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Ok i'm trying to learn as much about size up as possible. At my fire dept I have been working in the right seat on truck and when i'm the paramedic on the ambulance sometimes were first on scene. I would never consider myself knowledgeable enough to be an officer but due to manpower sometimes I have the responsibility of being in that seat. So i'm wondering If anybody knows any good articles/links on size up because I need more practice. Most houses I can do easy For instance: wescom 2229 is on the scene of a two story residential structure no fire showing from 3 sides we will be switching down to fireground red. But what about commercial structures, and everything else? Thanks for your help  

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You can pay to take a program called Blue Card.  The Brunacini family designed an incident command computer program that you can do at home.  Two or three sons and the father are very well known for their experience.  It has a good section on size up.  If you can't afford the program then the book is pretty good too.  It's called Fire Command. 

Firefighter II Should have covered some of the size-up techniques used on the fireground.  But if you want more training than take Fire Officer I and II, or some type of command class.

But, I noticed you only have 3 years experience brother, dont rush! lol   Although wanting to get more knowledge is good, it takes an officer with experience to do a decent size-up for strategical purposes, any size-up you would do as a truckie would be for possible rescues, ladder placement and ventilation needs.  Do that for a few years than transition to the entire fire ground.  Practice by driving up to a residence or business in your area, and just look at it, size it up and think about truck placement, avenue of attack, exposures, water sources, access problems, hazards to firefighters, impediments to rescue efforts, type of construction and its effects on fire spread, fire protective features such as sprinklers and are they going to be effective.  I do this often when I am out with the family and the wife is "Running In" to get something quick, I usually know I will have an hour or so to size-up the buildings in the area and do a quick pre-plan and it makes the time go by faster!

I Compliment you on the desire to learn and the willingness to always be thinking one step ahead, thats an admirable trait and I hope you keep it.  Take some officers classes, they have lots of size-up training and some hands on excercises to practice with.  Best of luck and stay safe.

 

Moose

The way I have always personally looked at it ( I have never heard anyone else speak on this).  There are 2 Size-Ups that I do as first arriving Officer on scene. One is the Size-up Report: "Engine 2 on scene of a 3 story wood frame residential structure with nothing showing Riverview 10 (assistant Chief) is Main St. command, out investigating."  This is pretty similar to what you already do.  For me this is done from the front seat of the truck over the radio.  After this I conduct my second size-up which is what are the fire conditions, if any, smoke conditions, where do I need my next in apparatus to stage or what to assign them to, what is the occupancy of the building. This second size-up is my own size-up for me to prepare for mitigating the incident.

As for commercial structures, my suggestion would be to not over complicate things, if the building is a Wal-mart then state it is Wal-Mart, most of us know what these building look like and what they have inside.  The only thing that you may want to add is the FDC location, or sending the next in unit to the rear for another size-up as it is not always practical to do a full 360 survey yourself.

I would have to suggest also that you look into Dave Dodson's "Reading Smoke" as it will help you to recognize the fire conditions and direction of travel by the volume, pressure and color of the smoke.

thank you, I will check out reading smoke i've heard many good things about the book and the glass. thanks for your reply.

Ron Becknell said:

The way I have always personally looked at it ( I have never heard anyone else speak on this).  There are 2 Size-Ups that I do as first arriving Officer on scene. One is the Size-up Report: "Engine 2 on scene of a 3 story wood frame residential structure with nothing showing Riverview 10 (assistant Chief) is Main St. command, out investigating."  This is pretty similar to what you already do.  For me this is done from the front seat of the truck over the radio.  After this I conduct my second size-up which is what are the fire conditions, if any, smoke conditions, where do I need my next in apparatus to stage or what to assign them to, what is the occupancy of the building. This second size-up is my own size-up for me to prepare for mitigating the incident.

As for commercial structures, my suggestion would be to not over complicate things, if the building is a Wal-mart then state it is Wal-Mart, most of us know what these building look like and what they have inside.  The only thing that you may want to add is the FDC location, or sending the next in unit to the rear for another size-up as it is not always practical to do a full 360 survey yourself.

