Blog: #WednesdayWisdom from FDNY Pro Dr. Tremaine SaylesNovember 9, 2016
S1, E11 Firefighter Assist and Search Teams with FDNY Firefighter Anthony Caterino and FDNY Deputy Chief Jay JonasNovember 17, 2016
When conducting the primary search of the fire area, after checking behind the door, try to penetrate to the seat of the fire to confine it. Start your primary search from that point.
Other Random Thoughts on Search
- A primary search is more effective if a good size-up is performed. Where is the fire? Are there any fire escapes? What are the avenues of fire travel? What time of day is it? Is a search rope needed? What is the occupancy?
- Count on coming back to the same point where you started your search. Heading toward a secondary means of egress can be hazardous. Windows leading to fire escapes can be blocked or locked with gates.
- If conducting a primary search in an area other than that of the fire apartment, start your search immediately upon entering the apartment. Primary searches are rapid, thorough and systematic. Do not start upsetting the natural balance of the room by moving furniture around. You may conceal the victim and/or remove the natural means of egress from the apartment.
- When performing a search, if you cannot see your feet, you have no business standing on them. Get on your hands and knees. If there are people trapped, they will be on the floor or on a piece of furniture.
- When going above the fire, always find an area of refuge on each floor in the event the hallway becomes untenable.
- Understand fire-related human behavior. While it may be unusual for some trapped occupants to panic, generally and logically, they are trying to make their way to an exit. That is why so many trapped occupants are found near a door or a fire escape window. Some trapped occupants may make their way toward the bathroom or the kitchen. The reason is because there is water there. They are afraid of being burned.
- If you become disoriented in an apartment, look for clues. If you find a radiator, you probably are on an exterior wall.
- If you find an unconscious person on a bed, make a thorough check to see if there are two or more people in the bed.
To read more on Search and operations at 23 Rutgers Street, Manhattan on December 27, 1995 see the 2nd/2016 edition of WNYF by Deputy Chief John A. (Jay) Jonas.