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Tips for The Line Officer

There are many things that go through the first-arriving unit officer’s head when he/she arrive on the scene of a working fire. The safety of the crew must be number one. Getting as much information as you can will improve your situational awareness. Once you gain good intelligence it must passed to all incoming units.

A good size-up relayed over radio gives responding units and incident commanders a mental picture of what you are seeing from the front of your apparatus. We call this the Initial On Scene Report (IOSR). Having a bullet list committed to memory, or better yet part of a policy, ensures you give the same manner of report every time. Information relayed can consist of, but it not limited to, the following:

  • Side of the building you are on
  • Size of the building (height and length)
  • Type of occupancy
  • What conditions are evident (fire, smoke, or nothing)
  • Any other information this is pertinent

Remember the above is what you are seeing from the front seat.

Once you get out of the apparatus you must continue your size-up. In my department we call this additional information a Situation Update Report (SUR). This is the information you gain from your 360 as well as the following:

  • Your command choice (Tactical or Stationary)
  • The status of occupants
  • Who is the 2-Out
  • Your Incident Action Plan (Offensive or Defensive)
  • What is the point of entry to start operations
  • The number of people entering the structure (including yourself)
  • Any additional resources needed

The above is done as you are moving towards the structure.

The ISOR should take 10 to 12 seconds and the SUR should take 15 to 20 seconds. All this information lets incoming units know what you have and what you are going to do.

If you want to know more about this and other information about command come to FDIC 2019 and sit in my HOT class, Command Under Fire, on Monday, April 8, 2019.