Pre-Incident Planning



We cannot be effective or efficient fire fighters if all of our efforts are skill oriented or reactive in nature, which is often compounded by the fact that we place ourselves in hostile environments with little or no visibility and very often with little or no knowledge of that environment. Our lack of knowledge can often lead to no-win situations where not only do we lose life and the property we are charged to protect, but we sacrifice ourselves in what amounts to a suicide mission.

Objective (SPO): 1-1

The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of the purpose of pre-incident plans and will be able to conduct a thorough pre-incident inspection of a given target hazard in his/her community.


* Purpose of pre-incident planning

* Types and uses of pre-incident plans

* Steps for conducting pre-incident plans


SESSION 1 Preparing For and Conducting Pre-Incident Plans

SPO 1-1 The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of the purpose of pre-incident plans and

               will be able to conduct a thorough pre-incident inspection of a given target hazard in his/her


1-1 Define Pre-Incident Plan and list five reasons for conducting a Pre-incident Plan.

1-2 List four basic types of Pre-Incident Plans and describe two primary uses of the plan.

1-3 Describe and demonstrate the steps necessary to conduct a Pre-Incident Plan.


I . Purpose of pre-incident planning (1-1)

A. Pre-incident Plan - A systematic method of gathering and recording facts for the purpose of

     problem identification/analysis and information retrieval.

B. Reasons for Pre-incident planning

  1. Identify target hazards

  2. Identify problem areas requiring built-in-systems to reduce life and property losses.

      a. Sprinklers

      b. Early warning detection

      c. Compartmentalization

  3. Identify Fire Department limitations

  4. Access to right information at right time.

  5. Aids in speed of decision making

  6. Reduces guesswork based on lack of or poor information.


I I . Types and uses of pre-incident plans (1-2)

A. Types of Pre-incident plans

  1. Hazards to firefighters - a written description of inherent dangers to firefighters.

      a. Hazardous materials

      b. Construction

      c. Shafts/drop-offs, etc...

  2. Plot Plan - drawing that displays an outline of target buildings and surrounding area.

      a. Roads, buildings, obstacles

      b. Water sources

      c. Accessible and inaccessible areas for fire equipment

      d. Apparatus placement

  3. Floor Plan - detailed interior diagram, including:

      a. Each floor

      b. Location(s) of valuables

      c. Location(s) of hazards

      d. Location(s) of people

      e. Location(s) of fire protection systems

  4. Combination plan (using any combination of above plans)

B. Specific areas of concern

  1. Construction

  2. Life Hazards

  3. Ingress and Egress

  4. Exposures

  5. Ventilation

  6. Salvage/property conservation

  7. Utilities

  8. Required rate-of -flow

      a. Number and types of lines

      b. Number of firefighters

      c. Number and types of fire apparatus

  9. Response assignment

      a. Your department

      b. Mutual aid

      c. Response routes

      d. Water locations/access

C. Primary uses of Pre-incident plans

  1. Training

      a. Chalkboard planning

      b. On-site drills/building familiarization

  2. Information exchange with:

      a. Other departments

      b. Companies

      c. Shifts

      d. Other agencies

  3. Emergency scene

      a. Information is readily available

      b. Keep in apparatus or command vehicle

             • card files

             • looseleaf binders

             • computers

D. Discuss the potential advantages in pre-incident planning a specific building or facility in your



III. Steps for conducting Pre-incident Plans (1-3)

A. Getting ready

  1. Check last report, plot plan, fire record

  2. Make appointment - state purpose as information gathering

  3. In large buildings, information gathering may be divided into areas of responsibility

      a. Construction, dimensions, etc...

      b. Utilities and systems

      c. Paths of fire and smoke travel

      d. Hazards

      e. Ventilation, salvage, ingress, egress

B. Approaching building

  1. Circle block of area of building (identify):

      a. Exposures

      b. Hydrant / water locations

      c. Space and obstructions for apparatus placement

C. Exterior inspection

  1. Construction / dimensions

  2. Fire escape / stairway

  3. Sprinkler / standpipe locations and condition

  4. Means of ingress / egress

  5. Obstructions

D. Interview owner / manager / occupant(s)

  1. Explain purpose of visit

  2. Nature of occupancy

  3. Number / location of people

  4. Handicapped

  5. Normal hours building is occupied

  6. Contents

  7. High value and record(s) locations

  8. Special hazards to be aware of

E. Roof inspection

  1. Building layout

  2. Construction

  3. Exposure problems from roof vantage point

      • access / protection needs

  4. Parapet / fire wall locations and condition

      • check fire walls from floor to floor

  5. Methods or means of ventilation

     • natural (skylights, vents, scuttles)

     • forced (positive / negative ventilation)

     - identify tool and equipment needs

F. Interior inspection

  1. Attic

      a. Scuttle / access locations

      b. Construction (note any weakness)

      c. Sub-dividing

  2. Each floor

      a. Sprinklers (full / partial)

             • valve locations / condition

             • head locations / condition / clearance

             • pressure

             • salvage problems / water drain locations

      b. All stairways

             • identify most likely used for exits / entry

             • obstructions / locked doors

             • standpipe location / condition

      c. All vertical and horizontal paths of fire travel

             • poke throughs

             • openings

             • hidden paths

      d. Extinguishing and alarm system

      e. Life hazards

             • heavy machinery

             • baled stock (water absorbent)

             • hazardous materials (types and locations)

             • dangerous processes

             • storage locations

             • pits / open areas

             • drop offs

             • shafts

      f. Probable causes of fire (wiring, processes)

      g. Types of materials stored

      h. Occupants (numbers, location, condition)

            • is there an escape plan?

      i. Utilities (location, condition)

            • gas

            • electric

            • water

            • air system

  3. Basement(s)

      a. Storage

      b. Entry and egress

      c. Ventilation

      d. Special problems

G. Conclusion

  1. Review all information - research anything that may be unfamiliar to you

  2. Estimate and discuss the fire problem(s)

  3. Determine possible strategy and tactics

  4. Review all information with your crew or membership

  5. Put gathered information into a usable form

  6. Share information with other shifts or departments

  7. Update and maintain files

  8. Keep information available for use at emergencies

      a. Pre-incident plan book

      b. On board computers

      c. Dispatch centers



Preparing for and Conducting Pre-Incident Planning

* Purpose of pre-incident planning

* Types and uses of pre-incident plans

* Steps for conducting pre-incident plans