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Search Scenario #4 Quadraplex Apartment Search

Still not a lot of people out there willing to tell me how they would search these scenarios.  To those of your that have "spilled their guts", Thanks.  

This scenario occurs again at 6:30 a.m..  I never mentioned this but for all of these, lets assume zero visibility in any area that shows smoke.  

It is unknown at the time of the fire if any or all apartments are rented with victims inside.  The attached photo has letters in the windows to signify apartments (A, B, C and D)

My questions are:

1) List the order of which apartment you would search first, second third and last. 

2) What type of search would you use?

3) Could your crew search all four apartments while utilizing only the one SCBA bottle on your backs? (Or would you need to go out an change bottles before finishing?)

Here is the link to the video:

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Comment by Justin Renner on October 26, 2013 at 8:27am
Sir, yes that was what I was attempting to describe. With a 1000sqf apartment and this layout scanning a room with a TIC and physically searching hidden spots should be fairly easy. The living room and dinning room are normally wide open with these types of structures and can be easily scanned on your way too the hallway, a quick look in the kitchen and bathroom on your way to the rear bedrooms. All rooms can be quickly rechecked in more detail on the way back out of the apartment if the need arises. looking foward to more comments and next months senario.
Comment by Skip Coleman on October 25, 2013 at 4:17pm
Great Jon. I agree with you. If an attack line (crew) has already been assigned, then no need for line. If no attack line has been assigned, I would not assign search yet. First things first - Get water on the fire.
Comment by Jon Nickerson on October 25, 2013 at 4:03pm
And as far as the question about changing bottles in zero visibility, we do practice that. But I am kind of assuming by that point the stairwell will be ventilated enough to not have to change out bottles. You probably won't even have to be on air in the apartments to the right
Comment by Jon Nickerson on October 25, 2013 at 4:02pm
Chief, being a small department, we have limited crews initially. I would take the hose line as protection for our crews and any victims we might encounter. If there was already an attack team on scene the no I wouldn't take a hose line. It's kind an "attack search" if you will.
Comment by Skip Coleman on October 25, 2013 at 2:12pm

Thanks to all three of you.  To Jon,  first thanks for the "Thanks".  Second.  you said you would take spare bottles in with you. Do you drill on changing air bottles in zero visibility with gloves on?  Just wondering?  Also, I am not sure I would take a hose line with me.  To me, It cuts down the number os searchers and simply slows down the search.  Thats just me.  

To Justin, Is a TIC oriented search where the officer (Oriented person) scans a room and then one searcher enters and checks obscure areas?  

Comment by Kevin Dippolito on October 24, 2013 at 1:57pm


Like Jon & Justin stated previously, the search order would be A, D, C, B. All apts are considered occupied until WE determine they are vacant. Entry to each apartment would be via the interior stairs assuming the engine company is making a push on the fire and has control of the stairwell. If they don't have control of the stairwell, access to apts D,C,& B would be via window for VES.

Due to the time of day, I want my crews heading for the bedrooms first. They can sweep the other areas on the way out. 

As for air consumption, I can't imagine this would take more than 1 bottle. Especially considering the use of a TIC can/has expedited the amount of time it takes us to search.


Comment by Justin Renner on October 24, 2013 at 9:21am
Okay, here goes nothing. Fire attack will have two guys in apartment "A", with an 1000sqf apartment they may or may not be able to search it once they get a knock on the fire. As first due search company and three guys I am going to size up fire conditions. Search crew driver will team up with fire attack officer and conduct a quick search of "A" provideing there has already been a good knock on the fire. To stuff 3 search guys and 2 fire attack guys in a small apartment could cramp things up fast. Search officer and FF will make way to apartment "D" to force door or make entry. A 2 man crew should be able to make a quick TIC oriented search of "D". All crew members should be able to meet back up and search the remaining "C" and "B". With no visible smoke in "C" and "B" searchs should be a quick oriented type search with the officer staging the search from the living room area and crew searching remander of the house. With MSA 2216 bottles a full search of the entire structure will depend greatly on members conducting the search, old young, large, small etc but will probably not happen in most cases. Most likely the attic access is in the common hallway and unlike single family homes there will most likely not be a fold down ladder. So primary search crews will not be checking attic fire conditions prior to leaving the structure. This will be left to a back-up crew. I am leaning away from VES with this structure due to ouside layout. "A's" door should be opened with fire attack inside, a ladder thrown to "D" will need to be on the delta side to avoid the bushes and then carried back around to the alpha side for "C", more bushes infront of "B" and unknown bravo side conditions just makes VES a time consuming and maybe undoable operation. In this time I feel it would be faster for a single crew to force interior apartment doors and once you force one the rest all get easier and they may already be unlocked to start. Good bad or ugly thats what I'm thinking
Comment by Jon Nickerson on October 18, 2013 at 9:41am

First off I wanted to say thank you for providing these for all of us. I have been posting these scenarios on to my own department's website for people to provide feedback. It really is a great training tool, so thank you for that.


Now on to the scenario

1) A, D, C, B would be the order I would search. This kind of works out perfectly anyway, in that you can search the right side first, then the left side, as well as follow the typical flow of fire and smoke.  

2) I would probably go with a (3 man) TIC directed search with a handline in apartment A, after accomplishing that, I would leave a man at the bottom of the stairwell with the handline protecting egress. 2 would continue up to the top floor apartments to search. Finally, meet back with your 3rd and search the last apartment. Hopefully more get on scene to assist in conducting a faster search, as well as fire extinguishment.

3) Obviously a lot of this depends on if you find any victims during your search. I would say if you didn't find a victim you might be starting to hear low air alarms as you enter the last apartment. If you did find any victims, it might not be a bad idea to grab some spare bottles and set them in the staircase area with your nozzleman.


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