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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by basic1 View Post
    bradroger07,

    Do a Firehouse.com search using the words "closet found". There are several pages of articles referencing both children and adults found in closets at structure fires. Keep up the good work - Never stop learning.
    Thanks! yes I normally use the web to answer most of my questions but I decided to use this form of research to see how the results were. It`s great to see and hear feedback from different areas of the country. I will definatly check that out.


  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    I'll give my two cents.

    I worked a fire where 2 kids died in the room where the fire started. They had crawled under the coffee table and basically were in plain site and located quite quickly. But given the situation, they had no chance.

    I worked a fire that was quite the opposite. The fire started in the kitchen. One child (6yo) ran out of the Mobile Home. Two children (4yo/3yo) ran to a bedroom and crawled under the parent's bed. The child that ran out alerted a neighbor about the fire. By the time the first units arrived, the roof and the front wall had collapsed. Kids did not survive.

    These situations did not present crews a chance to save lives. But the searches nevertheless were performed.

    Another fire that I worked presented a different situation. Parents insisted two kids were in the house. Search teams had checked the entire house, without locating the children. While hose crews began attacking the fire in the utility room and kitchen, the kids were found, ALIVE, in the car in the garage.

    I don't believe in myths. I do believe in facts. You cannot ever predict what a child will do, and each situation is different; each structure is different. If this was easy stuff, we would have no fire deaths and LODDs.

    We teach our crews to be "methodical". They must use their best judgement and be prepared to react given the situation. Be swift, but thorough; opposed to fast and lax.

    Firefighters cannot try to get into the mind of a child to predict behavior. We do not think or react the same way. So the challenge remains as it has always been. You begin based upon the best information possible, but check everything.
    Thanks for this information brother. This is exactly the type of experience I was fishing for. Its very difficult thing to disscuss sometimes. I am happy to hear about the fire where the children survived. I am influencened by my singular experience. What I saw was 3 and 4 year old children who appeared to be trying to get out,near doors and windows.You are right, its really hard to get into psychology of children or adults. We are fire fighters and we have enough responsiblities, therapist definately isn`t one we need to add to the tool box. But seriously, I appreciate your feed back, this can be very valuable to everyone in the fire service. Using the very best tactic based on the initial scene size-up,information from family members or by-standers,the type of building construction, location and amount of fire,and appropriate search technique will help build the complete picture.

    Take care and be safe
    Brad

  3. #23
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradroger07 View Post
    I was curious if anyone has seen or heard of an instance where a small child was found hiding in a closet or dresser during a fire?
    Absolutely, also in chest and bath tubs. The places are limitless....

    We are taught to search these areas for small children during primary search. I have a issue with this because the primary search must be rapid. And if we are looking in cabinets and drawers are we wasting valuable time?
    You are right, the primary needs to be quick. Adapt to the situation. Are you searching for life or are you searching for fire? Where are you? Did you come in through a window in front of the engine? Did you follow the engine through a door? Are you on the floor above? All these factors are to be addressed when searching. Primary searches on the fire floor are to be rapid, check the main avenues of egress, Remember, we want to locate the fire first so we can confine it, let the engine know and take them there. If its a KNOWN life threat, meaning you have seen someone or hear them, then yes you are going to check as much as possible as fast as possible. A-lot of guys have incorporated closets, tubs and under beds into their primary searches.....

    Next time you walk into one of your rooms where you live, think about it as if you where coming there to do a search, stand at the window and then in the door way, look around...as you would at a job. Think "avenue of egress"...where would I go? What do I see? Where am I? Where would I hide?

    I was involved in a tragic fire fatality that claimed the lives of three small children and thier mother a few years ago. None of the children in this case were found hiding in any way.
    Sorry to hear that, we all tend to critique ourselves in a bad way after something like that happens. Don't do that, things happen for whatever reason. We didn't start the fire, we just have to deal with it. As long as you made a good effort and did your job, no one can ask anymore than that. People die, and will continue to die in fires.....we can't control that. We can try to educate and prevent, but there is only so much we can do. 2 jobs ago, we pulled a 5 year old out. He was missed by the inside team, but grabbed by the outside vent man as he came in through the window. He was on the bed, but he was a little guy for his age...and managed to stuff himself in the corner of his bed under a bunch of blankets.....a heads up OVM doing his job got the grab and the kid is alive today.

    So my question is this a fire service myth that needs to be busted so that we can save valuable seconds wasted searching under sinks and in pantries and by-pass these area to swiftly hit the prime target areas to increase chances for survival
    Well its not a myth. That is a primary search. A secondary is the painstakingly thorough one. Again, situation will dictate as no two fires are alike. Size up size up size up. Where am I? Where is the fire? What is it doing? Is there a line in place? Are there reports of people trapped? etc etc etc.... and hell...if you are behind the line and they are controlling the fire and you have time to spare...if you find yourself sitting and waiting for them to advance...then sure, expand your search parameters.
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  4. #24
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Good thread, good discussion.

