Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35
  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    17

    Default Fireground search for small children.

    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? 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? 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. Also, I have a 4 and 2 year old and it is hard for me to think they would want to hide from a fire because they don`t hide from anything really. Along with fire prevention in schools I think children are exposed to good fire safety.
    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
    Last edited by bradroger07; 11-06-2009 at 04:53 PM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    You think small children hiding under the bed or in a closet when they're scared or nervous is a myth??
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    I don't know about in drawers, they'd have to be very large. I know many kids that like hiding the the back of the closet, in large cabinets, behind/under beds, just in any small hidden space. It doesn't take much time to sweep a closet, check under a bed, open up an armoire.

    You aren't doing detailed searches of these areas, just stick your arm in and make sure there isn't any small person shaped objects inside.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    29

    Default Children

    I have attached two pictures of my niece, when she was hiding from mom because it was time to pick up the toys, now imagine a fire.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    299

    Default

    We had a fatal fire where the mentally handicapped person was almost out the door with his mother and went back and hide in his room. So i'm guessing he counts as hiding ... can't remember if they found him under the covers or under the bed.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    17

    Default

    I`m sorry to hear that.But thanks for the information, any information to share and help save a life is well worth the time. I will put this in the mental tool box.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    17

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I don't know about in drawers, they'd have to be very large. I know many kids that like hiding the the back of the closet, in large cabinets, behind/under beds, just in any small hidden space. It doesn't take much time to sweep a closet, check under a bed, open up an armoire.

    You aren't doing detailed searches of these areas, just stick your arm in and make sure there isn't any small person shaped objects inside.
    I see new guys come out of recruit school and when they do a left or right hand search during training and spend too much time sweeping through 9 or 10 cabinets and just taking too long.Of course its always easier in training because there isn`t any clutter. These commercial/residential 2500 sq. ft. homes are getting larger,more rooms and more cabinet space,large kitchens and many pieces of furniture,even a mobile home can be hard to search if someone is a pack-rat,or may have multiple beds,cribs,bassinet,toys in one room etc. factor in zero visibility and the adrenaline its easier said than done.
    But you are right these searches need to be quick sweeps and I guess a good amount of experience is needed to make judgement of the amount of time needed to sweep during a primary search.
    Thanks for your feed-back

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    You think small children hiding under the bed or in a closet when they're scared or nervous is a myth??
    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.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by owenscott View Post
    We had a fatal fire where the mentally handicapped person was almost out the door with his mother and went back and hide in his room. So i'm guessing he counts as hiding ... can't remember if they found him under the covers or under the bed.
    I`m sorry to hear that.But thanks for the information, any information to share and help save a life is well worth the time. I will put this in the mental tool box.
    Be Safe Brother

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robs411 View Post
    I have attached two pictures of my niece, when she was hiding from mom because it was time to pick up the toys, now imagine a fire.
    That a good photo. I wouldn`t think to check inside a toy during a search.Wouldn`t even think a child could fit. I can imagine there are a lot of hiding places can find when kids are having fun,I know I have two kids, but thats what I`m trying to separate is what is imagined and what the experience is of the fire fighters during fire ground operations.
    Thanks agian for the photos, good eye opener.

  11. #11
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    A child's mental processing of "self-preservation" is vastly different than a grown adult. A child's idea of a safe place to preserve one's self is places like under the bed or hiding in a closet or crawling under the sheets. When was the last time you saw a kid get scared and run for a fire exit. No, they run and either cling to mommy or hide from whatever is scary.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Downers Grove, IL. USA
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Just think, kids are like cats, when scared they hide. And adults are like dogs they want to get out and away.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,439

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    A child's mental processing of "self-preservation" is vastly different than a grown adult. A child's idea of a safe place to preserve one's self is places like under the bed or hiding in a closet or crawling under the sheets. When was the last time you saw a kid get scared and run for a fire exit. No, they run and either cling to mommy or hide from whatever is scary.
    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.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    virginia
    Posts
    537

    Default

    One of the most common mistakes i see when teaching searches for firefighter 1 is guys searching every square inch. They pat every little nook and cranny. I try to impress that when searching the key is to sweep. By kicking a leg or an arm under a bed you can hit most of it with one try. Their is no need to search behind every bed post. you are looking for bodies not pencils
    Last edited by RFD21C; 11-07-2009 at 03:06 AM. Reason: spelling and grammer

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    299

    Default

    RFD21C thats why our instructors would never ask us to search for bottle caps .. because that what we would do in a real fire .... you looking to save kids/adults not bottle caps.
    Last edited by owenscott; 11-07-2009 at 02:16 AM.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    virginia
    Posts
    537

    Default

    owen- i hear you that drives me nuts, to see people do that. you are not lookig for a contact that you lost. sweep with you limbs.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1

    Default

    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.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    i haven't personally been to a fire where its happened, but I do know of several instances of children being found under a pile of clothes in my area.

    A lot of older houses with livable attics have small knee walls that are accessible through small doors (maybe only 2' by 2') so you can store stuff back there. I've seen a couple littered with toys that looked like the kids were using it as a little hangout. Those would be difficult to search, you'd either have to give it a quick glance with the TIC or punch through the wall every few feet to let you sweep an area

  19. #19
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,413

    Default

    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.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    813

    Cool

    Originally posted by PaladinKnight

    If this was easy stuff, we would have no fire deaths and LODDs.
    And Cops could do it..... LMAO
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Always know where you are on the fireground!
    By SWLAFireDawg in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-02-2007, 11:38 PM
  2. Small Children And Gas Fire Places.... A Safety Advisory
    By MalahatTwo7 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-17-2003, 12:32 PM
  3. Condolence site for 3 Small Children
    By Brian Kornegay in forum Meet and Greet
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-06-2000, 06:07 PM
  4. Condolence site for 3 small children
    By Brian Kornegay in forum Line of Duty: In Memory Of
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-06-2000, 05:18 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts