I. Purpose

  1. This policy is designed to prepare all personnel for any sudden life-threatening occurrence that may injure, trap, disorient or distress any emergency response personnel during an incident.  This policy will also standardize the language to be used during such incidents, and the circumstances that warrant issuing a MAYDAY or URGENT message.
  2. It is strongly encouraged that all fire leaders, will attempt to create an acceptable culture concerning the use of MAYDAY, teaching and encouraging all fire service personnel that it is “ok” to use a MAYDAY and to do so when they first believe that they are in trouble.

 II. Scope

  1. This policy applies to all members operating on an incident or event.
  2. It is the intent of this guideline to ensure compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Standard terminology, strike team components, and other resources are identified using NIMS guidelines.


III. Policy

  1. The following radio transmissions are to be used with discretion.  The terms, “Urgent” and “Mayday” must only be used as indicated herein.  They are intended for use in situations where immediate communication is necessary to protect life or prevent injury.
  2. To minimize misunderstanding, the terminology used below is mandatory.  All members must be completely familiar with the terminology and use it exclusively for its intended purpose.
  3. “Mayday” transmissions have priority over “Urgent” transmissions.
  4. Whenever the terms “Urgent” or “Mayday” are transmitted, all radio communications are to cease except those between the member initiating the emergency transmission and Command until advised otherwise by Command.
  5. The Incident Commander will gain control of the radio channel in order to alert all units to a “MAYDAY” or “URGENT” transmission.
  6. In the event that Command does not receive an emergency transmission, the following guidelines shall be adhered to:
    1. The member initiating a “MAYDAY” transmission must, if possible, activate the EMERGENCY BUTTON on their portable radio, thus taking control of the radio channel, and announce “MAYDAY, MAYDAY” until it is acknowledged either by the Incident Commander or an Officer.  After the MAYDAY is acknowledged, and all information relayed, the member will activate their PASS device and monitor the radio.
    2. Members initiating an “URGENT” message will follow the same protocol but WILL NOT activate the emergency button or PASS device.
    3. Any Officer hearing a “MAYDAY” or “URGENT” transmission and realizing that it is not being acknowledged by Command must acknowledge transmission, ascertain the nature of the emergency and promptly relay information to Command.

 IV.  Procedure “MAYDAY”

  1. The “MAYDAY” radio message shall be used to indicate that a life-threatening situation has developed such as:
    1. Becoming trapped or entangled
    2. Cut off by fire
    3. Cut off by collapse
    4. Falling through a floor or roof
    5. Becoming pinned
    6. Any SCBA failure
    7. Firefighter down
    8. Becoming lost or disoriented, or losing a member of your crew.
    9. Anytime a PASS device is fully activated and a PAR report confirms a member in distress.
    10. Structural Collapse during interior firefighting.
    11. Air supply is less than required to exit IDLH atmosphere.
    12. Or any other life threatening condition not listed in the above-specified conditions.
  2. Note:  The term “URGENT” shall NOT be utilized for any of the above situations.  These situations are sufficiently serious to warrant a “MAYDAY” transmission.
  4. Anytime a PASS device is FULLY ACTIVATED for greater than 15 seconds the Incident Commander will initiate or be advised by a member hearing the PASS to initiate a PAR.  If a member is in distress it will be treated as a MAYDAY.
  5. Format:
    1. The member initiating the emergency communication will begin by repeating “MAYDAY” two times followed by the remainder of the message.  The message will include in LUNAR form:
      1. Last Known Location
      2. Unit Number
      3. Notable Event (what happened)
      4. Assignment
      5. Remaining Air, Resources Needed, and Radio Equipped
  6. Example:
    1. Member:  “MAYDAY-MAYDAY.  Command from 2215 Bravo, MAYDAY.”
    2. Command:  “All units STAND-BY, 2215 Bravo from command, proceed with your MAYDAY.”
    3. Member:  “Command from 2215 Bravo, MAYDAY, 2215 Bravo, I was operating on the second floor doing a search when it collapsed.  I have 1500psi in my bottle, I am in a hole, and I have a radio.”
    4. Command:  Received 2215 Bravo, 1500psi in your bottle, fell through the second floor trapped in a hole.  Maintain Radio communication, activate your pass device, we are coming to get you!!”
  7. The Incident Commander will assign resources to assist lost or trapped Firefighter and remain in contact with the downed firefighter via portable radio.


V. Procedure “URGENT”

  1. The “URGENT” radio message shall be used to indicate a serious condition or change in conditions such as:
    1. A firefighter has suffered an injury that is not immediately life threatening, but requires medical assistance.
    2. Signs of structural instability indicating danger of imminent structural collapse.
    3. Sudden increase in fire or smoke conditions that may inhibit firefighter egress.
    4. An interior attack is to be discontinued and an exterior attack instituted.
    5. Loss of water that may endanger firefighters.
    6. Immediate need for additional resources such as:
    7. Ground ladders for trapped occupants in imminent danger.
    8. Immediate alternate means of egress due to fire conditions.
    9. Fire extension into an exposure to a degree that any delay may considerably enlarge the fire problem.
    10. Structural collapse has occurred during defensive operations.
    11. Or any other dangerous condition not listed in the above-specified conditions.
  2. Format:
    1. The member initiating the emergency communication will begin by repeating “URGENT” two times followed by the remainder of the message including LUNAR information.
    2. Example: 
      1. Member:  “URGENT-URGENT.  Command from 2212 Officer, URGENT.”
      2. Command:  “2212 Officer from Command, proceed with your URGENT."
      3. Member:  “Command from 2212 Officer, URGENT, We are located on Division C and I have 2212 Charlie who tripped over a hose and possibly has a broken leg.”
      4. Command:  “2212 Officer from Command, I am sending resources to Division C to assist.”

VI. Responsibility

  1. It is the responsibility of every member to abide by this policy.  It is instituted for the member’s safety and shall not be deviated from.  Officers will be responsible for the correct use of this procedure and enforcement of members who do not comply.

VII.    Closing

  1. All fire departments in Burlington County shall receive a copy of this guideline.  All Chief Officers shall become familiar with this plan.
  2. Any guideline previously published that is in conflict with this guideline is hereby rescinded.



L.U.N.A.R. – An acronym that provides for Location; Unit; Assignment; Notable Event; and Resources needed.  The “N” has been changed from “name” in the national standard to “notable event” in order to conform policy of not transmitting names in radio transmissions.

P.A.R. – Personnel Accountability Report


To provide Emergency Services Organizations with recommended RIC operational protocols in the event a firefighter (s) has/have become lost, trapped or disoriented and/or a MAYDAY has been transmitted.



This guideline shall apply to all Emergency Services Organizations actively engaged in the search and/or rescue of a lost, trapped or disoriented firefighter.



This guideline details the roles and responsibilities of each group involved in a MAYDAY operation.




Lost Firefighter

  1. Transmit a MAYDAY message using the “LUNAR” acronym.
  • Last Know Location
  • Unit Number
  • Name
  • Assignment
  • Remaining Air and Resources Needed
  1. Activate PASS device
  2. If awaiting rescuers:
  • Stay calm and conserve air
  • Position flashlight toward ceiling
  • Assume a horizontal position in order to maximize audible effects of the PASS device.
  • Monitor conditions and report and change to the IC.
  1. Advise the IC if moving or attempting to self extricate.


Incident Commander

  1. Gather LUNAR information from the firefighter
  2. Conduct a risk analysis to determine if a team can and/or should be deployed to attempt a rescue. If a rescue operation will be initiated, deploy the RIC team.
  3. Announce the confirmed receipt of the MAYDAY.
  4. Make announcement on the Operations Channel that a MAYDAY has been transmitted and for all companies not involved in the RIC Operation to switch to OPS ___.  The OPS channel will be determined by the IC. The downed firefighter, IC and RIC group will remain on the Ops Channel that the MAYDAY was transmitted on or the last channel the firefighter was operating on.
  5. Notify the Communication Center that there is a report of lost, trapped or disoriented firefighter (s).
  6. Assign a RIC Group Supervisor, if one has not already been assigned.
  7. Assign a radio operator to monitor the RIC Operations channel.
  8. Assign a scribe to monitor time and benchmarks.
  9. If the MAYDAY was caused due to a collapse, flashover, or explosion, the Operations Chief or Safety Officer will assess the need to evacuate the building or area.  If deemed necessary, an immediate evacuation may be initiated based on conditions and safety.
  10. Call for a PAR (Personnel Accountability Report) of all companies on the fire ground.
  11. Withdraw all non-essential crews; this is those not directly involved with the suppression efforts or those that report they have contact with the downed firefighter.
  12. Ensure the incident stabilization operation continues.



Communication Center

  1. Transmit Alert Tone and make the following statement:

“Attention all units operating at location”.  “A MAYDAY has been transmitted.”

  1. Dispatch an ALS unit and an ALS Supervisor.
  2. Place air medical on standby.
  3. Prompt the IC for any additional resources
  • Next alarm and staging location
  • EMS strike team and staging location
  • Specialized rescue companies or equipment.
  1. Notify the County Fire Coordinator.



RIC Group Supervisor

  1. Assign a Control Officer to maintain entry of all RIC members. This person will track names, air supply and time of all RIC members as they enter the IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) environment.
  2. Request additional RIC Teams from the IC as needed.
  3. Conduct ongoing size ups of the IDLH. Be prepared to stop the RIC operation if conditions warrant.
  4. Work with the Operations Chief to:
  • Position hose lines to protect trapped firefighters and rescuers in fire areas.
  • If warranted ventilation to improve conditions and visibility.
  • Provide collapse hazard and debris stabilization as rescue efforts proceed.
  • Have spare SCBA’s and cylinders brought to the RIC staging area.
  • Provide lighting in the area if necessary.
  1. Recognize the benchmarks of the RIC operation
  • Firefighter located
  • Air secured
  • Packaging complete
  • Removal started
  • Removal complete



RIC Team

  1. It is recommended that the RIC team be divided into smaller teams if possible. These teams will represent each stage of the operation; Recon and Rescue.
  2. Deploy the Recon team to locate the firefighter.
  3. The Recon team should:
  • Ascertain last known location from the RIC Group Supervisor or IC.
  • Follow hose lines when possible.
  • Listen for PASS devices.
  • Listen for tapping noises being made by the firefighter.
  • Look for flashlight beams pointed at the ceiling.
  • Stop and listen for breathing noises.
  • Communicate with the firefighter on the radio when possible.
  • Report any findings to the RIC Group Supervisor.
  1. Once the firefighter is found report the location where found, air supply of the firefighter and the team, and resources needed to extricate the firefighter.
  2. The Rescue team will only deploy if requested by the Recon team or as instructed by the RIC Group Supervisor.
  3. The Rescue team will work to package and remove the firefighter from the IDLH. All reports, findings and updates will be communicated to the RIC Group Supervisor.





