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The Fire occurs at 0630 Hours on a Sunday morning.  The building is wood platform construction with a truss roof assembly.  The exterior load bearing walls are wood frame. The floors are constructed of a joist system with 2x10 joists supporting the floors.  The exterior has a brick veneer. All interior wall assemblies are drywall (sheetrock) on wood studs. There is no built-in fire protection system. Individual units have battery operated smoke detectors.  

This is a one section garden type apartment.  That means that there are no other “units” attached to this building.  Generally, each section has 8 to 12 individual apartments depending upon the number of floors (Divisions).  In this case, there are 12 apartments – four on each floor.  Each floor has a center hallway with two apartments on each side of the hallway and in this case, there are three floors again for a total of 12 apartments.   (See the floor plan below. )

Here are your questions to consider:

What type of search would you expect to conduct?

Where would you expect to start your search (Division 1, 2 or 3)

What apartment would you start in (A, B, C, or D)

Briefly describe how you would conduct the search.


I may add some more questions in the next Blog. 

Floor Plan:

Scenario Screen Shot:

Here is a link to the video:

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Comment by Justin Renner on January 15, 2014 at 10:03am
Jon, to clarify a bit of a mix up. Although two search teams would be great, I was trying to say that I personnally like 2 MAN search teams as in an officer and a FF. I have found that working with the same crew allows two guys work well together and to run through a standard house search real fast.
Comment by Jon Nickerson on January 13, 2014 at 11:33am

Justin, I really like doing what you mentioned about the 180/270. Pull past the structure hopefully gives you the initial view of 3 sides, and then peek around the backside real quick. 

ive never been apart of a fire with more than 2 search crews, so I dont have a whole lot of input about multiple search crews

Comment by Skip Coleman on January 12, 2014 at 8:28am
Again, great comments from all. I agree, a three person crew works best (oriented person and 2 searchers). We did tests on Toledo and the maximum an officer can effectively handle was 3 searchers, we had some 5 person crews then and an officer had a very hard time watching/directing 4 searchers.
Justin, great comments about a 360. My emphasis is to get one ASA P but not to prolong making critical assignments prior completing a 360.
Comment by Justin Renner on January 12, 2014 at 8:10am
Jon, as far as search goes a three man Engine crew is pretty ideal. It allows for an Officer as your oriented Search FF and two guys to hit different rooms. The Officer has the TIC and tool and the other FF's can move quickly through bedrooms and such. 3 guys also allows ladders to be thrown easily and VES to be completed when needed. I personnally like two man search teams on smaller structures so this gives you two guys to search and your third to help move hose, throw ladders, gather tools, etc.

As for Fire Attack with 3 guys your possibilities are endless. For start your Driver needs to be much more then a pump operator. Driver needs to pull back-up lines, throw ladders, etc. We carry our Irons in a sling so that I am able to throw it on my shoulder and still pull a line. It gets everything to the front door fast. Operating with only two hose team members (Officer and FF) we stage our tools at the front door, my irons and officers hook, so we can move with a quickness through the house.

Instead of the Officer preforming a complete 360 you can do a 180/270. Basically just a change in the wording but instead of walking all the way around the entire structure the officer would walk from the street side, down either the B or D side, look around the back corner and then straight back the way you came. It allows you to see all four sides but save you the time of walking all the way around the entire structure.

I'm sure there are a million more ways but this is all I got for now.
Comment by Jon Nickerson on January 10, 2014 at 11:38am

First things first, being a newer guy, I want to cover my basics first. 360 of the building to make sure we don't have anything on the back side before I commit to anything. Evacuation is poor, as one person is walking out the front door, and with the number of cars in the parking lot, I want to call for more manpower ASAP.

Being a smaller department, our crew shows up on scene with a 3 man engine crew, with our neighboring department likely to be there in 5 minutes or less. The man thing I want to focus my crew on is getting water on the fire. Eliminating the threat is the best way to help the victims in a building of this size (with potentially many victims). 1 person is getting water on the fire through the front door, the other two throw a ladder to division 3 apt A and grab the for sure victim. Hopefully by this time we are getting some more manpower on scene.

After the removal of the victim, I would have, like many stated below me, the crews continue their search of division 3 checking each apartment, but focusing primarily on A and D. With water being put on the fire, hopefully the stairwell is a little easier to work with and our crews can work their way down to each floor. In a situation like this, I would have the next crew throw ladders to windows on each division to ensure an escape for our search team and potential victims.

Unfortunately with limited resources at first, this IMO is the best course of action.

Can any of you other guys throw any advice my way for working with limited crews off the bat? Any specific tactics?

Comment by Skip Coleman on January 7, 2014 at 8:49am
Excellent comments, great learning tool for those who will follow but are hesitant to comment. Justin. Excellent comment about if you try to do both ( attack and search) neither gets done perfectly. That can't be good for anyone - including victims.
Comment by Justin Renner on January 7, 2014 at 6:23am
Yeah,I would have to say that is how we operate here as well. Unless no one calls in sick, is on vacation or Kelly day we run 3 on an Engine as well. It would have to be special circumstances to search off the hose as you advance in on the fire with a two man hose team. On the rare occasion that I was able to operate a 3 man hose team the Butt was able to pull in some extra hose and search rooms while the nozzle and heel advanced in on the fire. 9.9 times our of 10 fire is first and agreed an "all clear" is hard to give with a "Hasty" search.
Comment by Grant Schwalbe on January 6, 2014 at 9:59pm
Justin...we run three on engine. Line placement and advancing is first, which is tough with just two...once we get a quick knock or line is in place...heal can double back (not far) to check immediate area and close doors. I wouldn't give the "all clear" on a hasty search. Hope that helps.
Comment by Justin Renner on January 6, 2014 at 8:40pm
Do yous run 3 or 4 on an Engine. "Hasty" searchs as you refer to them are a catch 22 with us. We run 3 guys on all our Engines which only gives you a tailboarder on the nozzle and an Officer as the Heel man. On one hand 95% of the houses and apartments in our city are very small and its real easy to knock out a search off the hose. On the other hand with only the two of you trying to do it, you end up with an inefficient advancement or a poor search. I understand that it is something that needs to be done sometimes but you have to weigh the good, the bad and the ugly.
Comment by Grant Schwalbe on January 6, 2014 at 6:49pm
Awesome Justin! Great description!

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