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I’ve been pondering search lately.  We have learned that the best chance for survival for civilians trapped in a burning structure (and firefighters in trouble too) is get a closed door between them and the fire area.  This will greatly reduce the thermal threat, and improve their chances of finding breathable oxygen.  Remember, if the fire is vent-limited, so are you, if you are in the same space without an SCBA.  So, we need to consider adding the “sleep with the door closed” message to our public education messages.  

When you consider these factors in a limited staffing environment, it makes you want to ask the home owner, “I only have three firefighters on my fire engine.  We can effectively rescue 1, maybe 2 people in time to make a difference.  Which of your children would you like us to try and save?”  Crappy question, right? But its a reality in many places when the first due engine operates alone for a period of time.   

This made me recall an old image from growing up in the fire service.  Remember our old friend, the Tot Finder?  We used to use these to mark the bedrooms of children in the case of a fire.  The theory was that we would see these decals on our size up and initiate search in those areas first.  We shied away from these some years ago over security concerns related to identifying where our children sleep to protect them from potential predators.  We also questioned their reliability as people moved from house to house without updating the decals.  But now I’m wondering if I want those back?  I can secure the room pretty easily with technology today.  And anyone entering my home would meet an impressive level of resistance. But without a residential sprinkler in the room, which is the greater risk;  a predator or a fire?

What to you think?  Do we need a way to better identify priority rooms for search and rescue, given the changes in modern fuels?

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Comment by Justin Renner on June 17, 2014 at 10:27am
I'm not sure if the "Close your door when you sleep" is covered by Public Education Departments but it should be. It would have a more positive impact then some other topics covered. "stop, drop, and roll", "get out stay out","when you rest a closed door is best". Its gonna be huge.
Comment by Mike France on June 16, 2014 at 11:14am

First they Stickers have changed as to where they are reflective and placed on the inside of house on the bottom of the Door so when our lights hit them they are seen by us. Also we have to go back to our size up Time of day , day of the week , are there cars in the Driveway are hints that there are kids in there or is anyone home , I have heard so many variables when I was chief my head would spin as to who you listened too.. 

Manpower is always a question we will face either Paid or Vol. our ranks are falling no matter what , It's too bad we can't have a Smart House which would tells us everything we need to know.

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