Incident Command System


Prepared By:


Burlington County Fire Chief’s Association

Burlington County First Aid Council

Burlington County Department of Public Safety Services – Central Communications


Adopted: September, 1992

Effective: January, 1993

Revised July 2010




Incident Command Committee



Command Function

Responsibilities of Command

Establishment of Command

Transfer of Command

Passing Command

EMS Incidents

EMS Responsibilities

Law Enforcement Incidents 

Multi-Agency Coordinating System (MACs)

Area Command

Command Facilities

Command Post



Incident Command Forms

Expansion of Incident Command System

Command Staff

Public Information Officer (PIO)

Liaison Officer

Safety Officer

Command Functions




Finance and Administration

Use of the Command Functions

Branches, Division and Groups

Strike Teams and Task Forces

Emergency Operation Centers (EOC)

Designation of the Incident Scene


Reporting Intervals




In Early 1990, the President of the Burlington County Fire Chief’s Association appointed an Incident Command Committee. This committee was comprised of representative from all areas of the county as well as Central Communications.  The charge of this Committee was to develop an incident management system that could be utilized by the fire and EMS community in Burlington County to comply with federal regulations.

At the initial meeting of the ICS committee, it was decided that representation from EMS was needed in order to work effectively together.  Therefore, three members of the Burlington county Captain’s Association were appointed with full voting rights.  It was also decided at the first meeting that the National Fire Academy’s Incident Command System would be used as a model.

The ICS committee was divided into subcommittees and continued its work for over one year.  After many meetings, discussions, disagreements and give and take, the committee has developed what it feels is an incident command system that can be used by EMS and fire departments to effectively manage emergency incidents.

In August 1992 the Burlington County Chief’s Association approved the system followed by the Burlington County Captain’s Association in September 1992.  By working side-by-side on this project, Burlington County was the first county in the state to adopt a countywide incident management system.

The National Incident Management System was adopted by the Department of Homeland Security as Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 5, Management of Domestic Incidents March 2004, New Jersey’s Governor signed Executive Order 50 outlining the requirements of this directive which caused the NIMS rewrite of our guidelines March 2006.

Listed on the next page are all of the members of the ICS committee and the organization they are affiliated with.  Each and every member should be applauded for undertaking this project.



Incident Command Committee

William Kramer, Jr.                                               Steve King

Cinnaminson Fire Company # 2                             McGuire Air Force Base Fire Department


Cliff Leary                                                            Joseph O’Brien

Maple Shade Fire Department                                Palmyra Fire Department


Ted Lowden                                                         James MacKenzie

Evesham Fire Department                                      Taunton Fire Department


Rick Horner                                                          Paul Matlack

Masonville Fire Company                                        Burlington County Central Communications


William Covert                                                      Craig Augustoni

Cinnaminson Fire Company # 2                              Brown Mills Fire Department


David Andrede                                                      John Augustino, Past President

Willingboro Fire Department                                   Burlington County Chief’s Association


George Jackson                                                     Charles Maltbie, Jr.

Tabernacle Rescue                                                 Moorestown Emergency Squad


Kathy Riker                                                            Raymond Parker

Masonville Emergency Squad                                   Taunton Fire Company




Chief Thaddeus T. Lowden                                     Chief Steve King

Evesham Fire Rescue                                             Burlington County OEM



Chief Edward Kensler                                             Chief Joseph Lehmann, Jr.

Florence Fire Department                                       Burlington County Fire Coordinator



To establish a procedure that will provide a uniform incident command system for fire and EMS in Burlington County and meet the requirements of HSPD 5, State of New Jersey Executive Order 50, adoption by NIMS and State and Local Organizations.


The incident command system (ICS) shall be utilized at all incidents, which require the response of any Emergency Service’s resource.

It is the intent of this guideline to ensure compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Standard terminology, strike team components, and other resources are identified using NIMS guidelines.

Implementation of ICS:

The ICS shall be implemented anytime that resources will be committed to a planned or emergency incident.  The command function shall be filled whether or not there is an officer in a command vehicle on location.

The Command Function:

The command function (Command) is the functional area in which overall on-scene management takes place.  Included within the command function is the development of incident priorities, size-up, strategy, tactical objectives and coordination of all emergency resources.

The Incident Commander is identified by his location at the Command Post, which may  display a green emergency light.  The Incident Commander may be also be identified by wearing the INCIDENT COMMANDER vest.  Officers commanding from other than a command vehicle shall be identified by taking a prominent position at the incident where the officer can be readily identified by incoming units.

Responsibilities of Command:

Responsibilities of Command for fire departments include:

The transmission of an initial report and on-going reports to Central Communications.  The reports shall include:

  • Command unit identification.
  • Building description as appropriate (e.g. Occupancy, size, construction type).
  • Obvious description of conditions (working fire, nothing showing, etc.).
  • Action to be taken by incoming units (establish a supply line, stretch off with 1 ¾ hose line, etc.).
  • Identify the command mode selected.

Responsibilities of Command for EMS include:

The transmission of an initial report to Central Communications.  The initial report

shall include:

  • Command unit identification.
  • Obvious description of conditions (MVA with 3 vehicles involved, full code, etc.).
  • Identify the command mode selected.


Establishment of Command:

The first arriving emergency resource (command car, engine, ambulance, etc.) shall initiate the ICS by formally establishing command and shall continue in command until properly relieved as outlined within this procedure.  The first arriving unit may elect to pass command but only as outlined within this procedure.


Example of an Effective Report:

“Central; Engine 2211 is on location.  We have a one story, single family dwelling (SFD) with nothing showing.  We will be out investigating.  2211 has command.”


“Central; BLS 2292 is on location.  We have a 2 car MVA with 2 victims.  We will be in service.”

Additionally, command should give periodic progress reports to every 10 minutes to central, as an example:

“Central Engine 2211, we had a pot of meat on the stove, 2211 will be in service ventilating.”


“Central BLS 2292, we have 2 minor injuries, 2292 will be transporting shortly.”


Transfer of Command:

All senior officers arriving on the scene of an incident shall report to the command post and notify Command of their arrival.

Command shall only be transferred to another officer after a situation and status (sit/stat) briefing has been received by the relieving officer.  Sit/stat reports shall be via face to face communications whenever possible.


Situation and Status Reports Shall Include:

  • An overview of the situation.
  • A description of the strategy and of the tactics employed to the current point.
  • Assignments of resources on scene including command or staff assignments.
  • Suggested courses of action and contingency plans.
  • Major safety concerns.
  • A joint review of the ICS forms (NWCG series) where applicable.

After receiving a situation and status report, the senior officer will make a determination if he desires to take command of the incident.  In the event that the senior officer elects to do so, he shall take the command position on the scene and notify Central Communications that a transfer of command has taken place.

The officer assuming command may utilize the previous incident commander on the emergency scene to the best advantage.  In many cases the relieved incident commander may be of value in the Operations function.

Example:     “Central Chief 8000”


                   “Chief 8000 has assumed command of this incident and will now be operating as CP 80, switching to NW CMD”.

                   “Okay, 8000”

8000 would facilitate all further communications as CP 80.


Example:     “Central BLS 3192”


                   “BLS 3192 has assumed command and will now be operating as CP31.

                   “Okay, CP31”

3192 would facilitate all further communications as CP31.

For multiple incidents in the same municipality at the same time, Command should be designated by the district and number digit starting with (1)  (e.g. CP231, CP232, CP233).

The assumption of command by a higher-ranking officer is clearly an option and not a requirement.  Initial commanding officers that are performing within department performance standards should be given the opportunity to continue to command.  This will allow for an increase in confidence and competence.  Higher-ranking officers who arrive later in the operation may take a role as a coach to support the current incident commander.  The senior officer on an incident scene shall be accountable even through a lower ranking officer may be in charge.


Passing Command:

On rare occasions it may be necessary for first due companies to pass command to later arriving units.  This may become necessary at situations in which the entire first arriving crew is required to initiate a fire attack, vehicle extrication or operate in the combat mode.   An example of such a situation might be a working dwelling fire with an occupant trapped or an MVA with victims trapped.

The officer has made a decision that his direct efforts are needed to make a substantial difference on the emergency scene.  In this mode, the officer’s involvement in mitigating the hazard prevents the proper exercise of the command function.  The officer would then need to utilize Passing Command procedures.

To pass command the first arriving unit shall transmit a proper initial report and indicate that they are “passing command” and identify the unit to which they are passing command, if known.  Central Communications should confirm that the unit designated for command has received the message.

The initial arriving command officer retains responsibility for the incident until such time as the designated receiver for command arrives on the location.

Example:     “Central Engine 2021.  We are on location with a two-story wood frame single family dwelling (SFD) with heavy fire showing.  We are stretching off with 1 ¾ inch line and attacking the fire.  Advise 2011 to assume command upon arrival.”


Example:     “Central BLS 4391.  We are on location with a two-vehicle accident with victims Trapped.  We will be in service.  Advise the next arriving BLS unit to assume Command.”



EMS Minor Incidents:

The senior member/officer of the first arriving EMS unit shall assume command at an EMS incident.  Command may be transferred or passed as outlined in this procedure.


Fire and EMS Joint Response Incidents:

The EMS senior member/officer is identified by wearing the blue EMS Branch, Group or command vest as appropriate. All EMS units called into the scene, directly or from staging, shall report to the appropriate command element.


EMS Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of the EMS Branch Director/Group Supervisor Include:

  • Coordinate with Command regarding the Incident Action Plan (IAP), patient status, and resource requirements.
  • Determine resources needed and make requests through Command or if activated, Operations Section Chief (OSC).
  • Coordinate extrication efforts with Command or others as designated. (e.g. Rescue).
  • Direct triage, treatment efforts and transportation.  The EMS Branch Director or Group Supervisor may establish Triage, Treatment or Transportation Groups as needed.  The EMS officer shall assign a responsible person for each group established.
  • The Triage Group Supervisor shall be responsible for establishing a method of prioritizing patients for treatment.  This may also include prioritizing patients for extrication or other actions required for treatment to begin.
  • The Treatment Group Supervisor shall establish a treatment area and coordinate patients care efforts as patients are released from the Triage area.
  • The Transportation Group Supervisor shall coordinate the transport of patients from the treatment area to receiving medical facilities.


The Triage, Treatment and Transportation Group Supervisors shall report to the to the appropriate supervisor within the organization. Command retains the responsibility for these functions whether they are filled or not.


EMS Responsibilities at Non-EMS Incidents:

EMS units responding in support of operations are designated Medical Units. The senior member/officer shall report to the Incident Commander on arrival at working incidents.  The senior member/officer shall be assigned or designate a Medical Unit Leader.

