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Staging areas are a must for any fire department going into a potentially dangerous situation. This includes scenes of shootings, stabbings and assaults, suicides and psychological calls. Apparatus and ambulances should remain in staging areas until the scene has been secured by police. When I say “secure,” I am not just speaking about the fact that police are on the scene, but they have verified that the scene is safe because they have checked to make sure the scene is safe.
When a scene is safe, that means that any assailants have been taken into custody or the police have verified that they have left the scene. A scene is also safe when the police have verified that there is no activity going on that can harm firefighters. Some fire departments train firefighters to defend themselves if they get into a situation that requires that they protect their safety.
Firefighters just do not die from flames and poisonous gases. We must be vigilant on every call. n