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

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So what I want to look at now is the methane report. Justin is going to give a methane report for the incident we have got at this quarry and he will give that methane report to Ade, who is sitting in control. So if you can give that methane report for this incident, then we will crack on from there.

Hi, Whiskey Romeo, this is Echo Papa two. Methane message. Over.

The retort would come back in from control that they are ready for the message and the message would then be passed.

Hi, Whiskey Romeo, Echo Papa two. Methane major incident declared. Exact location. What3words: Tiger, Cat, Fox. Type of incident: Landslide with multiple casualties at quarry. Access: Via south entrance of quarry. What3words location: Cat, Mike, Dog. Number of casualties: Currently estimated figures are five-zero. Emergency services on scene. One first responder, double manned ambulance, one tactical commander. I require HART, Helimed, basics, make, ambulances, figures five-zero. Further require fire, technical and rescue service and police. Over.

So that message, notice it was slow, precise, everything was confirmed. Everything was understood. People rush methane messages, people rush all radio comms and consequently, control has to keep coming back and asking for clarity or confirmation of what was actually said. The methane report should be nice and steady, concise, complete, in full and using clear words and figures and numbers and confirmed. So when that message is received in control, Adrian, what actually do you start to do? Once that message has come to your desk, you are going to get notified that this is coming from an incident, what is going to happen next in your control room?

Certainly, from that methane message, there are certain key important bits within that. First, your major incident has been declared by a person on scene and secondly, the requirements that person needs. Now that builds a picture back in control of what needs to be sent to that scene initially and that ball will start rolling. Certainly, that incident will be escalated within the hierarchy, within the service that is dealing with it and certainly other agencies that we work with, police, fire and hospitals.

So just pulling you up on that, when you say other people in the services will be let... Now, does the chief get known... Where does this go to? Who escalates? Where does it go to? Does it go right to the top or...

It will be escalated from the control room, usually by the duty manager and it will be escalated to every senior manager within that service. Because of the nature of the incident, everybody will know about it.

Everybody will know about it. Okay, so once that message has come in, what are you going to start doing next?

Well, certainly from the message that has come back, the key is to get the requirements there, the resources and pass that information onto other services that we are dealing with but in-house, there needs to be a way, a process of escalating that, of building the bigger picture, because this incident could be protracted for hours, it could be days and it is building a whole hierarchy around that to make sure that the process runs smoothly, the incident is dealt with and the patients go to where they need to go to.

Okay, so you have got multiple resources that you can call in and you have got all those on potential standby, I take it. So you may make a call saying, "We might need you but we are not sure yet," so they are aware of it, is that the way that the process works?

Well if you take this incident into consideration, a major incident has been declared, so the service may have a predetermined response to that and that would be X number of ambulances, X number of managers and other assets that they have at their disposal.

Where does this go wrong from your perspective? Because you are really blindfolded. All you are getting is information coming from somebody. Where does that go wrong? Do you get any issues with people doing this? You must have experienced it in the past.

Well, certainly when there is multiple... Multiples, lots of information coming back from the scene, it is trying to do, figure out what is what, what is the reality, we are reliant on a person that we nominate or a person that is first on scene for that information until we get an incident commander to the scene and we just really need one port of call. Where incidents do go wrong and it happens on numerous occasion is the communication part of it and that is where we need to start getting right from the word go because miscommunication and things that are not reality have a large impact on decision-making.

I think I would probably be right in saying all three of us have been involved in major incidents and all three of us would probably agree that communications is where it always fails, either too much communication coming in from too many ports to actually factor in what is true and what is not or sometimes not enough information coming in and you are left blind and thinking, well, what is the next step to make because nobody is talking to me? Would I be correct in saying that, would you agree?

I think it is a perennial problem and hopefully that some of the processes that are now in place in terms of things like methane JESIP decision-making models help reduce that risk but I don't think it will ever completely eliminate it.

No, can you tell, Adrian, in a control room when you are listening to people, can you tell from the voice, the noise in the background, can you pick a lot up from that?

You can do. Sometimes not. Certainly, the beginning of the call, if it is a large scale incident, you will get numerous phone calls, so that start to get the ears listening to what is going on. Certainly, call takers are trained to pick information out. When we get the sight of or we know it is a large scale incident and people start mentioning major incident declared and stand by, that soon pricks the ears open. Obviously, the processes, protocols and procedures kick in and that is what happens going on from there.