I would have to suggest also that you look into Dave Dodson's "Reading Smoke" as it will help you to recognize the fire conditions and direction of travel by the volume, pressure and color of the smoke.

Hi Jason

Skills for an effective size up are the culmination of knowledge + experience.  If you lack a little in one area you need to make up for it in another, however you will need amounts of both to be good at your job.  Size up is the platform for decision making.  You simply cannot make good decisions without good information, ever.  Information gathering (size up) commences from the time the "bells go down".  You will have heard the term RECEO.  I find that this is a very useful memory aid when conducting size up.  There are many other aspects of course, but all fall broadly into one of the RECEO categories.  For example, determining the avenue of smoke and flame travel and ventilation openings will potentially need to be considered as part of all categories in order to determine safe and effective strategy and tactics.

Go for a walk around any building, imagine a scenario in your head and go through your size up, pausing to ensure you have not omitted any critical information.  Watch video clips.  Read books and talk to as many good officers as you can to learn from them.  Size up really is such a critcal aspect of operations and to become good at it will make you a succesful officer.

Mike D

To have en effective size-up, the best thing that I have learned is COAL WAS WEALTH. This is covered in many book, including Chief Norman's. Construction, Occupancy, Apparatus, Life Hazard, Water supply, Aux. appliances, Street conditions, Weather, Exposures, Area/height, Location of fire, Time of fire, Hazmats. This is an easy to cover all of your bases.

While I find this to be a little too in-depth for many incidents, it is alsways good to know. If you are first on-scene and there is a working job, you need to know as much as possible. Likewise, the first arriving higher officer or chief would want a full size-up when they take command.

Likewise, everyone responding should be responsible for their own personal size-up. While every factor may not be filled, COAL WAS WEALTH should be the standard that all responding units should try to achieve.

http://www.bluecardcommand.com/    it's good and deals with commercial and multi unit dwellings

- practice in person/out loud with other officers/soon to be officers and critic each other...create scenarios/download pics
- research possible scenarios before you get them...know your district and it's special hazards

- have a good day



Brian Jones said:

Firefighter II Should have covered some of the size-up techniques used on the fireground.  But if you want more training than take Fire Officer I and II, or some type of command class.

But, I noticed you only have 3 years experience brother, dont rush! lol   Although wanting to get more knowledge is good, it takes an officer with experience to do a decent size-up for strategical purposes, any size-up you would do as a truckie would be for possible rescues, ladder placement and ventilation needs.  Do that for a few years than transition to the entire fire ground.  Practice by driving up to a residence or business in your area, and just look at it, size it up and think about truck placement, avenue of attack, exposures, water sources, access problems, hazards to firefighters, impediments to rescue efforts, type of construction and its effects on fire spread, fire protective features such as sprinklers and are they going to be effective.  I do this often when I am out with the family and the wife is "Running In" to get something quick, I usually know I will have an hour or so to size-up the buildings in the area and do a quick pre-plan and it makes the time go by faster!

I Compliment you on the desire to learn and the willingness to always be thinking one step ahead, thats an admirable trait and I hope you keep it.  Take some officers classes, they have lots of size-up training and some hands on excercises to practice with.  Best of luck and stay safe.

 

Moose


That is a great idea!!! I also have been wanting to increase my knowledge and experience of size ups, and I must say I have never tried sizing up a building while I'm waiting for the girlfriend to finish her shopping extravaganza!!! Lol Thanks for posting this info Moose. Stay safe out there!!!

Scooter

Please remember that you are not only sizing up the building and fire conditions but other things as well.  Even if you do not relay them in your initial radio report, you should still make note of things like how many mailboxes, time of day, not just where the smoke/fire is but also where it isn't and where it's going, cars in the driveway, lights on in the business, gas meters, water flowing from sprinkler drains, toys in the yard, etc...Sorry, I got distracted. I would recommend Reading Smoke by Dodson as well as Truck Operations by Mittendorf.

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