# Thread: Structure side & corner/quadrant designation: A, B, C, D, etc.

1. ## Structure side & corner/quadrant designation: A, B, C, D, etc.

During some training, structure side designation was taught, which left me with more questions than answers.
What's the correct method for designating sides and corners of a structure?
Was told it's the address side. Example: House facing street, on address side, front door facing street, this is the 'A' side. Going clockwise, each side B, C, D.
Is there any NFPA standard or Fire Holy Book that states "Thou shalt declare 'A' side the address side no matter what, no if's, and's, or but's".
I agree with this in a perfect tidy world.
Looking around my Department's area and the rural area I'm at, things aren't so cut and dry.

What do you do if the structure sits diagonaly to the street/lane, or it is situated on a curve/apex diagonaly?

What if the main entry door/front door faces the road, but the mailbox/address is on a corner road?
Thinking of a house down the road from me that has an entry door and driveway that faces a sideroad, but the mailbox/address is around the corner on a main road/state route.

What of a home/structure that has a long lane/driveway/private drive?
You turn off the road, go down the long driveway and the involved structure main door is mainly facing the drive/lane, but door is perpendiculer to the road/address?

How about a round house? Someones mini-Montecillo(sp)?

T or L shaped structures, with very defined corners and sides of major measuments. Are you to average the whole structure out as a whole, or is each majorly defined side take on it's own letter designation?

To me, it would be best if the first arriving unit IC, after size-up, would declare to the deployed and arriving units that 'A' would be, in order of preferance:
1. address side, if apparatus are arriving and staging parrelel with structure and street.
2. the main door of a structure if the structure isn't situated paralllel of the street or road.
3. the 'major' looking/door side of a structure(which is on the end of a long lane/driveway off a main road) that's facing the drive/lane.

I agree with the " 'A' side is address side" theory, but reality say's there's some variables to think about.

2. Which door are the street numbers tacked to? There is your side "a". If two sides have the numbers tacked on, which side faces the street that the address was called into? Say the house is at the corner of 1st Road and Center Street, there are entrances on both sides with number 102 above the doors, if the dispatch was to 102 Center St. then that side/wall/door/exposure is side A.

My new dilemma is hear that some places continue to use quadrant AB, BC,CD, AD; while others have gone to quadrants A, B, c,& D; still others quadrant 1,2,3,4. Has there been an official standardized change in NFPA?

3. We go with the side facing the street for a middle of the block house and the street address side for corner lots(i.e. if you are the corner of 1st and main and the address is 123 main then side a is main).

If it is difficult to determine by that concept like a house way off the road(like some of the barns we have on large commercial farms) then side A is where command sets up.

In either case, once A is established it proceeds clockwise from there.

4. Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
Which door are the street numbers tacked to? There is your side "a".
In my rural 'hood, as far as I can tell, there are no numbers on doors or houses.
The addresses are a reflective vertical sign attached to the mailbox post.
In the village we also cover, there are sometimes obvious house numbers.

In my rural 'hood, as far as I can tell, there are no numbers on doors or houses.
The addresses are a reflective vertical sign attached to the mailbox post.
In the village we also cover, there are sometimes obvious house numbers.
Then it is the sides facing the street with the more obvious enterance. Otherwise it is the side that the first arriving officer declares as side "A" Sometimes you have to wing it and use the gray matter a little if the book is not covering the situation.

6. I think this is one of those things coming down from FEMA and NIMS. For the A side just use the side of the house that looks like the front and if it's confusing make sure everyone on the scene knows which side is the a side. If a building has more than 4 walls add a few letters for example the pentagon would have side A,B,C,D, and E. Corners of buildings should be call by the sides that meet at that corner. Where side A and side D meet on a four sided house that would be the A-D corner.

7. Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
Then it is the sides facing the street with the more obvious enterance. Otherwise it is the side that the first arriving officer declares as side "A" Sometimes you have to wing it and use the gray matter a little if the book is not covering the situation.
That's what bugs me about the training.
The A side designation was presented in a "This is the way it is" manner
with a nice square structure facing a straight street.

8. Perhaps we need to just carry bright orange spray paint and label side A on arrival!?!? I'm sure the resident would like that little bit of customer service. You know sort of like "You are here" on that stupid map in the shopping mall!!

Oh yeah and DtM.. if you wing it then that adds a whole nother level of complexity... does the new wing have it's own set of identify letters like maybe H = Hot, M = Mild, or B = BBQ???

That's what bugs me about the training.
The A side designation was presented in a "This is the way it is" manner
with a nice square structure facing a straight street.
I couldn't agree more. Its the same as the SOP lovers... "Well our SOPs say we will vent the roof" but LT it was food on the stove, "I don't care the SOP says vent the roof to get the smoke out!"

Ok so maybe that's a littel extreme of an example, but I feel your pain. There are so many guys out there that can only think of what the book or piece of paper tells them rather than use that book knowledge in conjunction with real life experience and make an actual informed decision vs a book regurgetation (sp?)

10. The "Front", "A" or "1" side, no matter what you designate it, should not be an "all the time" type thing. At work, we have buildings that come in as either an two digit addresses or 3 digit addresses,depending on which street the entrance is , but the buildings are one in the same, with only limited access between addresses. The best way to designate which is front, etc, is use the side that is either the main egress for the building, or where you are stretching your line to.

11. Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
Otherwise it is the side that the first arriving officer declares as side "A"
Exactly. Why make this a discussion? It is standard in the fire service the address side is side "A" and if that can't be, or isn't easily determined then the IC says what is side "A". Simple as that.

