While our first-due boundaries rarely change, the occupancies within often experience internal and external renovations. These days, building zones can switch from residential to commercial with little or no warning for the fire department. Reevaluating the target hazards in your first-due helps you keep pace with these changes. Plus while en route to these targets, you may find a few more you didn’t know existed previously. This week’s drill provides the framework to conduct your own review of target hazards in your first-due.
The drill’s objective is to update and standardize preplan information for target hazards in your first-due. Setup time is about 30 minutes if you use the “Quick Access Preplan” form included in Howard A. Chatterton’s Volunteer Training Drills-A Year of Weekly Drills or a form established by your jurisdiction. To prepare for the drill, create a list of target hazards and, depending on how many members are present and vehicles are available, select the most serious hazards in the greatest need of updating. To run the drill, assign members various target hazards and instruct them to update existing preplan forms and to create quick-plan forms.
Some additional considerations include the following:
- Ensure members understand the idea of a quick plan–a one-page summary of information critical to tactical decision making.
- Go through each part of the quick-plan form you choose to use.
- Instruct members to contact the owners of the buildings they are preplanning before they just start looking around. This is particularly important given our nation’s heightened awareness for terrorist activities. Have them show the owners the type of information they are trying to gather and explain why it is important.
- Pay careful attention to roof construction and support systems, as well as the location of fire department connections and the closest hydrant or water source.
Answer any questions about the type or format of information to be collected. The follow-up to this drill is a session in which each member or team preparing a preplan presents the findings.
It is also to stress how important such information is to the individual member. At any time, any member could suddenly find himself in the officer’s seat of the apparatus. The information contained on the quick plans will prove invaluable to seasoned officers as well as newly appointed officers and those who find themselves detailed to an officer position.
As with any other drill, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what to do differently the next time.
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