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  1. #1
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    Default How would you handle this situation?

    I have just recently began a fire academy and when performing a primary search of a 1 floor, single family residence my partner abondended me. He was the "wall guy" and I was flaked off from him. I attempted to maintain either physical or verbal contact with my partner, but we got seperated. When the Capt. finally told me to stop where I was they discovered that he was 2 bedrooms and a hallway away. At this point in time I am by myself in the middle of the room with an axe. My partner had the radio. The first thing that I did was get to a wall so that I had some sort of orientation. I have gotten many different opinions from the instructors on how to handle the particular situation (besides having a few not so nice words with my partner when we got out) How would you have handled the situation? Here are a few of the ideas that I recieved:

    - Contact IC via radio and ask for instruction, informing them that you are seperated from your partner and you are now PAR 1. (The problem with this is that my partner had the radio.)

    - Begin a right hand search because you will eventually find him. We were performing a left hand search. (Question: Should you really be searching alone, at all, ever?)

    - Follow the wall back out of the house and notify IC immediately that Search 1 has exited the house PAR 1.

    - Set off your PASS device

    - Wait for your partner to return. (Is that not the worse thing I could do? To sit there with my thumb up my butt and just wait? Depending on a partner who has already left me?)

    I would really just like others opinions, suggestions or experiences. I'm glad that something like this occured in training, in a situation where I can turn around and try to figure out how to solve the problem now.... instead of attending a firefighter's funeral.


  2. #2
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    1st floor of a single family. Find a wall then locate a window, now you can get out if needed. Now search back to find partner. If you get back to the door you entered, get to IC and inform him of the missing FF. IC should activate RIT team.
    B Holmes

  3. #3
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    Me...I'd probably set off my pass.....attempt to find my way out of the room and locate a hose line...because with pass on there is a possibility your partner may hear you and try to make contact with you....When i get outside i'd locate fire command and let him know the situation as holmes said...and then because we don't have RIC we'd get a search team together to go locate the other member...


    Stephen
    Capt/MFR
    KVFD

  4. #4
    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
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    If you are doing a left hand search and lose contact you STOP IMMEDIATELY. use verbal or bang the axe in your hand on the floor. If your partner does not respond, all you need to do is turn LEFT 90 degrees and go forward until you hit the wall.

    If no further contact has been made with your partner, turn LEFT again and get out. As said contact OIC and get your partner found.


    Then back at the station sort him out.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member hotboy's Avatar
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    In the event of an actual fire,thank God this was only training, you have no idea where your partner is. He could be hurt or he could of exited the building, you dont know.I would set of my passing device and get back to the wall and get out, Look for my partner outside,and alert the RIT team that my partner may still be inside.

    If you are not hurt and able to find the wall why set off the PASS alarm? Because with pass on there is a possibility your partner may hear you and try to make contact with you. He may also be in trouble you dont know.

    I understand that the passing device may cause confusion as bkholmes indicated,but my partner may or may not be in trouble. It will alert the RIT team before I get out, if the RIT team finds me I'll just let them know my partner is alone.
    Last edited by hotboy; 02-13-2004 at 05:43 AM.
    If we don't do it nobody else will!!!!

  6. #6
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    Just a though. If you are not hurt and able to find the wall why set off the PASS alarm? We are talking a single family residence and you are on the 1st floor. Once you find the wall you will find a window as you search back to the entrance (Hell if you were paying attention you should have located windows on the way in). My hope would be to find my partner on the way. IF you do and he is fine keep searching, if you do not and you get out NOW we have a missing FF. In this senerio it is possible that your partner is just a few feet away, once you set off the PASS alarm you change every thing on the fireground. If you set it off then find your partner what do you do? Do you both leave and report to IC every thing is ok, or continue your search? Will RIT team be entering the building to find you? You may not need RIT but your partner may? What will happen if you bth set off your PASS? Will this confuse the RIT team?
    I am not looking to tell guys not to use your PASS alarm. I just think in this senerio I would hold off on the PASS alarm as long as I find the wall and my viberalert is not going off. I would search back the route we came in and hope to find my partner so we could continue. If I do not find him I would immediatly send an urgent message of a lost FF. Now RIT can go find him.
    B Holmes

  7. #7
    Senior Member hotboy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    bkholmes made some excellent points. Situations can be handled more than one way. Whenever your in a position to make a quick decision it doesnt matter if you are right or wrong. What matters is if it works or not.
    If we don't do it nobody else will!!!!

  8. #8
    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
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    He was the "wall guy" and I was flaked off from him
    (Hell if you were paying attention you should have located windows on the way in).
    NOPE. Not unless his partner was a very talkative guy about every damn thing he stumbled across, like the colour of the curtains and the nice wallpaper.

