National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: Salvage Near-Miss

Fireground functions can be performed sequentially or simultaneously, depending on a variety of factors. The pattern mismatch that occurs when the factors are not considered or the conditions are misinterpreted, can lead to situations where firefighters both inexperienced and experienced, find themselves scrambling for their lives. An excerpt from this week's featured report:

"A firefighter was assigned to apply salvage covers to furniture on the first floor. The fire was located in the basement and was not under control. This assignment was given without knowledge of conditions in the basement and given to an inexperienced crew not equipped with SCBA. When the door opened to the basement, it caused visibility to change and disoriented the crew. The crew separated trying to find a window or door..."

Fireground command and management involve monitoring a number of moving parts to bring incidents under control. In order for the fireground commander to make the best decisions about the when/where resources they need to be committed and have accurate condition reports. The capability of resources on scene is also a factor to consider. Inexperienced firefighters require strong supervision during firefighting to ensure they do not get put in harm's way. They rarely refuse orders because of a desire to be engaged and not knowing any better. The best informed incident commander knows the qualifications of those on the scene and strives to ensure that only the most competent members engage in threatening situations. Once you have reviewed the entire account (CLICK HERE), consider the following:

1. What mechanism does your department have in place to identify personnel qualifications on the incident scene? (e.g., helmet colors, rules of engagement, etc.)
2. Does your department train inexperienced members in how to refuse an order that requires them to perform a task that exceeds their qualifications?
3. When does your department begin salvage operations in relation to fire attack?
4. Does your department conduct air monitoring before permitting members to operate in a structure without SCBA?
5. List five hazards that exist when operating above a fire.

Have a near miss in an offensive/defensive operation? Submit a report to www.firefighternearmiss.com today to get everyone out of the building safely.

Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.

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