1. #1
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    Default Incident Size Up

    OK, a question for all, not just the Officers in the group.

    Size up. How do you personally size up an incident when you respond?

    Do you follow the 13 point method, a five point method, the seat of your pants. Do you perform any size up at all?

    There are many schools of thought, and many methods. Just interested to see how and if they are applied in the "real" world.

    Dave

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    alot of the time i give the size-up becouse the officer is getting ready to fight fire or when i ride the seat acting up. i give my size up as engine 10 on scene with one story wood frame residence heavy smoke be out big booster (1 3/4") pass command to next due officer i give who i am what type of building or field, conditions and my actions attack investigation ect. and who is taking command. command is usuall passed to the second company. i keep it simple and quick there is no time to have a long speech of what you have it is time to get to work.
    I PROVIDE A NAMELESS FACELESS SERVICE TO A COMMUNITY THAT RARELY KNOWS HOW MUCH THEY NEED ME IF I AM CALLED FROM A SOUND SLEEP TO SACRIFICE MY LIFE TRYING TO SAVE THE PROPERTY OR LIFE OF SOMEONE I DO NOT KNOW I WILL DO SO WITHOUT REGRET
    From the book "The Heart Behind The Hero" from Jon Mc Duffie in memory of Joe Dupee LAFD

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    Default

    In theory, doing the 13 point "COAL WAS WEALTH" or its variation "WALLACE WAS HOT" is the ideal thing to do...if the address you are responding to has a pre-plan.

    In reality, you end up doing the "fly by wire" version! There are so many variables. That's why we have to take the Sgt. Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood in the film Heartbreak Ridge) approach...overcome, adapt and survive!
    ‎"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

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    Default

    Originally posted by Captain Gonzo
    ..overcome, adapt and survive!
    Rock and Roll Capt!

    I agree, having a nice check list is great and everything, but we all know what happens with a check list on the street... it goes into storage with the text book

    The majority of our calls are MVAs so we have all become very good at sizing up that scene: It is standing practice to have the rescue pull past the scene, and the Engine stop in behind the scene.

    Engine ---- MVA ---- RESCUE


    The rescue pulling by the scene is able to do a very good size up from three of the four sides. The staging of the two vehicles protects the scene from traffic flow.

    As for structure fires, Gonzo pretty much sums it up. However, some things to look for is smoke pattern: colour, density, location, volumn, venting, etc. Powerlines, exposures, vehicles in the drive way, by-standers, building construction, possible household heating, you name it... the list could be as thick as a book and you will still miss things...

    Originally posted by Captain Gonzo
    ..overcome, adapt and survive!
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Default ...we're getting there

    Ok, yes the radio report is size up, or part of it, but I am looking more toward what Gonzo was saying. COAL WAS WEALTH or whatever other system you use to evalute the incident and decide on your course of action. All of us should be using some sort of size up, even if we are not in the actual "command" position. When you go out the door you should begin thinking.....part of town, hydrant or no, best access, type of buildings, unusual hazards........This goes for the officer right down to the guy riding hydrant. Hopefully.

    I just read a great article......of course now I can't find it (hafta work on my toilet tank filing system) on the BELOW method of size up. Its a lot easier to operate than COAL WAS WEALTH, but accomplishes the same goals.

    Dave

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    Default from one who hates long radio traffic

    As a company officer I hate lengthy size-ups from anyone, including myself. Nothing is more frustrating than 2-3 units trying to "at scene" while the first due is giving the 13 point, 3 page essay w/ bibliography, size-up. My personal feelings (and by no means those of my sr. officers) there should be very little radio traffic at all, except for pertinent fireground traffic. If Fire Alarm dispatches E1,T1,E2, R1, M1, Batt Chief then why does each unit have to say "Engine ?? Enroute". If they were dispatched and they are going on the air, then they are obviously enroute- if they aren't for some reason, then they can advise further. I prefer each unit assigned just give their radio number when responding. The tones drop, units are assigned, and when E1 goes, they simply say Engine 1. Fire alarm should know what they are doing. AS for on scene and size up- Size up show be simple and concise- "T1 at scene. Smoke showing from 2 story residence." all incoming companies then know they have a working fire and should precede with the duties they are prescribed by guidelines. Similarly, "Batt Chief at scene. Main St. Command. Working Fire." Then as units "at scene" there is plenty of dead air time to give assignments. If I want to hear a story I'll go to story time at my kid's school. Otherwise, keep it quiet!.
    celer et audax

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    Lightbulb

    A method of size up I learned to use that is a little shorter than the typical 13 point size up. is the acronym BELOW

    Building - Type of building House,store, apartment etc. type of construction
    Extent- how involved is fire? is it confined? exposures?
    Location - where is fire upper floors? kitchen? etc.
    Occupany - life hazards, egress routes
    Water supply - Hydrant locations etc.

    this method was desigbned to be a little less overwhelming especially for new officers hopefully it will help!!!
    "Firefighting is a team Sport, so know your place and do your job"

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    Default KISS

    Whats wrong with something simple.