Should the Medical Unit be called out for patient transportation, the Medical Unit Leader shall insure that another EMS unit is dispatched to the incident scene, through the Incident Commander.  At incidents that are non-dynamic, EMS units shall report to staging.  If staging has not been established, the EMS unit shall be position to best advantage.


Law Enforcement Incidents

Law Enforcement Minor Incidents:

The senior officer shall assume command of a Law Enforcement incident.  Command may be transferred or passed as outlined in this procedure.

Law Enforcement Fire and EMS Joint Response Incidents:

The senior member/officer is identified by wearing the appropriate Branch, Group or command vest.


Unified Command

Unified Command is a team effort process, allowing all agencies with responsibilities for an incident, either geographical or functional, to established a common set of incident objectives and strategies that all can subscribe to.   This is accomplished without losing or abdicating agency authority, responsibility or accountability.


Multi-Agency Coordinating System (MAC)

A formal MACS consists of a Multi-agency coordinating group (MAC group) made up of jurisdictional/agency representatives.  It can also consist of facilities, equipment, procedures, information systems, internal/external communications systems integrated into a common system that ensures effective interagency and interjurisdictional coordination.


Area Command

Area Command is an organization established to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by an Incident Command System organization; or To oversee the management of a very large incident that has multiple Incident Management Teams assigned to it.


Command Facilities:

Command facilities are those areas that serve as focal points for specific support functions for emergency operations.


        Command Post:

A designated physical area that serves as the center of all on scene for emergency operations.  Command posts are developed in proportion to the incident being managed. For instance, a vehicle fire may be managed from the cab of a fire apparatus, an MVA from an ambulance, a dwelling from a designated command vehicle a multi-alarm incident from the county communications bus.

A command post shall be established anytime an incident will require the extended use of emergency services resources.  Such incidents may be as small as a motor vehicle accident with victims trapped to a complex incident such as a major hazardous materials incident.

The incident commander shall establish the area to be used for the command post.  The command post shall be identified by displaying a green emergency light, whenever possible.



Staging areas shall be used to keep emergency apparatus available within three to five minutes of the emergency scene.  The first arriving unit in staging shall become the Staging Area Manager.

Staging areas may or may not be a location where emergency vehicles are located.  (e.g. two floors below the fire floor of a high-rise fire, or at a triage area at a mass casualty incident.)

Level I Staging: refers to apparatus standing by along the response route as close to the scene as possible without congesting it.  The rule of thumb is the cross-street one block away from the incident.

Level II Staging: refers to apparatus being staged in a parking lot or other area in order that they may be detailed to an assignment.  This is usually only used on major incidents for apparatus responding on greater alarms.

In the absence of other orders, applicable SOPs, or whenever incoming apparatus are ordered to “Reduce speed”, the next due engine leader or EMS leader shall select an area that is within the time parameters for staging and sign “on location” designating the staging area.  All other apparatus will locate themselves accordingly and sign “on location – staging”.


The Staging Area Manager Shall be Responsible for the Following:

  • The selection of a safe and a large enough area for staging.  Command shall notify Central Communications as to the location of the staging area.
  • The orderly parking of resources.
  • Communications from the staging area to the command or operations.
  • Accounting for all resources and crews entering or leaving the staging area through the use of an Incident Check-In List (ICS form 211).
  • The Staging Area Manager shall identify himself by leaving on warning lights and/or 4 way flashers on the vehicle.  All other apparatus shall turn all emergency lights off unless required to provide safety.  The staging area manager may be identified by wearing the STAGING vest.
  • Staging areas shall be located off main highways and roadways whenever possible so long as the safety of the emergency personnel and apparatus are not compromised.



At large or complex incidents a base area may be established.  A base area is a location that places possible needed resources within five to ten minutes of an incident (e.g. forest fire task force staging areas, or a serious incident at a chemical facility, etc.)  The base area may also provide eating, resting, sleeping facilities, etc., as determined by Command.  The base area may also provide eating, resting, sleeping facilities, etc., as determined by Command.

A base area shall be established by order of Command at anytime that the staging area becomes too small to facilitate the equipment that might be required to handle an emergency.

The Base Manager shall be responsible for the same items as the staging area manager as they refer to base activities.

Command shall be responsible to announce the need for a base, although, the Staging Area Manager’s report will indicate such a need.


Incident Command Forms (NWCG Series)

Incident command forms, to include the Field Operations Guide (ICS420) are used to assist the incident commander or other command officers by displaying incident conditions, assignments and status.  The guidelines for the use of Incident Command Forms are covered in NWCG forms catalog.


Expansion of the Incident Command System:

Whenever an incident begins to escalate in a rapid fashion it may becomes necessary to begin the expansion of the ICS.  Such a system shall be designated to address the needs of the incident.  Command assignments shall be filled with qualified individuals.

The logical expansion of ICS shall be based upon National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). Such expansion may include the various Command Staff functions and the General Staff Positions.

The Command Staff Includes:

  • Public Information Officer (PIO)
  • Liaison Officer
  • Safety Officer

Supplemental Personnel May Include:

  • Scribe
  • Field Observers
  • Assistants
  • Deputies
  • Intelligence


The Command Staff:

Public Information Officer (PIO):

A PIO shall be assigned anytime the incident commander deems it appropriate.  Such periods will generally be defined as those that require extensive amounts of time involvement with the press, or incidents, which involve sensitive issues e.g. civilian deaths.  Specific statement content issues are covered in Appendix B entitled “Public Information Officer”.  The PIO shall report directly to the Incident Commander.  The PIO may be identified by wearing the PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER vest.

Responsibilities of the PIO:

  • Review and authorizes all news releases as directed by Command, processes requests for interviews with department personnel, and releases information concerning the departments actions, business affairs or positions.
  • Selects a suitable location which does not interfere with Command or Operations and which does not subject media representative to any hazards.
  • Receives periodic briefings from Command.
  • Acts as the single point of contact between the emergency services and the news media.
  • Develops news releases in concert with Command.
  • Escorts the media and VIPs through the incident scene after the area has been declared safe by Command.
  • Acts as the supervisor for others assigned to the PIO function in the event that the incident requires such as effort.


Joint Information Center (JIC):

Physical location where public information staff co-locate

Provides the structure for coordinating and disseminating critical information


Liaison Officer:

A liaison officer shall be assigned during those operations that require the use of multi-agencies.  Such agencies may include any municipal agency, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey State Police, County Health Department, County Fire Marshal’s Office, United States Department of Treasury, U.S. Postal Service, etc.  It is not anticipated that routine interaction with the Township Police Department would necessitate the need for a liaison officer; however, the use of many police departments may require such a position to be established.  The liaison officer shall report directly to Command.  The liaison officer may be identified by wearing the LIAISON OFFICER vest.

Responsibilities of the Liaison Officer:

  • Coordinate all responding non-emergency agencies. He shall provide information on where and to whom to report.
  • Provides briefings regarding the situation to responding agencies.
  • Facilitates the needs of responding agencies.
  • Insures adequate communications between Command and the appropriate agency representative by supplying radio equipment, runners, etc.


Safety Officer:

A safety officer shall be appointed by Command during incidents, which require such a function.  All major incidents should have a safety officer assigned.  The safety officer shall report directly to Command.  The safety officer may be identified by wearing the SAFETY OFFICER vest.

The safety officer has the authority to stop immediately or modify operations, which may cause imminent serious injury to emergency personnel on the incident scene.  The safety officer must immediately communicate the cessation or change in the operation to Command.  The safety officer has no authority to change strategy, action plans or tactics, but may suggest that Command do so.

Responsibilities of the Safety Officer: 


  • Surveys the entire incident from a safety perspective.
  • Makes appropriate recommendations to Command concerning safety aspects of the incident.
  • Is briefed by Command on the strategy to be applied to emergency incidents.


The Command Functions:

The command functions are assigned when it becomes necessary to begin delegating the various responsibilities of the emergency to others to facilitate effective on-scene decision-making.


The Command Functions Include:











The Operations function is responsible for the implementation of strategic decisions through application of tactical initiatives.  The Operations Section Chief (OSC) reports to command.


The OSC will be assigned by Command and is identified by wearing the OPERATIONS vest.  The OSC is commonly known as “OPS”.


All tactical operations become the responsibility of the operations officer.  Group and Division supervisors will report to OPS.



The planning function is established when there becomes a need on the emergency scene to develop complex or lengthy operations plans or when the need exists to process complex technical information.


The planning function is responsible for all information management as it pertains to the emergency.  It is also responsible for the development of on going situation and status reports.


The Planning Section Chief (PSC) develops Incident Action Plans (IAP) and other supporting plans and shall brief command.  Planning shall coordinate through the Command with Logistics and Liaison to insure the availability of any special resources. The PSC shall report directly to Command.  Inform Command of risks and benefits of the Plan. 


The Planning Section Chief shall report directly to Command.


The IAP will consist of all appropriate ICS forms as the incident dictates.



The logistics function is established and is responsible to supply the incident with supplies or services to maintain an effective emergency response force.  Examples include, but are not limited to communications unit, food unit and medical unit.  A medical unit assigned to logistics section provides emergency medical treatment to emergency personnel.  This unit does not supply treatment for civilians.


The Logistics Section Chief (LSC) shall report directly to Command.


Finance and Administration:

The Finance function is established when the need is developed to track the financial impact of emergency operations or project and track the cost of various non-public resources. These resources may be tracked by item cost and quantity, man-hours expended, equipment rental, etc.


The Finance/Administration Section Chief (FSC) shall report directly to Command.


The FSC may be involved in recovering costs due to emergency operations from responsible parties after the incident is concluded.


The Use of the Command Functions:

Primarily the operations officer will be the most normal expansion of the incident command system.  The OSC is routinely utilized in cases of automobile extrications where it is necessary for more than one tactical objective to be carried out (extrication and EMS delivery).


At larger incidents the OSC will be necessary to deal with a wide variety of on-scene tactical operations that require constant monitoring and coordination.


The planning section is the next most likely command function to be unitized.  The planning function would be particularly helpful during periods of time when resources are committed to hazardous materials incidents.


The logistical section is set up only at major campaigns and is developed to support on-scene resources and those that may be used in the future.  The finance section is rarely used and would most probably not be set up unless the incident was to develop to a scale where actual dollars were required to manage the incident.


Branches, Division and Groups:

Branches, divisions and groups are used to divide the emergency scene into manageable segments.  Division and groups report to OSC or in the event that no operations function has been established, to Command.  It is possible in particularly large operations to have a group or division report to one of the other functions. For instances an EMS Group may report to the Logistics Section Chief.


Resources that are assigned to divisions or groups will report directly to their respective commander.  Communications between such units shall be via face-to-face communications whenever possible.  Communications between the divisions or group supervisor to the OSC or Command shall also be face-to-face when ever possible.



