Truck Full of Cartons of Pellets Engulfed in Flames – Incident Action Plan

Prepare an Incident Action Plan for the Scenario below


As the newly appointed safety manager at a large plastics manufacturing company, you are called to the loading dock to find that a large truck, full of cartons of pellets used in the manufacturing process, is engulfed in flames. The truck slid on ice in the parking area and crashed into empty trailers. A call to the city emergency services indicated that they will be delayed indefinitely due to roads made impassible by the ice storm. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the pellets indicates that burning releases toxic smoke. Note that larger companies are likely to have their own emergency response teams equipped and trained to handle the most likely hazards found at the site.

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Incident Action Plan – Truck Full of Cartons of Pellets Engulfed in Flames


The main mission of the Incident Action Plan Unit (IAP) is to reduce the loss of property and life and protect the employees and visitors from all associated hazards. The plan certifies that all efforts of all teams involved are synchronized accurately and coordinated to realize the best outcome. This action plan documents a stepwise platform for synchronizing operations at all incident sub-level and ensuring that incident processes focus on the incident goals (Molino, 2006). The incident action plan developed is an iterative and disciplined process that necessitates a planning and collaborative sessions that nurture partnerships while tactically focusing incident operation.

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Thesis statement:

Proper planning, robust command center, synchronized operation, coordinate logistics system, and a collaborative administration are critical components to the effectiveness and success of an incident action plan process.

The incident action plan is envisioned to promote the company’s effectiveness in incident operations and management by standardizing the process of incident action (Molino, 2006).  It highlights the incident exercise planning process, describes the incident implementation process, defines the responsibilities and roles of different teams, and institutes standards for incident action planning in events of an emergencies.

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Incident Action Planning Process

The incident action plan process started with the coordination the Incident Command Systems to obtain the required output of the process. With major focus based on ensuring that all partners engaged in the incident exercise realize unity of purpose through the established coordinated processes. Through the incident action plan the company safety manager communicates their expectations and provide indistinct guidance to the incident management team (Molino, 2006).

Situation Understanding

The first action is focusing on trying to understand the situation within the loading dock and establishing initial main concern.  At this point in time information is gathered on the level of severity and damage already afflicted, the main causes, recording what is going on, analyzing the whole situation, and relaying the information as regards the scale, complexity, scope, and impacts of the incident (Molino, 2006).

Obtaining Situation Awareness

This requires the performance of the following items simultaneously:

Once on the site, a review and analysis of all occurrences that may have influenced incident-level operations including the burning toxic smoke and the availability of ice storm on site was launched. A re-examination of other potential effects of the incident including incidences like suffocation, fire accidents, and further property destruction are comprehensively examined.

In attempting to adjust, modify and contain further fire explosions and possible spread, real-time information is provided to the public while also assessing the effectiveness of the measures already put in place. This is based on a feasible performance metrics. A briefings session that is supported by spot reports, situation reports is provided to the personnel and victims. The main objective of the briefing session is to help improve the realization of the incident main objectives by defusing tension already built on site on the number of casualties and the state of the rescue process (Klinoff, 2012).

Objectives of the Incident Plan

The main objective of the plan include:

  1. Ensure clear and safe egress and ingress emergency routes to loading dock
  2. Evacuate all persons from the loading dock and surrounding buildings immediately
  3. Account for all personnel known to be on site
  4. Establish four (two mobile, one fixed and one mobile) disaster recovery units at the dock
  5. Guarantees safety of all deployed workers and survivors
  6. Identify urgent need requirements and provide sustaining support for victims
  7. Ensure first aid provision to survivors and safe evacuation process
  8. Assess site state and execute a control and rescue plan
  9. Maintains incident communication plan and ensures communication interoperability

Developing Plan

At this level all strategy, specific resources, support requirements, and reserves are determined for implementation while carefully choosing tactics and strategies of the operational period. Prior to the official Planning Process Meetings, every member of the Genera and Command Staff are assigned to take charge of certain information gathering and support the suggested plan. An ad hoc team is immediately established to assist with the incident planning process (Molino, 2006).

