We have been leading up to our dance with this "beauty of fire" in both Part 1 and Part 2 of "Check your Dance Card." Feel free to go back and take notes as we journeyed closer and closer to this 'beauty.' We have discussed cues and clues to help us not get burned, things to note... both outside the fire building and on our way up to the fire floor.
Now is the moment we have been waiting for. It is time to dance... this "beauty" can wait no more, it's time to find her. Excited? Yes, but we have prepared, practiced and anticipated for this event for some time now. This isn't the time to be posting about it on FB or squeezing 140 characters out on twitter... we can do that later.
We need to make our move out onto the dance floor and get into the fire apartment. As we move in with cautious rapidity... keen up your senses.
LOOK: What are we looking for? We are looking to find the seat of the fire and also locate trapped civilians. With obscured vision from smoke conditions in the apartment, we may have had an opportunity to get the layout of it from a quick glance on the floor below or may get information down the road from those who may go to the apt. above. Inside, look for layout clues, sometimes smoke movement causes a brief layer of clean air to develop low... you may just be able to make out the room/hallway and/or see that lovely 'glow' in the distance. Do not get tunnel vision or be put blinders on, keep your head on a swivel, up/down/left/right. Thermal imagers can assist us, but we must know what we are looking for ... they are a tool to ASSIST us in the search. Electronics are fallible, our preparedness, training and search techniques should not be.
LISTEN: We never seem to listen close enough, often it's the sense we often shut off when under stress. We must be diligent, occasionally even force ourselves to stop and listen. Use a 30-10 or similar technique (search 30 seconds, then pause, remain quiet for 10). Listen to whats going on around you. You may hear a human life, the crackling fire, hoseline movement, water flowing, windows breaking, etc. Listen to what is going on around you, they should be familiar sounds. Don't forget the '2 ears, 1 mouth' saying...
FEEL: On the dance floor, the fire apartment... we are covered head to toe in PPE. As such, this is the way we must train ourselves to 'feel.' We must adapt ourselves to recognize clues in this encapsulated environment. Residential recognition...with gloved hands take a second to feel the flooring you are on (tile, carpet, wood), feel and decipher the furnishings of each room you pass through. Using the inferred info gathered from what you feel, you may have a better idea of where you are operating. For example, tile floor, cabinets, countertop (kitchen). Another example, large radiator, couch, TV (possible exterior wall in living room).
"Check your Dance Card."
Your dance with this particular 'beauty of fire' is now over. You have been a great student over these last 3 lessons, learning at each step... the steps building up to the next, closer and closer we came to the beauty. Today we got our dance, yet we were prepared, practiced and had anticipated the outcome.
You leave the dance floor sweaty, exhausted but still wanting more.
Time to tweet and FB post this 'beauty' so that others can see what we did and didn't do, to make us that much better at the next dance. But please, be humble, be respectful and be aware that your dance only came from someone else's tragic misfortune.