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"Engine 7 is on sence, Alpha side of a two story single familiy dwelling, fire from second floor, E7 is taking fire attack, next in engine take command, E7 has our own water supply" So that is what we as Firefighters in the backseat may hear from the officer, but what about "our" size up from the backseat? As a firefighter, weather it be engine or truck, what is going though your mind for a size up? What is the first thing you look at when stepping off your rig? What about the second thing? Ect.

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I agree with Dave in regards to tools, weather, strength of the response, time of alarm.

Secondly, building type and construction is something I look at, possibly I know the address if it's a commercial occupancy. I may know the general type and age of construction for a residential street, ot the hydrant flows in the area. As well, how many calls we are getting, and who's placing them can tell me what's going on.

Keep in mind, I'm just pulling my boots on at this point and I'm already starting my size-up.

When I'm on the street i ususally doff my seatbelt...I know, I know...and take a look out the windshield, the side, and the rear window (if we pull past the structure). Then I get to see almost as much as the officer. Unless there's people hanging from the windows, my concern is now the 'safety' of the building and it's strength under the current fire conditions. I'm also looking for anything that will hamper my egress should I need to get out in a hurry. I also again look at wind speed and direction should there be a noticable breeze in the air.

Reading the smoke (volume, density, color, and speed that it's exiting the building) is also something that I like to do.

I think we're often trying to take so much information in that we often forget to listen...listen to the radio. Updates may be coming on from the 'Charlie' side from other companies. As well, I like to listen for those great words "Command, water supply secured" and "Command, ventilation completed" if we're doing a long stretch.

Anyway, I must cut this short, It's Dad's turn to make "Sunday morning pancakes"!

Stay safe everyone.
When I step off from the back of the piece, the first thing I look for is my Officer and where he's going, then I immediately look up(at the building, at the windows, at overhead obstructions, victims, etc..). This will tell me if I'm going to make any adjustments to my approach(I might need a high rise pack instead of a preconnected attack line, I might need a sledge instead of a hook, etc...). After this, actually during this step, I look for any smoke or flames to determine where I'm going and what I'll probably be doing. All of this is done in a brief moment or two.
As an officer I think it is great for the tailboards to do thier own size up! I have very experienced FFs that might catch something that I missed.
Hey Billy, How are you doing? Courious to know how many years you have on the job, I don't want to throw to much at you if your a proby.... The previous replies are all good ones...Key points that you should thoroughly understand. When I train our new guys I emphasise the acronym....
COAL WAS WEALTH...Unlike some I believe that the points incompossed in this acronym are fondamental and not just for promotional purposes. I take time to emphasis to my probies and explain to them that firefighting is a way of life, not a part time volunteering or money making job.
You have to embelish the career to fruitfully benefit from it. Basically you reap what you sew. If you and your crew want to go home safe every can never study enough!!

C = Construction Type / How fire effects that particular bld./ hoe the fire is going to spread / collapsibility
O = Occupancy / Use type / time of day / time of year /
A = Auxilary appliances / pump / where are they located / type in the structure / supply them early
L = Location & Extent of the Fire / Determines your initial firefighting stratigies

W = Water supply available / location of hydrants / length of stretches / size of mains / etc.
A = Apparatus & manpower / 2nd & 3rd alarms for manpower / on scene positioning / type and qauntity needed / stagging / etc.
S = Street conditions / Terrain / up hill- down hill / traffic / double parked cars / road construction work / etc.

W = Weather conditions / temps / below 32 or above 80 / storms / wind / Snow / Ice / etc.
E = Exposure protection / Where is the life hazzard? / vacant build VS occupied bldg / Wind / auto exposure
A = Area of the building that is on fire will dictate firefighting strategies / etc.
L = Life Hazard Issues / occupied VS unoccupied / hospital / movie theatre / etc.
H = Hazardous materials / are they involved / location in relation to fire / etc

Hopefully this is not to much for you to start to digest......Do your self a favor and start reading "The Fire Officers Handbook of Tactics" by John Noman 3rd edition.....Excellent read evan after the 3rd time you read it....LOL...this book will get you on your way to answering alot of your questions...Be patient and not to outgoing. Education as EXPERIENCE are VERY important in our field. Give respect where respect is due. As an officer...YOU are only as good, as your CREW or PLATOON!!!!!

Good Luck and Stay safe Brother.....Capt. Borke
I like the responses from means that we are all thinking....I would like to add the importance of reading the windows as part of size-up. Windows are going to tell us a lot about the structure, the victims, escape routes, and the fire behavior. I recently attended a tactics seminar put on my John Norman who went into great detail about what windows will tell us. If you get a chance to hear him speak....JUST DO IT! Stay safe and SEMPER FI!
Thanks for the reply Capt Borke. I main threw out this disscussion just to get a discussion going. I always like to get differnt opinions from differnt folks.
Erik I like the comment about knowing your district. I can't agree more. If you know your district you may be able to have a lot of your "mental" size-up done prior to arrival.

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