Search and Rescue

Session Reference: 1-2 Topic: Search and Rescue Time Required: 1 Hour References:    • Truck Company Fireground Operations, Second Edition, Chapter 3    • Essentials of Fire Fighting, Third Edition, Pages 142-144 and...


Rescue means removing victims and potential victims from danger

A. Extent of rescue problem directly affected by

  1. Number of people in fire building

  2. Paths by which fire and smoke can reach them

  3. Routes available to crews for reaching people and removing them from building

B. Factors depend on construction, size, and interior layout of building

C. Crew must be prepared for most complex structure

D. Rescue problem can tax capacity of first units – call for additional companies without delay

III. Search (1-2-3)

A thorough, planned search for victims should be conducted at every fire.

A. Search duties - operations to be carried out simultaneously

  1. Locate and remove trapped occupants

  2. Ventilate where needed

  3. Temporarily prevent extension of fire by closing doors and windows

  4. Check for interior an exterior fire extension

  5. When necessary, help locate the seat of fire

B. Standard search procedure

  1. Search begins immediately

      a. Size up fire situation

      b. Use attack lines to cut off fire

      c. Stay low and check for victims near fire

     d. Attempt to get to upper floors

     e. If area is untenable, ventilation must begin from outside

  2. Search pattern

     a. Search area over fire first

     b. Keep turning in the same direction

     c. At least two fire fighters should be assigned to search an area

     d. Team members should keep track of each other by touch, sight, verbally, and listening for sound

     e. Each should call for help from other

  3. Areas to be searched

     a. Corridors, halls, and open areas in each room should be checked thoroughly

     b. Bathrooms, closets, and space behind large chairs and under beds should be checked

     c. Check near windows for victims overcome

     d. Rescuers should carry axe, forcible entry tool, and handlight

     e. Search fire room if possible then close door to isolate fire

     f. Line should be placed over fire

     g. Vent non-fire rooms to relieve heat and smoke

  4. Indicating that a room has been searched

     a. Establish a standard method to indicate that room has been searched

     b. If door is left open, place piece of light furniture in doorway, lying on side with legs pointed

         outward

     c. If door is closed, place piece of cloth against door jamb near doorknob

     d. Tags can be used in place of piece of cloth

  5. Other structures

     a. In apartment buildings, residential search pattern should be used within units

     b. Important that searchers leave using same doorway as entered

     c. If fire conditions require use of different doorway, it should be reported immediately

     d. Hoselines may be required to search fire area

     e. Larger structures may require more personnel

C. Search Techniques.

  1. Doors

      a. Before opening, check to see if knob is hot

      b. Some heat from knob or door may indicate smoke and gases beyond door

      c. If door opens outward, stay low and place full body weight against door

      d. Release lock slowly and open door slightly

      e. If there is strong push or fire, close door and wait for attack line

      f. If door opens inward, release lock slowly and ease door in

      g. If strong push or fire, close door and wait for attack line

  2. Victims

      a. Occupants will try to escape through doors, windows, fire escapes, halls, and stairways

      b. Look for overcome victims near and in such places

      c. Make sure victims not lying against doors pushing inward

      d. Under smoke and gas conditions, attempt to remove victim and then shut door

      e. If needed, call for attack line or help

      f. Victims may be found near doors

      g. Great physical effort may be required to move victims from door

      h. If enough help available, remove victims from structure while search continues

      i. In large structures, move to hallway and vent