How to Report an Incident

When we call the Emergency Services, the call handler at the end of the line will be trained to prompt you for the information they require but sometimes we won't have the benefit of their skills and experience to help us: If we are reporting an incident via a third person then we must give them the information they will need to pass on and answer the Call handlers questions fully and accurately.


  • You do not have telephone but are in radio contact with your Base Camp who have telephone communication with the Emergency Services.
  • You are sending a 'runner' to find a signal so they can call for help on your behalf


The recording and reporting of information is of critical importance in the effective management of an Incident and any casualties involved.  Simple mnemonics focus our attention on the most important factors which helps ensure the most relevant information is communicated quickly and clearly.


Reporting an incident - ETHANE

The ETHANE protocol has military roots and is intended to prompt the communicator to remember, or seek out, specific information prior to making the call.  The ETHANE protocol has significant merit as part of an internal Emergency Operating Procedure for organisations, whether industrial, urban or remote.


Exact Location:  In an urban setting this would be the room number and floor of the building and postcode.  In an remote setting an 8 figure grid reference or Latitude & Longitude.

Type of Incident:  industrial chemical, vehicle collision, drowning etc..

Hazards:  Both current and potential.   Terrain, Debris, Machinery, Fuel spill, Fire/Explosion risk, Weather etc. 

Access:  Best route to the scene following - or avoiding - particular features.

Number of Casualties:  Ideally following triage: Delayed, Urgent, Immediate or Dead.

Emergency Services:  Required and already present.

For example:

"I am at Acme Engineering, Unit 47, Avon Enterprise Park, AA11 B22.  There is a scaffolding collapse with one known casualty. The scaffolding has been made safe and there are no other known hazards in the area.  Access is at the rear of the building - someone will meet you at the front gate.  Requesting immediate medical support."


Reporting a Casualty - ASHICE

When requesting medical support it is essential that relevant and accurate patient information is provided; a correct request for medical support avoids unnecessary delay and provides the next echelon of care so they can begin to diagnose and plan their treatment before arrival.  

The report needs to be clear and concise, yet transfer all relevant information.

The recommended format for giving a casualty report can be remembered by the use of the acronym ASH-ICE.



History - A brief description of the accident or incident including the mechanism of injury, if appropriate.

Illness or injury - What are the main problems?

Cause for concern - Which problem is threatening life?  Are there any other factors that will inhibit the progress of the rescuers or the recovery of the casualty?

E.T.A. (Estimated time of arrival) - If you are transporting the casualty, how long will you take to get there?  If you are requesting help, ask for this information.

For example:

“48 year old male in 20 foot fall from height.  Head, facial and chest injuries.  Difficulty breathing.  Has received spinal immobilisation and currently on Oxygen at 15 Ltrs per minute. What is your ETA?”


The Handover - ATMIST

When we are able to handover the casualty to the next echelon of care, it is essential to pass on particular information as accurately and succinctly as possible.  For this, we use ATMIST

Age -of casualty

Time - of Incident

Mechanism of Injury

Injuries / Illnesses

Signs & Symptoms

Treatment given

For example:

"48 year old male in 20 foot fall from height at 6.15pm.  Head, facial and chest injuries with difficulty breathing.  Was found unconscious but responding to voice, now unresponsive.  Pulse stable at 60 bpm and SpO2 stable at 94%.  Has received spinal immobilisation and currently on Oxygen at 15 Ltrs per minute.”


The use of Casualty and Accident Cards are of significant benefit in larger or complex situation or where there is anticipated longer term care of the casualty before handover to emergency services.

We're redesigning our Casualty Cards at the moment and will be finished on waterproof, tear-proof paper.  More information will be available soon.


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