Deploying to international emergencies – Chris Hall – EMP1

In this interview Senior Station Officer Chris Hall from the Country Fire Authority in Victoria, Australia, shares his experiences while on an international deployment. He talks about the value of exchanging ideas from both interstate and international emergency management agencies.

Deployment to California

In October 2017, personnel from the Country Fire Authority and Victoria’s Forest Fire Management Victoria were deployed to assist in fighting the fires in Northern California. According to Emergency Management Victoria, there is a healthy relationship with California, in particular, CalOES and CalFire.

Incident Overview

On 8 October 2017, multiple wildfires occurred across California. The wildfires burned more than 245,000 acres, 8,900 structures and were responsible for 43 deaths. 2017 has seen California endure some of the worst wildfires in United States History. An Incident overview is available at California Wildfire Statewide Recovery Resource.

Pack Test require for international deployment

The pack test for personnel deployed to California involved waking 4.83 kilometres on a level track carrying a weight of 20.4 kilograms within 45 minutes. In a Fire Note from 2011, the Bushfire CRC discusses The relevance of the Pack Hike Test for Australian bushfire firefighters.

Incident Action Plans

The incident action planning process provides a tool to synchronise operations at the incident level. It ensures that incident operations support of incident objectives.

QR Codes and Avenza

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. Avenza uses QR codes to deliver maps electronically. Avenza Maps® is a mobile map app that allows you to download maps for offline use on iOS or Android smartphone or tablet as well as on Windows 10 devices.

Managing an incident within an incident

A highlight for Chris was the way that CalFire focused on the importance of having a plan of action should an incident within an incident eventuate. The use of the Medical Plan form was critical in facilitating this process. The National Wildfire Coordinating Group provides instructions for completing this form.

Wildland Urban Interface (WIU) Placard

Another key point of interest for Chris was Calfire’s use of the “Wildland Urban Interface Placard”(WIU). The purpose of WUI placard is to:

  • Triage a property to determine the risks associated with defending a particular property.
  • Document property information found during structure assessment at a specific point in time.
  • Allow the Company Officer or Chief Officer to communicate their assessment of conditions to other responding units.

Triage Card

Please follow the link to CalFire’s Training document:

The form can also is available at



Demobilisation is the orderly, safe, and efficient return of an incident resource to its original location and status.

The Demobilization Check-Out form (ICS 221) ensures that resources checking out of the incident have completed all appropriate incident business, and provides the Planning Section information on resources released from the incident. Demobilization is a planned process, and this form assists with that planning. Incident Demobilization Vehicle Safety Inspection form (ICS 212) requires the Vehicle Operator to complete items & submit to Resource Unit Leader before demobilisation can occur.

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