What is Incident Pre-Planning?
Some may answer this question by saying it is a tedious, inconvenient nuisance. Experienced firefighters know that effective pre-planning saves the lives of both victims and emergency responders. Per the guidelines issued in NFPA 1620, effective pre-incident planning requires on-site pre-incident surveys. Your pre-incident planning surveys should include at a minimum:
- A building’s construction type and roofing material
- The fire suppression system and all alarms
- Any and all potentially hazardous materials
- Locations of fire hydrants or other water supplies
- Whether or not there are people present at night and on the weekend
- Impediments to access, such as fences or gates
- Location of utility shutoffs
- Key photos of any FDC, key box, floor plans, etc.
Fire incident pre-planning is as important to your firefighters and paramedics as the people who they are sent to rescue. With the right information in hand, your teams are safer, more efficient, and have a greater chance of successful mitigation.
What Happens When Incident Pre-Planning Goes Wrong?
When pre-incident planning is neglected or rushed, it can lead to injuries and fatalities. There is no way around it, you must commit to conducting effective pre-incident planning. While it may seem inconvenient and time-consuming to update your plans, you cannot afford to put them off for another day.
What Are the Benefits of Effective Incident Pre-Planning?
The benefits of effective fire incident pre-planning include:
- Building Relationships: When you conduct pre-incident planning surveys within your community, it is an opportunity to build relationships with people you may have to help one day. The level of trust you can gain from your surrounding neighborhoods through this process could undoubtedly save lives in the future. If for no other reason than this, you should take incident pre-planning seriously.
- Understanding the Terrain: Pre-incident planning helps you understand the terrain of your area. That means literally getting a sense of what the land is like, including the elevation, hills, valleys, water, road conditions, etc. It also means gathering information about the best routes, the width of streets, fire hydrant locations, and traffic patterns.
- Answering Questions Before They Are Asked: There are questions you and your team want to have answered before you respond to a call. You need to know a building's layout, its key components, the number of floors, and where you can expect people will be before an emergency happens. Effective pre-incident planning helps answer those vital questions long before the moment you need them.
- Improving Situational Awareness: Situational awareness saves lives. There is no way around it. The lives of your firefighters, EMS, and victims of an emergency situation are all at stake. With effective pre-incident planning, you can rest easier knowing that everyone will have the right information.
Pre-planning is vital for situational awareness. By putting the right information in the right hands, you improve everyone’s safety.
What Do You Do with The Information You Gather?
So, you have conducted an effective and thorough pre-incident planning survey. Now, what do you do with it? We have developed a system to help put that vital information at your fingertips. Not only that, but we also help you gather the information you need as efficiently as possible. Our pre-plan wizard takes you step-by-step through gathering the vital details recommended by the NFPA 1620. It allows you to instantly add photos. Most importantly, every new preplan is immediately synced to all agency devices, including StreetWise-equipped mutual aid partners.
If you would like to streamline your pre-incident planning and improve the way those plans are implemented in real-time, you need to talk to the team at StreetWise. We are firefighters and paramedics ourselves, so we designed a system based on our experiences and what we know needs to improve for every station. If you are ready to improve your firehouse’s pre-planning surveys, contact StreetWise today.