Rules of Engagement 2010

Rules of Engagement Project; Increasing Firefighter Survival Developed by the Safety, Health and Survival Section International Association of Fire Chiefs The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is committed to reducing firefighter...


One principle applied in the Rules of Engagement is firefighters and the company officers are the members at most risk for injury or death. The Rules integrate the firefighter into the risk assessment decision making process. These members should be the ultimate decision maker as to whether it’s safe to proceed with assigned objectives. The “Rules” allow a process for that decision to be made while still maintain command unity and discipline. It is well known that firefighting is hazardous with varying levels of risk to the firefighter. However, firefighting is not a military campaign where lives are lost to establish a beach head. No firefighter’s life is a building that eventually will be rebuilt. Keep all members safe so “Everyone Goes Home”!

Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival

  • Size-Up Your Tactical Area of Operation.
  • Determine the Occupant Survival Profile.
  • DO NOT Risk Your Life for Lives or Property That Can Not Be Saved.
  • Extend LIMITED Risk to Protect SAVABLE Property.
  • Extend Vigilant and Measured Risk to Protect and Rescue SAVABLE Lives.
  • Go in Together, Stay Together, Come Out Together
  • Maintain Continuous Awareness of Your Air Supply, Situation, Location and Fire Conditions.
  • Constantly Monitor Fireground Communications for Critical Radio Reports.
  • You Are Required to Report Unsafe Practices or Conditions That Can Harm You. Stop, Evaluate and Decide.
  • You Are Required to Abandon Your Position and Retreat Before Deteriorating Conditions Can Harm You.
  • Declare a May Day As Soon As You THINK You Are in Danger.

The Incident Commanders Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety

  • Rapidly Conduct, or Obtain, a 360 Degree Size-Up of the Incident.
  • Determine the Occupant Survival Profile.
  • Conduct an Initial Risk Assessment and Implement a SAFE ACTION PLAN.
  • If You Do Not Have The Resources to Safely Support and Protect Firefighters – Seriously Consider a Defensive Strategy.
  • DO NOT Risk Firefighter Lives for Lives or Property That Can Not Be Saved – Seriously Consider a Defensive Strategy.
  • Extend LIMITED Risk to Protect SAVABLE Property.
  • Extend Vigilant and Measured Risk to Protect and Rescue SAVABLE Lives.
  • Act Upon Reported Unsafe Practices and Conditions That Can Harm Firefighters. Stop, Evaluate and Decide.
  • Maintain Frequent Two-Way Communications and Keep Interior Crews Informed of Changing Conditions.
  • Obtain Frequent Progress Reports and Revise the Action Plan.
  • Ensure Accurate Accountability of All Firefighter Location and Status.
  • If, After Completing the Primary Search, Little or No Progress Towards Fire Control Has Been Achieved - Seriously Consider a Defensive Strategy.
  • Always Have a Rapid Intervention Team in Place at All Working Fires
  • Always Have Firefighter Rehab Services in Place at All Working Fires

Go to CommandSafety.com for a copy of the Rules of Engagement Poster, PDF File and a Link to the IAFC Section Page and ROE Concept Paper