The stats come from several NFPA civilian fatality reports and cause of fire reports between 1984 and 2013. I basically combed through a coupled hundred pages and took out what I thought was interesting and tried to piece together some numbers to ponder. Some of the other information like the 9 out of 10 front doors swing towards the bedrooms came from me sitting at a table with a couple of guys who put 30+ years in searching at large urban depts. one the FDNY and the other San Francisco. Basically I did this to promote discussion with my own crew but since I’m an instructor and admin for the Brothers In Battle page I shared it with a larger audience. I found the information between the two sources NFPA and real world experience interesting and want to formulate my understanding from both. The biggest question I have regarding the tactics my dept. and many other use is are we doing what’s right to locate and remove victims in the fastest way possible. I think if you’ve done primary searches on fires they are often a cluster-fuck. One thing I gathered from this info is, should we be VESing every fire? It’s often the fastest and most accurate way of locating the bedrooms which is where a majority of victims are found who don’t get found behind the main entrance or the main arteries of the house. If we don’t find a Vic in the first room we VES, we simply continue our primary search via the hallway to the next room, (yes that is Freelancing to most people, I call it Freethinking and not trying to put a complex tactic into a box.) These numbers make me want to search a building from the inside out and the outside in. I want to consider all streams of experience and data and after many beers shared with guys who went to more fires than I’ll ever see, draw my own conclusions. This white board for me was just another step in that direction.
By. Brian Olsen