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I understand that all buildings, for various reasons, will not get a 360 performed on it during a fire. But, for those that we do get to job around, we need to understand what we are looking for.

I recently spoke with an acting officer and asked him what he was looking for when performing a 360. His answer was "fire."  I asked what else? The answer came, "ways in."  We need to make sure we are taking advantage of the information being made available to us while we are circling the building.

This post is going to focus on some basement indicators.  The pictures shown below are just examples of things you might see when making the round.  Keep in mind that at night you need to take a hand light.  For example, the wood behind the basement windows below may not be noticeable with shining a light in the windows on the way around.

        

We must pay attention to what we are looking for when conduction the 360. As you can see, we may be faced with some very challenging situations.  Not only do we need to be aware during the initial arrival, but the RIT will need this information as well.

As always, follow you own operational guidelines and train hard.

 

Jason

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Jason, good post!  Are you planning on continuing it and spreading out to other visual items that should be looked for when the 360 is being completed?

I was wondering the same thing.  We need to look for hazards as well such as in-ground pools that are not fenced in.  We do not need to be stretching an attack line to the back of the house and have the crew fall into the pool in the pitch black of night and drowned while getting wrapped in the pool cover.  Or in the winter when its covered in snow.

Other things like horse shoe pits; remove the stakes during your walk around to take away the hazard of tripping and impaling yourself.  How many electric meters are on the house, this may indicate if its a single family house or multiple family apartment house signifying the need for searches of multiple apartments.  Are there security bars on the windows that may be trapping occupants?  Are the windows intact, if so are they clear or blackened and hot to the touch?  Are there signs of forcible entry prior to FD arrival?  Any gas cans or other material thrown in the yard outside in an effort to hide it?  Look at the bystanders (if there are any) and see if you notice a repeat bystander, someone who is at all of your fires and not affiliated to media or law enforcement agencies could tip you off to a fire bug.  How many cars are in the driveway/parking area, any kids play sets in the yard, any handicapped ramps on the doors, Totfinder stickers or invalid rescue stickers in the windows?  All good things to look for or think about.

Great topic and one we all should participate in.

Thanks and stay safe.

P.J. Norwood said:

Jason, good post!  Are you planning on continuing it and spreading out to other visual items that should be looked for when the 360 is being completed?
Basements are often overlooked during the size up but are one of the most important things to look for. In my area, we have a number of homes with root cellars. These are normally easy to spot, but I have found a few house where the home owner have added an addition that covers the door. It is important to really look at any additions or changes to the original house.

I agree.  In a past department of mine we responded to a trailer fire, single wide.  I was on the initial attack line, my chief was on scene before us and told me to stretch through the front door and attack.  So I go through the door and start to hit the fire yet it was still really hot, so hot that I had to back out again.  I would hit the ceiling and try to cool it off than go back in, only to come back out.  The heat was coming from the floor level, so I yelled to my chief what was happening and he walks around the side of the trailer, comes back 20 seconds later yelling to back out, there was a full basement in the trailer and it was fully involved...I could have fallen through the floor and roasted because he didnt do a 360 when he arrived.  His excuse; It was winter and there was over 2 feet of snow on the ground and he didnt want to trudge through the snow when it was just a trailer...

He learned that even single wide trailers can have a basement and it was almost at the cost of 2 firefighters lives.  Always do a walk around and get a good size-up of everything.



Kelly Wingert said:

Basements are often overlooked during the size up but are one of the most important things to look for. In my area, we have a number of homes with root cellars. These are normally easy to spot, but I have found a few house where the home owner have added an addition that covers the door. It is important to really look at any additions or changes to the original house.

That's a scary thought.  There's never any telling what we have if we don't put our eyes on as much of the building as possible.  The fact that "there was over two feet of snow" and "it was just a trailer" would have been a hell of a thing to say to the family if things had turned bad. 


We NEED to get out of that LAZY mindset that could have caused a significant injury or even an LODD.  A single wide trailer is what? 40 feet long and 14 feet wide (on average).  Are you really telling me that you cant walk around an approximate 100 foot perimeter of a building?  COME ON CHIEF!