I am with FFTrainer 100%. There is no "set way" and we can use our brains instead of following what a book or SOP says to do.

12. The reason there is standardization is that if I come to a large fire in your town I am not looking for command over by uncle billy's shed. It happens and there is no need for it. Many people train and work to know their job and it should not have to be dumbed down due to laziness. I understand that there are places where it may be confusing as to where A side is, so when you establish command you state "what ever building, fire conditons, what you need and command is being established on the a side of the building on john doe lane". When units are arriving and are needed you tell them to go to the d side of the building on "jane doe road". People do need to think but they also need to know the standards. If you are not sure about what is said in class you should ask in class, I understand things come to you afterwards but good disscusion should be encouraged by the instructor which would bring out more questions. Also although there is alot of knowledge to be shared here you should ask the bosses at your dept how it is done there, I know for a fact that some BIG depts still use numbers for side designations.

13. Originally Posted by MEck51
If you are not sure about what is said in class you should ask in class, I understand things come to you afterwards but good disscusion should be encouraged by the instructor which would bring out more questions. Also although there is alot of knowledge to be shared here you should ask the bosses at your dept how it is done there, I know for a fact that some BIG depts still use numbers for side designations.
Being diplomatic due this being a public forum:
Heard what was said, sure what was said, asked and discussed about what was said in class. And here I am.
I think I shall keep a can of bright green spray paint for my own special size-up.

The simple answer to your question is a side is the street side of the address as either called in or main entrance. If at an event in an area without street names such as a series of warehouses or an industrial complex, it would be from the side of main access. Buildings set at an angle to the road or parking lot, use the main access side. Buildings with more than 4 defined sides such as an L or T use wings or quadrants. Such as the wing on the b side of the building. As stated in my first post, command must estabish the a side clearly. I hear way too often **** poor size ups and if the time was taken to do it right in the first place a more complete size up would take place without the IC even knowing they did it. ex. "engine 1 arriving, 3 story ballon frame building in residental use, heavy fire showing from division 2, I need a second alarm, command will be on john doe lane." Now incoming units know that they have a working fire, if at night time probable occupant load, truck co.s know they have a balloon frame and will more than likely have to get to the roof for a cut, depending on sogs second in engine knows to take the plug and all incoming units know that command is on john doe lane and can take assigments accordingly, such as if truck 2 were assigned to c side. Poor size up and command structures lead to failure. I have heard many times, "chief?? arriving I have a working fire." Well what the hell is it? A shed, a house, a car, do we need water supply, what the hell is needed. Simple things that can be done to put peoples head in gear and get thinking. Not done because of a lack of knowledge/understanding or possibly laziness or maybe a case of tone activated idiot. I was not meaning to pick on you with my first post, but you have been let down by someone who was supposed to be teaching you, either because they did not know what they should have to be teaching the class or they were too lazy to explain it to you. Either way I hope your questions have been answered. IC should be done at every event- large or small, you don't need to pull out every sector or division for every thing. But if you do it at every event, when the time comes and you need to expand you will have a better understanding of what needs to be done.

15. We ar supposed to use the address side as side "A". However, as has been mentioned, thats not always practicle. What it really ends up being is whatever side the first due rig stops in front of is called side "A".

16. Originally Posted by MEck51
I am not placing blame on you for not knowing and asking here, ...
MEck51,
None taken, none given.
Wasn't a fire school class, and I'll leave it at that.
As said before, public forum. 'Others' may take things the wrong way.

17. Ok, I was taught that where ever the first due sets up is the A side, wether is be in front of the house at the main doorway, or in its back yard, that's the A side. Then you go clockwise from the first due to designate the other sides.

18. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.....

Because B, C and D sound alike... and if orders get confused, it turns into a Charlie Foxtrot!

19. ya what he said !!!!!!

20. Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.....

Because B, C and D sound alike... and if orders get confused, it turns into a Charlie Foxtrot!

LOL....Charlie Foxtrots

21. Originally Posted by Dave1983
We ar supposed to use the address side as side "A". However, as has been mentioned, thats not always practicle. What it really ends up being is whatever side the first due rig stops in front of is called side "A".
Heh...I always laugh at this setup, in my area we a have a few round, yes circles, houses..so which side becomes the A side, and how do you go about separating A from B and so forth? I doub't this is a popular construction choice around the country, so some of you may be confused.

22. Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta.....

Because B, C and D sound alike... and if orders get confused, it turns into a Charlie Foxtrot!
A bunch of Bravo Sierra makes for a bad Charlie Foxtrot!

A bunch of Bravo Sierra makes for a bad Charlie Foxtrot!
Don't forget to throw in a few Mike Uniform Tango Tango's in command who don't know their Alpha Sierra Sierra from their Echo Lima Bravo Oscar Whiskey

24. Since I just complete the NIMS-ICS instructor course yesturday I will give it to you right from the book. The address side of the building is DIVISION A. It is now manditory that you adopt and train all personel in NIMS, if you want federal money, so that should help clear up confusion on the subject.

25. Originally Posted by LtLarry
Since I just complete the NIMS-ICS instructor course yesturday I will give it to you right from the book. The address side of the building is DIVISION A. It is now manditory that you adopt and train all personel in NIMS, if you want federal money, so that should help clear up confusion on the subject.
What happens when there are no numbers on the building or the building is built at an angle to the road so that two walls are equally facing the road? We even have a building around here that has the front door in the corner of the two walls facing the street. Is the door itself side a? with the wall to its left(when facing it) side b and the wall to its right side e?

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