    I don't have anything to add to it, but I appreciate that the OP thought to ask a question that others feel seem obvious.

    It's good to have some first hand accounts to back up what a firefighter is being taught.

    .
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  5. #25
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    Department near me had 3 kids found hiding between the mattress and boxspring, all burned from heat. I don't remember but I don't think they all survived.

    I'm not even 100% sure they were found during the primary. I don't remember that part well enough, but something is sticking in my brain about something else weird about the find besides their location.

    Many young children also think that if they cannot see the threat, the threat cannot see them either.

    If they hide in the closet/under the bed/in a cabinet, they cannot see the fire. If they cannot see the fire, then the fire cannot see them. If the fire cannot see them, then the fire cannot hurt them. They don't think about the fact that fire is fluid and that it can burn through walls and doors. They think that if they hide from it they will be safe.
    Quoted for truth. So, by all means- make your primary search as rapid as you want.
    Last edited by emt161; 11-11-2009 at 12:40 AM.

  6. #26
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    I've found kids hiding before, as well. The one I remember distinctly was a boy that had lit his bed on fire playing with matches. When the bed caught fire, he was afraid he would get in trouble and hid. It was a small fire and had all but snuffed itself out, but imagine our surprise when we heard something in the closet, opened the door and found him.

    I have also heard stories of kids hiding from the "monsters" that were coming in their house. Those "monsters" being us sounding strange to them while we're breathing off of SCBA.

    This is a very big reason why when we do Pub Ed for kids we make sure and dress one of their teachers or someone they know in full bunker gear and SCBA, and have them take a few breaths; so that they recognize that there's someone there's a normal person underneath all that garb. We also tell them when they hear that noise to start yelling really loud so we can find them easier.

  7. #27
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    Good topic. Original poster: In my humble experience, when it comes to kids, it seems like the more UNLIKELY place you'd find them, is the MOST LIKELY place you end up finding them. Certainly this does not apply to every situations, but it does with enough frequency to keep in the forefront of your mind.

    I chuckle at the poster who hit it dead on...if they can't see the danger the danger can't see them. How many nights as a kid I'd arrange a blanket around my head just so, so that the bad monsters couldn't see me. Looking back at it now, it didn't keep the monsters out, just lowered my oxygen levels!

    Seriously though, primary search is a very fine and narrow line that must be walked. Fast enough to cover the most ground possible, thorough enough to avoid missing something. It is bad to go so fast that you skip a rather obvious location, and it is equally bad to go so slow that it takes you a full 8 minutes to do a single standard sized bedroom. Somewhere in the middle is the balance, and only you can determine where that balance is. So many things are situational. If it's smoky you have to go slower, if the smoke is only a foot off the ceiling you can go much quicker. Always hit the standard locations...such as under a bed, in a closet, in a bathtub, behind the door, and under the window. Attempt to hit the less likely but still possible locations such as in the toy box, under the kitchen sink, under the steps, behind the kneewall.

    Perhaps most importantly (in my opinion only) is having good communication or other way of designating which area/room has already been searched so that other companies don't simply go over what you've already done in a primary search.

    Train the best you can, mentally prepare the best you can, and when the real deal comes along, do the best you can. I wish with all my might that none of us would ever have to search for another child again...ever! But that is sadly something that will never be the case. May God bless our children.

  8. #28
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    [/QUOTE]I have also heard stories of kids hiding from the "monsters" that were coming in their house. Those "monsters" being us sounding strange to them while we're breathing off of SCBA.

    This is a very big reason why when we do Pub Ed for kids we make sure and dress one of their teachers or someone they know in full bunker gear and SCBA, and have them take a few breaths; so that they recognize that there's someone there's a normal person underneath all that garb. We also tell them when they hear that noise to start yelling really loud so we can find them easier.[/QUOTE]




    I agree! Just recently I was priviledged enough to help with a pub-ed at a school of children with disablilties. We had to go back a couple times so that the kids would get used to all the gear,mask and airpack. The last time we went all the kids were jumping all over us wanting to wear the gear and having fun. We also have a kids smokehouse where the kid can crawl through and similate "getting low and getting out!"
    Last edited by bradroger07; 11-15-2009 at 08:20 AM.

  9. #29
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    Smile Thanks!

