Residential Search Drill Part I

For this drill you will need

  1. Full turnout gear w/o SCBA
  2. Room setup like a bedroom
  3. Hand tools
  4. Department SOP’s for search

Remember to cover the basics

  1. Check the door for heat before opening
  2. when you enter the room check behind the door. Even though it may not stop there could be†a decent pocket for a small person or child
  3. Pick a pattern left or right
  4. Use tool to keep you oriented to wall depending on the search you are doing
  5. Ensure that you are actually finding the windows and doors
  6. Communicate size of room. No point in crowding into a small room

We will provide different illustrations of various techniques. If you are looking for books or videos Fire Engineering and Fire Department Training Network



  • This is a great list of basic fire tips and safety. Thank you for sharing this and making people more knowledgeable about fire and fire safety.

  • BH says:

    Full turnout gear w/o SCBA

    Train like you fight? No?

  • firestudent1 says:

    BH yes you are correct. unfortunatley I got very busy and part 2 has not been posted. We in the fire service often push a new firefighter or an under performing crew to fast, and do not ensure they understand the Basic principles of what the task is we are seeking to accomplish. Just remember we don’t start building a house by putting the roof on first. I thank you for your participation and look forard to your contributions to the site. Stay Safe

  • EMAGUY says:

    I beleive this is an excellent training method for use at the company level. A few reasons I think this works well:

    1. The room type (bedroom) is found in a vast majority of the community structures.
    2. A rooom similar to the necessary size is commonly available in most firehouses.
    3. For emergencies in these structures at night, the bedroom is a “go to” place for quick entry and search.

    A few things I’ve thought about since first reading this thread:
    1. Children’s rooms

    a. check behind doors, both entry and closet, for small children. Small spaces can hold or hide small bodies.
    b. check the bed! Kids hide in spaces where he/she feels safe. In general, the bed is a safe place for a child. Remove the ten decorative pillows from the bed (new fangled decorations!) and make sure a small child isn’t in the pile of pillows. Check under the blanket on the bed to find a hidden child (NOTE: blankets can insulate body heat. A quick glance with a TIC may not indicate a small child is there.) Hands prove it!
    c. check the space created by the bed frame and wall. Perfect small spot for a child to drop into and not be noticed.
    d. check under the bed.
    e. check in the closet.

    2. Adults
    a. check near/behind doors and at windows. Many adults collapse into exit areas as he/she attempts to escape the hazardous area.
    b. check the bed and areas near the bed.
    c. check the closet. I have had one fatality that went unnoticed and was located after the FD left the scene. The woman hid in the closet; neighbors and family told us she was not home and was with other family members. Found out not to be true!

    BH, good point about training like we fight; however, this portion of the drill is a beginning step. Additional information will follow. I think firestudent1 is following with the old adage: Crawl, walk, run!

  • RickyBobby says:

    EMAGUY, great point about “hands on” searching. Again, back to the basics. I remember back in the early days of using the TIC, guys would get so focused on using it that they would forget they had a hose with them and not put out the fire! I’ll say that was the beginning of the learning curve.

    BH, I agree, train as we fight. However, this is step one in the process. Like EMAGUY points out, I’m sure there are more steps to come. I would encourage the company, or trainers, to go over the basics. Keep the scenario well lit, no SCBA’s (at first), go through it together and point things out like we’re discussing here (doors, kids, beds, etc.). Then next time you train, you can add more to the scenario once you’ve drilled the basics. A lot of the time, before we pack up, our next step would be to “smoke up” our mask without wearing our SCBA. We would don our face piece after the trainers put waxed paper inside to simulate lower visibility, but yet not a total blackout condition. Then maybe on the third training session, you could pack up, burn the tower, and complete the scenario.

    Just my thoughts. Stay safe everyone, and have a Merry Christmas!

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at

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