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Fireground Search Operations

Cues to orient yourself while searching a residential  structure

Identify your location in the structure based on contents.

Type of Furniture

– Beds = Bedrooms
– Beds with lower mattress or a ladder can mean a bunk bed 
– Tables = Can mean a kitchen or dining room
– Bathtubs or Showers = bathrooms
– Toilets = bathrooms
– Couches= living or rec. rooms

Flooring Material

– Tile can indicate bathrooms, kitchen or entrance area
– Seams can lead to walls
– Change in flooring coverings can indicate you are moving into another room

Door Hinges

– If you find a door hinge while interior it will most likely lead into closet, garage or a level change such as
basement or cellar

Furnishings

– Radiators = A window close by
– Refrigerators and stove = kitchen
– Entertainment center = living or rec. room
– Wash machine or Dryer= laundry room

Don’t move furniture unless you absolutely have to!

Practical:

Have a room or are set up with furniture or obstacles and have your firefighter’s search blindfolded. Once they have completed the search and exited the area, have them remove their mask .They then draw a diagram of what they think they just searched. Take them back into the area with the diagram to compare.

This drill with help your crews prepares their mind with staying oriented to their surroundings!