A few weeks ago some of our guys had the opportunity to attend a class by Chief John Coleman that was titled “Incident Command for the Street Smart Fire Officer.” One of the topics Chief Coleman talked about, was the “Oriented Method of Search.” This method can be used to perform a big box search.There are several different methods of performing a big box search. One method, that Chief Coleman discussed, was using a 2 ½ hand line. We performed this drill and it worked well. We did the drill three times and had two successful finds of the “victim.”
To perform the drill you will need a large area. We used our apparatus bay and it worked just fine. A water source, enough 2 ½ to reach from one end of the structure to the other, smoke trainers or something to “black out” your face pieces, full PPE with SCBA, tools, a TIC and a “Rescue Randy” type figure.
A team of 3 is ideal. You will need two personnel to perform the search and one to be the “oriented” man. Start by giving your crew a size up and assignment. They will drag the 2 ½ uncharged into the structure until they come to a wall. Personnel will call for the line to be charged. Once at the wall and with a charged line, personnel will turn around and face the way they came from. The oriented man will stay on the line and the other two will perform the search from each side of the line.
The search personnel must maintain a forward stance and stay facing the direction of the exit. Moving in a sideways motion, move 2-3 paces and then do a sweep of the area. Move 2-3 more and sweep. Keep doing this until you come to a wall. When at a wall move 2-3 paces forward, then repeat the 2-3 paces sideways and sweep till you reach the hose and the oriented man. Perform this the same way keeping your orientation towards the entry point till you either reach the other end or find the victim. Maintaining communications between crew members and maintaining a forward orientation is paramount to performing this type of search.
We found that it is best to put the “oriented” man with the TIC, as the second person on the line going in so that he can scan with the TIC as you are going along. Also the Firefighter that is 3rd, along with assisting with the advancing of the line, can sweep and do a basic search as they go. Following is a video of one of our crews as they performed this drill.
I would like to thank all the guys on my crew for bringing this training to the table and performing it as a real world scenario. If anyone has a different way of doing this type of search or sees anything that can be added to this, please let me know. Pass it along and perform the drill. Let us know how it goes. Train hard and stay safe.