into the back of the group and pick up on the atmospherics of what's going on.

And where are we going?

And where it's going, so he gets absorbed in the scene and then at the hour point, Ad will come forward, I will step back, but I won't bugger off. I will stay for an hour because there may still be information. When he is happy that he is now got it, it's all his. I can fade away, get rested, and then we will do the same process in the morning in order to change over. So resilience of yourself, the resilience of your staff. These are all things that actually you think about as a commander at the beginning of the job, not halfway through it or toward the end.

Yeah. Now, one of the things we have talked about a bit is using other services and other volunteer sectors maybe like managing rescue, search and rescue, military RF, all these sorts of people but what about on-site here where this collapse has happened, there is a demonstration of a company that does earth-moving machinery, we have got quite a lot of that machinery on site. Is that an asset? Is that a problem? Is that usable? How does that fit into the picture?

I think you need to look at it from assets, and this is where you need to talk to the people and say, "Alright, mate, you work here, okay? Tell me how stable you think that machine is. Can that machine be stabilized? What methods do you have? What machine have you gone on-site that may assist us in moving some of this rubble, etcetera, out of the way without damaging the causalities further? Can any of the machinery here be used to stabilize it to make it safer so that we can perhaps do a snatch rescue?" None of those answers to those questions are straightforward? A fair amount of rapid discussion about what will work, what won't work, you have to base it on your own experience and the expertise of the others, for one of the better words, in the room.

So we are looking at subject specialists, and the subject specialist on those machines is the company that owns the quarry, runs the quarry, and has the driver certified in it?

Correct, yes. So very much, they need to be part of that command huddle because they have got the subject matter expertise.

Something also we talked about briefly earlier, Jim, was site managers and their importance in this role. So how do you think that works currently? How do you think that can be improved? Does it work? Doesn't it work? What information do we want from that quarry manager?

Certainly pre-incident or any incident that happens on-site, it would be useful to have site plans, site procedures, people who know the site intimately, machinery as well, so when the cavalry does turn up, an incident commander is asking the question where, what, and when, there is somebody there that gives all that information regarding the site because that will kill a lot of time trying to find out what is useful, where can we go. If you look at this quarry, for instance, it's enclosed, the access and egress will probably be one route, but there may be another route we don't know about, and it is gathering that information for somebody who is responsible on-site.

Got you. So for instance, this site I know has a helipad on it, but if that's not actually pointed out to you early doors, we may have helicopters landing in fields that we can't get to or miles from the scene because nobody has actually highlighted that helipad.

Sure, man. I can say because it's an enclosed area with cliffs all around. If we put the helicopter on the top, it's going to cause a lot of problems to get to the casualties. Now, if we can land on a flatbed of land within the quarry itself, that makes life a lot easier.

So I think we come back again to the importance of quarry management, site management, actually being active or proactive in the site safety side of it and handing it over to the services. They may never ever use this, but if they have got the right paperwork, the right access egress maps where defibs are, where first aid kits are, where helipads are all marked on maps, whereas you arrive on the scene for this incident, they can pass it to you and say, "Alright, we have got X, Y and Z chemicals here that need to be made aware of. This is your site map." Would you both agree that that makes life so much easier and so much swifter?

Certainly. And if a person has got all the information they need to be part of that huddle on the scene.

You would use them as an integral part of the actual rescue itself because they are on scene, they are site specialists, they know the site better than you are ever going to know it?

Absolutely. And so as part of the planning process, it is very easy to fall in the trap and go, "Well, this is what's going to happen, this is how I'm going to respond to it." But actually, your planning needs to be flexible. So if we take this scenario as an example, large earth, potentially, moving, potentially become a further risk. Yeah, there are options here that are available, is it stable enough that we will actually get the casualty clearing, the vehicles, the helipad and everything landed in the bowl of the quarry? If it's not stable enough, then what is the shortest route in which to be able to put those things into place?

So there's more than one option there. Your planning isn't just, "We're going to do it like this." Your planning should produce your options of, "There is this way of doing it, that way... " Depending upon the circumstances.

So we are going to always need to have a fallback plan. If plan A doesn't work, we need a plan B and B and C and C and D because if it never ever goes to plan, I think everybody would be great.

Look at different options all the time.