Divisions are responsible for the tactical operations that are taking place in a specific geographic area.  Division supervisor’s report to the OSC or if an operation has not been established, to Command.



Groups are established to achieve specific tasks at the emergency scene.  Group supervisors report to the OSC if one has been established.  In the event that operations have not been established the group supervisor will report to Command.


Groups function as a unit on the entire emergency scene and are not confined to any geographical boundary.


Strike Teams and Task Forces:

Strike Teams and combinations of companies, which are nearly identical in their functions and are assigned to cover specific situations.  Four Water Tenders may be assigned as a water supply strike team for a fire operation.  Only the leader of the Strike Team communicates to Central Communications.


Task Forces are combinations of companies, which are varied in their functions and are assigned to cover a wide range of situations.  An engine company, truck company and EMS unit may be assigned to a task force to investigate alarm system reports during severe weather.  Only the leader of the Task Force communicates with Central Communications.


Emergency Operations Center (EOC):

Incidents that effect large areas of a given municipality may be managed from a predetermined command post, commonly known as an emergency operations center (EOC).



Designation of the Incident Scene:

The incident scene shall be broken down to facilitate coordination at the scene.  The division of the incident scene shall be at the discretion of the incident commander.  Only the officers assigned to command a division, group, strike team or task force shall communicate to the incident commander or operations as appropriate.  The following examples show typical schemes for dividing an incident scene.


Examples of Divisions and Groups:

The four sides of the incident site shall be designated as Divisions.  Division designations proceed clockwise around the building, beginning with Division A as shown in the figure below.  Division A shall be identified as the side which faces the street or which has the main building entrance.  If a building has more than one entrance, Division A shall be identified as the side where the Command Post is located.  EMS units may be designated with Divisions and/or Groups.




Exposures to the incident site shall be designated similarly to the side of the building as shown in the figure below.  Adding a number to the exposure designation shall designate successive exposures moving away from the fire building.



Multistory buildings may be broken down by floor as shown in the figure below.  Each floor shall be designated as a Division using the floor number.  The basement, roof, and lobby shall be designated using those names as Division names.  A medical unit may be set up on a floor not involved in the incident.



Groups may operate across several Divisional boundaries as shown in the figure below. Groups shall be designated by the name of the function to be performed.  (e.g. The Ventilation Group may be assigned to perform ventilation on each floor of a multistory building.)




The Five Reasons to Communicate:

All units shall respect the five reasons to communicate.


They are:


1)     Additional resources are required.


2)     The assignment is completed.


3)     You are unable to complete an assignment.


4)     An immediate safety hazard exists.


5)     If you have information that has a direct bearing on the incident.


If these five reasons are consistently adhered to there will be a tremendous reduction in the amount of communications on the emergency scene and a noticeable improvement on the efficiency of communications.


Upon the establishment of command or the formation of a formal command post, all further communication between the incident and Central Communications shall be through that unit.


Assigned Radio Channels:


Emergency scene communications shall be transmitted on radio channels as follows:


Communications Channels:


Fireground Tactical Operations:

All fireground communications shall be on the assigned channel(s) this includes all fire units responding to and operating at emergencies.  Fireground operations will in most cases be on an assigned Operations (OPS) channel, usually OPS1.


EMS Routine Communications:

All routine EMS communications to Central shall be on the assigned zone response channel.  Incidents involving Multiple EMS units, on-scene communications should be on the assigned OPS channel.


EMS Communications at the Fire Operations:

EMS units assigned, as Medical Units at tactical fire operations shall remain on an assignment frequency, Medical Units shall not initiate any communications on the tactical fireground channel.  If contacted by the Incident commander for an assignment, the BLS Unit shall acknowledge the assignment.  All further communication required for the treatment of emergency service personnel or civilians shall be handled as EMS routine communications.


Incident Command Functions: 


All messages from a formal command post to Central shall be on the channel assigned by Central Communications.


Helicopter Evacuation Crafts to Helispot Manager (LZ): 

All communications regarding the incident to the MedEvac helicopter shall be on assigned channel unless directed otherwise.


Reporting Intervals:


Command to Central Communications:


A report shall be given upon the arrival of the unit assuming the command function.


A progress report shall be given from the emergency scene to Central Communications at least every ten (10) minutes.  The report shall include the current situation and status.


“Incident Under Control” or “Fire Under Control” shall be issued by the IC at anytime that the incident is stabilized.  Stabilization would include, the forward progress of the fire has been stopped, all victims have been extricated, the flow of a toxic substance has been stopped, etc.


Staff Officer to Command:


Staff officers shall report directly to command.  There should be no routine need to do so by radio.


General Staff:


The General Staff, with the occasional exception of the OSC, shall report directly to Command and should require very little, if any, radio traffic between Command and the functional officers.


In case of the operations function there may be a considerable amount of radio traffic between both he and Command depending upon the dynamics of the situation.  Reports should be provided to the OSC every five (5) minutes.


Groups and Divisions:


Group and Division supervisors may be required to utilize extensive radio communication to report to their appropriate supervisor.  As always, face-to-face communication shall be the best option when relaying large amounts of technical information or transmitting lengthy reports.  Reports should be given every five minutes.


Strike Teams and Task Forces:


Strike teams and task forces shall report to their OSC.  Only the supervising unit shall transmit to the OSC.  Additional channels may be assigned to these units to act as a tactical communications channel.


Single Resources: 


Single resources shall report to Central Communications every ten (10) minutes.


Resource Designation (Definitions): 


Resources for the purpose of the Burlington County Incident Command System (BCICS) shall be known as the following to allow for a common terminology to be developed within the department.


Command Car – a passenger vehicle utilized to transport command officers to the scene of emergency incidents.  These vehicles are frequently utilized as the command post.


Crew – 3 to 7 persons who are assigned a specific task on the emergency scene, such as search, ventilation, etc., without their physical apparatus being committed.  Such crews shall always have a supervisor and designation of the crew shall be the apparatus utilized to respond to the scene, (e.g., 1612’s officer).  A crew operates under the direct supervision of a crew leader.


The term company may be applied to all of these resources to define that units are staffed to the emergency service minimum standards for staffing. (e.g., Engine Company, Truck Company, EMS Unit, Marine Company, etc.)


Engine – apparatus utilized to apply water to the fireground and equipped with hose and standard engine company equipment.  Engines may also perform Truck or Rescue Company functions.  Some engines are equipped to provide initial BLS.


Ladder  – apparatus designed specifically for the purpose of providing firefighting access to elevate positions and/or placing an elevated master stream device in service and equipped with a full compliment of ground ladders, as well as large amounts of forcible entry and ventilation equipment.  Ladders may also perform rescue company functions.


Rescue – a unit equipped to respond to extrication assignments and carrying a vast array of heavy extrication equipment.   Rescues also carry limited Hazardous Materials resources.


Marine Unit – a unit that is capable of performing emergency operations on water or ice.


Water Tender – a unit of at least 1500 gallons, which delivers large quantities of water to an emergency scene.


Brush Fire Unit – (BFU) a unit equipped with four-wheel drive for accessing wildland fires or other off-the road incidents.


Basic Life Support (BLS) Unit – an ambulance unit capable of providing basic life support care and transportation.


Advanced Life Support (ALS) – a unit equipped to supply advanced life support services but incapable of supplying patient transportation.


Medical Unit – a BLS unit assigned to support firefighting or other hazardous situations.  The Medical unit is reserved for emergency services personnel injuries.



            Initial Tactical Checklist (under development)

            CP & Staging Considerations (under development)

            Special Considerations (under development)



SCOPE:  The provisions of this guideline will apply to operational and evacuation practices conducted at a high-rise structure as defined within this guideline.  This guideline may also be applied to structures not classified as high-rises, but containing similar building characteristics and firefighting challenges.


PURPOSE:  The following information consists of a guideline for conducting suppression activities at a reported structure fire using the Burlington County Incident Management Plan at any high-rise occupancy, or structure with similar challenges, within Burlington County, New Jersey.  This guideline is intended to familiarize the wide-range of personnel anticipated to be involved in a high-rise incident in Burlington County, NJ.  Generally, there will be more automatic- and mutual-aid at a high-rise incident than there is from the authority having jurisdiction.


  2. High-rise incidents are unique, complex, low frequency, high-risk operations for both firefighters and civilians.
  3. As a general rule of thumb, it takes three times the effort and resources for a high-rise incident as it does to address a 1- or 2-story structure.
  4. Personnel should make every attempt to bring a minimum of one (1) spare cylinder aloft with them or at least to the lobby area for future deployment to staging.


  2. Because structural firefighting, specifically high-rise firefighting, requires a coordinated, near simultaneous execution of fire ground tasks (suppression, rescue, ventilation, etc.) during the initial stages of an incident, it is recommended that the following response recommendations occur with minimal delay.
  3. Minimum recommended response for an automatic fire alarm

                  1 engine

                  1 ladder or other company as determined by the department

                  1 chief officer


  1. Minimum recommended response for a reported structure fire

    4 engines

    2 ladders

                        1 rescue

                        2 chief officers

                        1 ambulance

                        1 rapid intervention crew




  1. AUTOMATIC FIRE ALARM-When companies are dispatched to an alarm system at a high-rise, units will take the following actions-


  1. First arriving unit
  2. Establish command
  3. Report to the main entrance of the facility
  4. Position apparatus in a position to proceed to the standpipe or to another location, as needed
  5. Verify alarm location(s) from the fire alarm control panel/annunciator
  6. Obtain keys and information (as needed) from key box (Knox Box)
  7. Investigate the first reported alarm location annunciated on fire alarm control panel.


  1. Second arriving unit
  2. Company officer, and crew if needed, will report to the alarm panel unless otherwise directed by the incident commander
  3. Assist with investigating alarm


  1. First arriving chief officer
  2. Assume command after transfer with initial IC
  3. Establish command post, preferably in Division-A
  4. Determine strategic and tactical priorities based on scene size-up


  1. Additional arriving units will Level I stage and await assignment from IC.


  1. STRUCTURE FIRE-When companies are dispatched to a reported fire at a high-rise, the following actions will be taken:


  1. First arriving unit (typically first due engine)
  2. Establish command.
  3. Give a preliminary report.
  4. Declare strategy as offensive or defensive.
  5. Obtain information from occupants, building management, or security.
  6. Check the alarm panel for activations.
  7. Take control of elevators.
  8. Verify the location of the fire.
  9. Identify and communicate the location of an attack stairwell, evacuation stairwell, and ventilation stairwell (roof).
  10. Get keys and info from key holder and/or Knox Box.


