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    Quick question and I might be putting to much thought into it but, when you are doing a primary search, they say to search 1 whole room before you move to the next. Usually when you go in the front door of a house you are in the living room and say we are doing a right or left hand search it doesnt matter but do you search that whole living room before you move down the hall or into another room. Or do you just stay on the wall and as you go through the rooms of the house and as you come back to the living room you search the other side.

    I ask because different instructors will say if 1 person stays on the wall and the other extends off to the side of you, you will cover that room and what you dont hit that first time through you will hit when you are on the opposite side on your way out.

    Others say search the whole living room then move into the hall or other rooms

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    A primary search is a rapid search conducted to immediatly find any victims that may be trapped. That being said, my partner and I usually commit to either a left of right hand search. One of us will be the wall man, and the other will cover the room. The key to a primary search is being rapid. You can save the more extensive search for the secondary search.
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    The text book answer is that you never get off of the wall. As long as you keep contact, you know you can reverse yourself out to the same door you went in and in essence always know where at least one exit is.

    Real life isn't always so black and white.
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    Some of these living rooms are so big these days if you stay on the wall, only half of that room will be searched until you make it through the rest of the house and back through the other half of the living room. So is that how you do it half on your first pass through and the the other half on your way out as you come to it? or do you do the whole thing before you move on?


    I think that is where I am getting confused, I understand searching a bedroom, bathroom, etc you search the whole thing then go back out the same door you came in, but it is harder to treat a living room or kitchen like that because there if no specific doors in and out just open space that leads to other places.

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    27truck:

    Yes, you do need to completely search that room, but I would thoroughly comb it over during a secondary search. Keep the primary search as rapid as possible. The goal of the primary is snag victims quickly in likely locations.....i.e. around front door, back door, doors between garage and kitchen, hallways, bedrooms, etc while conditions are poor. Time of day will also help dictate where to search first. If you are doing a left or right hand search, fan out as much as possible as you go. You and your partner can easily cover 10'-12' off either wall as you go with this pattern and this should cover nearly half of that room as you search.

    Our secondary search is the time to worry about covering every inch of the house including the living room, great room, family room, dining room, etc..... Keep the primary to only a few minutes, if possible. Conditions will dictate how quickly and aggressively that you complete the primary.

    Good luck and hope this helps!

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    A 2 man crew with one guy keeping contact with the wall via tool or hand/foot and his partner at other his side with a tool because.... the only person with out a tool would be the nozzle man. can cover a large room in seconds. We have to remember that most of the houses we enter have furniture in it so the room is not going to be that big to search. If heavy smoke conditions you will be on hands and knees. I perfer the one knee method and with my strong leg sounding floor. We all know its hard as hell to look up when on all fours. And we wont leave a room untill its been searched even if it has a large opening to another room.

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    I thought I knew the answer to this until I read the posts, now I'm confused as well.

    Obviously a primary search is fast, as stated above the team should get in, search the key places, and get out.

    My confusion (and I think 27truck's) is the order in which the search is completed. Do you completely search the room your in before moving to the next, or do you follow the wall as it runs into other rooms and partially search a few rooms before making your way around and fully searching everything?

    Maybe an example will help?

    If I've got a simple house with two 20x20 rooms as below. Assume the team can search from the wall to the center of the room (10') on a pass.
    Code:
                                C                         
                +----------------------------+
                |               |            |
                |               |            |
    B           |      1        \     2      |   D
                |               |            |
                |               |            |
                +------/---------------------+
                                A
    For a Primary search, if the team enters room 1 from the A-side, and does a left hand search would they search:
    1A(left of door), 1B, 1C, 1D, 1A(right of door), backtrack to 1:2 door,
    2B (left of door), 2C, 2D, 2A, 2B(right of door), Done
    or
    1A(left of door), 1B, 1C, 1D (left of door), through 1:2 door,
    2B(left of door), 2C, 2D, 2A, 2B(right of door), through 2:1 door,
    1D(right of door), 1A(right of door), done.

    With scenario one room 1 is fully searched before the team moves to room 2. My problem there is that depending on the size/shape/complexity of the room backtracking to the door is time consuming. what if there is more than one door
    With the 2nd scenario room one is partially searched but no backtracking is involved. My concern is leaving a room half-searched (especially to the right of the doors).

