Joint Decision Model

(Click on each step to learn more about the JDM)
Gather information and intelligence

The first stage of the JDM helps commanders gather all known information - or situational awareness – about the emergency. Commanders should ask:
  • What is happening?
  • What are the impacts?
  • What are the risks?
  • What might happen?
  • What is being done about it?
Shared Situational Awareness is achieved by sharing information and understanding between the involved organisations to build a stronger, multi-dimensional understanding of events, their implications, associated risks and potential outcomes.

Responders cannot assume other emergency service personnel see things or say things in the same way, and a sustained effort is required to reach a common view and understanding of events, risks and their implications.

To help all those involved in emergency response JESIP has instigated the use of a common model to help with the consistence and effective way of sharing incident information – METHANE. To read more about METHANE click here.
Assess risks & develop a working strategy

The second stage of the JDM prompts commanders to ensure they have reviewed and understood all risks so that appropriate control measures can be put in place. Understanding risk is central to emergency response. One of the major challenges in successful joint emergency response is for responders to build and maintain a common understanding of the full range of risks, and the way that those risks may be increased or controlled by decisions made and actions taken by the emergency responders.

Further work on joint risk assessment is being considered in the first review of the Joint Doctrine.
Consider powers, policies and procedures

The third stage of the JDM aims to ensure commanders have considered the following when planning their joint response:
  • What relevant laws, standard operating procedures and policies apply?
  • How do these influence joint decisions?
  • How do they constrain joint decisions?
In the context of a joint response, a common understanding of any relevant powers, policies, and procedures is essential in order that the activities of one service complement, and do not compromise, the approach of the other services. This may also include considering all capabilities services can provide to find the most appropriate for the incident.
Identify options and contingencies

The fourth step of the JDM reminds commanders to consider all potential options when planning the joint response. For every potential option or contingency commanders should consider:
  • Suitability
  • Feasibility
  • Acceptability
There will almost always be more than one option to achieve the desired end state, and it is good practice that a range of options are identified and rigorously evaluated by commanders.

Whatever option(s) is chosen, it is essential that responders are clear about what they are required to carry out. Where the option is time-critical, there should be clearly agreed procedures for communicating any decision to defer, abort or initiate a specific tactic.
Take action and review what happened?

The fifth step of the JDM is about reviewing what has taken place and, if required, re-evaluating and amending plans.

Building situational awareness, setting direction and evaluating options all lead to taking the actions that are judged to be the most effective and efficient in resolving an emergency.

As the JDM is a continuous loop, it is essential that the results of agreed actions are fed back into the first box - Gather and share information and intelligence - which establishes shared situational awareness. This will, in turn, shape any revision to the direction and risk assessment, and the cycle continues.

The JDM can be used in any multi-agency response environment. It is designed to be used in fast moving, dynamic situations but can equally be applied to pre-planning activity or more slowly evolving situations.

You can learn more and test your knowledge by completing one of the JESIP e-learning packages.

You can produce a completion confirmation at the end of each package which can be printed or saved and emailed for reference. Please check with your employer about how completion of JESIP e-learning is collated in your organisation if you wish to have it considered as part of your continued professional development (CPD).

Commanders should use the Joint Decision Model (JDM) to help bring together the available information, reconcile objectives and make effective decisions - together.Like most decision models, the JDM centres around three primary considerations:

Situation Direction Action
What is happening?

What are the impacts?

What are the risks?

What might happen and what is being done about it?
What do you want/need to achieve in the first hour (the desired outcomes)?

What are the aims and objectives of the emergency response?

What overarching values and priorities will inform and guide this?
What do you need to do to resolve the situation and achieve your desired outcomes?


Along with a commander’s personal experience and knowledge of any given situation, the JDM is designed to help commanders make effective decisions together.

Overarching Aim
The overarching aim or purpose for using the JDM is common to all those involved in emergency response - the words in the centre “Working Together – Saving Lives, Reducing Harm”. All commander and responder staff should remind themselves of the importance of this purpose when responding to a multi-agency incident and applying JESIP.