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Thread: Initial Size Up

  1. #1
    Senior Member FFMcDonald's Avatar
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    Default Initial Size Up

    What do you look for when you are Initially dispatched - and rolling up on a structure?

    Do you have any rules that you follow for initial size up? Any anacronyms- such as FDNY's 'COAL WAS WEALTH'....

    Do you treat all 'smells and bells' calls as a potential fires? Have you ever been caught 'with your pants down' by rolling up on a "regular" false alarm- and it turned out to be a little more than that...
    Marc

    "In Omnia Paratus"

    Member - IACOJ
    "Got Crust?"

    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.


  2. #2
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    To answer your ? of what I look for...everything and anything.

    I basically report I am on scene, my location to the structure and what it is (commercial, high-rise, etc). Then I report the conditions I have. Finally, I decide a basic game plan (unit x investigating, requesting 2nd alarm, taking or passing command). I cover the basics and a brief as possible.

    I make it a point to do this on all calls. I think it is the least a 1st arriving unit has to do. Lets others know what to expect and work out a game plan that will hopefully flow with yours.

    I have a pet peeve when a unit/officer arrives on scene and that is all he says. I am waiting for the AND....

    ( never hear of the COAL WAS WEALTH...can you explain what it is an acronym for)
    Keep Safe!

  3. #3
    Senior Member FFMcDonald's Avatar
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    COAL WAS WEALTH -- stands for

    Construction
    Occupancy
    Auxillary Appliances
    Life Hazard

    Water Supply
    Area (Amount of Area involved in fire)
    Special Matters - Street (?)

    Weather
    Exposures
    Apparatus
    Location
    Time (of Day)
    Height - of structure
    Marc

    "In Omnia Paratus"

    Member - IACOJ
    "Got Crust?"

    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Size up begins upon the receipt of the call. We have tear sheet printers in all of our firehouses...all of the pertinent information, such as occupancy, water supply, dirtections and special hazards are generated for each run. Arriving on scene, you have to look at the big picture and adapt accordingly. I find myself using "coal was wealth" often.

    We were "caught with our pants down" once. We have an privately owned elderly housing complex known as Academy Knoll. It was once a large convent/orphanage/school complex.

    There was a time where every morning between the hours of 08:00 and 09:00, Box 21 would come in. It was the same zone 99.9% of the time...4th floor North and always burnt toast!

    I was assigned to Rescue 1 at the time and we were returning from a medical call short distance up the street from Academy Knoll when Fire Alarm dispatched the assignment. We pulled up to the front entrance, got out of the truck (without gear!) checked the annunciator panel...4 North again!.

    We reported our findings and said we would go up to 4 North to investigate. We walked up the stairs, entered the corridor of 4 North...and saw a heavy haze of smoke down the end of the hall...and it wasn't burnt toast!

    One of Murphy's Laws of Firefighting state "Radios go dead at the worst possible moment..." and Rescue 1's portable went dead as my partner keyed the mike to report a working fire!

    We ran down the stairs and made it to the rig just as the first due Engine arrived. The Captain said "what's up guys...burnt toast again?"

    "Fire, 4 North...we need a Box!"

    I learned a lesson that day!

    [ 07-14-2001: Message edited by: Captain Gonzo ]
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
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    FF McDonald,
    here is my initial transmission upon our arrival at our last working fire;

    "[Dispatch] from 1-5-7, we're on the scene of a two-story frame residence, smoke and fire showing from the open attached garage door."

    [Dispatch] repeats

    "[Dispatch] we've hit the hydrant at [X] Street and [Y] Street we're laying in and will be pulling an 1 3/4. 1-5-7 is command."

    That was pretty straight forward. Two hours later we got an AFA in a 6 story high-rise and when the first-in company got to the panel found a water-flow alarm on the 4th floor. Unfortunately, our first in Engine, Ambulance and Auto-aid Engine company are the only full-time firefighters that are due. When we got to the 4th floor and found the electrical room on fire our Tower company was already on its way up without packs and tools/equipment. This is not a full-time vs. POC or part-time bash, just a statement of the facts. Kinda embarrassing.
    The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my Department or it's Administration.