 

I run in a rural area and have heard of a few incidents where FF's have fallen into an either open septic tank or a septic tank that had openings covered over with plywood.  Typically they are buried, so we become complacent and don't look for them, but after a few incident of people having a boot full of sewage, the officers out here have learned to keep an eye out for them.  So that's just another thing you need to watch out for while doing your 360, so WATCH WHERE YOU STEP as you do your survey.

 

Stay safe out there.

Brian Jones said:

I agree.  In a past department of mine we responded to a trailer fire, single wide.  I was on the initial attack line, my chief was on scene before us and told me to stretch through the front door and attack.  So I go through the door and start to hit the fire yet it was still really hot, so hot that I had to back out again.  I would hit the ceiling and try to cool it off than go back in, only to come back out.  The heat was coming from the floor level, so I yelled to my chief what was happening and he walks around the side of the trailer, comes back 20 seconds later yelling to back out, there was a full basement in the trailer and it was fully involved...I could have fallen through the floor and roasted because he didnt do a 360 when he arrived.  His excuse; It was winter and there was over 2 feet of snow on the ground and he didnt want to trudge through the snow when it was just a trailer...

He learned that even single wide trailers can have a basement and it was almost at the cost of 2 firefighters lives.  Always do a walk around and get a good size-up of everything.



Kelly Wingert said:

Basements are often overlooked during the size up but are one of the most important things to look for. In my area, we have a number of homes with root cellars. These are normally easy to spot, but I have found a few house where the home owner have added an addition that covers the door. It is important to really look at any additions or changes to the original house.

Trailers on basements are really common here too. It is so important to do a size up. What's the saying "seconds spent in the yard save minutes inside." That's the rule I live by.

 

Ok, I have to ask and I apologize but this is just not something I have any dealings with. In the above you indicate there are "trailers" with basements. Is it actually a trailer if it has a basement? I thought trailers at least started on wheels which would indicate there is a solid floor. I ask this because trailers are rarely utilized in my area but, that is not to say at some point one will be utilized and I would not think there would be a basement.

P.J.-  Yes, in my area its extremely rural, lots of farms and pastures.  Instead of housing, people took the cheap way out and placed single wide trailers on their property.  Some weekend warriors would put "additions" on their trailers too, like a bigger kitchen off the back.  Annd some would actually place their trailers on a foundation with a garage and basement so they could work on their demo derby cars out of the elements...LOL...

Some of them are actually single wide modulars or panelized housing, but they are still just like 14'X60' "Boxes" that have a bathroom, bedroom and a kitchen.  Small death traps because they use 2X3 studs instead of 2X4 or 2X6, and they space them every 24" instead of every 16".  I wont tell you what they use for flooring materials.......(wafer board on pre-fabbed wooden I-beams with holes drilled through them for the utilities)...Did I say that out loud??  Very dangerous and we rarely make entry into these places any more today.  Only for rescue or if the fire is small and contained in a back room.  Otherwise we use a big gun and shoot the stream into a window on the end and hit the entire length of the trailer from the safety of the outside.

P.J. Norwood said:

Ok, I have to ask and I apologize but this is just not something I have any dealings with. In the above you indicate there are "trailers" with basements. Is it actually a trailer if it has a basement? I thought trailers at least started on wheels which would indicate there is a solid floor. I ask this because trailers are rarely utilized in my area but, that is not to say at some point one will be utilized and I would not think there would be a basement.

Thanks brian, those I am famliar with I just find the thought of a basement very strange. Trailers for what i know do not hace access below which means that would have to create an access point. Unless the basement is not accessible from the inside.
The one where my pea-nuts almost got roasted had only a garage door on the end of the trailer, it was located on a slope, the front door was on ground level then the slope went down almost 12 feet to the lower level where the garage was.  No interior stairs, no bilco doors, just one garage door.

P.J. Norwood said:
Thanks brian, those I am famliar with I just find the thought of a basement very strange. Trailers for what i know do not hace access below which means that would have to create an access point. Unless the basement is not accessible from the inside.
PJ- Check out this website to see what we have here in Missouri: http://www.missouritrailertrash.com/. Enjoy!
-A 360 is not just looking for fire. It is a reconnaissance mission looking for everything that can be seen. What is present that is normal and expected? What is conspicuously absent, what should be precipitated based on conditions found, where is the fire (size, condition, intensity) ... really the member performing the recon should be looking at everything to formulate strategic plans and tactical goals.

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