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One of our biggest challenges is knowing the buildings (inside and out) that we may have to run into if they are on fire.

As you can see in this photograph, there are four (4) visible, white "stars" on the wall of this two-story, end of the group row house. This, for all intents and purposes, is a tell tail sign that there was either a building attached to the "D" side previously (that has since been demolished). Or in this case, the building was becoming structurally unsound and needed to be reinforced. 

Ultimately, these construction components create a sandwiching affect and hold the building together. 

All of this should come into consideration when sizing up the structure as a Firefighter, Company Officer or Command Officer. This is not to say that you can not operate inside of buildings that possess the reinforcement "stars". But, obviously if the fire is well advanced or conditions dictate, these components would play into tactical considerations and actions.

To be a good Firefighter, Officer or Chief you must have intimate knowledge of the area you protect and beyond. No matter how much time you have in the fire service, you must never stop learning. Be upfront with yourself, be humble and accept the fact that you will never know everything there is to know. Lastly, take everything you have learned and be sure to pass it on.... The knowledge you gain and the lessons you teach might just save someone's life!

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