  6. #6
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    I have used the BELOW size up for a number of years. It is easy to remember and works well. I really don't think you can be very effective with the 13 point system. I couldn't remember them if I had to. What I want to know from a B/C point of view from the frist in officer is what they have. What they are doing about it. What they need help with. These things assist me in rig assignments and developing plan A and plan B. I try to keep things going in a positive direction but really think about what may go wrong and what I will do about it.

    All crew members must do some type of size up. Officers walk around looking for where the fire is and smoke conditions also determining where the fire is going. Driver/Operator considers water supply and delivery options (standpipe, sprinklers, handlines big or small. Hydrant man attack line length, preconnect basic type of structure.

    If all members do a size up of the situation concentrating on assigned tasks (riding assignments) things go much easier. report to the officer if a task will take longer than expected. Officers need to report to command that there is a delay in the companies action.

    I have never responded to a false alarm in my 16 years in the fire service. However many of the alarms have turned out to be false. We kill enough firefighters without letting our guard down. A good rule to follow is "Expect the worse and hope for the best". A veteran told me that on my first day and I have neve forgotten it. I pass it on too.

  7. #7
    phyrngn
    Firehouse.com Guest

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    Although it's not a size-up used for an approach report, I have my own personal mnemonic that I use for people getting off the Back of the rig (a size-up for us "hose pullers"). C H E T S
    C--Construction (1 or 2 story, new or old, lightweight?)
    H--Hazards (Immediate Hazards that I see might be a problem for myself or my crew)
    E--Escape routes (Doors or windows that I can see from the outside, their placement)
    T--Tool (don't forget a tool if you don't have the nozzle with you)
    S--Safety equipment (SCBA, helmet, hood, and PASS DEVICE)

    Hope this helps

  8. #8
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    Get it done before the cops get there. A couple of weeks ago rolled up to an alarm, got out of the engine and pd was on scene, pd " i can smell smoke" me "ok" so I start a walk around of building, nothing showing but a slight smell, as I walk back around pd KICKS door in never felt it or anything, turned out to be eggs left on the stove but can you imagine otherwise.
    the truth never hides for long

  9. #9
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    What do you look for when you are Initially dispatched - and rolling up on a structure?

    Smoke in the sky, hydrants on the block, cars in the drive, people standing outside, level of involvement, type of construction, power lines, the usual...

    Do you have any rules that you follow for initial size up?

    Size up, construction and assignement for self and next due.

    Have you ever been caught 'with your pants down' by rolling up on a "regular" false alarm-

    Nope, we've been pretty fortunate with the regulars - and we've never rolled out on a dinky little car fire and found it to be next to the builing, under the awning at the Sonic or in the garage...

    And if you believe that, I got a bridge...
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

  10. #10
    Forum Member colfireman's Avatar
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    Our dept uses SCOPE

    S-size of building
    C-construction type
    O-occupancy. Whats it's used for
    P-protection
    E-exposures what are they and where
    Then Who and Rank In command.

  11. #11
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    We have are people ask /answer 5 questions upon arrival;
    1. Where am I? dispatch dose not always get the address right.
    2. What do I see? describe in as much detail as deemed necessary what you are seeing.
    3. What do I need? order MA early and often
    4. What am I doing?
    5. Who is Command?
    This method is easy to remember and easy to do. Yes I hate it when you here "unit X on scene" and then nothing but dead air.

  12. #12
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    I would like to start off by saying that one should try their very best to always expect the worst but hope for the best at every call. we as firefighters need to always be on our guard and looking out for one another. Our profession is a dangerous one and should never be taken lightly. Here is my input on scene size up: First report your unit on location. Next report your preliminary findings(smoke showing,not showing etc) also type of structure residential,commercial etc. then do a complete walk around of the structure to get a complete picture of what your scene looks like. Once you have completed this portion of your size up you can then report to your dispatch a more detailed version of your findings (smoke showing on multiple sides, fire showing on top floor) whatever the case may be. You must also include hazzards such as propane tanks, utiltiy poles, exposures.
    Hopefully dispatch has sop's which would dictate the need for additional resources initiallty therefore allowing you to phisically go to work and not keep you tied up with radio traffic. This is my abbreviated version of a scene size up initial report. Of course there will be many other versions out there you pretty much have to stick to basics and then over time customise to suit your needs. But always remember to be safe and try not to get caught with your pants down.

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