    Also. When the partner realised he was not communicating with his offsider, what the heck was he doing charging off into the house alone. Halllloooo.

    When the Capt. finally told me to stop where I was they discovered that he was 2 bedrooms and a hallway away
    Anyone home here? Can we see the PROBLEM?

    His partner should have realised, said to himself "Oh Shyte, Houston we have a problem." Then attempted to back track trying to contact HIS partner, and either found him, the exit, or sounded his DSU (Down here we call them Distress Signal Units).
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  9. #9
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    I would set off my pass... Do a quick search a real quick search... Get out of the house... Then notify the rit team... If they are already looking for me id find someone with a radio and radio to them...

    Ya should never be in a house alone and ya should never be seperated... If it is zero visibility my general rule was physical contact... If only partial visibility voice contact or site contact (its just according to the situation)

    Although if it was partial visibility i would proably search around longer then if it was zero visibility... But, thats just me... Especially on a single floor house... Chances are it would be easier for the Rit team to find him if he was hurt then it would be for me to...

    Kiwi we call em HSD for holy **** devices or DFUD for dun ****ed up devices...
    Last edited by Scratchy635; 02-12-2004 at 12:08 AM.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Begin a right hand search because you will eventually find him. We were performing a left hand search
    If your partner does not respond, all you need to do is turn LEFT 90 degrees and go forward until you hit the wall.
    Once you find the wall you will find a window as you search back to the entrance
    These three quotes all assume you will return to the same wall you "flaked off from". BAD ASSUMPTION. In blackout conditions you cannot be assured you are turning 90 degrees, or 45, or 22.5, etc. You may find "a" wall again, is it an exterior wall or a partition wall? If it's a partition wall, you won't find too many windows.

    If you return to "a" wall and continue a right hand search assuming you will find your partner, you may have already passed a door he has gone through or reaquired the wrong wall all together.

    Most training facilities leave one important object out of their building layouts, heating devices. Be it radiators, baseboards, what ever. These often indicate exterior walls.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Kiwi, I'm with you. Once you lose contact with your partner, stop, and retrace (as best you can) your path. How long did you continue before you noticed your partner was missing? 2 bedrooms and a hall away seems like a while to me. As soon as you lost contact you need to act to find him. Too many things may have happened to him ranging from as simple as he went left you went right to he went through the floor.

    One way a real old guy taught me to know a 90 degree turn was to use a halligan bar. Lay it down, the adze and point are both at 90 degree angles to the shaft. Same holds true with the pry axe that I carry. Has worked fairly well. Just a suggestion.
    "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?

  12. #12
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    First off, thank god this happened in a training environment and not at a fire. Itís good that you guys train at this type of scenarios.

    I would stop and listen for a moment and see if I can hear anything, just like you do when searching for a victim. You just might hear him banging around or yelling for help. Heck, he might even have activated his PASS alarm.

    If nothing is heard find the wall and retrace back the way you came. It could be that your partner got hung up. But in your case your partner got detached from you and is two bedrooms away. NOT GOOD.

    The whole point is to get the ball rolling in hopes of finding your partner. With your pass alarm going off, maybe be your partner will key on it and make his way to the sound. If not get out and activate the RIT team via Command and report last location when you found him missing.

    Now like a lot of FFís in here thereís some really good ways to do this, just find one that works well for you and your peers and practice with it. Conduct drills and purposely have partners hang back and be quite, see what the others will do. Will he panic or will he remain cool, and does he go by the standard set by your department.

    My guys that I work with carry a little strobe light that they activate when separated from each other. It has a very intense flash and is easily seen. Its just like the one carried in Dive shops. Just so happens Iím a rescue diver and found that it works very well.

    Be safe and Be proud

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber Plugmedic's Avatar
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    Cool

    Return to the point of entry into the current room. Try to contact your partner verbally and activate your pass device. If you can still not contact your partner within a minute, you need to leave the building (since you have no radio) and advise the IC. If you have a radio, then advise the IC and stay put. You may be the lost person. The RIC should find both of you. If they find you first, you can join them in searching for your partner since your not a victim.

