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Have you had “The Talk” with your crew?

Many of us run on short-staffed units.  We arrive on scene and begin the stretch with just an officer and a firefighter on the line.  Throw in a corner or two this can be a difficult stretch for just two people.  But what if you come across a victim?  Do you have a plan?  Have you talked about it with your crew?  Stats tell us that over 1/3 of the time civilians are found while trying to escape or control the fire.  With odds that great we should plan and practice for it.

 

Civilian Activity Prior to Death in Residential Building Fires (2011-2013)

  • Trying to Escape                                     36%
  • Fire Control                                             3%
  • Returning to Vicinity of Fire                    2.9%
  • Rescue Attempt                                      2%

 

Civilian Activity When Injured in Residential Building Fires (2011-2013)

  • Fire Control                                             34.9%
  • Trying to Escape                                     25.2%
  • Returning to Vicinity of Fire                     7%
  • Rescue Attempt                                      6.5%

 

Leading Specific Location of Civilian Fire Fatalities (2011-2013)

  • Bedrooms                                                50%
  • Common Rooms                                     11%
  • Bathrooms                                              8.3%
  • Kitchen                                                    7.9%

 

Next shift have the conversation with your crew and all get on the same page. Then practice one man pinning the line and one-man victim drags.  In my area, we also changed our first alarm pre-arrival assignments.  The task of the first 2 arriving units is to team up to get the first line in place.  That gives us 4-5 firefighters on the first line.  This gives us plenty of manpower to mind the corners and control the door.  It also affords us extra personnel in case we find a victim on the way to the seat of the fire.  As soon as the first line is in place and flowing we break off the 2nd unit to begin the primary search. 

 

  • Will you both abandon the line and take the victim out?
  • Will the “Nozzle-Man” hold his position while the backup drag the victim out the front door?
  • Have you practiced one-man victim drags?
  • Will you continue to advance to the fire and let second due know where the victim is located?

 

San Bernardino City Fire-Attack Team makes a grab as first crew to arrive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E6WIZ36E2s

Sources:

USFA Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Building Fires 2015

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v16i2.pdf

USFA Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Building Fires 2015

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v16i3.pdf

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