  1. Next assigned engine (may be first arriving unit also)
  2. Connect to and supply the building sprinkler system before supplying the standpipe.
  3. Verify the location of the fire before committing hand lines.
  4. Hand line diameter will be determined by the engine company officer, based on construction, occupancy, and size-up.  Fires identified with wind-driven conditions necessitate larger caliber hose streams (2 ½”).
  5. Operate on fire floor using closest stairwell or standpipe connection on the floor below the fire unless wind-driven conditions or civilian evacuation necessitates a change in the attack stairwell.
  6. Ensure stairwell is clear of civilians prior to compromising stairwell with hand line or ventilation.


  1. First assigned ladder
  2. Conduct a preliminary inspection of building exterior.  Chauffer will work with company unless aerial main is needed for access or rescue.
  3. Position apparatus for maximum scrub area of building on Division-A or where immediate rescue or life threat exists.
  4. Report to fire floor and work with initial suppression engine company.
  5. Conduct primary search of fire floor.
  6. Check plenums and void spaces on fire floor.


  1. First assigned chief officer
  2. Assume command.
  3. Announce ICP location and establish command post.
  4. Declare strategy as offensive or defensive.
  5. Determine strategic and tactical priorities based on incident size-up and declared strategy.


  1. First assigned RIC
  2. Proceed to Staging Area two floors below lowest fire floor.
  3. Minimum equipment required-
  4.       RIC scba and spare cylinder
  5.       Extra cylinder for each member assigned

                                                                      iii.      Thermal imaging camera

  1.       Spare radio batteries for members


  1. Next assigned engine
  2. Support the water supply of the standpipe supply engine.
  3. Proceed to the fire floor to support initial suppression engine.
  4. Assist with first hand line.
  5. Stretch a 2½” hand line as the second line, if needed.


  1. Next assigned ladder
  2. Position apparatus for maximum scrub area of Division-C, unless IC/situation dictates aerial is needed in another area
  3. Proceed to floor above fire floor
  4.       Perform rescue and occupant removal as dictated by conditions on floor (removal versus shelter in place)
  5.       Assist engine company, as needed

                                                                      iii.      Check for extension

  1.       Determine ventilation needs


  1. Second assigned chief officer
  2. Report to IC
  3. Suggested assignments are support incident commander at command post, Lobby Control, Operations Section Chief, Safety/Accountability Officer, or Division/Group supervisor as directed by the IC.
  4. Coordinate suppression, ventilation, evacuation, and staging area needs from floor below


  1. Next assigned engine
  2. Proceed to floor above fire floor with hand line
  3.       Uncontrolled fire on fire floor requires minimum 2½” hand line
  4.       Checking for extension requires minimum 1¾” hand line
  5. Perform rescues and occupant removal from floor above
  6. Check for extension
  7. Coordinate activity with ladder assigned to same floor


  1. Next assigned apparatus
  2. Proceed to top floor to check
  3.       Civilians trapped in stairwell
  4.       Roof access

                                                                      iii.      Ventilation openings

  1.       Fire/smoke extension


  1. Next assigned apparatus
  2. Officer to Lobby Control
  3. One member to control elevator return and use of Phase I & II Fire Service
  4. One member to control utilities with building engineer


  1. Subsequent arriving units/alarms proceed to Level II Staging Area for deployment as needed.  Possible job tasks include:
  2. Control of utilities
  3. Control of stairwells and evacuation
  4. Control of elevators
  5. Assist in engine company operations
  6. Assist in ladder company operations
  7. Assignment to command post/ staging area
  8. Relieve companies going to rehab


  1. Subsequent arriving chiefs will report to the command post for assignment to a position within the incident management system.




  1. Building evacuation managed by the fire department should be managed in the following order:
  2. The fire floor
  3. The floor above the fire
  4. The top floor of the building
  5. Floor below top floor down to fire floor


  1. The above floors will be given priority, but care must be taken to see that the rest of the building is evacuated.


  1. If sheltering in place, a clear communication to units on location shall be declared and safe area of refuge identified.


  1. Occupants not sheltered in place and that have evacuated the building should not be within 200 feet of the exterior of the building (protection from overhead debris/glass).


  1. Evacuated occupants shall be moved to an assembly area for accountability and, if needed, triage, treatment, and transport by emergency medical service.




  1. Elevators may be used at the discretion of the incident commander for incidents on or above the 7th floor of a high-rise.


  1. Before using the elevators:
  2. All elevators shall be returned to the lobby utilizing phase I elevator control.
  3. Check the elevator shaft for fire, smoke, or water penetration by shining a hand light between the elevator car and the shaft.  If there is evidence of any fire, smoke or water in the shaft, the elevator will not be used.
  4. Personnel using elevators shall be trained in self-extrication from elevator cars.
  5. Members shall communicate their unit number and elevator car number to the incident commander or lobby control.
  6. Only one company (maximum of 5 members) may occupy the elevator at one time.
  7. Personnel shall have SCBA donned and turned on and prepared to don their mask. Appropriate tools for use in self-extrication from an elevator shall also be carried.
  8. Members utilizing elevators shall know the location of the nearest stairwell.


  1. If there is any doubt as to the reliability or integrity of the elevator, the elevator will not be used.


  1. Using elevators
  2. Activate phase II elevator control in the car.
  3. Check elevator for proper operation within the first five (5) floors.  If there is a malfunction, report it immediately to the incident commander.  The company will then utilize the stairs.
  4. Members shall exit the elevator at least two (2) floors below the fire floor or two (2) floors below the lowest level of fire alarm initiating device activation, whichever is lower.




  1. Use of HVAC to exhaust smoke.
  2. Systems should be shut down until the fire is under control.
  3. Decisions to reactivate these systems should be made with the knowledge of the Incident Commander, Operations Chief, and Building Maintenance.
  4. All personnel should be advised of these actions by the IC and removed from the fire floor(s).


  1. Vertical Ventilation
  2. Pressurizing stairwells from the ground using high volume positive pressure fans will help maintain tenable conditions for firefighting and evacuation.  This shall be coordinated with Operations Section prior to being implemented.
  3. Can be supported with PPV fans from the ground.
  4. Must be coordinated with companies on the fire floor.
  5. Vertical ventilation cannot be conducted in the evacuation stairway until it is clear of occupants.


  1. Horizontal Ventilation
  2. Pressurizing stairwells from the ground using high volume positive pressure fans will help maintain tenable conditions for firefighting and evacuation and can assist in horizontal ventilation.  This shall be coordinated with Operations Section prior to being implemented.
  3. Can be conducted as necessary during fire operations.
  4. Wind conditions shall be checked prior to ventilation to ensure that horizontal ventilation will be favorable to conditions.
  5. Glass breakage shall only be conducted with the permission of and after the IC is notified of the location of the window so that a warning can be issued on the ground.  Precautions should be taken to prevent unwanted damage to hose lines and injuries to personnel.  Open window and pull window glass to inside, if conditions permit, in order to prevent glass from falling to exterior. 


  1. INCIDENT COMMAND-The incident commander should appoint the following positions within the Incident Management System, as needed, for a high-rise incident.
  2. Staging Area Manager
  3. The Staging Area Manager reports to the IC in the initial phases of an incident.  When the Operation Section Chief role is staffed, the Staging Area Manager will report directly to the Operations Section Chief.
  4. Staging will be established two floors below the fire, unless conditions dictate otherwise.
  5. It is recommended that a company from the first alarm assignment set up staging.
  6. Rehab shall also be set up in staging for firefighters needing rest, recycling, or requiring medical attention.
  7. Staging will maintain a record of resource status for personnel accountability.


  1. Base Manager
  2. Base may be implemented when the Level II staging area and Staging Area Manager have determined the resources outnumber the space allocation allotted for Level II staging.
  3. Base serves as a deployment point from which personnel and equipment are distributed.
  4. Base Manager reports to the Incident commander if the Logistics Section Chief has not been established.
  5. Base should be located a safe distance from the involved structure, normally 200 feet or more.
  6. Responsibilities of Base include:
  7.       Establish one or more safe routes into the building
  8.       Coordinate movement into the building with Lobby Control

                                                          iii.      Maintain an accurate log of resources contained in Base.


  1. Lobby Control Unit Leader
  2. Establishing lobby control should be a priority for all working high-rise incidents.
  3. Lobby Control Unit Leader shall report to the Incident Commander if the Logistics Section Chief or Support Branch Director has not established.
  4. Responsibilities of Lobby Control include:
  5.       Use of the building communications system to address occupants
  6.       Control of all firefighting personnel and civilians entering and exiting the building

                                                          iii.      Determine occupant egress to ensure a safe corridor for exiting people

  1.       Direct personnel to move occupants at least 200 feet from the building
  2.       Coordinate the use of elevators
  3.       If not already assigned to Ventilation Group, pressurize the stairwells with fans when the building HVAC cannot be used.


  1. Stairwell Support Unit Leader
  2. The stairwell support function is implemented when equipment cannot be moved to staging by elevators or when additional water supply is needed.
  3. The Ground Support leader shall report to the Incident Commander if the Logistics Section Chief or Support Branch Director has not established.
  4.       Stairwell Support responsibilities includes movement of equipment (cylinders, hose, rehab, etc.) via the stairwells to the staging floor


  1. Rapid Intervention Crew


  1. Rapid Intervention Crews will stage two floors below the fire floor, unless directed otherwise by the Operations Section.


  1. The crews will be made familiar with operations and locations of companies.


  1. As incident escalates, additional Rapid Intervention Crews should be added to match incident alarm level based on number of companies operating in IDLH environment and number of floors involved in incident.





Stairwell Support Unit:  Functional unit within the Logistics Section.  Personnel assigned are responsible for the transportation of portable equipment (cylinders, hose, tools, rehab supplies, etc.) up stairwells from ground level to the staging floor of a high-rise structure.


High-Rise: A building with an occupied floor located more than 75 feet (22860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.


Incident Commander (IC): Individual responsible for managing all incident operations.


Incident Command Post (ICP): The location established by the IC and designated as ‘CPXX” where XX refers to the district (i.e. 10, 22, 32, 36, etc.)


Lobby Control: Control point for fire fighting resources located within the lobby of a high-rise structure.  The Lobby Control Officer is responsible for controlling vertical access of emergency personnel to known safe routes, operating elevators, controlling the air handling system and coordinating the movement of supplies.


Medical Rehabilitation Unit / FF Rehab: Crews that have members who have exhausted two SCBA cylinders will be directed by their assigned Division/Group supervisor to report to Firefighter Rehabilitation.  That crew will be replaced by fresh crews assigned out of staging.  The primary goal of firefighter rehabilitation is to ensure firefighter safety.  When crews have been cleared from rehabilitation, they will report back to the Staging Area Manager for next assignment, unless directed otherwise.


Resources:  Resources include personnel and major items of equipment, supplies, and facilities available or potentially available for assignment to incident operations and for which status is maintained.


