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  1. #1
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    Question Primary Searching Techniques

    I was invilved in a discussion last night that turned to search tecniques. I was discussing with two veterans of 30+ years each the use of a hoseline in a primary search. In their opinion and experience they said that a primary search should never be done without pulling a handline and working off of it. I can see the benifits of this procedure, but I also see the contradiction it poses to the purpose of a primary search. I have my opinions about this topic, and I am interested to hear yours. Thanks.


  2. #2
    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
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    We pull the line with us as we search, why? because what the heck do you do when you find the vic and the fire has spread behind you.

    Why make three victims.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  3. #3
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    In many situations draggin a hose line with you will slow you down, and make the search more difficult. If you are the outside vent preforming VES a hose line would defeat the purpose of this type of search. Get in , search, get out quick. If you are inside lets say an appartment building fire on 2 and you need to search 3 dragging a third line up, (we have the attack and backup being streached), and above will seriously screw up the stairs and may delay the attack line.
    A lot depends on your crews experiencee you may need a line because the crew isn't experienced enough to search with out one. You have to know what is going on around you, listen to the radio, monitor the attack team, vent crew, and others progress. Know what the fire is doing and wants to do.
    In a way your brothers are right, but it can't be an absolute. their is nothing wrong with searching without a line.

    Stay safe

  4. #4
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    Normally we do a search without the hoseline for speeds sake, but the primary responsibility of the 1st hoseline team is to support that rescue by controlling the interior stairways and points of egress. As well as seperating us and any victims from the fire.

    I can see the argument for doing it both ways. Search without having water is very dangerous I think the search team should at very least have a water can with them. Also they need to be very cognizant of not passing any fires that threaten to cut off their escape.

    All in all its a tough call but I think if you have the personnel available to have the hoseline in place within a minute of the search teams entry you can save valuable time in locating and removing victims.

    That being said if you do not have the personel to do both you have to take a hoseline with you because a properly placed hoseline will save more lives than any other fire fighting tactic.

    At the end of the day safety dictates search tactics

    Stay low and stay safe!!!!!
    "Firefighting is a team Sport, so know your place and do your job"

  5. #5
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    When I was on the truck company it was common practice to search without a hoseline with us. As someone stated speed on the primary is key, and a couple of ogres draggin a hose isn't gonna let us be very fast. Communication is the key, as well as ensuring you know where your egress points are and if you are operating on the floor above the fire that there are ladders on all 4 sides of the building. If you are 2 or more floors above, exits that lead to the roof, or knowing where your aerial devices are also important.
    What do you do if find a vic and the fire has spread behind us? We shut the door and get to a window... And this is the same when applying VES technique, if you are entering a room that you need to search quickly on the fire floor and conditions are poor at best, get in there, shut the door, search the room and get out!! And not to offend any engine guys, which as FF/Paramedic I am now, most of the persons that've argued the point of having a hose during searching comes from engine company guys. I also just want to add that if at all possible we always tried to search in teams of 3. 2 to do the search and a control man at the door monitoring conditions in the hallway, giving us verbal locations if the smoke was thick, and a person who could shut the door quickly if need be.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  6. #6
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    Many good thoughts are presented here. I agree with both aspects of this discussion. Coming from a voly organization, personel and training do play a vital part in this as well as most any decision made on the fire ground. For me, I prefer to search with out a hose line in place for a number of reasons. I feel that on the fire ground an aggressive search, if done right, will provide the best chance for a trapped civilian to survive. I also feel that if the truck arrives first and does an aggressive search they can relay the location of the fire to the first attack line in the door to more rapidly extingush the fire. Also during the search the truck co. can begin ventilation which will provide better visibility, lessen the flamible and toxic gasses in the atmosphere, and reduce heat. Obviously this will also increase the rate at which the fire expands because of the introduction of fresh air, but with good responce time, rapid deployment of hand lines, and communication this should not be a problem.
    As a truckie I begin to analize the possibilities on the way to the scene. On arrival I begin to store mental pictures of the structures layout. Many times this can be done by size up of the building based on the placement and type of windows and doors. I note where I feel any point of egress is, so if I do lose my primary route of egress I will not lose my head and get into more trouble than I am already in.
    Now when it comes to VES, I agree with others that it does defete the purpose of this procedure to bring a line with you. They way I understand VES is you make access through a window or whatever access you have find the door and close it to slow fire spread and speed ventilation in the room you occupy do your search and the get out. Assuming that when you are doing this you are going to be on the side of the fire that it will most likely be pushed it is essential that the search is rapid. Without the speed you are putting yourself in a place of greater hazard. If done properly it greatly increases the possibility of survival for those traped by the fire.
    Knowing that agressive search is probably one of the most dangerous situations on the fire ground this shoulds be done only with proper training and personel, and if you don't have that you need to stick to humping a hoseline with you. This will increase your safety as to protect you from losing your primary means of egress and you might even be able to put the fire out.
    Either way you and your company procede always stay safe, remember your training and know your limits.
    Stay safe.

