Firefighter Survival Awareness

Firefighter Survival Awareness Session Reference: 1 Time Required: 3 Hours Materials:    · Rope    · Video Tape Player And Monitor    · Tape Segments of Fires with Firefighter Fatalities PREPARATION...


  2. Risk a little to save property

  3. Risk nothing to save nothing (property already lost)

II. Activities To Minimize Risk (1-2)

A. Incident Command System

  1. Five functional positions

      a. Command

      b. Operations

      c. Planning

      d. Logistics

      e. Finance

  2. Three staff positions

       a. Safety

       b. Public Information Officer

       c. Liaison

  3. Bring organization and command structure to emergency scene

  4. Established on all working incidents

B. Personnel Accountability System

  1. Level 1 accountability - tags placed on collection ring in cab of apparatus

  2. Level 2 accountability - collection ring taken to command post

  3. Level 3 accountability - tags collects at designated control points such as entrance to structure

      (may require the use of multiple tags for multiple control points)

NOTE: Each firefighter should have a minimum of two personal accountability tags--one for the collection ring and the second for the entry control point.

C. Personal Items

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  2. Personal alert safety systems (PASS)

      a. Should be checked periodically to make sure it is working

      b. Operator should know how to operate it in manual mode

      c. Battery should be replaced periodically

     d. Should be activated when entering a structure or work area

  3. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)

D. Buddy System

  1. Always work in pairs

  2. Stay in voice and visual contact with each other

  3. Share senses, e.g., hearing, seeing, feeling (not smelling)

E. Back-up Teams/Rescue Teams

  1. Should more experienced personnel

  2. Must exercise restraint and not get involved in operations unless needed

  3. May want to consider rotating team members

F. Scene Safety Zones

  1. Hot zone - area of immediate danger; may be defined by presence of toxic gases or explosion

      hazard, potential structural collapse, or area of vehicular instability; full protective clothing required

  2. Warm zone - area adjacent to hot zone; may be decon area on hazmat incident; buffer zone

       between hot and cold zones; protective clothing may be required

  3. Cold zone - staging area; no protective clothing required

G. Evacuation Signals

  1. Air horn blasts - 5 seconds at 15-second intervals

  2. Radio announcement - 5 consecutive alert tones 2 seconds in duration

  3. Pager activation (maybe)

NOTE: Once the evacuation signal has been activated, a personnel accountability report (PAR) should be conducted as quickly as possible to determine who might be missing. Information should be gathered to determine where the missing personnel were last seen or operating. This information will assist the rescue team.

H. Rehab Areas and Procedures

  1. Have areas designated for rehab and make them known

  2. Have procedures in place to establish rehab on working incidents

  3. Stress importance of rehab

  4. Identify rehab requirements

I. Fireground Communications

  1. Adequate radios

  2. Direct communications through Command Post

  3. Determine channel for rescue team (if separate from fireground operations)

  4. Avoid unnecessary radio traffic during firefighter rescue

J. Negative Activities

  1. Complacency

  2. Overconfidence

  3. Tunnel vision

  4. Freelancing

  5. Disregard for basic skills and knowledge

III. Personal Survival/Evacuation (1-3)

Some of the practical material in Sections III and IV of this Instructor Guide is based on a training program delivered in Frederick, Maryland, on March 27-28, 1999, by members of the training staffs of the Anne Arundel County (MD) Fire Department and the Howard County (MD) Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

NOTE: The instructor should review each of these items in the classroom before moving to the practical area for demonstration and student practice.

A. Personal Survival Tips

  1. Communicate "mayday"

  2. Activate emergency button on radio

  3. Shine light on ceiling

  4. Turn PASS device on manual