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Hump Day SOS - Is Was Supposed To Be Vacant

This week is another retro-SOS from my original first few months. These were pictures only so now that we are broadcasting out to the FE community and in full blog mode I will add some commentary. Again, if you already saw this one I hope you get another laugh or affirmation that you are not alone in your thinking.

I hope you are still responding with the idea that someone might be trapped in the burning building. If not then what exactly are you going for other than to protect exposures? We always need to consider all information but just because a dispatcher classifies a building as “vacant” doesn’t mean that it is. Who confirms these bits of information? I came up in the school of thought that the building wasn’t clear until the fire department cleared it. The term “vacant” structure is one of the most misused terms today. It is used for perfectly good houses that are for sale, buildings that are between renters, buildings that are falling down prior to any fire and building that a call might state that they don’t think anyone lives there. This over use and misuse causes some to assume and we all know what happens when we assume.

Base your search priority on the fire conditions and the building construction on all incidents and leave the speculation on its occupants to those outside of the fire service. Most urban fire settings have numerous people living in what some classify as “vacant” structures. One of my favorite CAD messages of all time stated, “fire in a vacant structure with a person trapped”……… hmmmmmmmmmmm. Is that possible?

Search every time and everywhere based on conditions not assumptions. Wouldn’t you hate to know the cops found and rescued a victim out of the rear of the structure while you were maintaining your “safe” distance because you were dispatched to a “vacant” structure?

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