    Sorry if I've taken 27truck's overanalization to the next level.
    Last edited by voyager9; 06-09-2006 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Fix Ascii Art

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    Your primary search should depend on the location of the fire. If you are searching on the fire floor, your search should begin closer to the seat of the fire, if at all possible. If you are in a 1 story ranch type house, and you begin your search in the living room as soon as you get in, but the fire is in one of the bedrooms, someone may be in a lot worse position then anyone you would find in the living room. As for searching the bathroom, it has to be done as quickly as possible. Spending too much time in there can cause you a lot of problems, because the window for bathrooms is usually significantly smaller, and is not very easy to get out of, if at all.
    If you are searching the floor above(dont want to get into an argument from certain people saying the floor above isnt searched without a line), your search should begin at the entrance to that floor, or where the most common exits would be. I personally am a lot more conscious about staying near a wall or window/door on the floor above, because obviously there is more of a chance of there being a hole in the floor due to fire conditions.
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    If I enter a house and I am in the living room which is usually big and I am doing a left hand search and my wall man comes to a hall with a bedroom door does he sit there and wait until the other man gets the whole entire living room searched or do you move in and start searching the rooms and get the far side of the living room (the part that was out of your reach on the first sweep) as you come back through?

    Sorry if this is confusing I am trying to explain it the best I can with out being able to draw a pic.

    Also I want you to know I understand how to search individual rooms (bedrooms,bathrooms,etc) living rooms usually have big openings that lead into the dining rooms/kitchens which could screw you up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 27Truck
    If I enter a house and I am in the living room which is usually big and I am doing a left hand search and my wall man comes to a hall with a bedroom door does he sit there and wait until the other man gets the whole entire living room searched or do you move in and start searching the rooms and get the far side of the living room (the part that was out of your reach on the first sweep) as you come back through?
    Sorry if this is confusing I am trying to explain it the best I can with out being able to draw a pic.

    Also I want you to know I understand how to search individual rooms (bedrooms,bathrooms,etc) living rooms usually have big openings that lead into the dining rooms/kitchens which could screw you up.
    It depends on where the fire is. But why cant he search the bedroom while you continue your search of the other room?
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    Voyager9:

    In regards to your scenario, I would not backtrack in your scenario because you are using valuable time by completing room 1. Finish the other room and you will eventually get back to your starting point (1A).

    If you know where the fire is going in, sure start there and work your way back, but I still would be searching as I made my way towards the fire.

    As to searching above the fire, get in and get out. If there is a report of victims on the second floor and I feel we can search it safely without a hoseline, then we do it. Common sense and experience will tell you whether you should be above the fire. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isnt'.

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    During your primary search on the fire floor, you should be searching for the location of the fire, and begin your search there (this doesnt mean you crawl over people you encounter enroute to that location) You locate the fire, confine it (close door if possible) ,inform the engine where to bring the line, and start searching from there. The reasons are many. The victims in the most danger are the ones located closest to the fire. We can prevent a more dangerous situation from developing if we confine the fire, at very least it buys time for any victims we havn't found yet. How can we search if we dont know exactly where, and to what extent the fire has grown?? Everyone always wants to say "calculate the risk", how can you calculate risk, if you dont have a clear picture as to the extent and control of the fire?

    Floor above....generally start at the entrance and work along a wall. If possible though, move quickly to the rooms directly above the fire...again, most serious life threat is here, and we need to check for fire extension asap at these locations, and call for a line if needed. Again "calculating the risk" with a clear picture of conditions on the floor above.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 06-09-2006 at 01:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a
    The text book answer is that you never get off of the wall. As long as you keep contact, you know you can reverse yourself out to the same door you went in and in essence always know where at least one exit is.

    Real life isn't always so black and white.
    Remember contact can include using a tool to maintain contact with the wall. In the example above with the 20'x20' room one person can search the entire room by using a 6' hook "anchored" in the door way to search the middle of the room. Six feet and my average 5'10" can allow me to search an 11'10" arc into the room. With a two man crew one could do the standard wall search and the other could search the middle and meet back at the entry point. This should allow you to search an area more quickly.

    Also keep in mind you are searching for something the size of a human. If you can fit your hand around it or easily throw it out of the way it is not what you are looking for.

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    RFD599 you answered my ? with the do not backtrack. With the 2 rooms go in and search as much of room 1 as you can and when you get to the door of room 2 go in and search all of room 2 and as long as you stay on the same wall you will hit the rest of room 1 on your way back to your starting point.