    Fire on the 2nd Floor, 3-Story Occupied Multiple Dwelling, 30x40.

    For an arriving engine. That should be fine to inform all others responding in Where the fire is and size.

    Leave exposures and details to whomever recieves overall command, like the Battalion or Division Chief.

    Engine Co officers should Keep It Simple Stupid. Put out the fire before the Chief arrives and you elimate a whole lot of needless radio traffic to start with
    Doc DC3<br />ex FDNY (E74)

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    Default

    I think what is going on here is confusing "size-up" with the "brief initial report". As taught, size-up has 3 components: pre-incident, on-scene, and on-going (situation status and resource status evaluation). The purpose of the size-up is to identify problems (think) before actions are taken. The purpose of the brief initial report (BIR) is to give the other companies a "heads-up" of what is occurring. The BIR should contain about 6 points of information.

    With that said, I think the "best" size-up would be to follow the 13 points - WALLACE WAS HOT or COAL WAS WEALTH. You do not need to consider these at every incident, i.e., most residential fires do not have auxillary appliances, but they are a valuable method of taking into consideration all things on the incident scene that will effect operations. Some of the 13 points are very obvious and do not need much thinking, such as time of day and weather. Although obvious, a little thought could help use those 2 to identify problems. Without going into each one, there is a wealth of information that must be considered, not only by the fire officer, but any firefighter who is putting his/her life in harms way!

    I encourage my personnel to use the 13 point size-up mostly because it makes them think. I want firefighters who are thinking in terms of the big picture, not just the fire before them.

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    Default Bing-freakin-O

    077 EXACTLY.....

    We all need to THINK. Every call, every time. whether in the seat as the Officer, or riding in the back, or driving.

    I am still looking for the article about B-E-L-O-W, but the brother that posted it covered most of what it said. The idea being that it was a much simpler method to work with that allowed a basis for incoming officers to exapnd upon.

    Dave

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    When I ride officer of the first unit on scene I like to keep things short and simple. My mind will be running a mile a minute, taking in everything and figuring out the best course of action, but I like to keep things simple on the radio.

    For example, I would say as we arrive on scene:


    "Malahat Base, Engine One on Scene, Two Vehicle MVA, 1 km south of Petro canada, south bound lane, stand by for SitRep, portable 26 establishing command."

    or

    "Malahat Base, Engine One on scene, possible structure fire, 657 blah blah road, smoke showing, 26 establishing command."

    Really simple.

    Unit ID, Call type, Address, anything that might help in coming units.

    For us, the second and third unit is usually only a minute or so behind us. Therefore, getting on scene, radioing from the truck radio, then I switch over to my portable and start to set things up. There isn't enough time to read a text book over the radio, and by the time you are done the fire/accident is over.
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    26, I agree about the radi report, I was driving more toward the thought process you go thru while responding...your personal size up.

    Bldg const, time of day, occupied.......etc


    Dave

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    Remember all of these acronyms are just memory tools, don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to use them all the time or worse concentrating on what to say more than figuring out what you have in front of you. There is nothing wrong with giving a brief initial size up stating the obvious and after a quick investigation giving a full size up with initial orders. On most structures, especially single family dwellings, I walk around the structure before regiving a detailed size up and orders. This gives my crews the time to properly dress, start establishing a water supply, and other basic task, but most of all it allows me to know what I have and confidently report and assign task. I have been asked how I can sound so calm on the radio,and it is because I take the time to know what I have before I give a detailed size up and start assigning staged assets. Remember, take your time, find out what you have, and maintain your presence on the radio. If you take your time and do it right, so will your crews.
    Make your weaknesses your strengths

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    It is interesting to see and hear all the different methods of sizing up an incident. I can remember REVAS and REVS CO and Wallace Was Hot and all the other interesting size-up stuff thats been around. Most recently Mike Trupac published a book called "Size-up" based on the fifteen point FDNY method. I have worked as a battalion chief in Albuquerque for eleven years and now the chief of training and I'll state for the record none of these tools are useful on the fireground. In preplanning they are great but in the real world we operate on recognition prime decision making. We must practice size up reports and then use our experience to identify the things that matter from the things that don't. It is only important to identify the significant items not fifteen interesting things. Keep going and work your system don't worry about Wallace.
    May the Good Lord hold you all safe in the palm of His loving hand till next we meet.

