Firefighter Training Drill: Safety Officer: Time Management

Fire drill by Forest Reeder

The clock at an incident is a very important thing to monitor. The safety officer can perform several critical safety observations relating to time. Use of a dispatch based time tracking announcement may be helpful in making everyone at the incident more aware of their surroundings. Air management, length of time a fire has been burning, progress indicators inside a building can all be measured against an elapsed time clock. The major variable however is always the time the fire was burning before the fire department was notified. This is a major safety point that needs to be estimated and placed into some of the time related observations that a safety officer will make.

Considerations of the following reminders may help the incident safety officer track critical benchmarks during the fire. (This is just an example of some of the time management factors that should be evaluated. Each incident needs to be evaluated against risk vs reward and gain as compared to fire behavior and building construction.)

  • 10 minutes in: Incident action plan effectiveness and progress (still safe to operate in selected strategy)
  • 10-15 minutes: Crew air supply
  • 20 minutes: General incident stabilization, reinforced positions
  • 30 minutes: PAR of all members on scene
  • 40 minutes: Relief and rotation of first-due crews
  • 50 minutes: Rehab of members
  • 60 minutes and above: Fatigue indicators, incident stabilization, adequate reserves

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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