Searching Commercial Structures

Issue 5 and Volume 157.

By Mitch Brooks Commercial structures such as manufacturing complexes, home improvement warehouses, large grocery stores, and storage warehouses have moved into suburban and rural areas—they’re no longer just a “big city” problem. Fire departments of all sizes respond to these structures and are responsible for the suppression and search and rescue activities. Recently, I was asked by a neighboring fire department to put together a class about searching commercial structures. I tried to think of the training I had in this area, what worked and what didn’t work. My goal was to come up with a search class that would identify key differences between a residential search and a commercial structure search. I wanted a search technique that was quick, effective, easy to perform, realistic in light of today’s staffing levels, and as safe as possible. I came up with a search that is easy, requires four people to perform,…

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