Many of us run on short-staffed units. We arrive on scene and begin the stretch with just an officer and a firefighter on the line. Throw in a corner or two this can be a difficult stretch for just two people. But what if you come across a victim? Do you have a plan? Have you talked about it with your crew? Stats tell us that over 1/3 of the time civilians are found while trying to escape or control the fire. With odds that great we should plan and practice for it.
Civilian Activity Prior to Death in Residential Building Fires (2011-2013)
Civilian Activity When Injured in Residential Building Fires (2011-2013)
Leading Specific Location of Civilian Fire Fatalities (2011-2013)
Next shift have the conversation with your crew and all get on the same page. Then practice one man pinning the line and one-man victim drags. In my area, we also changed our first alarm pre-arrival assignments. The task of the first 2 arriving units is to team up to get the first line in place. That gives us 4-5 firefighters on the first line. This gives us plenty of manpower to mind the corners and control the door. It also affords us extra personnel in case we find a victim on the way to the seat of the fire. As soon as the first line is in place and flowing we break off the 2nd unit to begin the primary search.
San Bernardino City Fire-Attack Team makes a grab as first crew to arrive.
USFA Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Building Fires 2015
USFA Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Building Fires 2015