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Engine Company Search: Ranch House

Engine Company Search: Ranch House

Life Safety is the fire services number one priority, typically accomplished by searching for victims of fire inside fire buildings. This is a high risk, high man power, and high intensity tactic that must be planned and coordinated. However, fire departments all over the country often are faced with the choice of either searching or fire suppression due to the lack of the aforementioned man power. Even in departments where man power is not an issue things happen, units get delayed and the first arriving engine is again faced with should they put the fire out or search for victims. This is a fools choice as both need to be accomplished in order to be successful. The best thing an engine company can do to save lives is to stretch a line and extinguish the fire, however this alone does not locate and remove victims. The following is a plan to accomplish BOTH of these important tasks with limited man power, and providing relative safety to the fire attack crews in a common residential structure the Ranch House. This is NOT an ideal situation, as separate crews (one fire attack, one search and rescue) will always be faster, and more efficient. This is for those departments, or circumstances and engine company finds itself operating without support apparatus and needs to accomplish fire suppression and search.

Interior Fire Attack: While responding the first in officer should relay the water supply plan to the other responding companies.

Upon arrival the officer gives and initial on scene size up.

The nozzle firefighter deploys attack hand line.

The officer performs a 360-degree size up. This is vital to ensure the location of the fire, assess flashover potential, locate the best entry point, locate possible exit points, assess any hazards present, and locate victims that may have self-evacuated to the other sides of the building.

The nozzle firefighter, and officer then advance a charged hand-line to the seat of the fire.
Once water is being flowed on the fire the officer then begins to search off of the hose line from the fire room back, starting with the rooms directly adjacent to the fire room. The Nozzle firefighter maintains their position in the fire room protecting the searching officer.

If a victim is located the officer makes contact with the nozzle firefighter, if fire is still active the officer attempts removal, or isolation. If fire not active nozzle firefighter moves hand-line to the officer to maintain protection, and assist in removal.

(The lines indicate the same line, initially exterior then transitioning to the interior)

Transitional Attack: While responding the first in officer should relay the water supply plan to the other responding companies.

Upon arrival the officer gives and initial on scene size up.

The nozzle firefighter deploys attack hand line.

The officer performs a 360-degree size up. This is vital to ensure the location of the fire, assess flashover potential, locate the best entry point, locate possible exit points, assess any hazards present, and locate victims that may have self-evacuated to the other sides of the building

While the officer is performing the 360, the nozzle firefighter begins to flow water into the fire room.
Once the 360 is complete the officer and nozzle firefighter transition to the interior, and advance to the fire room, where water is flowed to fully extinguish the fire.

Once the hand line is flowing water into the fire room, the officer begins to search off the hose line from the fire room back, starting with the rooms directly adjacent to the fire room. The Nozzle firefighter maintains their position in the fire room protecting the searching officer.

If a victim is located the officer makes contact with the nozzle firefighter, if fire is still active the officer attempts removal, or isolation. If fire not active nozzle firefighter moves hand-line to the officer to maintain protection, and assist in removal.

Again, this is not an ideal situation, but a plan to accomplish two critical fire ground tasks with minimal man power, and maximizing safety. No matter if your attack starts interior or exterior eventually the building must be searched. Having a well-coordinated plan, and training on the plan is the key to proper execution on the fire ground.

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

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