Safety Officer Drill: Defensive Operations

By Forest Reeder

For the incident safety officer, exterior operation duties have specific hazards that extend beyond establishing and protecting collapse zones. In conjunction with the incident commander and division, group, and company Officers, many injuries and fatalities can be avoided by enforcing specific safety procedures. The safety officer must proactively and quickly determine where the most hazardous operations are going to occur and work outward from that point. Consideration of the following major areas will help identify the safety officer duties during defensive firegrounds.

  • Collapse xones
  • Water supply and fire stream impact on structure
  • Exposure protection (consider offensive tactics in those areas)
  • Environmental hazards
  • Longterm rehab, rotation, and relief operations
  • Operations after fire is under control

Review these factors and hazards that occur during defensive fires and discuss roles and responsibilities of the safety officer.

Download this firefighter training drill as a PDF HERE.


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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