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Incident Grading in Emergency Responses

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Published: Wed, 16 Aug 2017

Situations/incidents go into a system where they determine how high risk/serious the incident is and it is done into 4 grades.

P3: The first grade is the emergency response, and this is the most high risk response and is followed through when someone is in a critical emergency such as a violence that is about to happen and also if there is big damage to property.

If someone is at a serious threat to get injured or a danger to their life this is also a very good reason for it to be an emergency. An officer regardless of their rank will be required to attend to the incident also specialist staff will be required depending on the emergency.

An example of an emergency situation would be a person trapped in a house fire requiring the fire service to extinguish the fire and pull the person out of the house. This situation would more likely involve an injury or death to a person/people and also cause a massive disruption in the area therefore being an emergency. This incident would be small scale because it is a house fire.

Another example would be if a criminal is posing a terrorist threat such as shooting at crowds of people or seen setting up bombs. This would be classed as a large scale incident and would require an emergency response that will have emergency services be there in under 20 minutes and police will have the right to ignore road speeds and laws and traffic lights to get to the emergency in time. Mainly the police will get involved to arrest any suspects or to neutralize anyone that is a threat to people.

The second grade would be priority response, this is still an emergency but not as severe as grade one, but still there is a high level of importance to the incident. There is a lot of variables to how important the incident and some reasons would be:

  • Someone is in emotional state and extremely upset and can potentially make them in a vulnerable condition.
  • Another reason would be if a criminal/offender has already been arrested.
  • Also would come if there is a concern for the persons health/wellbeing
  • If there is a risk of losing witnesses or evidence
  • If a serious but non-fatal injury has occurred or possibly a traffic collision that will involve these services
  • Hate crimes are also a top priority on the list since it is against the law and breaches the Racial & Religious act 2006 or Crime & Disorder act 1998.

It is required by law for emergency services to respond to a priority incident within 2 hours if it is a grade 2 incident.

The third grade would be a scheduled response, this is when a caller or a person has scheduled/ pre-arranged to meet the caller within 48 hours. The attendance of the emergency incident can be met through surgeries, hospitals, stations or any other premises.

The fourth grade would be Resolution without deployment, the caller is able to seek advice and resolve an incident through letters, phone calls, questions through the phone and also the service recommending a service more appropriate to the incident.

Also in grade 4, deployment of any emergency services are not required but the situation would be analysed and possibly recorded. Incidents on grade would most likely be handed over to agencies such as safer community team, child protection agency, intelligence units and also the traffic control team.

Overall, when an incident is rang over the telephone, the operator has to then make a decision on how serious the incident is. The operator will choose from the 4 grades I have just mentioned.

Fire service categories:

Category A:

There are stronger chances of fire spread in built up areas in larger cities. Especially cities containing commercial and industrial premises and high rising properties. First step of the procedure in category A is for three pumps to attend the scene, two within the first 5 minutes and one within eight minutes. This procedure needs to be followed correctly 75% of the time.

Category B:

The recommended first attendance is for two pumps to attend the scene. One to arrive within 5 minutes and the other within 8 minutes. This procedure is followed for areas in towns and cities with smaller industrial areas and the estates. Same as category A this needs to be achieved on at least 75% of occasions.

Category C:

This procedure has been put in place for areas of residential dwellings, flats and terraced properties. He recommended attendance is for one pump to be sent within 8 – 10 minutes. This needs to be achieved on at least 75% of occasions.

Category D:

This procedure has been put in place for villages and farms. The recommended first attendance is one pump to be sent within 20 minutes. This needs to be achieved on at least 75% of occasions.

P4: The call handling personnel in a small scale incident such as a house fire will be on the front lines. This means they will be talking to the victim/caller directly, and it is there job to calm the person on the call if in distress along will despatching the appropriate emergency service to the situation.

If the operator is a 999 operator then they will be required to ask the caller’s name, the location they are calling from, about what happened and most important of all, if anyone is injured or at risk.

Also the incident could be followed up through calling a police station which is non-emergency, which then an officer would answer the call and answer any questions an give any relevant information of the incident to the caller.

Call operators for a large scale incident would ask for their ask location so police can be easily notified about the location, for example, in a large scale terrorist attack the operator would tell the caller to keep calm and use any means necessary to defend themselves from the attacker and this includes self-defence. Also the operator would give advice and also give instructions on how to apply first aid until emergency services arrive.

M2: Both police and the fire service use terminology to communicate with each other, and the terminology is used to recognize a certain type of person. For example, ACP would be used to identify an Assistance Commissioner Professionalism for police and a WRC for the fire service would be used to identify a water carrier.

Another similarity is that they both use the grading system based on the level of importance, for example, Grade A and emergency response both respond to emergencies within 20 minutes but on the other hand the difference is that the fire service are required to attend the scene within 8 minutes and police would be 20.

Police and the fire service have a common goal and that would be to protect civilians along with providing emergency first aid if needed. Also in  an event of an emergency both services will be required to drive at excessive speeds to attend to the incident and both services will have to of passed the Advanced Driving test to prove they can control the vehicle at high speeds with other distractions around them. If the driver does not get to the incident fast enough it could result in a casualty.

All three emergency services must not go past the speed limit by an excessive amount, for example, on 30 mile-per-hour road the driver must not go past 45MPH. The advanced driving test will come in handy when there is a high chance of injuring a vulnerable person with your vehicle while driving at excessive speeds.

The Police, Ambulance and Fire service all work together at major incidents and all services have a chain of command. Here are the list of commands

Gold command – this is the highest form of command at an incident, gold command sets the strategy or the plan to resolve the incident.

Silver command – this is the secondary form of command, silver implements or passes on Gold’s strategy for the incident.

Bronze command – this is the final command style which refers to everyone else who is called out to the incident and puts Gold’s strategy into action.

The common goal of all commands is to save and protect lives of those involved and prevent the incident getting worse, along with defending the environment and make the situation normal quickly but efficiently and without casuing any further harm to anyone or the enviroment, when the process has been resolved, there will be a debriefing process after.


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