Staging:  Location established where resources can be placed while awaiting a tactical assignment (usually two floors below the lowest fire floor or one floor below the Operations Post).  The Staging Area Manager reports to the Operations Section Chief, once established.  There may be more than one Staging Area at an incident.  When this is the case, Staging Areas are designated by geographic names.


Level I Staging: Implemented during initial stages of response as defined under the Burlington County Incident Management Guideline.

Level II Staging: Is a specific location assigned by the IC consistent with the Burlington County Incident Management Guideline.


Stack Effect: Stack effect is the natural movement of air within a building.  It becomes noticeable in buildings more than sixty feet high and becomes stronger as the building gets taller.  It is caused by the rising of warm air through stairways, elevator shafts, utility chases, and all else.  The Reverse Stack Effect can occur when air tends to sink in an air-conditioned building with hot weather.



Published Resources Used in Developing This Guideline (various fire department guidelines were consulted also, but not enumerated)


  1. Developing Effective Standard Operating Procedures. FEMA. 1999.


  1. Norman, John. Fire Officer’s Handbook of Tactics, Second Edition. Saddle Brook, NJ. Penn Well Publishing Company. 1998


  1. Model Procedures Guide for High-Rise Firefighting, Second Edition.  Fire Protection Publications. 2003.


  1. Burlington County Fire Chiefs’ Association, www.bcfirechiefs.org/, Incident Command System-Burlington County, adopted September-1992, effective January-1993, and revised July-2010.


  1. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Management Institute, http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/ICSResource/index.htm


  1. 2009 International Building Code® New Jersey Edition, second printing, International Code Council, Inc. 2009.












For use by the




Prepared by C. Kenneth Anderson and Joseph Lehmann, Jr.

Burlington County Fire Coordinator


with the information from the


NJ Division of Fire Safety

International Association of Fire Chiefs

United States Fire Administration

and the

Burlington County Office of Emergency Management


March, 2003




       The Fire Departments in Burlington County provide many services to the citizens of their communities.  A principal service is fire suppression response, including various related services as defined in the mission of the Department.  Those services can include:  rescue, extrication, trench rescue, high angle rescue, providing EMS, hazardous materials incidents, etc.


       Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are developed for many contingencies.  Mutual aid assistance is built into many SOPs. 


       If there is a widespread terrorist event, all Fire Departments in a geographic area might be taxed to their limits.  Mutual aid may not be available until the State Emergency Operations Plan is put into effect and mutual aid is dispatched from some distance.


       The U. S. Department of Homeland Security has developed a system of Threat Conditions.  The system has been adopted in New Jersey.  It is appropriate for Fire Department to develop an SOP to list the actions that will be taken at the several Threat Condition levels.


       The Fire Department Chief, or the Homeland Security Officer, can use these guidelines to develop an SOP for the Department.  In the developing a Threat Level SOP, the Fire Chief may evaluate the existing Department Operational SOPs for Hurricanes or Floods and find that very little has to be added to provide for the security required for the lower Threat Levels.


       Fire Departments should establish local measures to transition between Threat Condition levels for their facilities and personnel.  Individual Fire Departments are responsible for routinely reviewing the effectiveness of day-to-day physical security measures under the existing Threat Condition within all facilities occupied by the Department. 


       These measures must be reviewed when the Terrorist Threat Level changes or when directed by an authority having jurisdiction (Mayor, Director, Emergency Management Coordinator).


       Regardless, an SOP should be developed that meets the needs of the Fire Department and the Community.


       The information in this Guidance document includes:


  • Descriptions of the Threat Condition levels
  • Suggestions of actions to consider at each Threat Condition level




Homeland Security Advisory System


       The Homeland Security Advisory System is designed to measure and evaluate terrorist threats and to inform and to facilitate actions appropriate to different levels of government and to private citizens, either in their workplaces or in their homes, in a timely manner.  It is a national framework; yet it is flexible to apply to threats made against a city, a state, a sector, or an industry.  It provides a common vocabulary, so officials from all levels of government can communicate easily with one another and to the public.  It provides clear, easy to understand factors, which help measure threat.


       Most importantly, it empowers government and citizens to take actions to address the threat.  For every level of threat, there will be a level of preparedness.  It is a system that is equal to the threat.


       The advisory system is based on five threat conditions or five different alerts:  low, guarded, elevated, high and severe.  They are represented by five colors:  green, blue, yellow, orange and red.


       The decision to name a threat condition rests with the Attorney General, after consulting with members of the Homeland Security Council, after consulting with The Secretary of Homeland Security.  He will be responsible for communicating the threat to law enforcement, state and local officials, and the public.


       A number of factors will be used to analyze the threat information:  Is it credible?  Is it a credible source?  Can the threat be corroborated?  Is it specific as to time or place or method of attack?  What are the consequences if the attack is carried out?  Can the attack be deterred?  Many factors go into the value judgment; many factors go into the assessment of the intelligence.


       Because the threat varies, the system is versatile and flexible enough to meet it.  The federal government cannot mandate the use of this system. As the name implies, it is advisory.  However, New Jersey has coordinated its alert system to the federal system.


       The Homeland Security Advisory System provides a comprehensive and effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to Federal, State, and local authorities and to the American people. The system provides warnings in the form of a set of graduated "Threat Conditions" that increase as the risk of the threat increases. At each Threat Condition, Federal departments and agencies implement a corresponding set of "Protective Measures" to further reduce vulnerability or increase response capability during a period of heightened alert.


       This system is intended to create a common vocabulary, context, and structure for an ongoing national discussion about the nature of the threats that confront the homeland and the appropriate measures that should be taken in response. It seeks to inform and facilitate decisions appropriate to different levels of government and to private citizens at home and at work.


       The following Threat Conditions each represent an increasing risk of terrorist attacks.


  1. Low Condition (Green).


       This condition is declared when there is a low risk of terrorist attacks.  No discernable terrorist activity.


  1. Guarded Condition (Blue).


       This condition is declared when there is a general risk of terrorist attacks.  Possible terrorist activity against unspecified targets.


  1. Elevated Condition (Yellow).


       An Elevated Condition is declared when there is a significant risk of terrorist attacks.  A more predictable threat against an unspecified target is likely.


  1. High Condition (Orange).


       A High Condition is declared when there is a high risk of terrorist attacks.  Terrorist attack is imminent although target information is unknown.


  1. Severe Condition (Red).


       A Severe Condition reflects a severe risk of terrorist attacks. Under most circumstances, the Protective Measures for a Severe Condition are not intended to be sustained for substantial periods of time.  Imminent attack against known target or attack has occurred.



General Procedures to Consider for Normal Ops or a Threat Alert SOP


  • Keep phone lists of your key employees and provide copies to key staff members.


  • If you have a voice mail system, designate one remote number on which you can record messages for employees. Provide the number to all employees.


  • Arrange for programmable call forwarding for your main business line(s). Then, if you can't get to the office, you can call in and reprogram the phones to ring elsewhere.


  • If some facilities do not have emergency generators, install emergency lights that turn on when the power goes out.


  • Back up computer data frequently throughout the business day. Keep a backup tape off site.


  • Use UL-listed surge protectors and battery backup systems. They will add protection for sensitive equipment and help prevent a computer crash if the power goes out.


  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone alert feature. Keep it on and when the signal sounds, listen for information about severe weather and protective actions to take.


  • Stock a minimum supply of the goods, materials and equipment you would need for business continuity.


  • Keep emergency supplies handy, including-


o        Flashlights with extra batteries.

o        First aid kit.

o        Tools.


       Food and water for employees and customers to use during a period of unexpected confinement at your business, such as if a tanker truck over-turned nearby and authorities told everyone in the area to stay put for an extended


Considerations for Local Fire Department Operational Response Measures


Low Risk - Threat Level Green              

  1. Refine and exercise preplanned protective measures
  2. Ensure personnel receive training on the Homeland Security Advisory System and preplanned agency-specific protective measures   
  3. Institutionalize a process to assure that all facilities and regulated sectors are regularly assessed for vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks, and all reasonable measures are taken to mitigate these vulnerabilities           
  4. Maintain a list of all personnel including address and phone numbers    
  5. Identify alternative work sites.
  6. Identify key essential personnel to move essential services to other sites if necessary    
  7. Check communication primary and back-up with emergency response and control centers   
  8. Review and update disaster/emergency response procedures             
  9. Provide the public with necessary information             
  10. Increase security checks of all vehicles assigned to your section      
  11. Secure all buildings, rooms and storage areas not in regular use            
  12. Remind all personnel to be suspicious of all strangers, particularly those carrying suitcases or other containers.
  13. Be alert for suspicious vehicles in the vicinity of your facility and for abandoned packages or vehicles     
  14. Identify department critical infrastructures and apply low or no-cost countermeasures.


  1. Develop procedures to improve daily information sharing with other local responders.
  2. Review local protocols for incident command and unified command as needed.
    Devise creative methods for emergency joint communications using existing equipment.
  3. Conduct time-efficient, inexpensive walk-through drills and tabletop exercises with all local responding agencies.
  4. Invite other local response organizations to observe or participate in full-scale department exercises planned for the future.
  5. Review all plans and logistic requirements for implementation of Threat Level Blue


 Guarded Risk - Threat Level Blue

  1. Review and complete the required actions for Threat Level Green
  2. Check communication primary and back-up with emergency response and control centers   
  3. Review and update emergency response procedures          
  4. Provide the public with any information that would strengthen its ability to act appropriately.
  5. Increase security checks of all vehicles assigned to your agency   
  6. Secure all buildings, rooms and storage areas not in regular use            
  7. Remind all personnel to be suspicious of all strangers, particularly those carrying suitcases or other containers.
  8. Be alert for suspicious vehicles in the vicinity of your facility and for abandoned packages or vehicles     
  9. Assign duty officers who maintain key response plans and are responsible for carrying out guidance security plans         
  10. At the beginning and end of each work day and at regular intervals inspect the interior and exterior of your facilities for suspicious activities and packages
  11. Establish alternate staging locations   
  12. Check all deliveries to your facilities     
  13. Check all facility lighting, locks and fencing for serviceability and use.   Take steps to have deficiencies repaired    
  14. Reduce the number of entrances to each facility (Channel traffic for better control)  
  15. Review all plans and logistic requirements for implementation of Threat Level Yellow