    So basically as long as you stay on the left or right wall and quickly work your way through the house the whole thing will be searched. With larger living rooms/dining rooms, half will be searched at the very begining and the other half that couldnt be reached will be searched on your way back to the starting point.

    am I understanding this correctly now?

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    27truck:

    Yes, that is how we do it so that we are as efficient as possible without wasting time.

    Thanks,

    rfd599
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    I agree with not backtracking, but I don't think you can be sure you've covered everything by sticking on either the left or right wall.

    In my house the entryway leads to the kitchen which leads to the living room, which leads to the entry way. By sticking on a wall only the outside of the "loop" is covered.

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    Only one person is on the wall, if you are doing a left hand search your left hand is on the wall and your partner is extended off of your right side doing as much of the middle as he can reach.

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    20 x 20 living room with tables, chairs, couches, tv's etc. You ain't gonna be able to do a 12' arc as you will run into too much. You got a room that big with that little visibility, vent it quick.

    And I'm on the side of No, you don't skip a room and come back later.
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    As long as 1 person stays on the wall with the same hand the whole place will be searched.

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    Hmmm...

    My attempt to articulate it:

    If I was confronted with a living room as the 1st room, with fire down the hallway in a bedroom...I'm not searchin the living room first.

    Continue through it and get down the hall as close to the fire as is safe. In my department's operation, that would be first priority on getting a handline down the hall, and the next crew could begin working a search back from the nozzle crew.

    Search the areas you are going through -- if it makes a good entrance for you, it probably was a good egress path for victims. If you find someone along the living room wall while trying to make the hall, you get them out.

    After you've cleared the rooms near the fire, then work back -- that's when you can check the kitchen, living room, etc.

    ==================

    Ok, first -- don't be a know it all back to your instructors. But as something to keep in the back of your head if you're ever in a position to influence your department tactics.

    Go to Fire Engineering and do a search on "Oriented Search"

    When I started in the fire service, our in-house and even state level training was at the point of "hold on to the boots of the guy in front of you."

    That's about as inefficient and as much of a cluster f*ck as there is. Been there, done that.

    The next generation of training was we're your at -- Ok, you can be side-by-side but still keep in contact with a tool. Not much more efficient, IMHO.

    The last training I took was almost the "Oriented Search" with a little less formality to it. In that training, I was ahead of the line -- even in a burn building it was pretty weird feeling for someone who started off "boot holding" to be alone search left (partner was searching right) -- with both of us between the fire and the hose team that was waiting for us to give them the all clear. To this day, for the level of training / experience, etc of my department I'm not willing to advocate for *us* to search ahead of the line -- I'll still focus on getting the line in operation first.

    Even if you keep in contact with each other -- what are, two lost guys instead of one?

    That's why I like the oriented -- keep one firefighter in a known, good location (like the doorway to the room) and send the other firefighter or hopefully 2 firefighters on their search. If you have two, they go in opposite directions. Keep in contact with shouts and such -- unless you're in a really huge room, you should at least have a clue what's being said even if it's not crystal clear. If you find someone, then re-form the team to try a rescue.

    The person, usually an officer, whose at the orientation point helps visually (light box) and audibly (shouts, banging, etc) keep the search crew oriented to their way out. Plus he's watching their backs so the crew doesn't get trapped -- if conditions in the hallway start to head south, he can call the crew back.

    Even for departments like mine that don't conduct aggressive searches often, and don't have a lot of experience I personally believe "oriented" searches with the guys breaking up into individuals to search a small area but remain oriented to an officer in a fixed position are a better way then sticking together. At least it leaves someone whose soul job it is to keep track of the searchers, and watch their backs -- rather than have 2 or 3 firefighters all without a lot of experience clambering along together and manage to get lost and panic among themselves.

    If a firefighter gets disoriented / in trouble in the room during an oriented search, then the officer can start talking them back to the orientation point "I'm over hear, come towards my voice, come towards the rhythm I'm tapping out with my tool..."

    "Large Area Searches" are another beast, with different tactics.
    Last edited by Dalmatian190; 06-09-2006 at 04:34 PM.

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    With a regular house you will search the whole thing by doing a right or left hand search correct?

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    First, I would follow whatever your local training and that of your crew is.

    If I was to search a house, my first priority (outside of something that stands out as unusual) is to get near the fire and work my way back.

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    Ok...

    Again to re-iterate the most important thing is to make sure you follow procedures that your department trains on and your crew is comfortable doing -- one of the easiest ways to have operations go south and people get hurt is having firefighters do unexpected things.

