Survivability profiling: another perspective

Issue 2 and Volume 164.

The fire service is constantly finding new buzzwords and phrases to describe what we do and how we should do it. One of the newest, trendiest, phrases around is “victim survivability profiling” (VSP). The phrase was coined by Fire Department of New York Captain Stephen Marsar, who presented his view of the topic in multiple articles.,2The difficulty with buzzwords and phrases is they attempt to distill complicated ideas into nugget-sized bits of information. The core idea of VSP is that firefighters have to conduct a thorough size-up of a structure fire and an analysis to determine the likelihood of a victim’s potential to be rescued. This is a perfectly reasonable idea. We should be conducting a dynamic, ongoing size-up regardless of our position on the fireground. If we hope to maintain situational awareness, we must constantly observe conditions. We must use our judgment to decide what we are willing to…

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