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Undertake first response to fire incidents

Australian Skills Group

The MSMWHS212 Undertake First Response to Fire Incidents unit is designed to ensure that an appropriate first response to fire incidents in onshore and offshore situations/emergencies is achieved.

Application of the Unit

This competency applies to operators who are required to respond to fires in the workplace (other than evacuating to the assembly point). It covers the first response (only) to fire, and does not include aggressive fire fighting. Typically this response would be undertaken to contain/extinguish a minor fire or to contain a more major fire while external help arrived.

An ability to work under supervision and/or alone is required. This competency may be delivered as part of an induction program.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


This unit has no prerequisites.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Identify fire emergency and raise alarm

  • Evaluate and communicate the location, nature and extent of the fire emergency in a timely and appropriate manner.

  • Determine first response requirements in order to evaluate the need to attack the fire emergencies or evacuate the affected areas.

Initiate basic fire responses

  • Maintain personal safety at all times in accordance with OHS guidelines.

  • Put on appropriate protective clothing in accordance with organisation procedures.

  • Select appropriate extinguishing agents based on knowledge of fire and fuel types.

  • Operate basic fighting equipment safely, according to manufacturer specifications and organisation procedure, in order to contain the fire emergency.

  • Observe changing conditions at the fire and their effects on fire behaviour are noted and reported

Notify responsible authorities

  • Follow emergency reporting procedures.

  • Identify appropriate authorities and notify.

  • Clearly and unambiguously communicate information concerning the emergency in a timely manner.

Undertake safe evacuation

  • Evacuate area in a safe and controlled manner when first response has failed to control the fire emergency, or has proven inappropriate.
  • Secure immediate area of the emergency to ensure no further loss occurs to people, equipment, process and environment.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Knowledge and understanding of the process sufficient to recognise fire situations and then determine an action that is appropriate within operating guidelines and the scope of their responsibilities and competencies. It would be expected that a person would have skills in fire identification, assessment and application of control measures and be able to demonstrate the use and application of a range of first response fire fighting safety equipment.

A person undertaking this competency must be able to demonstrate knowledge of:

  • site specific alarm procedures
  • characteristics of fire and fuel types
  • composition and uses of extinguishing agents
  • basic fire fighting equipment
  • site or organisation emergency procedures and response plans
  • site specific isolation procedures
  • liaison techniques with third parties
  • procedures to isolate pipeline sectors.

Language literacy and numeracy requirements 

This unit requires the ability to identify different fire fighting media and different fuels.

Writing is required to the level of completing required workplace reports/forms.

Numeracy is required to interpret and report relevant data.

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, required skills and knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

The unit will be assessed in as holistic a manner as is practical and may be integrated with the assessment of other relevant units of competency.

Assessment will occur over a range of situations which will include disruptions to normal, smooth operation.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

It is essential that competence is demonstrated in the knowledge and skills defined in this unit. These may include the ability to:

  • recognise and analyse potential situations requiring action
  • implement appropriate corrective action.

The emphasis should be on the ability to minimise the effects of the critical situation

Consistent performance should be demonstrated. For example, look to see that:

  • identification of different types of fires
  • selection and use of appropriate extinguishing agent
  • application of defensive fire fighting tactics and techniques
  • selection and use of appropriate protective clothing.

These aspects may be best assessed using a range of scenarios/case studies/what ifs as the stimulus with a walk through forming part of the response. These assessment activities should include a range of problems, including new, unusual and improbable situations which may have been generated from the past incident history of the workplace, incidents on similar plants around the world, hazard  analysis activities (eg HAZOP) and similar sources.

Assessment method and context 

Assessment for this unit of competency will be on an operating plant or in a manufacturing environment.

Assessment will occur using a simulated fire and will be undertaken in a work-like environment.

Simulation may be required to allow for timely assessment of parts of this unit of competency. Simulation should be based on the actual workplace and will include walk throughs of the relevant competency components. Simulations may also include the use of case studies/scenarios and role plays.

This unit of competency requires a significant body of knowledge which will be assessed through questioning and the use of what if scenarios both in the workplace (during demonstration of normal operations and walk throughs of abnormal operations) and off the job.

In all plants it may be appropriate to assess this unit concurrently with relevant teamwork and communication units.

In a major hazard facility, it may be appropriate to assess this unit concurrently with PMPOHS200 Work safely.

