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You are searching for a downed firefighter in a two story building. You enter the building and do a right handed search. When you come to the stairwell, will you proceed up the stairs or complete the floor you are on prior to moving upstairs? 

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Hi Randy, I think you're leaving out too much information in your " what if" scenario. First, I.C. should have an idea of where the missing FF was working.( not that that's where he would be now ) Then, how did they discover he was missing, a PAR, MAY DAY, Electronic data through his PASS alarm? This info could give you info as to where his last, best known location was. Are you part of the Rapid Intervention Team? Finally, what has been your SOP's and how have you trained to this type of situation.? if you take the stairs are you going to tell IC that's what you and your partner going to do. How ever you decide to do this type of search? Always remember it is never " you or me " it should always be " us and we". I know this didn't answer your question but these type of questions always , If they come to fruition< a decision you'll have to make and if you haven't trained for it then you will question your own answer and you just can't do that. Imagine a NFL season if none of the teams practiced or looked at game film of plays the other team MIGHT use. Good luck to us all and practice. Charley
Charley, Thanks for your reply and I'm sorry for being vague. This was just a discussion that we were having. I was trying to get some other firefighters ideas on. Basically we are discussing searching a 2 story structure with one team. It doesn't necessarily have to be a downed firefighter. It could be just a basic search. We had two thoughts on the subject. Some say to stay on the wall and continue your search up the stairs others will say to complete the floor your are on before progressing to the next floor. I am just getting opinions from other sources on the subject.
Randy, I agree with Charley; there are too many variables. Narrowing the situation will certainly play this out and 'just a search' vs a FF down search are two very different animals. And, if it's 'just a search' what is your priority? Are you first due and trying to find the fire? Are you arriving later and have a specific assignment? How is your staffing? I understand that you are trying to get a discussion going on finishing the floor or staying on the wall and associated stairwell. The one advantage the stairwell gives it that it can become a waypoint of the search whether you're staying on the floor or going up. If I was assigned on the FF search, I'd follow Charley's lead; if it was 'just a search' what are the conditions? Is it banked down to the floor where a hand search must be done room to room? Also remember the most severely exposed vs the most severe exposure. If the fire is on the floor you're on, what are the conditions of the victims above? That's where the bad stuff is going and they're the reason we're there. I'd also check out the blogs of Mike Bricault on this site. He's got some great stuff on search. Hey, and good job getting a discussion going. It makes people think....
Best, and be safe!
Dave Gallagher


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