There is still a lot of talk out there about searching when to go when not to go, size up vs. survivability profiling bla bla bla. We are constantly bombarded with buzz words in the fire service no matter the topic being discussed.
Take a look at the video below. This appears to be an occupied house with fire from showing from side A. What I really want to focus on is the smoke condition on side C. At the C-B corner to the rear door you have a light smoke condition, continuing down the C side toward the D corner you see a heavy, thick, black, turbulent, three-dimensional smoke condition. Where are you going to start your search? Sure the text books all tell us to start at the fire and work our way out, and yes we are supposed be searching for fire as well. However the fire has already presented itself in abundance. So instead of focusing on the area were the fire is, why not search the area were the likelihood of finding a victim is high vs. low or non-existent. If you keep watching you will see that it took a matter a few seconds for that smoke to turn to fire in the C-D window, and I’m sure the other orifices are not far behind. Call it size up, call it survivability profiling, call it what ever you want but at the end of the day its the smart play that has the best possible outcome. For you EMS types out there it would be like using triage in an MCI, we always attempt to do the greatest good for the greatest number, we do this by categorizing the ones we are most likely to save and the ones that we can not we don’t that sounds a lot like survivability profiling huh? I wonder why no one has heart burn over that, yet when mentioning not entering a structure for search for similar instances people are up in arms.
Sure it is our duty to put our selves in harm’s way, but there is difference between that and committing suicide. Attempting a search in those areas until the fire has been knocked down is not only futile, but a suicidal mission to which a positive outcome is unlikely. Again this is not about “not searching” but focusing our search in an area where success is more likely vs. wasting resources in efforts that are likely to fail.
Once a hoseline is in place it becomes a whole new ball game, those areas may become more tenable, but until then help the ones you can.
Take a look at the video and let me know what you think. Leave questions, comments, etc. in the comments section, email, or by Twitter.
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As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and stay safe.