Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

The Last 500 Rescues: Just The Numbers

Firefighter Rescue Survey

By Nick Ledin

The goal of Firefighter Rescue Survey (FirefighterRescueSurvey.com or check us out on Facebook) is to gather as much information as possible from actual rescues in the hopes of making us all more effective and efficient on our firegrounds. By collecting data from firefighters who have been in the exact situation that most of us spend a career preparing for, we hope to provide firefighters from around the globe a better chance to save a life. These data are from the first 500 rescues since the survey was expanded and updated (rescues 892 – 1391). The data below differs from the previous posted data in that they either from new questions, new answers, or from new analysis.

ALSO

Search and Rescue by the Numbers

Podcast: In Their Own Words: Nick Ledin on Firefighter Search and Rescue

Before we get started though, here are a couple of rules for interpreting these data:

  • We need to understand the entire context as any one specific data set is limited and has qualifications.
  • We have been, and will continue to fine-tune the survey questions and answers in an attempt to make these data as accurate, well-defined, objective, and digestible as possible.
  • Correlation does not always equal causation.
  • We can’t always get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’.
  • More analysis is always needed.
  • Take this data, and make it work for your department and your citizens.
  • Lastly, if you have removed a civilian from a fire, please fill out a survey for each rescue at FirefighterRescueSurvey.com.

Were There Reports of a Victim v Total Recorded Rescues:

Total Report of Vics – 68% (342/500)

No Report at All – 11% (57/500)

No Report of Vics – 18% (89/500)

Report of Everyone is Out – 2% (12/500)

* Report of Everyone is Out (by Building Resident – 8)

Were There Reports of a Victim v Survival Rate:

Total Report of Vics – 62% (210/340)

No Report at All – 68% (39/57)

No Report of Vics – 61% (54/89)

Report of Everyone is Out – 67% (8/12)

* Report of Everyone is Out (by Building Resident – 75% [6/8])

Who Made the Statement About Victims Inside v Total Recorded Rescues:

Resident of Fire Building – 52% (178/342)

Police – 7% (24/342)

Neighbor – 23% (79/342)

Bystander – 7% (25/342)

Unknown/Other  – 11% (36/342)

Who Made the Statement About Victims Inside v Survival Rate:

Resident of fire building – 66% (116/177)

Police – 79% (19/24)

Neighbor – 43% (34/79)

Bystander – 56% (14/25)

Unknown/Other  – 77% (27/35)

Fire Location (Room) v Total Recorded Rescues:

Bedroom – 21% (104/497)

Bathroom – 1% (4/497)

Kitchen – 23% (112/497)

Family Room – 18% (88/497)

Garage – 2% (12/497)

Attic – 2% (10/497)

Exterior – 2% (8/497)

Multiple Rooms – 32% (159/497)

Fire Location (Room) v Survival Rate:

Bedroom – 64% (67/104)

Bathroom – 75% (3/4)

Kitchen – 72% (80/111)

Family Room – 64% (56/88)

Garage – 75% (9/12)

Attic – 70% (7/10)

Exterior – 88% (7/8)

Multiple Rooms – 51% (80/158)

Initial Mode of Operation v Total Recorded Rescues:

Offensive – 92% (449/488)

Defensive – 8% (39/488)

Initial Mode of Operation v Survival Rate:

Offensive – 65% (291/449)

Defensive – 38% (15/39)

Conditions at Victim Location v Total Recorded Rescues:

Fire – 3% (13/495)

Fire and Smoke – 25% (125/495)

Smoke – 69% (343/495)

No Fire or Smoke – 3% (14/495)

Conditions at Victim Location v Survival Rate:

Fire – 15% (2/13)

Fire and Smoke – 40% (50/124)

Smoke – 71% (245/343)

No Fire or Smoke – 79% (11/14)

Did the Structure Appear Vacant or Abandoned v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 4% (21/500)

No – 96% (479/500)

Did the Structure Appear Vacant or Abandoned v Survival Rate:

Yes – 60% (12/20)

No – 63% (299/478)

Did the Structure Have Working Smoke Alarms v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 38% (190/499)

No – 30% (152/499)

Unknown – 31% (157/499)

Did the structure have working smoke alarms v Survival Rate:

Yes – 76% (144/189)

No – 56% (85/152)

Unknown – 53% (83/157)

Was the Victim Found Behind a Closed Door/Isolated From Fire v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 20% (100/498)

No – 80% (398/498)

Was the Victim Found Behind a Closed Door/Isolated From Fire v Survival Rate:

Yes – 84% (84/100)

No – 57% (228/397)

Location of Victim (Within Compartment) v Total Recorded Rescues:

On Floor Within 6′ of an Exterior Door – 14% (69/501)

On Floor Directly Beneath a Window – 8% (41/501)

Closet – 1% (7/501)

In Crib – 1% (4/501)

On Bed – 13% (67/501)

Under Bed – 1% (5/501)

Couch/Sofa/Chair – 4% (22/501)

Floor – 38% (191/501)

Standing – 11% (53/501)

Bath Tub/Shower – 2% (8/501)

Other – 7% (34/501)

