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Operational Preparedness

Desired outcome

A fire and rescue service that is prepared for responding to emergencies, as identified through its risk management planning. Operational preparedness includes having in place:

  • Competent operational and fire control personnel
  • Appropriate resources, vehicles, equipment and systems
  • Comprehensive operational policies, procedures, tailored guidance and training

Operational preparedness includes being able to safely and effectively respond to emergencies, whether:

  • As a single service
  • Working with other local or regional fire and rescue services
  • Working with the National Resilience capabilities
  • Working in a multi-agency structure


Strategic and Service Delivery

Business Area(s)


Date approved
Date issued
Review date
Reference number

What is required to meet the fire standard

In order to prepare for and provide an operational response, fire and rescue services must be able to evidence consideration of and actions taken in relation to these key activities:

  1. Legislative responsibilities
  2. Data management
  3. Risk management
  4. Health and safety management
  5. Site-Specific Risk Information
  6. Emergency response plans
  7. Operational assurance
  8. Competence and training, including validation and revalidation
  9. Operational learning
  10. Participation in legal proceedings relating to operational training or activity

To achieve this Fire Standard, a fire and rescue service must:

  1. Undertake all appropriate risk assessments, as required under legislation, to prepare for an operational response
  2. Review existing cover models, resources, equipment and training against all appropriate risk assessments
  3. Carry out capabilities-based planning to support emergency preparedness and response from a national to a local level
  4. Determine their responsibilities for operational response and be fully prepared to deliver them
  5. Have a health and safety policy for the operational environment that clearly outlines the responsible parties and their obligations
  6. Undertake a review of how the organisation is structured and functions, to confirm its ability to support operational preparedness; if there are any gaps identified there should be a clear plan for making appropriate changes
  7. Develop and embed operational policies, procedures and tailored guidance based on the National Operational Guidance, unless by evidenced exception its content is not relevant to the service
  8. Deliver the strategic actions provided in the suite of National Operational Guidance, unless by evidenced exception a strategic action is not relevant to the service; the strategic gap analysis tool may be used to support this process
  9. Train its operational and fire control personnel to use the hazard and control measure approach provided in the National Operational Guidance, applying risk assessment, decision-making and risk management skills
  10. Align relevant policies, procedures and tailored guidance in preparation for working with other fire and rescue services or responder agencies

Expected benefits of achieving the fire standard

Expected benefits of achieving this Fire Standard include:

  1. Comprehensive and accurate risk management processes to protect fire and rescue service employees and the community, backed by national expertise
  2. Simpler processes for the development of policies, procedures and tailored guidance by aligning methods for the identification of local hazards and control measures with the National Operational Guidance
  3. The ability for those outside the service, including coroners or those responsible for matters such as public inquiries, to recognise and acknowledge that the service has a sound body of intelligence and good practice on which its activities are based
  4. For inspectorates, including His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and the Health and Safety Executive, to be able to base their expectations of the operational preparedness of the service on:
    1. adherence to the legislative requirements for operational preparedness
    2. how comprehensively the National Operational Guidance has been considered and applied
  5. Achievement of occupational competence, that is the ability to consistently achieve the stated outcome of workplace performance; competence and training policies should be established for the roles of all employees and, where applicable, they should be based on the National Operational Guidance
  6. Constant improvement to the quality of service provided to the public

Guidance and supporting information

Download Implementation Tool View Consultation

Note Please contact the Fire Standards team within the NFCC for any queries or support with regards to this Fire Standard [email protected]

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