Firefighting

The Orientation Pause

Issue 5 and Volume 162.

By DAVID DeSTEFANO Lost and disoriented firefighters are among the most common reasons for FAST company deployment and a major factor in line-of-duty injuries and deaths. Maintaining a constant state of condition orientation and awareness of the surroundings will help prevent firefighters who are unsure of their location or that of the nearest emergency exit from having to call a Mayday. The orientation pause is designed to quickly and efficiently provide critical information on a regular basis to keep firefighters out of many Mayday scenarios. This is a feasible practice when conducting many interior firefighting tasks, but it is specifically designed for when you are conducting a primary search. When searching, members should periodically stop for a very brief period (approximately five to 10 seconds) to confirm their orientation and assess their condition and surroundings. The number of pauses necessary varies based on the firefighter and the task’s duration, but…

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