* All Floor Categories (Non-Bed/Crib/Chair/Standing/Other) – 71% (355/501)

Location of Victim (Within Compartment) v Survival Rate:

On Floor Within 6′ of an Exterior Door – 46% (32/69)

On Floor Directly Beneath a Window – 66% (27/41)

Closet – 71% (5/7)

In Crib – 75% (3/4)

On Bed – 56% (37/66)

Under Bed – 60% (3/5)

Couch/Sofa/Chair – 91% (20/22)

Floor – 55% (105/191)

Standing – 96% (51/53)

Bath Tub/Shower – 50% (4/8)

Other – 76% (26/34)

* All Floor Categories (Non-Bed/Crib/Chair/Standing/Other) – 55% (176/321)

Did Crew That Located the Victim Physically Have a Hoseline With Them v Total Recorded Rescues:

Located by Primary Search Crew:

Yes – 9% (25/285)

No – 91% (260/285)

Located by All Crews:

Yes – 22% (110/494)

No – 78% (384/494)

Did Crew That Located the Victim Physically Have a Hoseline With Them v Survival Rate:

Located by Primary Search Crew:

Yes – 56% (14/25)

No – 67% (173/260)

Located by All Crews:

Yes – 55% (61/110)

No – 65% (249/384)

Number of Firefighters Assigned to Search Before Victim Was Located v Total Recorded Rescues:

0 – 11% (57/500)

1 – 8% (41/500)

2 – 37% (187/500)

3 – 17% (85/500)

4 – 13% (66/500)

5 – 5% (27/500)

>5 – 7% (37/500)

Number of Firefighters Assigned to Search Before Victim Was Located v Survival Rate:

0 – 65% (37/57)

1 – 80% (33/41)

2 – 64% (119/187)

3 – 67% (57/85)

4 – 55% (36/66)

5 – 67% (18/27)

>5 – 36% (13/36)

Was a Thermal Imaging Camera Used to Assist Search v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 36% (179/499)

No – 64% (320/499)

Was a Thermal Imaging Camera Used to Assist Search v Survival Rate:

Yes – 49% (88/178)

No – 70% (225/320)

Did Victim Exit Under Their Own Power v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 16% (78/500)

No – 84% (422/500)

Did Victim Exit Under Their Own Power v Survival Rate:

Yes – 100% (78/78)

No – 56% (235/421)

How Was Victim Removed v Total Recorded Rescues:

Drag or Carry (Dirty Drag) – 79% (367/463)

Drag of Carry with webbing (or similar) – 6% (26/463)

Ground Ladder – 14% (64/463)

Aerial Ladder – 1% (6/463)

How Was Victim Removed v Survival Rate:

Drag or Carry (Dirty Drag) – 59% (215/367)

Drag of Carry with webbing (or similar) – 62% (16/26)

Ground Ladder – 87% (55/63)

Aerial Ladder – 100% (6/6)

Path of Removal v Total Recorded Rescues:

Door – 59% (286/484)

Window – 22% (108/484)

Down or Up interior stairs  – 18% (88/484)

Shelter in Place – <1% (2/484)

Path of Removal v Survival Rate:

Door – 62% (177/286)

Window – 72% (77/107)

Down or Up interior stairs – 64% (56/88)

Shelter in Place – 0% (0/2)

Was a Cyanokit Used v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 9% (42/486)

No – 91% (444/486)

Was a Cyanokit Used v Survival Rate:

Yes – 67% (28/42)

No – 63% (277/443)

Was CPR Performed on Victim v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 31% (155/496)

No – 69% (341/496)

Was CPR Performed on Victim v Survival Rate:

Yes – 32% (49/154)

No – 76% (260/341)

Was Victim Conscious Upon Removal From Structure v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes – 37% (183/499)

No – 63% (316/499)

Was Victim Conscious Upon Removal From Structure v Survival Rate:

Yes – 97% (178/183)

No – 43% (135/315)

Victim Burns v Total Recorded Rescues:

None – 46% (225/488)

Mild – 27% (133/488)

Severe – 27% (130/488)

Victim Burns v Survival Rate:

None – 80% (180/225)

Mild – 54% (72/133)

Severe – 42% (55/130)

Did Victim Suffer Smoke Inhalation v Total Recorded Rescues:

Yes  – 93% (458/492)

No – 7% (34/492)

Did Victim Suffer Smoke Inhalation v Survival Rate:

Yes  – 60% (277/458)

No – 91% (31/34)

Total Recorded Rescues v Survival Rate:

Alive – 63% (313/500)

Deceased – 37% (187/500)

NICK LEDIN is a firefighter paramedic with the Eau Claire (WI) Fire Department, assigned to Truck 9/Medic 9. Ledin is a 13-year fire service veteran and is an instructor with Chippewa Valley Technical College and Central Lakes College. He’s a contributor to “Firefighter Rescue Survey,” an FDIC International instructor, and the former president of the Northland F.O.O.L.S. He’s a technical committee member for NFPA 1700, was a former technical panel member for UL FSRI’s PPA/PPV study, and was a co-host of International Perspective on Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio. He is an affiliate member of FireNuggets Minnesota/Wisconsin.