RESPONDING TO EMERGENCY SERVICE INCIDENTS
Incidents are broken down into a grading system, this system has 4 categories for the police service this is how they prioritise their incidents.
Grade 1 - Emergency Response
Grade 2 - Priority Response
Grade 3 - Scheduled Response
Grade 4 - Resolution Without Deployment
Grade 1 - Emergency Response
This is where a call has been made to the emergency services and they believe that the incident is likely to result in either :
- Threat of violence
- Serious damage to a property
- Serious injury to a person
- Danger to life
An example of this could be a road traffic collision:
- Will more than likely involve serious injury to a person
- The road would be blocked and therefore would create a traffic jam
Some more possibilities of a grade 1 incidents could be criminal conduct e.g:
- An offender is creating a disturbance at a scene
- A detained offender presents a threat to arresting officers
- A serious crime is happening
This is a system used by a police constabulary in Gloucestershire when called out too a grade 1 emergency they will use there flashing blue lights also known as sirens to warn people on the road they are in an emergency situation and to move out of the way also they have permission to run through red lights and go into bus lanes at any time of the day.
Grade 2 - Priority Response
In a grade 2 incident there is a certain degree of important or urgency however emergency response is not required. Some examples of a grade 2 incident could be:
- Somebody involved is vulnerable and upset
- An offender has been detained
- There is concern for a person's health and well being
- There is risk of the loss of a witness or evidence
- There is serious injury or road obstruction in a traffic collision
- Hate crimes
A grade 2 incident would be responded to within 2 hours
Grade Three - Scheduled Response
This grade will apply when the attendance of a patrol is not urgently needed.
The decision to dispatch any emergency service in this grade is down to the
person taking the call, after taking into account the callers wishes. The range
of response time will vary on this grade depending on the nature of the call.
Grade Four - Resolution without deployment
This grade will happen when it can be dealt with over the phone without deploying
any emergency services. This is where the advice is given over the phone.
The decision is made where there is no need to deploy an emergency service,
the incident will be recorded on the system and analysed and referred to an
- Written advise
- Phone call
- Answering callers questions
- Recommend a more appropriate service
In a grade 4 incident the response of a police officer is not required however the incident would be recorded and analysed. The incident would more than likely be handed over to another agency e.g:
- Safer community team
- Child protection agency
- Intelligence units
- Traffic control team
When any incident is rang in it is the responsibility of the call handler to asses the situation and decide a=on what grade the incident should be, then after the incident is graded action will be taken.
ROLE OF A CALL HANDLER
This person in particular has the most important job to do when it comes to an emergency service incident these people are responsible for making sure an incident is graded properly and that the right services are called out and that schedules that have been set are met and they would also need to monitor the progress as the services are carrying out there work. It will be there job to stay calm and relaxed when on the job and also remain professional also giving reassurance and guidance to a caller and put them in the right direction.
The role of an incident manager is to work with other agencies and organisations when in an incident situation, local authorities, utilities companies, voluntary agencies and also transports companies maybe highways and environmental agencies too. They too will be keeping track of progress and will set out the agenda for what is going to happen at any given or specific time these people will also keep on talking with the call handlers in order to make sure the job is being done right and they have all the information that they can get from them about the incident.
Inter agency approach
If the police are attending to a road traffic collision they will more than likely need the ambulance service and the fire service. The police will cordon of the scene to the public and begin trying to asses the situation and start to build an idea of what has happened, why its happened and if there is anybody to blame. In order to do this they may bring specialist units in such as road collision investigators. The ambulance service will obviously be needed in order to care for anyone who has been injured in the incident and preserve life by providing essential first aid and getting the injured to hospital as quickly and as safely as is possible. The fire service may be required in order to cut people out of cars, in serious crashes sometimes the car doors will be rendered useless so the services need to find another way in, this is usually done by the fire service using a special tool to make precise cuts and basically peeling off the roof of the car. All of these services will work in cooperation in order to save lives, investigate the scene and to return the affected area to normality. Also utility companies may need to be informed of the incident for example a road traffic collision could result in a gas or water pipe being burst or an electricity pylon could become damaged, in the event of this happening the crew on scene must let the necessary company know so they can take care of the situation.It is essential that all these services wok well together to save lives and help in the return to normality after an incident has happened.
Policies and Procedures
All emergency services have policies and procedures that they must all follow when dealing with any incident they are assigned to an action plan they must follow but when working with other service/agencies then they must have an emergency plan which is set at a meeting and the things they must at an incident are.This is what emergency services main priority is and basically what there job is all about to help save and protect other people from what is happening and prevent it from effecting them again. they also need to stop the situation from getting made worse and the way they will do that is to protect property aswell and keeping the environment safe too because this can cause the situation too just spiral out of control which is the last thing they want when dealing with a big incident.
Leicestershire police response
- Grade 1 - urban response - 10 minutes / rural response -17 minutes.