  7. #7
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    Search - still is a word that represents a many-faceted tactic (task if you live west of here) that is most often mis understood - at least in its goals.
    All the answers here have to do with a victim - as if "real" rescues are an every day event in all departments structure fires AND that if there are no victims search is an 'empty tactic'
    Second is the use of the term "searchandrescue" as if it were one word - as if the only goal for the tactic is indeed rescue.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    I have been in the worlds busiest fire companies with a total experience of 40 years and thousands of structure fires and have to tell you that a real rescue is a rarity.
    So with that in mind why is search so important.
    First - is of course the victims or inhabitants for sure
    Second - and actually most important (for a lot of reasons - rescue is one) is LOCATION OF THE FIRE!
    Third - is fire extension - find where it has gone, will be going next and what is in its way.
    Fourth - what information within the structure is needed for the firefighters and for the incident command function(S)- collapse indicators, hazardous materials, hazardous structural conditions (missing sections of building, holes, lofts and more.
    Now with all that and those responsibilities Search becomes more important than ever.
    Most of you have defined the concern for the victim located and removal. Well that is true and the reason for rapid and immediate initial PRIMARY SEARCH. Search firefighters should rapidly go to the seat of the fire (the victim there is the most severe exposure), communicate its more refined location and search back toward the entry point. It is less clogged with firefighting operations and certainly less confusing and quieter.
    Aww that is enough - more at another time.

  8. #8
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    Does my department search with a line, yes. Does everybody, no. We dont run with a truck company, and have a staggered response, meaning that you dont know when the next company is coming in behind you, or the backup line will be pulled. If your going to need a line, (say yes, as you are at a fire call), then bring it with you. Now every time someone says something, there are exceptions. If a truck company, whose job is search, ventilation, forced entry, all done in support of the engine crew with the line (sorry I'm an engine guy) is doing "truck work", then they will not have a HOSE line with them to search with. A life line would be nice. Requiring a hose for a search would hamper a good truck crew, who love to go deep quick and then yell to the engine crew, HEY howabout some water here, I'm getting roasted! When there is a shortage of people to do the work, a line to the fire is the first move when there are not obvious rescue oppurtunites, go deep, hit the fire and search from the fire out. If you can support multiple operations at the same time, great - do it! Never say never, never say always.
    Capt406, IACOJ#780

  9. #9
    Forum Member dfd3dfd3's Avatar
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    111 Truck, I completely agree with everything u said, and this is probably splitting hairs but wouldn't searching for fire extension by more a function of overhaul then search? Maybe a better term for what we are discussing would be search and recon or even better, rescue and recon. Rescue for the search for life and then Recon for the other vital information the guys on the inside can give to the white hats in the street.

    Here is an idea ive thought about before is, if the situation warranted it, such as known victims with a heavy fire involvment and u as a truck are ahead of the engine is to pull a booster line in with u. Advantages would be youd have a safety line in case conditions grew so bad where u needed a quick exit, secondly, u could help effect rescue by having some water to hold back fire, and third, would be its faster then flaking out hose (and we all know a real truck shouldnt have fire hose on it anyway .
    The only disadvantage that i can think of to pulling a booster line in a situation like i presented would be if u began using the line as a crutch on other less extreme incidents. It would be tempting to drag that line in with u in other scenairos for the added safety, but unless its an extreme situation the line would slow down an effective search. If anyone has any suggestions or comments feel free to give them.
    Last edited by dfd3dfd3; 07-22-2002 at 05:22 AM.

