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I am a big fan of companies getting out and scoping out their response area. Just when you think you have seen it all, something catches your eye that you missed the other 100 times you passed it by. We all know what I am talking about.

Look at the picture above. As a fire service leader, what do you see? What have you learned from your years of experience and training about these types of buildings?

What is of significance?
What is of significance that you see right away but the new guy might not have a clue about?

As an officer that will be making the initial decisions on this building you have a great responsibility to know as much about this structure as you can. It will certainly help you to make the best possible decision about your tactics.

Take the time to sit with your crews and look at the features of this building. What type of construction is it? What type of occupancy is it? Why are both so important? It just might mean the difference of saving the occupants and yourself.

Stay safe and be careful.

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-I did make the assumption of a four man engine company and I tried to limit my thinking of the incident to the first arriving.
-Obviously there are many duties to attend to such as venting, RIT, etc... However these evolutions require manpower and time. On the other hand, rescues typically happen within the first 8-10 minutes of the operation, the critical phase when several of the companies are usually still arriving thus leaving the first or second arriving on scene to set the ground work.
-I do understand that many departments are not as fortunate in the staffing arena and that is why I tried to view the problem from the first arriving engine only; the critical point. This is the time when the first due engine will have to decide what can be accomplished given the time and manpower constraints.
-They will not be able to accomplish the stretch, forcible entry, second line stretch; RIT and ventilation. So what is definitive? The first line or initiating the search?
-If the scenario has a High or Urgent Rescue Profile then as Chief Norman says, "When there aren't enough firefighters available to accomplish suppression and rescue, RESCUE is given priority." In the absence of a known rescue situation, a Low Rescue Profile, I would make the initial stretch keeping in mind that a limited aggressive search of the fire apartment must happen.
-One of the other objectives is to point out that in today's fire service with limited manpower, there is an over reliance on stretching the pre-connected 1.75 hand line because this is seen as definitive; and it may in fact be. However, firefighters must remember the initial Rescue Profile during the size up. Three firefighters can mount an aggressive rescue operation in a High or Urgent Rescue Profile situation specifically, seemingly in violation of the Two In/Two Out directive. The directive is clear that the one and only exception to the Two In/Two Out rule is a situation in which there is a known victim, in danger of loosing there life without the immediate intervention of the firefighters on scene.
-I agree that manpower, and their experience level is everything when evaluating a given scenario. There will be times when hard choices must be made. I'm not advocating ignoring stretching lines every time in favor of performing a primary search. What I am advocating is stopping the knee jerk reaction and over reliance on stretching the pre-connected handlines and starting to include the Rescue Profile back into the initial size up.
-Regardless of the manpower on scene, rescue will always take priority. In the photos a serious rescue consideration is placing portable ladders. To quote another fire service icon, Tom Brennen, "We never seem to throw enough portable ladders".

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