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What Type of Search Would You Use #2? Split Level

Thanks to those that posted comments. They were good and showed some different ideas which is what I want.  

In this scenario, we have a fire in a split level residential house.  The fire occurs at 0630 hours on a Sunday morning. As with all these scenarios, what you see is what you get!   As a reminder, you are using your departments staffing, procedures and equipment.

Here is what i want to discuss:

  • Where would you enter the house to begin your search?
  • Where would you start your search?
  • What type of search would you employ?
  • Describe briefly how you would expect this search to be conducted i.e.
    • where to start search, 
    • where (what part of house) would you search next 
    • where would you search next
    • where would you finish
    • what would you do immediately after finishing the search

Describe any or all of these briefly and again, lets see if we can get a discussion going.  

Link to video of scenario is:

Floor Plan is:

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Comment by Jon Nickerson on October 4, 2013 at 10:21am

I think this scenario has the potential to be catastrophic.  With that fire being concealed behind the garage door, and that much black smoke pumping out of the house, id say search needs to be delayed until after we have the fire under control. I don't like how much fire there is below the bedrooms (presumably where we would be searching). I would probably take my crew to the front door, but looking at this, this place could light off at any second. I have a feeling as soon as you open that front door, your gonna get some fire in your face

Comment by Justin Renner on September 19, 2013 at 7:10am
I too agree that the Fire attack team would have stumbled upon any vicitim between the front door and the interior garage door. however, if the attack team chose to fight this fire from the outside going into to house thye would not have found "said" victim. As well if fire attack is going to use this tactic shutting this door along the way would stop the pushing of any smoke and fire gases further into the house as well as find any victims in the area. but, yes sir if the hose is in the front door my search would most definatly start in the bedroom area.
Comment by Skip Coleman on September 18, 2013 at 8:19am
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Thanks Justin. Great. My only comment would be on the first action! Not saying I would have gone to/near the garage area first or not. My thought would be that in almost every situation, Attack would be assigned first in this fire and rightfully so. In that case, they (attack) would/should be taking a line towards that garage area. They would/should have stumbled upon any victims in that area. Just a thought. Great job on "stage"(ing) the search in the living area from the foyer. I have not used that term (stage) used in that context but I like it.
Comment by Justin Renner on September 17, 2013 at 7:59pm
Not being an expert in reading smoke, I would think we were dealing with a garage fire that is spreading into a house possibly due to an open interior garage door. Now causing the entire house to fill with smoke. Fire attack will decide to attack this fire from the outside in or from the inside out, which is an entirely different topic. Focusing just on my primary search with a 3 man search team. We are most likely dealing with an occupied structure due to time and day. As well there are no noticible vehicle tracks in front of the garage door leaving the impression that, car is in the garage and persons are home. With the thought process that smoke alarms have went off in the garage, homeowners go to investigate and opens the interior garage door which would explain why smoke has now filled the house. My search would start through the front door. Depending on fire conditions my priority would be to decend the stairs toward the interior garage door in search of the home owner that may have investigated the fire. If any type of brief search could be completed just inside the interior garage door into the garage intself that would be done next. A full interior search of the garage itself would most likely not be done and is a poor choice of tactic in my thought. All depending on fire conditions if the interior garage door could be shut this would also be done. From this point an oriented search would be conducted on the bedroom level leaving the officer in the common hallway and the remaining two members searching bedrooms as needed. Captian would then stage his oriented search from the foyer. This would allow his two man crew to search the kitchen and dinning room, the officer would be able to conduct a search just inside of the living room while waiting for the rest of his team to return. With no victims found command would be notified and depending on fire conditions at this point a search would be conducted in the basement. Removal methods of any victims found would all vary greatly depending on smoke/fire conditions and additional personnel on scene. Fire attack needs to size up fire conditons, while the search team needs to size up occupant condition. Just as fire attack must decide where the fire is and is going. The search team must decide where the occupants are and where might they have gone. That is why I started my search at the interior garage door.

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