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    Default Re: Bing-freakin-O

    Originally posted by hfd66truck
    077 EXACTLY.....

    We all need to THINK. Every call, every time. whether in the seat as the Officer, or riding in the back, or driving.

    I am still looking for the article about B-E-L-O-W, but the brother that posted it covered most of what it said. The idea being that it was a much simpler method to work with that allowed a basis for incoming officers to exapnd upon.

    Dave
    Try Fire Engineering's website article archives, their free! Here is the link

    http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Artic...2Eo%2Ew%2E&x=y

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    Default Albuquerque - Didn't Bugs Bunny stop there?

    Originally posted by Bobby Halton
    I have worked as a battalion chief in Albuquerque for eleven years and now the chief of training and I'll state for the record none of these tools are useful on the fireground. In preplanning they are great but in the real world we operate on recognition prime decision making. We must practice size up reports and then use our experience to identify the things that matter from the things that don't.
    Chief, I must agree and also respectfully disagree with part of your response.

    I am in agreement with you in that we use recognition primed decisionmaking (RPD), as described by Dr. Kline, in our initial strategy development and tactical deployment. This is normal and expected. However, as we put newer officers/acting officers in decisionmaking positions, we cannot count on them having many "slides in their slide tray" to compare with the situation they are facing - as is postulated in RPD sequencing.

    I feel strongly that we should be teaching our newer officers the basic skills of size-up using an easy to remember guide (WALLACE WAS HOT for example) and the basics of strategy using RECEO VS. I do not expect them to remember these exactly when confronted with fire showing and a rescue at hand, but by training on them, we can aid their decisionmaking process by giving them cues/clues (as Dr. Kline suggested) to aid in RPD. I do not feel that one can practice without having some guidance or a comparison agent to practice against. I think using these size-up and strategy prompts gives a firefighter something to benchmark against in making the right call. As an instructor, I believe we "play like we practice" and therefore, it is very important to train with the right process.

    Also, on the fireground, once the "fixed" command post has been established by an arriving Battalion or other command officer, I feel that these size-up factors will aid the IC in evaluating the incident progress. That is, the IC should be conducting situation status and resource status evaluations, and although not always all used, the 13 point size-up factor list would serve as a tool to complete this process.

    I just feel there is to much merit in this process to make a blanket statement that they are useless on the fireground.

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    Don't confuse the first in radio report with a size up. Your report is quick and to the point and gives the dispatcher and incoming companies an idea of whats happening and what is expected, thats all. Your size up is an ongoing process that MUST include the information in BELOW and COAL WAS WEALTH acronyms. Anyone can regurgitate over the radio what they are looking at through the windshield. A real fire officer (and many firefighters) hit so many points of the COAL WAS WEALTH technique automatically they never realize it. (ever give weather much consideration when its sunnny and 60? howbout with 2 feet of snow on the ground?) If someone on your fireground, preferably the guy in charge, doesn't take these points into consideration, the next fire that is out of the "routine" may bite you. Run enough single family dwellings with fire in one room and overconfidence sets in, but the warehouse down the street may be next. Those points may seem more important then.

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    This is interesting.. We all agree that size up gets done. How we arrive at it depends on your rank, firefighter, unit officer or chief and degree or scope of operations. While training firefighters I stressed sizeup based on there intital duties, and some are overlapping. Time of day, building contruction height, weather and size of fire area. Engine company's water and hydrant location and type of stretch and lengths required were apart of there size up. Ladder company was fire location ,ladder size and placement, best means to roof if required, Mental gymnastics as to where to focus search etc.. Pin jobs what tools might be required and what position I'm assigned and where I fit into the overall plan. As a unit Commander I had to listen to the radio, As a Ladder officer coming in and no engine on scene and first due engine delayed my sizeup will change and focus will adjust accordingly. As the fire progresses more of the 13 points come into focus. Fuel for apparatus, Weather plays a big part extremes work against us. Snow , sub freezing temps , high humidity and god awful heat.To discount the value of size up is in my estimation short sighted and one frot with danger. Experience is our best teacher it also comes with the highest price. By taking stock in your situation and making mental notes and getting answers one can sometimes avoid disaster. You have a house fire, balloon construction and if is on top floor one room. You notice the engine getting water and the fire not darkening down? Is the fire below them, in the walls, are they not hitting the fire? is it in the cockloft? this is sizeup but not necessarily that of first responder but very well could be. In any case it's a great question but as one can see alot of worthy responses and ideas.
    "Knowledge is Power"
    Bill Y

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    Great Post 133...thanks

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    Question BACKDRAFT?????

