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Read any NIOSH report and failure to do a 360 is usually mentioned as a contributing factor. Unfortunately this has turned the 360 into a check box item rather than something to do in order to gain the entire fire ground picture. I have personally seen critical issues missed on structures due to the first in officer omitting the 360.

This leads to the question, What to look for on a 360? People teach various methods and I have one that was taught to me that is simple to remember, easy to implement, and easy to understand.

Four B’s of the 360


Any smoke or fire coming from the structure. Assess for flashover potential, read the smoke.


Any present victims, or potential victim locations


Anything that can potentially hurt or kill firefighters. Bars or boards on windows, overhangs, wires, pressurized

tanks etc.


Or any sub level that could hide fire, victims. Basements also can lead to difficult searches and stretches for the initial hose lines.

Once you complete your 360 you need to report your findings via radio, I utilize this method.

Command to Radio, 360 is complete smoke from side Alpha, fire from side charlie, bars on windows all 4 sides on the first floor, no victim accountability operating in the rescue mode”

The four B’s can also be utilized by RIC, Safety, Command Level Officers, and other companies for continuous size up. If anything changes from the initial conditions (good or bad) command needs to be notified.

The 360 is vital to the success of fire ground operations, no matter if you utilize the four B’s or another method, practice it, and use it.

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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