  14. #14
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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Once you find the wall you will find a window as you search back to the entrance
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    These three quotes all assume you will return to the same wall you "flaked off from". BAD ASSUMPTION.
    My thought here was that he is in a bedroom, even if he finds the wrong wall his search should lead him to an exterior wall. Then he can decide depending on condintion if he were to continue or exit through the window.
    Great point about the baseboard or radiator, although this too can be misleading. They can be found on partion walls also.
    The main point I was getting at was the PASS alarm. Depending on the conditions, I would wait to set it off. If I could search back the same route and look for my partner I would do this first. If I got to the entrance I came in without finding him then I would go straight to IC and have RIT activated. If as soon as you separate from your partner and set off your PASS you may be the cause a lot of confusion. In this senerio the team is pretty far apart but what if your partner is only 10 feet away? Now you find him and turn off your PASS. Has RIT allready begun looking for you? Did a well intentioned FF leave what he was doing to look for you? (Yes I know he is not suppose to do this but relity is it happens) Do all of the above get the measage that you are ok?
    My point is that if you are not hurt and can find you way back to look for your partner I would hold off on the PASS alarm. This opinion carries a big IF attached to it and I understand that. It is the specific conditions in each situation that lead us to our decicions. The conditions described above I would rather look for my partner than wait to be rescued. We are taught to use our PASS alarms and I agree with that. I am just looking to make sure when you set it off you are in need of the response you will get.
    B Holmes

  15. #15
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    Default Problem!

    We all know that things can get ugly and turn bad in a hurry on the fireground. This is why we train in hopes of avoiding this and being able to deal with it should it happen. I agree it is a good thing this was just training. There is a problem here in that your partner left you! NEVER, EVER, leave your partner! This needs to be instilled into your partner's brain. In leaving you he endangered himself, yourself, and possibly the RIT guys if they had been activated. Everyone seems to have a suggestion of how to deal with this based on what they would do and here is mine. I would try to contact him verbally, if unsuccessful I would check my air level and if it was low I would activate my PASS. PASS activation changes the whole game but if my air is low and I will be out upon exit and my partner is lost or in trouble I want RIT entering. Should I have enough air to exit I would retrace my steps and exit the structure attempting to locate my partner verbally and physically on my way out. Upon exit I would notify IC of the situation.

    Hopefully your partner has already learned from his mistake. I believe everyone deserves the chance to prove themselves and should be afforded the opportunity to learn from thier mistakes. Should your partner put you in this situation again I would hope the instructors would address this issue firmly!

    B. Brooks
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    Linden FD

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber Engine58's Avatar
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    I got seperated from my partner when I was going through firefighter 1 academy and the instructors made sure it would never happen again. I was crawling and I thought i felt something...tapped my partners boot and ankle and kept yelling to him and banging my haligan on the floor but he never heard me so he kept crawling....never payed attention until he was down the hallway and the instructor walked up to him and said YOU MISSING SOMETHING? He turned around and freaked out because I wasnt behind him and got mad at me....turns out we did have a victim....and I exited with one of the members of the backup line and the victim.. I would of done what others have said..try yelling and banging on the floor making as much noise as you can...if he doesnt come back to you in a few minutes check your air sit tight and activate your pass alarm and signal a lost firefighter mayday...BUT if you were in an area where you 100% absolutely knew where at you were...then I'd head for the exit after a couple minutes of trying to find my partner....if not sit tight...and wait for help...
    Andrew
    Firefighter/EMT
    New Jersey

  17. #17
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    Lightbulb No one thought of this one

    I was discussing the incident with a close friend and fellow fire academy member. We were running through different scenarios involving the window idea, etc. and there was one thing that he mentioned that no one here had mentioned yet. Yes, at the point in time we were only practicing search and rescue, but real live scenario we would have fire attack occuring simationeously. Why not find your attack team? Your partner may have done the same, they may be able to help you locate your partner... or most importantly they should have a radio and will be able to contact IC. This way not only are you not sitting on your thumbs all by yourself waiting for help, you also have help on the way for your partner.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  18. #18
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    I'm not sure I'd waste my air looking for the attack team..It could however be another option (Depending on many variables)..Just one question on your scenario, When you lost contact with your partner, Did you know were you were at??
    Ain't Skeerd
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  19. #19
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    In our training as in real life we teach our members to ALWAYS be in contact with the person in front of you, NO exceptions. We also insist that every 15 seconds they sound off, the lead member is #1, and so on down the line. If someone does not respond the last guy to sound off alerts everyone and you stop and concentrate on finding the missing member AS A TEAM. You can come up with many excuses as to why this is a pain in the *** to do but it is imparative you do it, It saves lives.

  20. #20
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    Personally; there should have been a plan BEFORE you went in and in the event you became separated.
    We were taught that if you were the lead guy, you constantly communicated to your partner what you were seeing. If you were second in, you held on to your partner's foot and never lose contact with him, unless it was agreed and you were staying at the door while your partner did a quick room search.
    You should not be so quick to get mad at your partner. Both of you screwed up. Learn from it and move on. And next time, have a plan for if you get separated from your partner. Had this been the real thing instead of training, you might very well have burnt up by not getting the hell out. As far as PASS devices go; USE THEM! There are firefighters in Heaven because they didn't activate their PASS alarms.
    Train like you fight and then fight like you train.
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