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Search & Rescue- SPLIT UP or STAY TOGETHER

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  • Search & Rescue- SPLIT UP or STAY TOGETHER

    I'm a New Volunteer Training Officer for a mid size Rural Fire Department. I have been in the fire service over 8 years but only with this department a couple. Last drill our Chief taught a Search & Rescue Class. He taught that when you and your partner enter in a house you search by areas. One goes right and one goes left and when you meet you go to the next room or area to search. Which goes against everything that I had been taught and everything I have been teaching. I feel searching like that is very unsafe. I was taught you and your partner always stay together no matter what. What I'm wondering is if there are any other departments out there that search like this and if so why do you feel it is better. Thank You for your Time.. MN405

  • #2
    Take a look at the IFSTA manual. Searches, where ever practical, are to be conducted in teams of at least two. What I've always been taught is permissable, however, is to have one team member search a room, while the other waits at the door. This way, the first firefighter has less chance to become disoriented by pursuing an aggressive search. The firefighter left at the door acts as an 'anchor' by staying in verbal contact with the searcher. Otherwise, I'm with you, I've always been taught to search in pairs. I'm not sure what your chief is thinking.

    ------------------
    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

    Comment


    • #3
      More than anything searching a building takes practice and experience. I don't believe that there is only one correct way to conduct a search. What your chief taught you is valid under some circumstances, but depends on the experience level of the search team and the conditions and size of the building.

      If the two people searching are experienced firemen then you can split up and search separate rooms and watch each other as well. You meet back in the hallway after searching your room and progress to the next area together. Also, if you are dealing with a two story type 5 with a room and contents, or two, then an experienced crew can again slip up and search. You can achieve a faster search and be able to keep track of each other at the same time.

      The opposite is true if you are dealing with a larger building, or one that has a lot of fire. Here it would be prudent to stay together and keep an eye on the hallway you are in and the conditions.

      Stay Safe!


      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with both Bucks and Staylow. I most often ride as the officer of the Rescue Co. that utilizes a two-team, FDNY-style approach to accomplishing fireground tasks. This will usually give me two firefighters on the "inside crew", and we work as a crew of three. I generally stay in the hallway as one or both firefighters enters to search and vent as necessary. I then act as the "anchor", and can monitor fire, heat, or smoke conditions. If the room is large, this definitely gives the Rescue Co. a better chance of doing a thorough yet quick primary search. If the rooms are small and close together, I can send each to search a room, and remain in my position, allowing more area to be covered more quickly. Obviously, this should not be attempted with a crew that has little fire experience, working in a manner as this can be a little fast-paced for the firefighter that may be used to going in on a line with an entire engine crew and staying with them at all times, and training definitely pays off when it comes to performing tasks in a less-than-ideal situation when time is of the essence. But, when in doubt, go in together, and come out together.

        [This message has been edited by lumpy649 (edited 02-09-2001).]

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with Staylow, and BucksEng91 as well. Your replies were very well explained. I think it's a bad idea to say "always" and "never" in regards to fireground tactics. Keep your options open and act accordingly to the situation at hand.

          ------------------
          I LOVE THIS JOB!

          Comment


          • #6
            I know that in my department, my training officer has totally different training methods and believes in the right way as well as the pratical way of doing things. I know that his way are somewhat different from the deputies ways (the one who use to train us). He's not afraid to take things and change it to reflect the way that it's shown in IFSTA. I think that if your going to be the training officer, you should follow your training that you've received and what the training manuals show.

            To your question I have to BucksEng91. There's no way that two people could fit into a small bed room. This is how our training officer is training us, and it is different from what we used to be told, but it's much more pratical than fitting two people in a small cramped bedroom.

            ------------------
            Joel

            If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Firelover said:

              "To your question I have to BucksEng91. There's no way that two people could fit into a small bed room. This is how our training officer is training us, and it is different from what we used to be told, but it's much more pratical than fitting two people in a small cramped bedroom."

              Yep, sometimes it's the *only* way to get it done...same as with a bathroom or a small laundry room. The 'one guy stays in the hall, the other searches' method is a good, quick way to make an aggressive search, while alleviating some of the danger associated with a searcher becoming disoriented.

              The primary thing to remember here, though, is that this is still done as a team. At no time do the firefighters head off to completely different areas of the building, as was initially suggested.

              ------------------
              J. Black

              The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

              Comment


              • #8
                Unless you have been working with a partner for a long time, I prefer together. Having said that, the guy at the doorway as a anchor works as I know were to come back to. In that case ya might as well make it a three man team with the anchor man at the door and the two working in tandem. It would also work down a hall with each guy branching off into a room and the hall guy maintaining contact with each. My opinion.

                Remember, You go, We go.

                Comment


                • #9
                  John_Ford:

                  Good point - the three firefighter search works even better, especially in buildings with rooms off a common hallway, such as an apartment building.

                  In our department, it's common practice to deploy a three man (person, if you want to be PC) team - an officer and two firefighters. The officer is the anchor, staying in the hallway and watching fire conditions in both rooms, while the two firefighters perform aggressive searches.

                  ------------------
                  J. Black

                  The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My department had a fire last night where we had to search an entire apartment building. We searched the apartments directly above the fire apartment in pairs. Then we searched the other apartments towards the non-involved end by splitting up. I believe it made for a quick, efficient search. Just my real life example of how we should never say never or always in regards to fireground tactics.

                    ------------------
                    I LOVE THIS JOB!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The search TEAM should always be assigned in a minimum of pairs. Once they get to the search area, they let the building dictate the tactic. Searches of bedrooms in a dwelling or apartment, whether by the interior or VES are many times easier for 1 FF to complete while another anchors the exit and watches his back. In a typical apartment or dwelling, a team of 3 searching from the interior can usually search 2 rooms simultaneously while the hall is monitored by the 3rd man. Large areas generally need 2 or more to spread out and check everything or require the use of a larger team using a search line. As long as everyone enters and exits together and maintains some sort of communications, use your experience and the situation you are presented with to make a decision.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No matter what tactic is use for search and rescue. If it one firefighter at the door in small rooms as the other preforms the search. The most important issue is TWO IN TWO OUT!

                        Comment

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