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Fire and police incident communications

In this video, risk management expert Gordon Graham emphasizes the importance of police and fire cooperation at incident scenes

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my law enforcement and fire service friends out there. And today I would like to talk about cooperating at the scene.

When both law enforcement and fire units are at the same scene, things can get very hectic. I know that, been there, done that. You know that. So how can we best provide public safety while also keeping ourselves safe at the scene.

So let’s say law enforcement units arrive at a scene before fire units. Hey law enforcement: while you’re there, convey information to the fire units. If it’s a motor vehicle collision, ask the dispatcher to relay how many vehicles, the extent of the damage, if there’s a fire or smoke, or if there are any injuries. Is there a better route the fire department should take to avoid traffic back-ups? Let them know. This is important stuff.

Let’s consider law enforcement arriving at the scene of a fire alarm or working structure fire first. Include information like the type of building, if smoke or flames are showing, and where any smoke or fire is observed. And please, if you can, relay the color of the smoke to the fire department. That’s very important.

Conversely, when fire personnel find are on a scene that requires law enforcement, share information with the responding officers. If the scene is violent, relay exactly what is happening. How many people are involved? Where are fire personnel located? Is there traffic control needed? Where should responding officers go for the most effective incident management?

Fire personnel: when you establish a command post, please include law enforcement. Let the law enforcement officer-in-charge be part of incident command so they are aware of your plans, timetables, and what help they may be able to provide. Finally, talk to each other! Communication is key. Teamwork leads to a successful outcome. Plus, it helps you, your public and your teammates remain safe.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.