Drills, Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Wayfinding in Zero Visibility

Issue 12 and Volume 166.

By TIM ROBINSON In their formative years, firefighters learn the necessary skills for day-to-day “wayfinding” as a slow, incremental, and almost innate process. Most of the information required for this mental mapping is gathered visually; you walk in and navigate through homes, buildings, and the sidewalks of your community without much thought. How you normally wayfind is in stark contrast to wayfinding when you enter a smoke-filled structure. You face a lack of vision while operating in the immediately dangerous to life or health environment of interior structural firefighting. In other words, you will lose or have severely hampered the one sense that you rely on most heavily for wayfinding. You have to begin the process of conscious thought and use other senses. Who else needs to rely on their other senses beyond vision? The newly blind. Draw some comparisons between how the newly blind learn to wayfind and how…

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