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Preparing and Disseminating the Plan

The stage where planning preparation is formatted appropriately, and the level of complexity of the loading dock incident determined. For the primary response, the format is a properly prepared for a verbal briefing framework. For incidents anticipated to last for multiple operational durations, the plan and strategy are established in writing based on some pre-agreed upon procedure evidence.

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Executing, Evaluating, and Revising the Plan

The process of planning encompasses the necessities and resources to implement and evaluate planned activities and ratifying the accuracy of the information deployed in planning for succeeding operational durations (Molino, 2006). The General Staff compares actual progress with planned progress. In instances where deviations are noted and new set of information are established, adjustments in the prior step of the process are activated to further modify the current plan and aid in improving  the planning for the other iterative operational processes.

Primary Roles and Assignment

The incident command will comprise of the Incident Commander and different levels of command, sub-commands and divisions. The various command and subcommand staff have been assigned responsibilities and roles for most of the critical activities that are not part of general functional elements (Dornan, 2007). In this incident action plan, three primary positions are identified which include: Safety Manager, Public Information Officer, and Liaison Officer.

Safety Manager

Charged with advising the Incident Command on issues concerning operational safety and monitoring incident operations. The Safety Officer is accountable for developing the Incident Safety Plan, the set of procedures and systems essential for continuous assessment. Coordinates multiagency safety exertions, incident employee’s safety, hazardous environment, and the implementation of processes to promote emergency (Klinoff, 2012). The Safety Officer has the authority to prevent or stop any unsafe actions of incident operations. The Officer will also ensure the management and coordination of the safety functions and harmonizes issues crosswise jurisdictions with the private sector.

Public Information Officer

The Public Information Officer’s main role is to relay information to both external and internal stakeholders (Coombs, 2012). He handles interfacing with the media, public, and other organizations with incident-related information needs. The public Information Officer assembles accessible, accurate, and wholesome information on the incident’s cause, current situation, and magnitude. He may also implement critical information monitoring role that include instituting robust measures for rumor control. Assistant officers may be assigned role but in this case only one Public Information Officer will be allowed to take full control of the loading dock incident (Dornan, 2007). In instances where multiple commands levels are established, the designated Public Information Officer will oversee the Joint Information Centre to assure public information consistency.

Liaison Officer

This person is the Incident Commands’ point of connection between the representatives of other agencies and entities to offering input on the establishment of policies, resource availability, and other incident-related issues. This Liaison Officer ensures the existence of an integrated command structure and collaborating organizations. Various representatives of different organizations acting on this loading dock incident must have the power to speak for their organizations and agencies on all issues, through instituted proper channels and in consultations with their agency leadership (Dornan, 2007).

Step by Step Planning

As the Safety Manager in charge of the operation, the following stepwise actions preceding the Initial Planning Meeting are executed:

  • Evaluation of the ensuing situation and deciding on whether the current process is satisfactory for the rest of the operational duration.
  • Informing the Command Chief of any suggested modifications to the current plan, as deemed necessary.
  • Instituting a planning cycle for the dock loading incident
  • Take part in the Strategy Meeting, if relevant, to review the strategies developed by the Operations Section Command Chief.
  • Limiting Planning Meeting to the following attendees in consultation with the Chief Commander:
    • Incident Commander
    • General Staff members
    • Situation Unit Leader
    • Command Staff members
    • Liaison Officer
    • Public information Officer
    • Technical Specialist
  • Identify the time and location for the Planning Meeting
  • Ensure availability of all the statutory planning forms and planning boards.
  • Alert the needed staff about the planned meeting and their tasks
  • Ascertain that the prevailing situation together with the resources available will be adequate for the meeting.
  • Obtain an assessment of resource availability for consumption in planning for subsequent operational periods.
  • Acquire the essential legal, agency policy, or fiscal constraints for the consumption in the Planning Meeting.

