I recently facilitated presentation on fireground situation awareness and decision making where we were discussing under what conditions firefighters engage via interior operations versus staying outside the structure. It may be an easier discussion to have when there is not a victim inside though there are many firefighters getting injured and killed inside structures that have no victims.
In this particular discussion, I set up a scenario where there was a victim inside. Then I explained that every fire affords a “window of opportunity” where the victim is savable. Once that window is closed, firefighter efforts may result in a body removal, but not a victim rescue. As much as there is a window of opportunity for victims, there is also be a window of survivability for the would-be rescuers.
If you had a victim inside, under what conditions would attempt a rescue? Under what conditions would you not? Share your tips and guidelines for knowing when the “window of opportunity” for a savable victim has closed and the “window of survivability” for the rescuers has closed. To go... or not to go? That is the question.
Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO, MICP