- Grade 2 - resources should be sent quick but safely within 15 minutes.
- Grade 3 - the issues must be dealt within 48 hours.
- Grade 4 - should be advised within 24 hours.
Initial response service
the police are always first to an emergency seen as they have access to resources quicker e.g. cars etc. and this in turn means that they can reach a scene quicker and start there work on sorting the situation out whilst waiting for other services to arrive but sometimes this does not always happen as other services may be called there first e.g. warehouse fire will need the fire service more than police so the fire and ambulance would get their and the police after to do their bit e.g. investigate and divert traffic etc.
Additional services offering specialist knowledge
A great example of this would be if there is someone with a package e.g. a bomb then the police cannot directly deal with this as it may be far to complex for them so the bomb squad or the armed forces will be called in to take car and control the situation at hand.
Civil contingencies act 2004
An event or situation which threatens serious damage to Human welfare in a place in the UK The environment of a place in the UK or War or terrorism which threaten serious damage to the security of the UK to be labelled and emergency, an event or situation must also pose a considerable test for and organisations ability to perform its functions"
As an emergency response driver, you have to arrive at the scene of the incident as fast as possible, but safely, however, emergency response drivers are no different to ordinary drivers, and they have specialist lessons in driving; accidents still occur, to prove they can react to any distractions or other problems which may occur and prove they can control a vehicle at high speeds when responding to an emergency incident. The emergency response driver will be driving at extreme speeds through built up areas which has high risk to pedestrians. When the driver gets the emergency call to respond with the highest priority, the drivers from each of the three emergency services (Police, Ambulance, and Fire Service) must not exceed the set speed limit on the road. For example, the driver is travelling on a 30 MPH road in a built area, so the driver must not exceed speeds of around 45 MPH. When an ambulance is attending an emergency service incident the driver must put blue flashing lights on. An ambulance can only use blue flashing lights when the ambulance is at the scene of emergency,
A driver of a emergency response vehicle has the same set of rules as other drivers on the road they must abide by these rules and if they were to drive without due care and attention and injure or possibly kill someone they will be accountable for it and face the punishment for it like everyone else and possibly from work. should this happen this then not only will the driver be held accountable but also the service itself as if they are saying the condone this. at the end of the day the rules of the road suggest that everyone on the road is treated equally when it comes to an offence and this includes drivers of emergency service vehicles.
Peoples perception of service vehicles
people will look at these vehicles in a jealous and bad way because they think that they have too much freedom e.g. let them through and they are allowed to go abit over the limit and also cut through red lights but what the public dont understand is that someone's life may be at risk so they abide by these rules because it is important. other people may view it as an abuse of power plus it has been said that when the police is in pursuit of some it is classed as dangerous by some members of the public which is why they are not happy with it at all.
driver training and driving standards for emergency response drivers.
in 2000 the DSA became in charge for setting and assessing the standards of anyone who wanted to be an emergency service driver of vehicles fitted with flashing blue lights and sirens. it is said that there is a set of basic skills that the driver must have or pass in order to be a driver these were put into a document which was accepted by the police fire and ambulance services as the basic standards that need to be met. the 3 stages are:
- element 1 - the ability to assess the need for emergency response.
- element 2- the ability to drive a vehicle safely to emergencies
- element 3 - the ability to demonstrate the correct attiude when responding to emergencies.
when drivers of emergency vehicles are involved in accidents this always attracts the media to come in and remind us all that the public services are accountable for the public and they have the right to know what the money is being spent on, furthermore public opinion can help the services to improve their service and make them more efficient. the media have the duty to tell us what is going however they can sometimes provide false and over exaggerating information to promote sales resulting in public being swayed by this and casting a bad eye on the services especially in a crash of an emergency service vehicle.
uses of warning systems
in order to reduce danger to both services and the public, emergency service drivers must use there sirens or warning systems to warn other road users including pedestrians and cyclists that the vehicle is responding to an emergency. but flashing blue light and sirens should only be uses in case of an emergency incident but police can use blue flashing lights when pulling someone over.
Drivers of emergency response vehicles are subject to the same traffic laws as everyone else, however, while using the blue lights and audible warnings in response to an emergency call they are exempt from a number or motoring regulations and the may:
- go through red lights
- Drive on a motorway hard shoulder (even against the direction of traffic)
- go above the speed limit
If it can be shown that the driver of the emergency vehicle drove without due care and attention or that they drove in a dangerous manner then they can be prosecuted like the rest of the public.
impact of highway code on emergency drivers
the highway code is something that applies to pedestrians riders and drivers in England Scotland and Wales all the rules in this code must be followed the highway code makes no special cases for emergency service drivers so they should stick to the same rules as all other drivers on the road the only rule is that drivers need to listen for emergency vehicles and move out of there way for them whilst still keeping within traffic rules.