Elevated Risk - Threat Level Yellow

  1. Review and complete the required actions for Threat Levels Green and Blue   
  2. At the beginning and end of each work day and at regular intervals inspect the interior and exterior of your facilities for suspicious activities, packages and vehicles           
  3. Reduce the number of entrances to your facility.      
  4. Review and coordinate emergency plans with nearby jurisdictions             
  5. Assess the precise characteristics of the threat information for further refinement of pre-planned protective measures of targeted facilities or functions   
  6. Implement, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans.
  7. Start using contingency and emergency response plans as required.   
  8. Remind all vehicle operators to lock parked vehicles and do walk around checks.  
  9. Inform all personnel on the general situation.               
  10. Move vehicles, trash receptacles and other containers at least 50 feet from buildings    
  11. Increase examination of all mail for FBI warning signs
  12. Increase surveillance of critical locations   
  13. Consider inspecting and escorting all visitors, carried items, and containers       
  14. Consider restriction of deliveries and/or by appointment only     
  15. Consider placing essential personnel on standby     
  16. Maintain open communication by providing regular information releases to stop rumors and prevent unnecessary alarm   
  17. Review procedures for Threat Level Orange     


High Risk - Threat Level Orange

  1. Review and complete the required actions for Threat levels Green, Blue and Yellow   
  2. Keep personnel responsible for implementing anti-terrorist plans available at their duty section   
  3. Suspend non-essential commercial deliveries or develop alternate mail delivery and sorting facilities  
  4. Contact other key emergency organizations to confirm their emergency response plan procedures  
  5. Establish "Buffer Zones" around Key facilities by limiting parking, moving trash receptacles, and increasing periodic checks      
  6. Coordinate necessary security efforts with law enforcement            
  7. Take additional precautions at public events, including pre-event security checks.
  8. Prepare to work alternating shifts and restricting access to essential personnel only.  (Identified by photo ID and access rosters)  
  9. Have emergency supplies on hand (equipment, materials, food, etc), shelters ready, and review procedures
  10. Restrict key personnel, when not actually on duty, to immediate response (30 minutes)
  11. Prepare to execute contingency procedures, such as moving to an alternate site or dispersing the response units.   In the alternative, are Task Force responses appropriate?
  12. Limit facility access points to the absolute minimum   
  13. Prepare to limit or eliminate all non-essential functions   
  14. Prepare to close all non-essential facilities     
  15. Account for all vehicles adjacent to facilities and increase security limit or eliminate parking within 50 feet of key facilities
  16. Prepare to limit all administrative visits         
  17. Require Positive ID for all visitors      
  18. Prepare to activate Emergency Operational Centers
  19. Check computer and telephone systems and notify the people who will staff the EOC
  20. Make contact with the law enforcement counterpart in your municipality to share information and review emergency response plans.


  1. Be prepared to brief your local elected officials and the local news media, if requested.


  1. Prepare for security precautions by the federal government, as well as state and local governments, to increase readiness to prevent terrorism and plan accordingly.


  1. Encourage all citizens in your communities to review their own families’ emergency response procedures to ensure that all family members know what to do, where to go and what their own emergency contingency plans are.


  1. Leave all exterior lighting on during periods of limited visibility.


  1. Maintain constant observation of apparatus and equipment kept outside of the station.
  2. Remain attentive for unexplained odors, powders, liquids, etc.
  3. Coordinate for personnel protection when at the scene of an incident.


  1. Arrange for aggressively restricted access to the proximate area of an incident.


  1. Diversify operational procedures to avoid consistent patterns.


  1. Encourage personnel to vary their routines and habits.
  2. Review procedures for Threat Level Red        


Severe Risk - Threat Level Red

  1. Complete all required actions under Threat Levels Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Green.
  2. Assign emergency response personnel and pre-position specially trained teams to monitor, redirect and, in concert with the law enforcement counterpart in your municipality, constrain transportation for control and use
  3. Increase personnel to address critical emergency needs (Call back)        
  4. Limit or eliminate all non-essential operations.  (Inspections, Public Education)              
  5. Control access to all facilities and require 100 % positive identification procedures. 
  6. Minimize or stop all administrative visits to your facilities     
  7. Ensure all employees are aware of the situation/threat and they remain alert and report any unauthorized or suspicious activity    
  8. Activate the appropriate Emergency Operation Centers              
  9. Priority will be given to saving lives and protecting property, in that order


  1. Address critical emergency needs


  1. Wildland firefighting techniques may have to be applied to rural and urban fire situations, particularly where water systems are inoperative.  Aerial delivery of fire retardants or water for structural protection may be essential.  In the case of multiple fires, firebreaks may be cleared and burning-out and backfiring techniques may be used.


  1. Mobilize and pre-position specially trained teams or resources


  1. Adhere to any travel restrictions announced by governmental authorities


  1. Work with community leaders, emergency management, government agencies, community organizations, and utilities to meet the immediate needs of the community


  1. Be prepared to work with a dispersed or smaller work force


  1. Identification check on everyone (i.e. – Driver’s license retained at front office) and escort anyone entering a fire station or Department facility


  1. Ensure mental health counselors are available for employees (and families)


  1. Listen to radio/TV for current information/instructions



Preparing First Responder Families for Threat Levels

       Common leadership theories sustain that subordinates will function with greater enthusiasm and dedication if they are confident about the emergency preparedness and safety of their families. Therefore, it is essential for leaders to promote preparedness activities among the families of their emergency responders for all contingencies and circumstances.

       Given the change in the threat level recently, there have been countless interviews and articles regarding what citizens should do to help themselves and their families. Since most of the information applies to all families, the CIPIC (Critical Infrastructure Protection Information Center) will list those few actions that are particularly relevant to the loved ones of emergency first responders:

  • Develop an emergency method to communicate with family members.
  • Select an out-of-state relative to be the family's single point-of-contact.
  • Establish a predetermined meeting place away from your neighborhood.
  • Choose another family assembly point outside of the municipality.
  • Ensure family members know the address and phone number of meeting places.
  • Learn the emergency response plans of applicable schools, employers, etc.
  • Prepare to "shelter in place," which means to stay inside your home.
  • Assemble disaster supply and first aid kits for use at home or if evacuated.
  • Insert in kits: baby formula, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, bottled water, etc.
  • Maintain currency of life, property, health, and other insurance policies.
  • Determine what will be done with pets since shelters do not allow them.
  • Keep a positive attitude for the benefit of younger family members.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling.
  • Listen to the directions of local authorities.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

       Other sources of information for the emergency preparedness and safety of families follow.  Some of the information can also be useful to Fire Departments—particularly in preparing for the needs of the firefighters.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Terrorism—Preparing for the Unexpected


       Suggestions from the American Red Cross.  Principally for individuals but can be of assistance in developing your SOP.  The suggestions are found at



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Ready, Set ... Prepare


       The newly created Department of Homeland Security rolled out its "Ready" campaign this week to help Americans prepare for a possible terrorist attack.  The department should be commended for streamlining its preparedness suggestions. The recommendations are presented in ways that educate, and discourage the clear-the-store-shelves panic evident in recent days.


       A brief, 11-page brochure, "Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now," calmly offers details on how to handle specific terrorist actions, be they chemical, biological, or nuclear. The campaign also rationally calls for families to develop a communication plan, and to assemble home and "away" supply kits.


       The campaign's central feature is a website: www.ready.gov. Those who don't have an on-ramp to the Web, can call 1-800-BE-READY to order the brochure.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Citizen's Protection Guide


       The guide details opportunities for every citizen to become involved in safeguarding their neighbors and communities through FEMA's Citizen Corps initiative and Community Emergency Response Team training program.  There are several sections that can be accessed at


I.              Purpose:


A.            This document shall explain the procedures to be followed when the Department is called upon to assist in the coordination of Med-Evac Helicopter Landings. The Med-Evac Helicopter Transportation System is utilized when persons within the county require immediate transport to a trauma care facility. By utilizing this system, the patient can be transported to the trauma center within twenty minutes. This reduction in time to transport increases the chances of survival for the critically ill/injured patient.


II.           Scope


A.            This guideline applies to all emergency agencies operating within Burlington County that have a need to request a Medical Evacuation Helicopter.


B.             It is the intent of this guideline to ensure compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Standard terminology, strike team components, and other resources are identified using NIMS guidelines.


III.        Requesting Authority:


A.            It shall be the responsibility of the Emergency First Responder in charge of patient care to request the Medical Evacuation helicopter.


B.             This request is to made through Command to Central Communications.


IV.         Fire Resource Responsibilities:


A.            Once Central receives a request from the Command for use of the Med-Evac helicopter, a Type I Engine Company shall be dispatched per established local response plans.  The senior member shall assume the role of Helispot Manager.


B.             The Helispot Manager will upon arrival:


1.             Locate a suitable landing site for the helicopter (110’ X 110’),

2.             Notify Central of the location selected,

3.             Place flares (day or night) or battery operated hand lanterns or other recognized marking device (at night) at all four corners of the landing site,

4.             Clear any loose objects from the site. (Papers, loose wood, debris, etc.),

5.             Assess local wind conditions and be prepared to advise the pilot when requested,

6.             Secure a perimeter around the landing site at least 110’ greater than the site,

7.             Place fire apparatus approximately 100’ from the perimeter of the landing site and stand-by. Firefighters shall remain at the ready during take off and landing of the aircraft, hose lines are not required to be stretched or placed into service,

8.             Once the aircraft has landed, civilians and firefighters shall be kept at a distance outside the landing zone,

9.             Fire apparatus shall remain at the area in a continued stand-by mode until the aircraft has loaded and is airborne.


V.            Landing Sites:


A.            The Med-Evac Helicopter service requires an area of at least 110’ x 110’ of flat, clear landing area. Members are reminded that this is the minimum dimension; larger areas should be utilized wherever possible. Particular care shall be taken to be certain that upward projecting obstructions are removed or identified to the Med-Evac helicopter pilot. Such objects include towers, wires, fencepost, signposts, etc., all of which are extremely difficult to see from the air. Landing sites should be at least 300 feet from the scene of the emergency and be located as remotely from public access as reasonably possible.


B.             Pre-designated landing zones (LZ) should be identified by all jurisdictions with the county and available in apparatus map books. Pre-designated sites have been selected based on their ability to meet the criteria for Helispots (LZ) as outlined in this document and by the Med-Evac Helicopter Service. These sites shall be utilized whenever possible. Pre-designated landing zones should be added and/or removed as they become available.


VI.         Safety:


A.            No members will enter the 110’ x 110’ landing site unless a genuine emergency exists or they are specifically directed to do so by Command.


B.             Emergency Medical Service members who request assistance from fire members shall do so through Command.


C.            If it becomes necessary to enter the helispot (LZ) and approach the aircraft, the following safety points must be followed:

1.             Gain eye contact with the pilot.

2.             Always approach the helicopter from the sides, be sure to move in a crouched position under the rotor blades.

3.             Never walk anywhere near the tail rotor.

4.             If the helicopter has landed on a slope, always approach the helicopter from the downhill side.

5.             During hours of darkness, turn all emergency lighting to the off position. Do not allow the use of flashbulbs on cameras, or the use of any other lighting in the direction of the helicopter during takeoff or landing, utilize police if necessary.