    There are many schools of thought, and many methods. Just interested to see how and if they are applied in the "real" world.
    I'm wondering if the second story window in this picture is indicative of a backdraft situation? It seems like there's charring around the window pane and the glass is still intact. Does anyone know? That could be important in size up........ especially if you're getting ready to ventilate the roof!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Backdraft?

    Well from the picture I'm not seeing much. But you ask several good questions. First off ? You ask is this a possible Backdraft scenerio? Well let's look at what we have.. The first floor has what appears to be a fully involved room. That room is in the 2nd or free burning stage? The floor above has windows intact? Are these windows thermopane? They really mask what's going on inside . Not seeing smoke or fire is no longer an absolute that things are safe. Now the Backdraft stage is the 3rd stage of burning? When everything in the room has been consumed and it smouldering, the missing ingrediant is oxygen. You provide a vent and fresh air causes the unburnt gases to ignite spontaeniously. Is it possible ? Yes probable but I wouldn't think so. I would think a Flashover would be more likely if anything? That's everything heated to it's ignition temp and it's the jump from stage one, a can job to Stage two. Everything is heated to it's ignition temps and it's missing heat to take off violately. A situation that has disasterous results.Read the signs for high heat, not every fire flashes. If your going above and your searching,Know what's going on. If it's hot really hot I'd be cautious. Know you need a way out, Use a thermal camera to get an idea of temps, If your camera is equipted with a temperature indicating thermal rise, Use a pike pole or hook , put it up in the air and stay low if you glove sizzles when feeling the pike you have a lot of heat over head. And better yet have a charged line with you. This home appears to be a typical framed dwelling, no secondary means of egress and fire can burn on all 6 sides. To your advantage we have ground ladders, and small rooms.. If people are trapped and there going to survive quick calculated actions must be initiated by the first due units. I as an experienced officer loved when I pulled up and saw fire venting. You know where the fire is and now it's a matter of where is it going and where is probable life going to be. If working in an engine I wanted to get a line to the fire quickly and protect those going above.
    "Knowledge is Power"
    Bill Y

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    Default

    I would recommend reading "Incident Command for the Street Smart Officer" by Chief Coleman from the Toledo FD. Chief Coleman gives pretty good answers on identification and strategic/tactical operations on potential backdraft conditions. It's a great read and resource period, especially for newer officers.
    Make your weaknesses your strengths

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    Default You're right. Thigns are different for Vols

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by drkblram
    [B]FDirish, that works with paid depts. Several around me actually do that, just give their unit number when responding. But in a vol. dept. where the department is dispatched, you don't necassarily are going to know what's rolling, and with how many. We do it like this "302 responding 3 and 1" (where 302 is the unit number and then the staffing, in this example 3 full firefighters and 1 probie). control will ack. with the unit number and if time repeat the staffing. We sometimes end up with too much traffic going to calls. I've seen units halfway to the scene before they have time to fit that small, but important statement.


    You are very right. I used to be a vol Asst. Chief for a local district and our biggest problem was too many people with radios! Again nothing wrong with your enroute methods. Very bried, info for the IC as well. When arriving, agian, KISS method. "302 at scene, fire showing 2 story residence. " YOu can even estqablish a command and attack mode too as in IMS. "Main Street Command, out using a small one". This tells all incoming and the eventual IC what you have, what you are doing, and what the next companies may be assigned too.
    celer et audax

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    Default INCIDENT MANIPULATIVES

    COLEMAN IS MY HERO!!!

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    Default

    Maybe I'm going outside the topic here but in a lot/all cases shouldn't the incident sizeup start before the call even comes in?
    Even as a vol dept. 2000 calls/yr(www.stvfd.org) incident sizeup starts with the preplan, almost all of our 1st due area and most of the outer ring is covered in mapbooks developed in-house. Drawn to the best scale possible showing building location, exposures, hydrant locations alarm panel/zone locations, sprinkler rooms ETC.
    This has proven invaluable in many cases(when it's 95 outside the last thing I enjoy doing is walking the length of the shopping mall trying to figure out who hasn't cleaned a hall detector in yrs)
    This gives us the basic heads up long before we get on scene, once you get on scene, everything may go out the window depending opon findings, some cases the usual... Tower/engine on the scene, single story structure..nothing showing...so and so in command...but this can change to staging instructions(next piece wont be far behind) requests for additional aid, Fire Marshall/Utility response...ETC.

    Just my 2 cents worth guys, let me know what you think





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