1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool What's the first thing you look for arriving at a fire...

    When I'm pulling up to a fire (or auto accident, for that matter) there's one thing I always look for "first" in my personal size-up. Ok, I may "notice" other things (Oh, flames blowing out the window!) before it, but once I start to look around even before parking my car (if I didn't ride a truck -- and then I do it when as I'm stepping out) there's one thing I look for.

    That thing I look for first is _____________ (hehe, I'll let some other people answer first!)

    By the way, we all do conduct a "personal" size up of each fire/emergency just for our own benifit even if we're not the IC, don't we?


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hazards or visible indicators of unseen hazards..(the horizontal stripe on the cops pants as opposed to it being verical! hee hee) but seriously..look at whats going on..wires, gas, other Haz-Mat, precariously placed things (as a result of an accident or fire), what is involved..the actual vehicle(s), building(s), equioment etc. Six sized survey..top, bottom, 4 sides.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Location of the buff wagon with the coffee and donuts!!

    Seriously, I overview as much of the scene as I can to look for signs of hazards, building construction, the crowd (are they hostile), what equipment is there and what the other FF are doing, who is in command so I can tell how to react to the tone of their voice.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    On the way in, I'm generally looking for hydrant locations and whats underneath/near where the apparatus will be placed (septic tanks and mud can make for a long day and lots of paperwork). Once I'm there, building construction, specifically the age of the building (you can get a good idea of age based on where in town the house is), followed by the not-so-normal exposures, such as propane tanks or lines down (as was previously stated above). If there is a fire, a good look at the smoke can tell you wonders about the fire itself. Color (and changes in the color), pressure its coming out with, where its coming from, volume of smoke, etc; can tell you some pretty good information about what you're going up against. At least most of the time (Mr Murphy? Is that you? )


    "I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine" -- Kurt Vonnegut

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I look for a place to park, regards to apparatus on the scene, hazards, exposures, and of course, where I can get the turntable to.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Safety issues (is the scene safe to enter)for myself and fellow crew members - It doesn't do anybody any good if we all get killed getting off the appartus - plus it makes for a really bad day..

    Firefighter/Paramedic in Northwest Pennsylvain... Stay Safe

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First I look at the bldg for the way in. Then I look for all the ways out. I.E. windows and other doors. The occupants, smoke condition/fire condition, and construction fall into place from there.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The address. Looks and feels stupid to run into the wrong building. I know, I've done it.

  9. #9
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I first (before the rig even stops) survey the overall layout of the scene, paying special attention to things like:
    - exposures
    - hazards
    - places to put apparatus/pass apparatus through
    - occupants/victims/witnesses that need attention or can give relevant information

    After I have the overall picture, then I look at the fire. Let's face it...in most cases, a kitchen fire is a kitchen fire, a basement fire is a basement fire, etc., etc...what makes them different are things like entrapment, presence of explosive agents, imminent threat of extension, etc...in short, the "context" of the fire.

  10. #10
    Truckie from Missouri
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I start sizing up before the alarm.. weather conditions always seem to change things ever so slightly....

    what can we smell as we approach... what direction and how strong is the wind... victims... hazards... ways out if things turn south... hydrant location... water hole if in a rural area... if the pumpers left room for the aerial...

    Proud Member of IAFF Local 3133!

    Stay safe.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I look to see if the occupant appears to be around...to find out if there is anyone in the building or any special hazards to be concerned about.


  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    As a member of a rural, all volunteer dept, my size up may be different from that of other posters who will always be arriving in the engine. Our rule of thumb when responding is "don't go by the fire to get to the station and get a truck", so there are alot of times when I go direct to the scene. I'm looking for;
    1) smoke/flames visible?
    2) all occupants out?
    3) placement of apparatus
    4) additional mutual aid needed (all reported structure fires have neighboring dept paged automatic aid, may need more tankers since most places are non-hydranted)
    4) exposures
    5) hazards (power lines, proprane tanks, etc)
    (a good portion of the homes in my district use LP gas heat, so impingement on the tank is always a concern. Also, alot of chicken houses in our district, and they almost always have at least 1 5000 gal lp tank)

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Being a grunt, my view is usually restricted until I exit the truck. Then it's: weather conditions, bldg type, const.& possible fire location (will the preconnect reach or do I need to pull a skid),enviromental and/or physical hazards, exposures, my best way in and most important, my SECOND way out.

    Stay Safe...

  14. #14
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with all of the above - especially the hydrants and coffee & Donuts!! ;-)

    However, on approaching an incident the number one thing I look to read is the 'crowd psychology'....how are they reacting? What are their movements? Are they hurried or urgent? Are they pointing? Are they moving to a specific area? Are they moving away from the building? Are they aggressive? Are they voicing their concerns....screaming?
    Over a period of time you can learn to read the crowd and know almost exactly what you have got before you even arrive on scene! There are so many things a crowd can tell you just by viewing them from a distance. Make it part of your size-up!


