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Thread: Search Policies

  1. #1
    Forum Member WBenner's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Ontario Canada

    Question Search Policies

    Our Department has a Primary search policy that states that when we enter (team of 3) will go to the right. 80% of us prefer the Oriented search compared to the right to left search. Most of the primary search is done by the Attack crew on fire floor and VEST for above fire floor. The attack crew does not have a TIC but the VEST or Search crew will they do not enter with a handline.
    What policy does your Fire Department have on search & rescue crews?

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    Jan 1999
    Blackwood NJ, USA


    The location of the fire and the location of potential sleeping areas should guide where you search. Why would you start right if the bedrooms / stairs/ apparent fire location, etc.. are to the left? I also prefer the oriented man, but you end up using the left / right techniques to remain oriented in poor visibility. The TIC is a tremendous tool and saves time, but should not replace using walls to remain oriented.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006



    As Halligan said, orientate yourself to the structure and then decide your search pattern. Our First-in Engine lays the first line, First-in Ladder sends one crew of two to search and another crew of two to vent, Second-in Engine secures a water supply and then lays a back-up line, Second-in Ladder Searches, Vents, or does whatever needs to be done.

    We rarely vent as we go, unless conditions dictate. Our department uses PPV 90% of the time, so we try to find the fire room(s) before we turn the fan in. We will vent as needed if we are getting pounded inside.

    Even though the engines are laying the lines, they also search as they advance with the handline.

    Good luck!


  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber Edward Hartin's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    Gresham Oregon

    Default Search Methods

    I am wary of any SOP/SOG that says always or never (with the exeption of safety related such as "don't breathe smoke"). The starting point and direction of search must be based on building configuration, location of the fire, and likely location of victims.

    For example if the fire is located to the right of the entry point and likely location of victims is to the left, selection of a right hand search would be problematic. Oriented, right, and left hand search methods are all useful tools. Select the tool based on the job at hand.

    One big point of debate is search with or without a hoseline. We do not have a specific policy at present. However our training focuses on crews working inside being protected by a hoseline (your own or one operated by another company). This is particularly critical when working under hot smoke or in conditions with extremely limited visibility. While this does have the potential to slow search operations, it maximizes our safety. Many firefighters who have become disoriented, lost, and ran out of air were not working on a hoseline (San Antonio Disorientation Study).
    Ed Hartin, MS, EFO, MIFireE

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana


    Search crew, which is a minimum of 2 members, but recommended at 3, will always go towards the sleepng area unless we have information the (potential) victim is elsewhere (or the sleeping area is envolved).

    The search crew will always bring a handline. If it is a three-member crew, The handline may be left in the hallway with the 3rd member manning it. If a
    2-member crew, it is recommended the linbe be left about 2' inside the door of the rooms being searched.

    TIC may be used if available, but it not a required item. Irons set recommeneded if available in a residental structure, but required in a commercial structure.

  6. #6
    Forum Member WBenner's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Ontario Canada

    Thumbs up Thanks

    The SOP/SOG stats go to the right but of course its not followed. We too will head to the area of where pt was last seen if confirmation was given of Victims still inside. We also start from the unburned side as well and if handlines are with us (most times it is) we are Attack-S&R at the same time. We will search as we go. However we have some Officers that want us to stick to the wall (residential) go to the right and return to where we started then up the middle. Good forbid we spread out and and cover the room in one pass. Thanks for the inout I will be usiing at our next Operations Meeting.

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