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Thread: scene size up..how do you do it?

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    Default scene size up..how do you do it?

    I've heard many different ways of doing size up. I've always thought of ways I might be able to Make it better or give more info.

    For structure fires, how do you lay out your info?

    For vehicle accidents, how do you lay out this info?

    Do you follow a mental checklist of each type of incident when relaying info to other responding units?

    For example, I might say I was on the scene of a 1 storey residential home with flames visible.

    For a vehicle accident I may say I'm on the scene with a two car accident, both vehicles upright with minor damage, no injuries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIrons84 View Post
    I've heard many different ways of doing size up. I've always thought of ways I might be able to Make it better or give more info.

    For structure fires, how do you lay out your info?

    For vehicle accidents, how do you lay out this info?

    Do you follow a mental checklist of each type of incident when relaying info to other responding units?

    For example, I might say I was on the scene of a 1 storey residential home with flames visible.

    For a vehicle accident I may say I'm on the scene with a two car accident, both vehicles upright with minor damage, no injuries.
    Who I am, Engine 142. Where I am, on location at 123 Main Street. What I see, we have a 2 story wood frame home with fire showing second story windows, B side. What we are going to do, Engine 142 will advance a 2 inch line for fire attack. Who is command, and whether it is a working command or outside command. Call for additional resources, if they are needed.

    Adding any special info as needed. Things like victims, wires down, leaking gas, etc.

    For a vehicle incident it is much the same until you get to What you are going to do, extrication, extinguish the fire, contain a spill, block traffic, etc.

    The initial size-up is meant to be quick and paint a picture for incoming units. Additional information can be added after a 360 has been done, or a few minutes into the incident when a better picture of the entire scene can be obtained.

    I hate listening to a 5 minute initial size-up with every detail down to the microscopic level being transmitted. It hogs the airwaves, and in reality is pretty useless in the long run.
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    Initial size up, about 10 seconds. Basically what you see in a nutshell. Brief and to the point.
    CaptOldTimer and WVFD705 like this.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Develop a system.

    Look at every incident in the same order. Give your report in the same order. Transfer the information to the next arriving IC in the same order.

    For me, when performing a structural size-up, I always look at things in the following order:

    Building construction class. Access points. Building use/occupancy. Exposures. Utilities. Fire conditions. Water supply.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    I try to paint a brief, concise picture for the other incoming units.

    "Engine X is on scene with heavy smoke showing from the 2nd floor of a 2-story single family dwelling, Engine X's captain will have Street Name command." The water supply plan for the incident would have already been given prior to arrival, and both of my departments have preplanned apparatus assignments & tasks depending on order of arrival, so that helps cut down on traffic as well.

    I'll then give additional information after completing a 360, such as special hazards, needing additional resources, people trapped, etc.

    It's entirely possible to give too much, or not enough, information during a size up. Giving incoming units an idea of what to expect upon arrival is important, but getting so caught up in your size-up that you're ignoring important tasks is just as bad.
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    Does your Dept have a policy/guideline/anything that covers fireground operations? To me that would be the obvious choice, go with the standard, if any, set by your FD.

    Otherwise, I would say at a minimum go with UCAN- Unit, Conditions, Actions, Needs.

    Unit - Who you are
    Conditions - What you see/have
    Actions - What you're doing
    Needs - What you need

    Pretty much what everyone else already said.

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    Good stuff guys. Thanks.

    Since it seems that my department has tried unsuccessfully to get on the same page with dispatchers, I think a good, solid communication and size up system will help us very well. I'm going to see if I can compile a class on this.

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    I have no doubt that a standardized system would be beneficial to just about any department.

    Size-up is like any other skill. It takes time to get good at it.

    Most of the responses have addressed the info you give to dispatch. This is not really the main purpose of size-up. There are good answers above concerning reports to dispatch.

    Size-up is so much more than that. It's really about gathering the information you need to fight the fire or mitigate the emergency safely and efficiently. Every building is different, at least to some degree. Every fire is different to some degree. Size-up starts in quarters and continues until the FD leaves the scene.

    We have an initial 13 point size-up that is taught from day one. It covers damn near everything. Some of it we know prior to arrival. Weather, equipment, staffing, apparatus number and type, water supply (almost always city hydrants), etc. are all known beforehand. We also often know just from the location given what the street conditions and building construction/occupancy is going to be. The rest is gathered upon arrival. It is not necessarily a one person task. 360's are great but may not be possible in urban environment (at least not in a timely manner). We rely on reports from roof, rear and interior to get a full size-up. This does not prevent an initial report from first unit to dispatch. We give more info as we gain more info. Once we have a full size-up we continue to gather information on status of searches, progress of handline(s), fire extension, etc. Conditions can change so tactics may have to change.

    Please don't anyone operate under the impression that size-up responsibilities end with the report to dispatch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Please don't anyone operate under the impression that size-up responsibilities end with the report to dispatch.
    Absolutely. Size-ups aren't limited to the radio report upon arrival, they're constantly done throughout the incident, and should be done by every member on the scene so good tactical decisions can be made by everyone.
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    First off, use plain English to say what you need to say, you're not giving a dissertation. And you can always update your size up.

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    Learn your own system. Listen to other experienced officers. The best way to develop a good size up is when you are 2nd due and desperate to know what you are arriving to.

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