Initial Reporting, Shared Understanding

Issue 4 and Volume 172.

  The first due in on a working fire in our American fire system has a set of responsibilities that vary locally given a wide variety of factors. Consistent among these expectations is that the first-arriving company officer or fire department member should provide his assessment of what the situation is as he sees it on arrival. This can be very different from the information provided by dispatch, or it can be a confirmation of that dispatched information. Confirming or providing a revision of the initial description is important in making sure our mental picture of what we are responding to matches what we are facing. Our emotional and physical responses are very much affected by what we anticipate we are facing, and achieving a verified understanding of the risks allows us greater control over these responses. The size-up or on-scene initial reports fulfill one of the most widely understood…

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