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BY JAMES MASONOn arrival at a residential structure fire, many problems must be solved within a very short time. Sizing up conditions, identifying hazards, and communicating with responding companies often must be done in the first few critical minutes. Although some size-up factors (i.e., fire conditions) can be observed only during an actual fire, many other factors can be analyzed during prefire planning. This is an excellent way to get all members to "read" a fire building in the same way as well as practice sizing up factors pertaining to their specific engine or truck function. Although formalized prefire plans are usually written for large commercial, institutional, and residential...

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