  10. #10
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    Dear DFD3

    Well you wrote to me so I will answer from my perspective. All these theories with "people trapped in heavy fire conditions and the truck is in first and............... and..............." Is the "back room world" and certainly not the real world.
    In the real world the best we can be is to perform a flexible routine at most all structure fires with slight variances for fire location, construction, time etc.
    For example - Fire on the TOP FLOOR would make the vertical ventilation tactic adjust the procedures and the time spent there. They would need to take a saw and prepare to cut after the rroof is opened.
    If there is an engine and truck response in your district and there is at least 3 to 4 engines to every truck in service then NO the truck should not change. Carry a 2.5 gallon water extinguisher all the time - It will do more and faster than dragging some rubber booster line and screwing up a tactical approach that is less than adequate because of manning levels anyway. Leave the fire for the engines.
    Location of fire is finding it in other locations of interior extension and not overhauling.
    OVERHAULING: Is the opening of of the structure and its members to locate any and all fire, causes of fire, or ignition - AFTER THE FIRE IS DECLARED UNDER CONTROL and making the building safe as possible.
    Combined with SECONDARY SEARCH we are saying that there is no human person or remains; nor any chance of a reignition from an undiscovered source within or around the building.
    As for the booster line. Most places will get you into court for stretching such an inadequate line into any structure fire. ALSO it puts a mess in the path of the first handline stretch and chaos in the halls and stairs and screws up an orderly truck function.
    See Simple!

  11. #11
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    Arrow

    I am in the without a line camp.

    Why?

    Attacking a fire is a team effort. On the truck you are assigned search and rescue. The engine is fire attack and 2nd due Engine provides the back up line to cover egress and any other unexpected occurances.

    So what is accomplished by the truck taking a line:
    -You loose a man who has to hang back and hump hose.(one less man looking for any victims)
    -Your advance is slower due to draging hose.
    (hence you spend more time in the fire building)
    (& your victim who has little time if any is now waiting
    even longer for you to find him or her)
    -If you find fire what are you going to do? Put it out, but what have you done...you are now fire attack and not search. You have lost focus of what you were sent in there for in the first place.
    -If there is too much fire in a room for you to search then they are in all likelyhood dead.
    -How are you going to take Irons and a TIC and hump hose and "effectively" look for the victim(s) all at the same time? Either you have 10 men on a truck or you are superman.

    What happens when you find a victim??? You are so beat from draging the damn hose around along with the Irons and what not, that you will have a hard time draging that 250lb. woman out of the house.

    With the execption of Lieut706's situation (I've been there) everyone should learn their job and learn to trust the guys on the line and work as a team.

    Does the running back in football have to block for himself? No he has the linemen and a halfback who are responsible for those duties. All he has to do is carry the ball. And on those rare occasions he needs to provide some of his own blocking??? He can give the defender the stiff arm (Just like the Search team carring the Water Can)

    Two cents from a fireman.

  12. #12
    Forum Member dfd3dfd3's Avatar
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    Ok, ok. You are right. I also beleive in the KISS principle and hard nosed, old school firefighting. Doing the Basics well, Ill leave all the what if scenarios to those that ride aroound in yellow fire trucks.

  13. #13
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    dfd

    Now that IS funny - gratius

  14. #14
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    Primary Search (mostly without a hoseline), Secondary search (mostly with a hoseline)

    Never say Never, and Never say Always...

    JW
    "Making Sense with Common Sense"
    Motor Vehicle Rescue Consultants
    ( MVRC@comcast.net) Jordan Sr.

  15. #15
    phyrngn
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    111truck...is that you Chief Brennan? Always look forward to reading your posts and especially your articles in that "other" magazine....

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