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Planning Meeting

The Planning Meeting is to be chaired by the Section Command Chief. Intended to assist with successive developments (Klinoff, 2012). The meeting will have the following critical sessions:

  • A briefing session on the resources, incident potential and situation.
  • Reviewing established objectives considering the total incident situation, the establishment of the key strategies, constraints stated on already accomplished goals, and contingency consideration.
  • Operation lines plotted on a map in the meeting, branches and boundaries of operation established, and group assignments identified. Cross-functional groups need assessment is also completed here.
  • Tactics for different created divisions specified. The Chief Commander to integrate and establish the explicit work task to be performed for the ensuing operational duration. Strategies are specified within the set restrictions and established strategies with all the tasks recorded on the Operational Planning Worksheet.
  • The resources necessary for the accomplishment of the different assignments are determined here. All resource needs recorded on the Operational Worksheet. It is worth noting that resources in future will be considered based on the resource requirement for an assignment accomplishment.
  • Specific reporting locations and operations facilities are identified in collaboration with the Logistics and Planning Officers. Specific reporting time for special resources assignments are indicated at this point.
  • Resource order development. Resource need to be assessed against Operational Planning Worksheet and a fresh resource order generated and submitted for approval.
  • Considered also in the meeting are communication, traffic plan demands and medical requirements. Critical to this operation noted include demobilization checkout, investigative plan, evidence recovery plan, site security plan, evacuation plan and decontamination plan all which are discussed and addressed in the Planning Meeting (Dornan, 2007).

Strategy Used

Integrated and coordinated Incident Teams are deployed to rescue and search assets and remnants from the crush and loading dock. The rescue team is to work in a cohesive operation under the tactical control of the Municipal Fire Service (Klinoff, 2012).

Well-equipped mobile, mix and fixed disaster recovery centers have been established on the site to enable 360 degrees access to the dock victims and survivors at the following strategic locations:

  • Northern Dock B exit
  • Southern Dock C entrance
  • Loading Dock G main gate
  • Central Block A entrance

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Health and Safety Plan

Health and safety of personnel engaged and survivors are critical to the Incident Action Process and therefore care and safety precaution is of great significance to the success of the exercise (Dornan, 2007). The Chief Commanding Officer will determine the reporting procedure for all accidents or injury on the loading dock. This will include staff and timelines to be alerted of the host unit.

The following health and safety plan has been put in place to un-check safety lapses:

  • Access to the site is only permitted to authorized personnel with valid authorization badges.
  • The scene is initially secured, responders and victims protected from further injury.
  • The Command channel is cleared for critical “Emergency Traffic” access only and for non-critical-emergency, the communications team is informed for normal communication.
  • A standby medical personnel and designated Overhead is stationed for rapid urgent response.
  • An effective communication desk is established to communicate and initiate Action plan response.
  • Affected staff are removed from the fire-line, while making certain appropriate medical attention is provided
  • Fire shelters, respirators and personal protective equipment must be worn at all time by the personnel fighting the fire.

Communication Plan

Established communications committee has prepared and reviewed the basic communication protocol and gadgets that is used during the operations (Coombs, 2012). The committee established will operate on an ad hoc basis and has been assigned roles to account for during the incident action plan implementation. The team is headed by the Information Officer.

Table 1: Communication management plan

Basic Means of Communication





Mobile 1



Command & internal Communication

Primary &Backup Communications

Mobile 2



Level 1 Communications

Incident Communications

Low Band Radio



Internal Messaging

Incident Communications

High Band Radio




Emergency response & Communications

High Band Radio



Command and Personnel Primary Communication

Incident Communications


System for Public Warning

G4S Services

Public alert warning Using Commercial G4S

Dock warning using digital alert system



Public Telephone Network


Public Works to the General Personnel

Incident Map

Docks B, C & G, and Block A are disaster recovery units created to provide immediate medical services to the victims and survivors.  The West Main Street are cut-off by the ice storm therefore is inaccessible. We advise motorist and emergency crew to avoid the West Main Street Road and instead access the dock from Guilmette Avenue or West River Street.

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