Study of Fire Service Residential Home Size-Up and Search & Rescue Operations

Research endeavor to examine size-up and search & rescue tactics on the residential fire ground.

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute(FSRI) is leading a three-year Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Research and Development Project examining fireground scene size-up measures and search & rescue operations as part of a coordinated fire attack on a residential structure.

The purpose of this study is to improve firefighter safety and victim survivability by:

  1. increasing the knowledge of the fire service on size-up components reinforced by research so they can operate safer and more efficiently to target searches;
  2. improving situational awareness by linking the visual cues gained during initial size-up to search and rescue operations and the ongoing size-up during the residential fire
  3. examining the impact of different search and rescue tactics on occupant survivability such as interior search, vent-enter-isolate-search (VEIS), and different isolation and removal options.

A proper size-up has been shown to result in favorable outcomes during response to structure fires. This study will build on the experience of the fire service by investigating common components of size-up such as reading smoke (volume, velocity, density, and color) and examining the ventilation profile (what changes when openings are made or taken away). It is paramount to determine the scientific based elements of size-up that the fire service can use to best understand the fire dynamics to make critical tactical choices such as hoseline placement and search locations.

Previous fire service tactics research on suppression and ventilation indicated several tactical considerations that could increase the effectiveness of search and rescue operations by better understanding the impacts of timing, door position, entry point, victim removal route, removal technique and suppression. These tactical considerations need to be further examined and developed with the features of the old and new residential housing stock in mind.

Key measurements of this project will address critical needs by the fire service so that more lives, both civilians and firefighters, can be saved through smarter and more efficient fireground operations. Many traumatic line of duty deaths and injuries that occur in residential homes involve search and rescue operations, either by an attack crew advancing a hoseline or a dedicated search team. This study aims to reduce those losses and increase the efficiency of all searches that occur at every residential home fire across the country every day.

The research will also include collaboration with the fire service via a technical panel and the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute to develop data on the potential impact of specific combustion products on civilians and firefighters. A comprehensive fire service outreach program will make sure that this science meets the street. This research addresses several “High Priority Recommendations” identified in the 2015 National Fire Service Research Agenda and will also support the NFPA 1700 Guide for Structural Fire Fightingcurrently under development.

 

Fast Facts

  • The outcomes of this project will be used to improve firefighting tactics, fireground safety, fire dynamics knowledge, and firefighter standard operating procedures.
  • Key measurements of this project will address critical needs by the fire service so that more lives, both civilians and firefighters, can be saved through smarter and more efficient fireground operations.
  • This project is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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