    Thanks to all who took the time to share experiences that you can`t always read about in textbooks. The information and stories of calls is helpful and has provided great insight and and perspective of the "behind the scenes" aspect of fire fighting. Fire Fighters do a lot of great things in the community. Some of the greatest work we do is done inside a IDLH zero-visibility atmosphere that no one ever sees except you and your crew. A lot of this information I will read and re-read, commit to memory the experience of fire fighters and officers who have been-there-done-that and learn from those real life stories. This has been quite a encouraging thread and thanks again.
    By any means though I am not closing this disscusion,, keep the good comments rolling!!

    Take care and Be safe
    Brad

  10. #30
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    I have found kids and pets hiding together in closets, blanket chest;s, under beds and in the bath tub/shower. When the smoke starts to drop down they will "hide from it and while a primary search is intended to be quick , it also is intended to find any that are still viable for rescue. go quick ,but be thorough or you might miss someone thats scared or disabled by the smoke & heat.

  11. #31
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    This bears more on 7-8 years old and up, but as mentioned earlier, live occupants can be found in the garage. In most cases, people instinctively go to the door they ingress and egress through most frequently. Victims will often pass up viable exit points to go to the door they are USED TO USING every day. In my area, most people come in and out of the homes through the garage. Just a thought, stay safe...
    A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradroger07 View Post
    Well, in a nutshell thats the question I`m asking. In your experience fighting fires or anyone at your firehouse have actually seen where children hide in the event of a fire? I think the human instinct of self-preservation over rides any fear during something like a structure fire. The question popped into my head partially from my own haunting experience and a article I read today about truck company operations that mentioned searching under a pile of clothes for a child. I thought that was crazy. I have been to house fires where the clothing was piled up past the window sill and took six men,a chainsaw to make a larger opening a hour to remove all the clothing for overhaul.I know that children get scared, what I`m thinking is time, how can I get to that child quicker, And hopefully save them this time.
    I'm still a probie so don't take anything i say to heart but we did a live fire training exercise simulating a cluttered house with black out conditions and between the adrenaline of not seeing anything but hearing the fire crackling and the thickness of my fire gloves i couldnt tell the difference between a pile of clothes and a blanket so I used the handle of my closest hook and slide through the pile in 3 different spots feeling for anything harder than clothes and then moved on. Turned out in the third clutter of clothes or blanket i did this we had a dumby child underneath and i found it when i pushed the handle through the center of the pile so thats what worked for me, I hope i keep calm enough on my first actual house fire to use the same methods.

    As far as the drawyers are concerned I would open bottom 2 drawyers, you'll feel the heaviness in the drawyer if there's a kid in there and even if its just filled with heavy items one touch to the inside of the drawyer and u can tell kid or junk IMO.

    Closets never really slowed me down i mean open it up arm sweep from left wall across the back to right wall quickly and move on. In our training building though there is an extended closet with a single door then about 5 foot back on the right side. In this case I again turned to the handle of my closest hook and just taking a second to listen i gently pushed the handle to the end of the closet and I also listened for any sounds. Too me if a kids hiding in the closet from a fire they will probably be crying or panting which would be extremely hard to hear but the faintest sound with a wall that doesnt feel right when the handle hits it might be means to search in more detail the interior of the closet.

    Again I am a probie and I can't say that I've ever done this with actual lives at stake or that I could do this with actual lives at stake but it works great in live fire training atleast!

    Please let me know what you guys think of my methods and how i may change them or anything for real fires

  13. #33
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    it seems like a question of searching more in depth in these areas. would you start searching more carefully in some of these odd areas on your primary when there is possibility for a child still inside? if you get confirmation that everyone is out of the building, would you be able to stop your search or do you continue a basic primary search just to be on the safe side?

  14. #34
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    I have an almost 5 year old daughter at home, whose favorite 'game' is a hide-and-seek.....at bedtime she will pull the covers over her and 'hide' when we come in to say goodnight....she hides under the dining room table, in her room, under her toys....even managed to fit into the cat's PLAY HOUSE! (similar size as the toy pictured at the start of the thread)....covered with toys.....have to find that picture.....

    BUT - here is one of her using her toy box as a bed.....you never know!!!

    I just read about a fatal fire where the child went back in and hid....yes, children do it - to hide from a scolding, a threat, or just to hide and play.......

    We have been trying to instill the thought that if there is smoke/fire - to GET OUT of the house and WAIT for mommy and daddy at the meeting place.....this spring/summer we will start practicing getting the window open and climbing out to the ground (all windows in the house are 'escape/rescue' windows except the bathroom/kitchen).....
    Last edited by pasobuff; 04-18-2011 at 12:29 PM.

  15. #35
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    yeah, I've heard of kids going back into the house after being outside already to get a doll or something and then the fire grows and they get stuck and hide

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