This week I will discuss structure fires and some very basic safety procedures and considerations.
Please feel free to make this page information into an actual checksheet you can use on the fireground. Train all members what you expect and everyone will be involved in the safety process.
This is not a tactical worksheet to be used by an incident commander, but a secondary sheet to be used by a safety person after the fact.
The order of the activities can be adjusted or enhanced for your own departmental needs.
Establish staging area and operating area. ( Hot zone and cold zone)
Establish on scene accountability.
Control building utilities.
Complete survey of all sides of the building for hazard potential.
Establish the need for and set up collapse safety zones.
Determine if adequate lighting is available.
Establish and EMS presence on scene for suppression crews.
Establish a REHAB area for operating crews.
Establish refreshments and re-hydration capabilities.
Determine if there is adequate manpower to support current operations.
Determine if there is adequate water supply for current operations.
What can I do, when I spot an unsafe action?
Can the action continue safely as is and be corrected after the fact? Someone who does not have a helmet on in the middle of rescue, should continue the rescue without intervention and be corrected after the fact., etc..
If it is a building safety, collapse type hazard the following 10 progressive steps might be employed. These steps have been summarized from Collapse of Burning Buildings by Vincent Dunn.
1.) Acknowledge the report and take no further immediate action.
2.) Provide additional lighting to the area of concern.
3.) Assign an experienced officer to inspect the area of concern.
4.) Increase overall supervision in the area of concern.
5.) Assign an officer to monitor the defect to say if danger is increasing.
6.) Rope / Tape off the area.
7.) Assign a danger area and restrict access and enforce.
8.) Command for an orderly withdrawal from the area.
9.) Withdraw firefighting operations.
10.) Order a rapid emergency evacuation.
Conduct an accountability check at any and all points of these steps as necessary.