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The 360- Degree Check

Whatever you call it - "The Lap", "360", "Walk around", it does not matter but what does matter is that you, or depending upon the size of the structure, have someone complete it and rely the information learned to the people going into harms way.

“In this incident, the first arriving engine crew was met by an excited homeowner who informed them that the fire was in the basement and directed them to the front door and down the stairs. Acting quickly, the engine crew prepared to enter the fire structure without conducting an initial size-up.”

This is from the first recommendation cited in the July 29, 2009, NIOSH report on the line-of-duty death of Captain Broxterman and firefighter Schira in Colerain Township, Ohio.

Merely walking around a structure will not put the fire out, nor will it keep you out of harm’s way. It is more important to understand why we take the 360-degree and what we are denoting. What
will the information we gather offer that can define the
tactics we plan to execute? If we do it correctly it will
offer enough to make an informed fireground decision." Chapter 12, Page 120

So, what do you look for when you take your lap? It should be the information that will craft the tactics you will deploy to put the fire out and save lives. If you are opposed to performing a lap, write the reason why you don't down on paper, read it to your fellow firefighters that will charge down that hallway with you, and see if they agree with your decision. Remember the Powell Doctrine that we should not put people in harms way for unclear purposes.....ever!

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