By Daniel P. Sheridan
Size-up is so crucial to what we do that its importance can never be overstated. Unfortunately, what happens at many fires is that firefighters and officers are in such a hurry to get to the fire that they miss this important step. When I was younger, I was just as guilty of this. One of my lieutenants, who was very sharp, used to catch me all the time. After an operation, he would ask me things like “What floor was the fire on?” or “How many stories were in the building?” I never seemed to have the right answer. My logic at the time was that when I get to the fire floor, I’ll know it. This sort of thinking has come back to bite me a few times.
- Control the firefighters on the fire floor.
- Communications Link between the IC and the engine officer.
- Keep track of firefighters going Above the fire.
- Serve as a Water resource officer.
I dashed into the adjoining apartment to get a better idea of the situation. I could see that the fire was still coming out the same windows as from when we got there. The engine officer was still insisting that the fire was knocked down. By the time I got back to the front door to the apartment, the fire was now in the living room that I had been in just 30 seconds prior, and the fire was now impinging on the hallway, cutting off egress for the engine that was in the kitchen. (The apartment was in the shape of the letter “F”; see diagram below.) I managed to get under the fire and made it into the kitchen. I turned the nozzle firefighter around, and we started making our way into the living room, bathroom, and back bedroom.
DANIEL SHERIDAN is a 24-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York and a covering battalion chief in the First Division. He is a national instructor II and a member of the FDNY IMT. Sheridan founded Mutual Aid Americas, which works with fire departments in Latin America.