Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Evaluating the Human Factor on the Fireground

Issue 01 and Volume 166.

BY THOMAS DUNNE Consider the following scenarios: A moderate smoke condition is drifting through a public corridor in a suburban shopping mall. An employee informs the arriving firefighters that a dozen people have sought refuge in a small store about 20 feet from an exterior exit. The firefighters immediately go to work and consider the rescue possibilities. If they need to move these people to the exit, will they be able to move through the smoke? Meanwhile, across town, a company officer is operating at a fire in an apartment house. The fire is contained, but smoke spreads throughout the structure and the building fire alarm system is creating a loud noise. One of his members offers to disable the alarm system to eliminate the sound to make it easier for firefighters to communicate with each other. The officer pauses and considers his best course of action. In an adjoining…

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