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More on equipMent tether - A tether can consist of either a nylon strap or line (i.e.,


5/16”) of any length between 10 and 50 feet, and can be used for multiple purposes. Depending on the environment, number of search personnel, area to be searched and other similar conditions, it can be advantageous to tether multiple personnel during search operations. The combination of hot, smoky environments, lack of visibility, multiple personnel, demand- ing time constraints, and a lack of familiarity with search operations can provide the necessary ingredients for search personnel becoming separat- ed, lost, or not being able to conduct an effective search operation. A nylon strap or line can be effectively utilized to provide the ability to search larger areas and maintain positive contact between search personnel and/ or the main search line during a difficult or hazardous search operation. A tether can also be effectively used to maintain control of an inward open- ing door (when opening into a hot, contaminated environment), maintain contact with a door when searching behind or around the general area behind a door, and other similar general purpose operations. An effective tether can be made from a piece of 12-foot nylon 1-inch tubular webbing that can also be attached together at the ends (carabiners, Velcro, etc) to result in a loop of 10-feet to any desired length. Lights - Each team member should have at least one good


flashlight (and two is recommended), and the brighter the better. Many firefighters have one flashlight that is carried by hand and one flashlight that is attached to a helmet. A light allows personnel to see and be seen (by victims or other personnel inside the structure). In atmospheres with lim- ited visibility, a light (strobe, quartz, etc) should be placed at the bottom and side of the entrance used by search personnel. This light can aid in identification (and act as a quick reference point) to locate an exit opening from the interior of a building. Knife - When using straps or lines for contact between person-


nel or to expand the area being searched, the availability of a knife may be necessary to cut an entangled line or strap. Wire Cutters - Due to the widespread use of dropped or hung


ceilings, particularly in commercial buildings, wire cutters can be the only handy tool that can free a firefighter that inadvertently becomes entangled in these wires. Chalk - Can be used to mark doors to indicate the rooms that


are being searched, or have been searched. SeArCh StrAtegieS Search operations are comprised of two phases that can be ac-


complished simultaneously or separately as follows:


primary phase This phase focuses on speed and minimal time limitations to


accomplish a quick search of the general area to be searched. This can be accomplished by an attack team advancing a hose line or by a designated search team. The emphasis is on a rapid advance into the area(s) to be searched in conjunction with a quick traverse around the perimeter and/or quick probing in areas where victims might be found.


April 2012 • 27


Secondary phase The secondary phase focuses on the thorough and complete


examination of area(s) to be searched, which often includes the entire fire structure and may also include the exterior perimeter of a building. The emphasis in this search is the ability to guarantee there are no victims in the fire structure (or at the incident). If possible, do not use primary search personnel to conduct a secondary search. It is important to use a differ- ent perspective for this search operation as the primary team will tend to search the same areas again. In all cases, the completion of a primary or secondary search must be reported to the incident commander in a timely manner.


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