  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    the first thing i look for, when ariving on scene, is im looking for any motives for the fire, even by standing outside, (if maybe the fire is outside of the house) , maybe looking for certain signs to how this fire could be started, if on the inside, im looking for any signs of tracers, gasoline, any burning substance which may have concluded if this fire was possibly set, or malfunction,possibly noticing any people spectating, who may look just a lil suspicious, anyone runnin from the scene, also, on my way to the fire, im noticing any obstuctions, maybe weather conditions, possible destractions, which could maybe cause a flaw in our eta. also, i look for any kind of water sources.im from a small community, we dont have many hydrants(at all),so im looking for streams, rivers,ponds,anywhere we can get water.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We are a small rural all vol. fire dept. so in most cases a firefighter will arrive in his/her own car fore the fire trucks do. So as a fire captain usually on the first arriving truck I already know what the fire size is and what is burning and even the best way in. Upon arrival the first thing I look for is overhead hazards(power lines, radio towers, tall trees), then at the ground level hazards( holes in ground, propane tanks, downed power lines, cars, people, the fire itself), then the fire attack, at the same time a second officer will do a secondary hazard check in case I missed anything, then he will try to find the nearest water scource. As we all know every fire is different so each size up will be differrent to.

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I always look on the ground to make sure I don't trip over an Engine Crew - AKA -Speedbumps.

    Be Safe...

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First thing I look for....depends on what vehicle I am driving. If its a Engine, I look for the plug, as well as placement to keep the area open for the Truck Company. Also while doing this, I am looking for downed wires and other safety hazards. If driving the Ladder Truck, I am looking for the best position for placement, so that when I fire up the PTO, my guys are not in the wires, trees etc. If driving the Rescue Truck, I look for the hazards, fluids, slopes, hazardous materials, etc. I also make sure the Rescue is placed in the safest position, as to keep my VRT's away from the moving traffic, as well as keep the area as open as possible for the arriving medics.
    NOW, the biggest, what do I do if I respond in my POV. Safety is always first. I make sure I am not interfering with the incoming units, I check for anything safety related, and then I report to the I.C., which 99% of the time is our Chief. You gotta go to the I.C., so that you can be accounted for.

    John Williams
    Clairton Fire Dept (swPA)

  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Yo! Break-N-Entry in da house givin a shout out to Matt the spotted 90s fire dog for this fine lookin post. When there's a fire in my hood the first primo number one thang Break-N-Entry looks for is to see who da man?
    If he Chief "A" Break-N-Entry gonna get bizzie, if he Chief "B" B-N-E gonna be there a long time and miss his party cause "B" don't get on top and kick dat fire's butt. If he Chief "C" B-N-E gonna have to show da man how. It's da Chief that B-N-E be lookin for. Yo Matt! What's your answwer? Break-N-Entry gettin gray hair here waitin!! PEACE!

  20. #20
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Depending on the type of call be it structure or vehicle a couple of acronyms come to mind.
    1 HAZ-MAT
    H Hazard indentification (what have we got)
    A Action Plan ( what are we going to do)
    Z Zoning ( control of the emergency site)
    M Management ( who's in charge)
    A Assistance ( what help do we need)
    T Termination ( salvage and overhaul)

    2. REVAS
    R Rescue
    E Evacuation
    V ventilation
    A Assistance
    S Salvage

    I have always tried to remember these two as the truck is rolling to the scene..Oh yea and who's going to go get the coffee..

    Tim Bennett Walden Fire Department, Ontario, Canada

  21. #21
    Capt. Crunch
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I like this post,and i can see alot of good thinking here.

    \What am i looking for!!!!!!
    Size up. and that starts the minute the alarm sounds.
    1-weather- 10 degrees or 105 degrees
    2- time of day- what kind of help can i expect to be running thru the door,and is the house occupied at 2am or is every body at work or school at 2pm.
    3- has a second engine called into service yet.
    4- who is on the engine and what are their capabilites.
    Heck i didn't even get on scene yet,but i'm sure you get my drift.
    thanks for letting me ramble!!!!!

    BE SAFE ALL Rich

  22. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Think everyone has covered any ideas I might have... address? crowd? smoke? color? wind? coffee? hazards? donuts? How many cop cars are in the way? ...
    I'm with B-N-E...waitin' on your reply!

    Stay Safe, Led

  23. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest


    What do I look for first?
    The location/seat of the fire.
    Where it is and where it may go.

    Good thought provoking question!

  24. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My vote for the right answer is hydrants, but
    my vote for the 'BEST' answer is Rich's (Capt. Crunch) "cops gaging on the lawn" good stuff!!

  25. #25
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Capt. Cruch did bring up a good point! It is amazing how well cops can hide hydrants and hog all the prime parking spots!
    Stay safe...

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