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I got a lot of views to the last blog but only 2 with the courage to tell us what he would do.  Thanks Charlie and Justin.  Here are some of their comments . (Remember, these comments are for the last Blog and not the one below.  Do not get confused.  “From the outside we are looking at nothing more than a MODERN style split ranch, so to start our search we are going to start a right hand search towards the sleeping quarters due to time and day. With a three man Engine crew (officer,2 FF) the officer would preferably stage his oriented search from the hallway after sweeping the great room with his TIC on his/her way through. The wide open floor plan would allow our search officer and Attack officer to get a preliminary all clear of the great room, dining room and kitchen. I'd like to see one FF take each bedroom and the Officer could sweep the bathroom from the hallway. Both FF's would search the master bedroom allowing one to hit the closet and master bath. The crew would then preform a proper primary search of the dinning room, kitchen and great room on the way out, most likely in that order.”

" I'd perform a right hand search of the fire floor . The hose crew I assume , would be heading to the kitchen area and can search along the way . We work on 2 person pieces , so in zero visibility we stay together . Once visibility and fire condition improves we can separate more has long as we can keep in contact .")

Those are the kind of comments I am looking for.  Exactly where and how you would search.

So for this next scenario below, lets again assume it’s 0630 hours on a Sunday morning.

Here is a link to the video showing you the fire conditions and exterior of the house.

Your company is assigned to Search. The first in engine company has already stretched a line in through the front door.  One firefighter of that crew is again, assigned to “Door Control” until the fire is located and darkened. 

Explain how you would completely search this house using the floor plan below.  Please cover if the searcher(s) would search together as with the standard search or if you would conduct more of an Oriented Search.  If that is the case, state where the Oriented Person would position him/herself. 

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Comment by Skip Coleman on March 28, 2014 at 5:23pm
Comment by Justin Renner on March 28, 2014 at 3:57pm
Sir, with the Oriented officer at the master suite door, I would see it fit that officer sweep the bathroom in the hall while the FF,s split up and searched both bed rooms. From there staging the Officer in the Foyer/hallway and what I prefer, the FF's searching the family/kitchen and so on with one going left and one ging right. With dinner tables, island counters in the kitchen and furniture, I think it is more practical and faster to search this way rather then to have one FF circle an entire room. With this method 1 FF is considered your lead searcher. If your making a right handed search then the FF that goes right in the room always goes right in every room searched together and stays with the wall. In the event that the family room was not attached to the kitchen,when the FF meet each other the Right FF continues around while the 2nd FF is able to sweep/search the center of the room. Of coarse different room layouts and room sizes alter this one way or the other.
Comment by Skip Coleman on March 28, 2014 at 3:44pm
Justin, assuming you moved forward with the crew to the Master BR hallway door, would each Searcher search a specific area or would you want them to remain together?
Comment by Skip Coleman on March 28, 2014 at 3:42pm
Another excellent option. Starting with VES (Oriented) and then if conditions allow, moving on, throughout the house from there. As long as the Oriented Person maintains an awareness of his or her egress point as you stated, it works for me.
Comment by Justin Renner on March 28, 2014 at 3:35pm
If the homeowners handed you this floor plan in the front yard it would still be hard to remember or figure out. I agree that this appears to be a garage fire that has spread into the house. Fire attack would be entering the house making a right at the family room and starting their attack from the hallway (where it enters the garage). Video shows heavy thick black smoke from BR. 2 and/or 3 area. To put a 3 man search team past the attack team and hose, past the fire and into the Master suite would be a tough push and I see it becoming a fight over territory.
I normally hold VES for non-single story structures, however, I think in this case it may be your faster and safer option. Entering the master suite with 2 FF's leaving your officer with TIC near or at the window. Once complete fire conditions will determine whether you conduct search of BR 2 and 3 with your oriented officer staged at the master BR door(maintaining egress point), officer can search bathroom or if you have to exit the bedroom and VES BR 2 and 3.
Whether you passed the attack team in the hall or entered the family room through "C" side door, the oriented officer would stage remainder of search from foyer/hallway area (2 points of egress "C" side door or "A" side door). A face to face with attack crew would determine anything that was searched upon entry of hose. Family room, kitchen, dining, and living room should be a fast primary with FF's sweeping rooms one going left one going right or piggybacking (along with officer TIC). BR 4 was hopefully completed by door control at some point or can be complete prior to search team leaving the structure.
As for tools I am a big fan of the officer taking a married pair and a TIC. On a single story residetial I prefer as the FF to not carry a tool. As your structures get larger in size and hieght that may change.
Comment by Kevin Dippolito on March 28, 2014 at 2:25pm


As in previous posts, there would be two of us and we would head for the bedrooms first due to time of day. Assuming the Engine Co is getting water on the fire or has control of the door between the garage and the house, we go past the laundry room and split up - one FF to the master bedroom, and the other to the two smaller bedrooms. After searching that end of the house, we'd head for the family room and then the living room and finally the den. I'd do those last 3 rooms in that particular order simply because it is more likely someone is sleeping on the couch in the family room compared to the living room and den.

Stay safe,


Comment by Skip Coleman on March 28, 2014 at 7:40am
Very good tips Grant. Thanks
Comment by Grant Schwalbe on March 27, 2014 at 6:52pm

I like a tool for each member however a tool can also slow you down.  If I am the officer I have the halligan and TIC.  My FF's have the axe or halligan.  Once in a room if I search Right I put tool to left of door...I use to to reach the middle of room for a quick check (for anything in the middle or to see that I am in a small room like bathroom). I then continue to the right searching without the tool.  This allows me to search quickly and using the "feel" of both hands rather that have the tool hit something, stop see what it is and move on.  Once I come back around (counting walls) to the door the tool also serves as a reference to the door if i missed it.  If things go bad you need your tool.  The first step when things go bad is to close the door to maintain tenable space.  Grab the tool at that time.  If I am searching a common area (living room, great room etc) I will keep my tool with me.  If I find a "room off of a room" I would go back for tool and to tell my oriented man so he can move up or send FF2 to move up.

Comment by Skip Coleman on March 27, 2014 at 4:51pm
I'm proud of the three of you. If you get a chance, discuss the use of tools. What will the Oriented Person and searchers carry if any?
Comment by Mauricio Ayala on March 27, 2014 at 1:39pm

From the video, I am guessing this may be a garage fire w/ extension into the attic space.  Since a hoseline is already stretched inside, I anticipate that crew is positioned at the laundry room.  I like Schwalbe's search tactic, and hope that the hoseline team quickly checked BR 4 and hallway 1/2 bath on their way to the laundry room.  With our typical 3-man crew, I would also enter through A-door and conduct a Right-hand search of this structure.  BR 4 would be quickly searched (again) upon entry by a single FF, and the officer can do a quick sweep of the common areas as the team advances to the C/D rooms.  Then, following Schwalbe's tactic, make our way back to the front door.

With the black smoke showing on the A/C sides, I anticipate the structural integrity might be compromised quickly.  Nickerson's comment on pulling ceiling is great, and can determine how severe the attic conditions have become.

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