Specific resources for assessment 

Assessment will require access to an operating plant or manufacturing environment over an extended period of time, or a suitable method of gathering evidence of operating ability over a range of situations. A bank of scenarios/case studies/what ifs will be required as will a bank of questions that will be used to probe the reasoning behind the observable actions.

Knowledge Evidence

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage tasks and manage contingencies in the context of the work role. This includes knowledge of:

  • State/Territory regulations, first aid codes of practice and workplace procedures including:
  • ARC Guidelines relevant to provision of CPR and first aid
  • safe work practices to minimise risks and potential hazards
  • infection control principles and procedures, including use of standard precautions
  • requirements for currency of skill and knowledge
  • legal, workplace and community considerations including:
  • awareness of potential need for stress-management techniques and available support following an emergency situation
  • duty of care requirements
  • respectful behaviour towards a casualty
  • own skills and limitations
  • consent
  • privacy and confidentiality requirements
  • importance of debriefing
  • considerations when providing first aid including:
  • airway obstruction due to body position
  • appropriate duration and cessation of CPR
  • appropriate use of an AED
  • chain of survival
  • standard precautions
  • how to conduct a visual and verbal assessment of the casualty
  • principles and procedures for first aid management of the following scenarios:
  • abdominal injuries
  • allergic reaction
  • anaphylaxis
  • basic care of a wound
  • bleeding control
  • burns
  • cardiac conditions, including chest pain
  • choking and airway obstruction
  • crush injuries
  • diabetes
  • dislocations
  • drowning
  • envenomation
  • environmental impact, including hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration and heat stroke
  • eye and ear injuries
  • fractures
  • febrile convulsions
  • head, neck and spinal injuries
  • minor skin injuries
  • needle stick injuries
  • poisoning and toxic substances
  • respiratory distress, including asthma
  • seizures, including epilepsy
  • shock
  • soft tissue injuries, including strains and, sprains
  • stroke
  • unconsciousness
  • basic anatomy and physiology relating to:
  • how to recognise a person is not breathing normally
  • chest
  • response/consciousness
  • upper airway and effect of positional change
  • considerations in provision of first aid for specified conditions

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Where reference is made to industry codes of practice, and/or Australian/international standards, the latest version must be used.


Those persons working, operating or who regularly travel within an onshore or offshore installation or facility would require this competency.

This unit could be applied to any of the following installation or facilities:

  • factories and production plants
  • onshore/offshore rig/installation
  • island based facility
  • floating production vessel or platform
  • onshore production, processing pipeline systems and/or storage facilities
  • pipeline easements
  • maintenance bases.


All operations are performed in accordance with procedures.

Procedures include all relevant workplace procedures, work instructions, temporary instructions and relevant industry and government codes and standards.

All operations to which this unit applies are subject to stringent health, safety and environment requirements, which may be imposed through State or federal legislation, and these must not be compromised at any time. Where there is an apparent conflict between performance criteria and HSE requirements, the HSE requirements take precedence.

Tools and equipment 

This competency includes use of equipment and tools such as:

  • personal protective equipment
  • such as breathing apparatus
  • hand held extinguishers
  • hose reels
  • fire blankets
  • smoke or self rescue respirators
  • mobile and portable equipment
  • First Aid equipment
  • pipeline repair clamps
  • lamb air movers
  • barricades and signage
  • communications equipment: two-way radios, mobile and satellite phones and pagers
  • fire extinguishing media, including water, foam, extinguishing powder, gaseous extinguishing agents, vapourising liquids, other fire extinguishing substances.


Typical hazards include:

  • smoke, darkness and heat
  • electricity
  • gas
  • structural hazards
  • structural collapse
  • industrial – machinery, equipment, product
  • hazardous products and materials
  • unauthorised personnel.


‘Respond to routine problems’ means ‘apply known solutions to a limited range of predictable problems’.


Key variables to be monitored include:

  • failure to control fire with first response methods
  • adverse change in weather conditions
  • change in flame colour and size
  • change in smoke colour
  • fire spread and/or other material becoming involved in fire
  • signs of structural collapse.


Fire fighting tactics may include:

  • direct attack
  • indirect attack
  • combination attack
  • exposure protection

but does NOT include internal/offensive attacks.

External personnel 

External personnel may include:

  • police
  • fire brigade
  • ambulance.

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.