    (For example, in my area Postive Pressure Ventilation is common...if somebody suddenly started doing Vent-Enter-Search tactics on their own, they'll probably get burned and the incident will turn to ****)

    I'd also more then welcome more input on these scenarios as I'm certainly not the most experienced or well trained in searching on these boards.

    My answers are based on an oriented search system -- Officer stays at a known point relative to the room or two being searched, and firefighter(s) work independently to search rooms staying in communication with their officer. Like I said in an earlier post, I believe this is a safer and quicker way to operate in residential buildings...even for departments that don't get a lot of experience with true primary searches for life.

    I *would not* use a straight right-hand or left-hand for a primary search of a typical residential fire. I want to get to the most endangered area for occupants, and work towards the least.

    You can't do that with a right or left search. Now, that's fine to follow for an individual room you need to clear. Not a floor in most cases.

    A straight right / left search would be fine, and I'd actually recommend it, for a secondary search where you want to thoroughly search the building and make sure absolutely no areas where overlooked.


    Scenario #1:



    I'd expect a hoseline in the front door, and to the master bedroom to start knocking down the fire.

    A scenario like that, you're not going to start a search in the living room -- most likely any victims trying to escape will be found along the path the hose took. And even if someone is asleep on the couch, they're not in the most danger.

    You want to get down and clear the two bedrooms and the bathroom while a hose crew handles the fire.

    Then I'd clear the living room; and finally the kitchen.

    And eventually the garage and utility -- but usually those are pretty isolated from heat and smoke...so I certainly wouldn't go searching them and neglect the kitchen that is closer to fire.

    As you can see, we've really not followed a Left of Right handed search throughout the building.

    Now, individual rooms should have been searched in that systematic way.

    We've also systematically searched the house, but by focusing on the fire first.

    Scenario #2:



    Very similiar situation.

    Sometimes you just punt -- if I only had two guys, one would stay in the hall, and it's a coin flip whether you search Bedroom 3 or Bedroom 1 first. One stays in the hall to orient, the other clears the room.

    It may sound trite, but I learned to always "stick to the right" playing first person shooters, and I do the same by default, so I'd take the room on my right (B3) first, then do B1.

    If you have a three person crew, the decision is easier -- officer stays oriented in the hall, one firefighter takes each bedroom.

    Should a victim larger than a child be found, the team is pulled back together...heck, with short-handed crews of 2 or 3 each, there's a good chance you'll tap the officer on the hose team and grab him and maybe the backup man to help remove the victim.

    Once the bathrooms are clear, I'd clear the bathroom and Living Room, and finally the kitchen and dining room.

    Scenario #3:



    This is a two story dwelling, with a fire in the kitchen and your typical open stairwell.

    This is going to take a bit more discretion -- but if I was assigned to search this, I'm going to the 2nd story first.

    Heat and smoke rises. While people could be in the living room or dining room closer to the fire, I have confidence a kitchen fire can be confined by a single hoseline. As bad as conditions will be for someone trapped on the first floor, the second floor with nothing to stop the heat / smoke will be much worse. Get up there and clear it because that's where victims, if any, are in the deepest trouble.

    Hitting the top of the stairs, this may be a perfect application of "one way or the other" searches -- start by clearing the room to the right, and continue around counter-clockwise to clear the floor. Or to the left, just get up there and without hesitating go one way or the other 'cause thats how you've drilled to perform.

    =========================

    Are we making this all clear as mud?

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    Dal,
    Thanks for the info! It makes a lot of sense, search from more to least dangerous (or more to lease likely to find victems), but each room could be searched as either a left or right-hand search.

    Doesn't a lot of that hinge on knowing the layout ahead of time? With a residence it may not hard, they tend to be pretty "cookie cutter", but you never know what a homeowner has done to the inside.

    With the Oriented Search, if the officer is in the doorway between the kitchen and the hallway and the searcher finds another doorway (to a living room), do they both move up and search the living room? I know this is the original question rephrased, but it seems to apply.
    Last edited by voyager9; 06-09-2006 at 11:16 PM.

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    Hitting the top of the stairs, this may be a perfect application of "one way or the other" searches -- start by clearing the room to the right, and continue around counter-clockwise to clear the floor.
    In scenario #3, wouldn't you search B3 first if you can since it is directly above the fire and therefor the most untenable?

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