Firefighter Training Drill: Hazard Zones

Drill by Forest Reeder

The establishment of safety or operational zones at hazmat incidents and technical rescue events is a long-accepted practice. The fireground could also benefit from the safety zone concept as well.  There are many accepted definitions for who and what can enter each zone, many tying back to the Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) principle. At a structure fire, the interior of a structure is considered IDLH when a fire is uncontained, unventilated, and producing heat and smoke. At a defensive fire, working in the collapse zone could be considered IDLH also. Some departments may have designations for members who are allowed to enter certain types of hazard zones, including structure fires. It is not uncommon to find members who can only operate on the exterior of the structure.

Using these principles, determine which persons and activities could take place in each zone of operation. Additionally, determine what levels of PPE are required and what equipment is located within each zone. RIT staging locations, rehab, apparatus locations, safety monitoring in the zones should all be considered in your discussion. Review your department SOG’s for resource information. Review Roadway Safety company training drills for templates on establishing hazard zones in those areas as a supplement to this training session.

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Firefighter Training Drills by Forest ReederForest Reeder began his fire service career in 1979. He currently serves as Division Chief of Training & Safety for the Des Plaines (IL) Fire Department. He is a past recipient of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) prestigious George D. Post Instructor of the Year award and has been responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of in-service firefighter training activities as well as a full-service fire training academy program. Forest holds numerous Illinois fire service certifications and holds a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.


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