6.             Eye protection shall be in place by firefighters during takeoff and landing. Members without eye protection shall take necessary precautions.


VII.      Communications:


A.            Upon arrival at the scene, the helicopter will contact Helispot Manager on the designated channel. They may request detailed information about the helispot, which includes local wind direction. The Helispot Manager should be prepared to supply this information. Wind direction is given from the direction of travel, compass direction.


B.             Only the Helispot Manager or his designee shall communicate with the helicopter; this person shall be known as  jurisdiction/town LZ.  Example:  Southampton LZ.   All other units shall stand-by, monitoring their radios.


I.              Closing


A.          All fire departments in Burlington County shall receive a copy of this plan.  All Chief Officers shall become familiar with this plan.


B.            Any plan previously published that is in conflict with this plan is hereby rescinded.

I.              PURPOSE:

Cancer is an important and emerging issue in today’s fire service.  The number of firefighters being diagnosed with cancer is on the rise and studies show there are steps that can be taken to reduce firefighter exposure to carcinogens that are present in the modern environment which are known to cause cancer.  This procedure will outline steps that firefighters shall take to reduce the impacts of carcinogens in the station and on the fire scenes.

II.           SCOPE:

A.     This procedure shall apply to all fire service personnel as it applies to their role within the fire service.  It shall be the responsibility of all fire service personnel to be familiar with this guideline and follow its procedures as it applies to their rank or role in the fire service.

III.        GENERAL:

A.     Cancer reduction shall be addressed through different measures.   These measures are most effective when they are all used together:

1.          Engineering controls – Building and Apparatus

2.          Gross decon of PPE and skin decon at fire incident scenes

3.          PPE bagging / clean cab concept

4.          PPE washing / hood laundering or exchange

5.          Gross decon and post-incident cleaning of SCBA cylinders, harnesses, and masks

6.          Showering and changing clothes – Shower within an hour

7.          Use of SCBA during overhaul

8.          Practicing a healthy lifestyle


A.     Products of Combustion, include smoke, fumes, vapors, and particles composed of carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), sulfur dioxide, ash, tar, hydrocarbons, fibers, carbon, other gases, and semi-combusted materials.

B.      PPE – Personal protective clothing, must be worn during all fire suppression and overhaul operations, or whenever products of combustion are present, regardless of location (interior or exterior).

C.      SCBA – Self Containing Breathing Apparatus, must be worn during all fire suppression and overhaul operations, or whenever products of combustion are present, regardless of location (interior or exterior).

D.     Hot Zone, any location in which the products of combustion are present, including, but not limited to, structure fires, vehicle fires, trash/brush/rubbish fires, or any incident in which products of combustions are present, including salvage and overhaul operations.

E.      Gross decon – flushing the outside of PPE and SCBA, conducted at the incident scene prior to a full washing/cleaning upon return to station.


A.     Firefighters shall make use of engineering controls in the station and on the apparatus that are meant to reduce cancer.  These engineer controls may include:

1.       Rooftop ventilation/exhaust fans

2.       Building space filtration systems

3.       Direct source diesel exhaust capture systems mounted onboard the apparatus

4.       Hose-based direct source diesel exhaust capture systems.


A.     Each fire company/department shall provide incident decontamination kits for use by personnel to perform gross decontamination at fire scenes.

B.      The gross decontamination kit shall include a bucket, garden hose with nozzle, stiff brushes, mild detergent or biodegradable cleaning agent, skin cleaning wipes, and a traffic cone.  A booster / hose line at low pressure may substitute for the garden hose.

C.      Firefighters shall use the components of the gross decontamination kit to rinse fire debris from the outside of PPE and SCBA upon exiting the Hot Zone.  Generally, gross decontamination will be performed at the first arriving Engine or Engine closest to the Hot Zone, away from personnel who have not been exposed to products of contamination.  A traffic cone should be placed at the decon area to help identify the decontamination location.

D.     Gross decontamination shall be performed before firefighters proceed to Rehab or any other non-Hot Zone area or activity.  Exception: firefighters leaving the Hot Zone to retrieve equipment or deliver information will not go through decontamination if they will be immediately returning to the Hot Zone.

E.      Decontamination will be performed prior to removing SCBA to prevent respiratory exposure.

F.      Decontamination shall consist of the following method:

1.       Rinse the firefighter’s PPE and SCBA with low pressure water to rinse off large debris.

2.       Using the designated stiff brushes and mild detergent scrub the gear with a soapy solution and repeat the rinse to further remove the contaminants.  Particular attention should be given to the gloves, underarms, SCBA straps, front coat enclosures, arm cuffs, groin area, boot tops, and boot bottoms.

3.       After rinsing, the firefighter will step away from the runoff area and remove the helmet, hood, regulator, mask and SCBA, gloves, coat, pants and boots.

4.       The firefighter will use skin wipes to remove skin contaminants on the face, neck, ears, abdomen, hands, groin area, and helmet headband.  Members shall wash their hands as the final step of skin decontamination.  Used wipes must be disposed of prior to leaving the incident scene.  Use of skin wipes is only the first step in the skin cleaning process.  This should be followed up with a full shower and change of clothes as soon as possible after returning to the station.


A.     After gross decontamination at the fire scene the PPE shall be left outdoors for off-gassing.

B.      PPE shall be bagged and transported to the fire station in an unoccupied compartment of the apparatus.


A.     Firefighters shall wash their PPE in a designated gear washing machine at the fire station before reuse.

B.      The gear shall be disassembled for the purpose of machine washing.  Liners and hoods shall be washed separately from outer shells and gloves.  PPE shall be washed using the designated detergent for PPE.  The use of nitrile gloves is required during the disassembling of the gear for washing.

C.      Firefighters washing their PPE at the station shall be prompt in removing their gear from the washing machine after use and moving it to the PPE drying machine in the station, and then reassembled for service upon completion of the drying cycle.

D.     Understanding that the neck, throat and ear areas of the body are highly susceptible to absorption of fireground contaminants, firefighters shall ensure that they wash their protective hood or exchange it with a clean one provided by the department if the department has established a hood exchange program.  If established, the department shall provide clean protective hoods for use by firefighters after a fire and a designated place to put protective hoods that require washing.  Protective hoods that have been washed and dried will then be returned to the clean hood distribution point.


A.     To limit the transfer of carcinogens and fireground contaminants to other firefighters on future responses, SCBA shall be rinsed off and heavy debris removed at the incident scene following their use at a fire.  This is to reduce the transfer of contaminants into the passenger cab of the fire apparatus. 

B.      Upon return to the station, the SCBA cylinders and harnesses will be washed using a stiff brush to apply a mild detergent designated by the department for SCBA cleaning. The use of nitrile gloves is required during the washing of the SCBA.

C.      The SCBA will be reassembled and either rotated onto the 2nd out pumper for the purposes of drying OR they may be left assembled and ready for service on the bay floor next to the apparatus on which they belong with a fan blowing air across them.  The last option would be to place the clean SCBA units assembled back into the cab of the apparatus they are assigned to and leave the cab doors/windows open for the purpose of drying the harnesses.  

D.     SCBA masks shall be cleaned in a soapy solution and then rinsed.  The mask will then have a thorough wiping to ensure that all the soot and dirt was removed.


A.     Shower within an hour:  Firefighters shall take a cool/luke warm shower with soap to remove remaining skin contaminants not wiped off at the fire scene and change into clean uniforms/clothes.  This shall be done as soon as reasonably possible after returning to the station or home from the station.  Firefighters should NOT take a warm or hot shower, as this will open skin pores and allow skin contaminants to be absorbed into the skin.


A.     During the overhaul of interior structure fires, hazardous gases and by-products of combustion continue to be released into the air as the contents and structural components continue to smolder. 

B.      Firefighters conducting overhaul shall remain breathing on SCBA to reduce exposure to fireground contaminants and carcinogens. 

C.      The company officer shall monitor personnel conducting overhaul wearing SCBA and ensure these crews are rotated out with fresh personnel as needed. 

D.     Firefighters completing overhaul activities shall receive a gross decontamination of their PPE and SCBA along with the use of skin decontamination wipes after doffing their PPE at the incident scene and follow all other sections of this SOP that apply.


A.     A holistic approach to practicing a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk factors of occupational (and non-occupational) cancers.  Considerations for practicing a healthy lifestyle should include:

1.       Annual physicals

2.       Mental health

3.       Sleep / rest

4.       Proper diet

5.       Exercise

6.       Limited or no use of alcohol and tobacco


A.     While firefighters being diagnosed with cancer is not completely preventable, studies show that it can be reduced using a combination of methods.

B.      (Name of Fire Company) will utilize the steps as described above in combination to achieve the goal of reducing firefighter exposure to carcinogens and fireground contaminants:

1.       Engineering controls – Building and Apparatus

2.       Gross decon of PPE and skin decon at fire incident scenes

3.       PPE bagging / clean cab concept

4.       PPE washing / hood laundering or exchange

5.       Gross decon and post-incident cleaning of SCBA bottles and harnesses

6.       Showering and changing clothes – Shower within an hour

7.       Use of SCBA during overhaul

8.       Practicing a healthy lifestyle

C.      This guideline is consistent with the New Jersey State Firefighter Carcinogen Reduction and Decontamination Protocol guidelines.


A.     This Guideline is adopted by the Burlington County Fire Chiefs Association on November 14, 2018.


To provide Emergency Services Organizations with recommended Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC) operations protocols where an Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) environment would be present or any such incident where the Incident Commander deemed appropriate.

I.              Purpose:


A.         To establish a common set of procedures and equipment needed to implement Large Diameter Hose strike teams using fire apparatus from different agencies.

  Strike Team A   Strike Team D
  Beverly/Edgewater Park - 12   Medford - 25
  Burlington City - 90   Medford Lakes - 37
  Burlington Township - 30   Tabernacle - 43
  Willingboro - 16   Southampton - 172
  Delanco - 11   Pemberton Township - 18
  Delran - 231/232   Shamong - 28
  Riverside - 70    
  Strike Team B   Strike Team E
  Mansfield 33   Willingboro - 16
  Springfield - 212   Hainesport - 39
  Chesterfield - 262   Lumberton - 13
  Bordentown City - 60   Mount Holly - 50
  Wrightstown - 41   Burlington Twp - 30
  Florence - 40   Eastampton - 34
  Strike Team C   Strike Team F *
  Cinnaminson - 20   Burlington Twp - Dist 30
  Maple Shade - 10   Delran - 231/232
  Moorestown - 312/313   Hainesport - 39
  Palmyra - 80   Hampton Lakes - 172
  Delran - 231/232   Medford - 25
  Riverside - 70   Springfield - 212
      Wrightstown - 41
* Strike Team F for Major Incidents 2 hours or more 24/7; LDH 24/7 & Tender Taskforce Incidents 24/7