FireRescue Magazine: Fireground Basic Size-Up for the First-Due Engine

The initial report must paint a picture for others

By Greg Sellers

One of the most stressful roles in the fire service is being an officer of the first-arriving fire company at a structure fire. Having to transmit an arrival report; assume command of the incident; and, possibly, must be physically involved in performing company-level tasks are the ingredients for sensory overload. As incident commander, the first-arriving company officer has every responsibility of the highest-ranking chief officer on the fire department at the most critical phase of an incident but often does not has the luxury of directing operations from a stationary command post and is not physically involved in performing any tasks. Additionally, a first-arriving company officer in command may have to take immediate action with incomplete information. The transmission of the initial arriving size-up report is critical and may have a strong influence on the overall outcome of the incident.

Arriving on scene, he must consider a multitude of factors and observations in a very compressed time frame. The initial report must “paint the picture” for the arriving companies. A clear, concise, and accurate report will give all responding companies and command officers a clear   understanding of the situation. Having a standard approach to initial scene size-up is paramount to the start of a successful operation.


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