Firefighting, Truck Company

Use Open Sources of Intelligence as a Preplanning Aid

Issue 1 and Volume 168.

BY ERIC G. BACHMAN Gathering information for fire department preplanning is challenging. Limited time and staff and sometimes a lack of facility cooperation are key factors, and preplanning can be time-intensive. But as onerous a task as it is, applying information-gathering practices learned back when developing high school term papers can yield great benefits. Anyone who wants to learn more about a topic, a person, or a venue can seek, observe, and study open sources of information-i.e., those available to the public, such as a facility’s Web site. Open sources can yield a plethora of facility-specific information and basic intelligence. Before engaging on-site representatives to preplan the facility, fire department staff should do its homework by studying facility-, process-, or hazard-specific open sources. Preplanning using only open sources does not constitute comprehensive preparedness, but it is one part of a balanced preparedness program. There is no substitute for obtaining detailed…

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