High Risk/High Reward - Searching for Life on the Fireground - Part 3

This article is the last in a series of articles focused on considerations for primary search. The search of fire buildings can be one of the most rewarding actions taken on the fireground, but it can also be the most hazardous duty performed. Searches...


They should descend the ladder or exit the window and move to the next room to be searched while repeating the same procedure. VES is not a substitute for a conventional interior search because it obviously will not cover all areas.

The search for viable, trapped occupants is one of the very few times when firefighters should be allowed to be subjected to high risks while operating on the fireground. Seconds can literally mean the difference between life and death for these occupants.

VES is a technique that, if utilized in the correct manner under the proper conditions, can help to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of a successful rescue. It can also get firefighters in a lot of trouble very quickly if they are not skilled in the areas of laddering, forcible entry, search, fire behavior and self survival - all basics of our profession.

We must know our limitations and understand the principles of risk/benefit analysis when committing to action. The public expects nothing less than excellence when they dial 911 - are you ready to meet that challenge?

JEFFREY PINDELSKI, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a 18-year veteran of the fire service and currently serves as a battalion chief with the Downers Grove, IL, Fire Department. Jeff is a staff instructor at the College of Du Page and has been involved with the design of several training programs dedicated to firefighter safety and survival. Jeff is the co-author of the text R.I.C.O., Rapid Intervention Company Operations and is a revising author of the 3rd edition of the Firefighter's Handbook. He has participated in the first edition of Training & Tactics Talk and Training & Tactics Talk: Training Philosophies on Radio@Firehouse.com. To read Jeff's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Jeff by e-mail at firelt226@aol.com.