Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Have you had “The Talk” with your crew?

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)

  • Trying to Escape                                     36%
  • Fire Control                                             3%
  • Returning to Vicinity of Fire                    2.9%
  • Rescue Attempt                                      2%


Civilian Activity When Injured in Residential Building Fires (2011-2013)

  • Fire Control                                             34.9%
  • Trying to Escape                                     25.2%
  • Returning to Vicinity of Fire                     7%
  • Rescue Attempt                                      6.5%


Leading Specific Location of Civilian Fire Fatalities (2011-2013)

  • Bedrooms                                                50%
  • Common Rooms                                     11%
  • Bathrooms                                              8.3%
  • Kitchen                                                    7.9%


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. 


  • Will you both abandon the line and take the victim out?
  • Will the “Nozzle-Man” hold his position while the backup drag the victim out the front door?
  • Have you practiced one-man victim drags?
  • Will you continue to advance to the fire and let second due know where the victim is located?


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

Views: 4492


You need to be a member of Fire Engineering Training Community to add comments!

Join Fire Engineering Training Community

Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service