Hopefully we all know the answer to that question. Of course it is. As the old saying goes, "Train as if your life depends on it, because it does." Truer words have never been spoken. "Why is he bringing this up again?" you may be asking yourself. Here's the answer to your question.
Sunday morning my dept. conducted our monthly training. The training for that day was Mayday and RIT. During all of the evolutions I noticed the same mistake being made by everyone from the Chief to the lowest man. Standing up to do the search, and no physical contact with their partners.
I know this was a controlled atomosphere, it was in the station, but if we practice like this then this will be the standard for searches. This will eventually lead to our next LODD. None of us ever want to go through that.
Remember, when performing searches for victims or downed firefighters always carry some kind of tool and a flashlight. If your dept. has a thermal imager, this will be the most important tool to take in with you. It is very important to stay low and have constant contact with your partner, wheather it be physical, verbal, or with a rope tied to each firefighter. If at all possible all three. The most important is verbal. If my partner stops talking to me and I don't feel them back there, I assume the worst has happened. There will be some situations that require one firefighter to break off and do a search alone. This is where a rope is a good idea. If you have to search a small room, one firefighter will search while the other stays at the doorway. Constant verbal communication is a must in this situation.
Also remember, when doing a search, start off either going left or right and stay in that pattern. Follow a wall or, in a bigger building, the hoseline. Your hoseline is your lifeline if you become lost or disoriented. Always remember that the male end of the line points toward the fire and the female will take you back outside. If you do become lost or disoriented stay calm. If you panic you will use your air much faster. Take a deep breath and go to your happy place. Sounds kinda funny, I know, but this is what I tell my guys.
This is just a quick run down of search and rescue. If anyone else would like to add or critique be my guest. I would like to see some discussion on this, especially from the "big city" firefighters who also have other ways of doing this. This is just from a small rural volly.
... your first on scene, single story residential working fire, occupied? rescue needed? defensive or offensive? exposure issues? establish command, name the incident, get more resources coming, figure out where to stage equipment, and on and on and on... you prepared for this? ...