Incident Response – Rescue Planning Guide.

Before work starts – PETS:


  1. Have a rescue Plan in writing and communicated to all involvedHave a rescue plan
  2. Ensure you have the correct Equipment to carry out the rescue plan
  3. Ensure everyone has received the correct Training to carry out the plan
  4. Have Supervision in place to ensure the plan is carried out correctly
  5. Test the plan to ensure:
    1. Everyone understands what to do (everyone knows the plan)
    2. You have the right equipment & everyone knows where it is
    3. Those involved have received the right training to use the equipment
    4. Those involved have received the right training to carry out the plan
    5. The correct level of supervision is in place



Immediately after an incident


take charge1. One person to take charge of the scene

This should be the supervisor but could be anyone who is immediately available and fully understands the incident response (rescue plan).

They must have the authority to make immediate decisions or adjustments to the plan and the confidence to delegate instructions in a stressful situation.

A good rescue plan, which has been well communicated, should require minimal implementation and be carried out quickly and correctly.

However, there will always be the need for someone to take control immediately after an incident where friends and colleagues could be seriously injured and people are in shock.

It is vitally important that only one person is in charge and that everyone involved in the rescue knows who that person is, usually by means of some form of visual identification.



scene safety2. Scene safety

All work on site must stop to allow the rescue to take complete priority.

Before any rescue is carried out the area must be checked for the safety of the both the casualty and the rescuers as, very often, the first rescuer becomes the second casualty!

If, due to the specific circumstances of the incident, the plan will put the rescuers or casualty at additional risk; the person taking charge must be able to either amend the plan or stop the rescue.

It is not acceptable to place those carrying out a rescue at greater risk than they would normally work in, even in a rescue situation they must still be working safely.

The plan must include a safe way of carrying out the rescue but a good plan should have at least two safe options as it is impossible to foresee every eventuality.



casualty assessment3. Casualty assessment

Once contact is made with the casualty the priority is to assess their condition but try not to move them unless absolutely necessary. If there are multiple casualties triage must be carried out to identify the order of treatment or the order of rescue based on the following:

  1. Catastrophic bleeding
    Major bleeding (pouring or gushing) must be controlled first
  2. Airway
    A compromised airway is the second priority and needs to be opened quickly
  3. Breathing
    CPR must commence on those who can’t maintain their own breathingd)
  4. Unresponsive
    Need to be placed in recovery position or constantly monitored.

It may be the case that casualties need to be treated first or rescued and then treated.



emergency services4. Emergency services

Although your rescue plan must not solely rely on the emergency services it is still vital you get them to scene as quickly as possible.

Ensure a designated person has called 999, asked for the Fire Service and given them the correct information by answering the following questions:

  1. Address and exact location of incident (include the post code* and landmarks)
  2. Situation – What has happened (someone is trapped or stranded at height)
  3. Number and condition of casualties – Unresponsive, not breathing
  4. The phone number – the number you have called on so they can call you back
  5. Additional services – Ambulance and specialists (rope or confined space rescue)

* Ensure the correct address and post code are included in the rescue plan

Although the 999 call needs to be made as soon as possible it is also important to have the correct information to give them. An initial call could be made to get the emergency services on route and a follow up call made when additional information has been gained.



help the casualties5. Help the casualties

This may involve administering first aid for a catastrophic bleed, starting CPR or managing an airway or it could be to get the casualty up, out or down from the place of danger to a place of safety.

In some circumstances it may not be possible to perform any first aid until the casualty has been rescued, in other situations you may have a choice but remember that a live casualty who requires rescue is better than a rescued dead body!

Try to record the history and condition of the casualty and any first aid you provide, make a note of what you did and at what time so it can be handed over later.



assist the emergency services6. Assist emergency services

Although you will have given an address, with a post code, some work sites are large with multiple entrances and it’s important the crews arriving on scene know where to go.

Emergency service vehicles can be large so ensure routes to the scene are clear of obstructions and space is cleared close to the incident location.

Consider sending someone to the entrance to meet and guide the crews to the correct location.



secure the scene7. Secure the scene

Try to put a cordon (tape, rope or barrier) in place to maintain scene safety and keep non-essential personnel away from the rescue site.

Rescue operations work better and are safer with the minimal personnel required to carry out the rescue. A cordon will also greatly assist in maintaining the integrity of the scene for any accident investigation.



handover to emergency services8. Handover to emergency services

Tell the ambulance crew exactly what happened and exactly what you have done.

Hand over all the casualty information you have taken which should include, as a minimum:

  1. Casualty name and age
  2. Previous medical conditions
  3. Any medications they currently take
  4. Any allergies they have
  5. The time of their last meal



wefare9. After the casualty has been handed over

Consider the following:

  1. Welfare of all those involved in both the incident and the rescue
  2. The site may still be unsafe and cordons may need leaving in place
  3. The site may be under the control of the Police
  4. Statements may need to be taken before people leave
  5. Access may be required for investigations
  6. The need for decontamination of the incident area – after the site is deemed safe.