Aviation Mishap Response

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Jun 2020


Having a written mishap response action plan posted and accessible to all employees is an important first step. Having a list of actions to follow will ensure that nothing is missed in a stressful, time-critical period. Response plans have to be briefed to all on the crew.

Immediate, positive action is necessary. Any delay may affect someone’s chances of survival.

Conduct rescue operations keeping the following priorities in mind:

  • Preserve life. Rescuers first!!!
  • Do whatever is necessary to extricate injured occupants and to extinguish fires, keeping in mind the necessity of protecting and preserving evidence.
  • Document and/or photograph the location of any debris that must be disturbed in order to carry out rescues and/or fire suppression activities.
  • Secure the area. Treat the crash site as a crime scene. Arrange for security at the accident scene if necessary. Determine if hazardous materials were on the aircraft. Deny access except to credentialed officials and escorted media.

Be aware that crash sites can be dangerous due to hazardous cargo, flammable and toxic fluids, sharp objects, disease, adverse terrain, hot/cold weather conditions, and fire.

Exercise good judgment, utilize available protective devices and clothing, and use extreme caution when working near the wreckage site.

Do not exceed your physical limitations.


Review your unit’s mishap response plan with the crew. Consider practicing with a crash rescue drill or scenario.


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

Have an idea? Have feedback? Share it.

EMAIL | Facebook | URL: https://www.nwcg.gov/committees/6-Minutes-for-safety
MAIL: 6 Minutes for Safety Subcommittee • 3833 S. Development Ave • Boise, ID 83705 | FAX: 208-387-5378