I am in a small rural volunteer department. More often than not because of luck or misfortune I end up being the officer in charge on the first arriving engine. Our department does not have SOP's regarding size ups, therefore we really do not have uniform size ups from our members on the various calls we run.
Anyone have a sound system to use say, from arrival on scene until the arrival of the first few supporting apparatus? (or the first 10 minutes, whichever is faster!)
We do what we can and strive to do what we do better, and luckily we have mediums like this to help us do so!
Do a Windshield Survey and Short Report. This includes smoke showing, fire showing, or nothing showing, then briefly describe what you have and what you need to Dispatch and the other incoming units.
Choose an Attack Mode. Your options are Defensive, Offensive, or Transitional. Communicate this to incoming units as well.
Do a 360-degree size-up unless the structure is huge, and delegate it if you can't do it yourself. When walking around, look for obvious fire extnesion, utility locations, additional victims, evidence of forced entry/arson, access, and anything else that might be pertinent.
Either establish or pass Command. If you can make a difference in the outcome by immediate participation, then help with the attack. If not, establish Command and identify the Command Post location. Either way, ensure that Accountability is established prior to anyone entering the Hazard Zone.
For your firefighting tactics, use the RECEO-VS system.
Rescue/Life Safety - rescue of civilian victims is the highest priority if there are any, and your firefighters' life safety is paramount, regardless.
Exposures - the second priority is protecting exposures, both internal and external.
Confinement - Keep the fire to the room, area, or occupancy of origin whenever possible.
Extinguishment - Put the fire out
Overhaul - Put the fire dead, cold out
These are in the order that they should be addressed.
The V and S are for;
Ventilation - remove heat, smoke, and gases from the fire area.
Salvage - save any property that can be saved by protecting them from fire, smoke, and fire control damage
The V and S steps can be implemented at any time during the process. They are not a sequence like the RECEO part of the system.
Water Supply - if the fire is bigger than a room and contents, you'll need more water than a single engine can carry.
This is nowhere near complete, but it will get you started.
In addition to everything Ben noted, the Initial radio report should include, commercial (type construction), strip mall, garage, etc. or residential (typically wood frame), single, double or multiple family. Smoke/fire showing from where? 1st floor, charlie/delta corner, etc.
If homeowner meets you at the curb and can confirm the building evacuated you want to include that.
Charles, I would go with everything that Ben and Jack just said. They have pretty much covered all the bases. You could also do the same thing on an MVA. # of vehicles involved, exact location, number of patients, types of injuries. You could also include if any utilities have been involved, i.e. a pole clipped by a vehicle and now have lines down.
Each situation will be different but if you can get as much pertinant info to your incomming apparatus as you can, the better prepared they will be upon arrival. Plus if you pass off comand, the next IC has a good idea of what he's comming into.
For fires, I would also add the CDVV analysis of the smoke from Dave Dotson's Reading Smoke series.
Color - generally, the darker the smoke, the hotter the fire. Especially look for very dark smoke - Chief Dotson calls it Black Fire. It is not survivable for unprotected occupants, and it is a spark away from ignition.
Density - generally, the thicker the smoke, the more fuel that is burning. Light smoke generally means a small or smouldering fire, while heavier smoke means a better ventilated, larger fire.
Volume - this goes hand in hand with density. More smoke ususally equals a bigger fire.
Velocity - hotter smoke pushes out more rapidly and rises more quickly.
Also look for small amounts of smoke "breathing" in and out at the eaves, gable vents, and the edges of doors and windows. That indicates a possible pre-backdraft/smoke explosion condition.
All of the othe rposts are correct. Our 1st report is called the layout report. The 1 st engine stopps at the water source (hydrant or static system) and relays to the next engine where they are laying out from. The next report is the on scene report. This is a brief descritpion of what you see. An example would be, "Engine 8 on the scece I have a 3 story woodframe apartment with smoke showing from the 2nd fllor alpha side and fire showing from a window on the Charlie/David corner. Then I do a lap of the structure to confirm the correct location of the fire and to make sure the fire is not in the lower floor from the fire that showed on the second fllor and to see if it has extended to any upper floor or attic. Any additional info is passed along and the I'll start the initial assignments to the incoming units. At this time I'll either pass or hold command. If my crew is going interior I'll Usually pass command. I advise the incoming units that I'm passing command andI'll be advancing a 1 3/4" line to the 2nd floor with a crew of three. This paints a picture of what is going on and where we will be going.
A lot of great stuff has already been written here but I have a couple of things to add.
For rural operations the identification of a water supply is key. We could have a hydrant right in front of the structure, or the closest source might be a drafting site five miles away. If there is fire showing on arrival it is wise to commit an incoming pumper to the tanker fill site. Otherwise everyone tends to head right to the fire.
Expanding on my last sentence - consider designating a staging area for incoming apparatus so that you can commit each piece properly. I have had everything show up at once on scene and it can be challenging to sort things out. We have automatic mutual aid agreements with surrounding departments and staging becomes even more important.
Finally, in reading many NIOSH firefighter fatality reports, I have noticed there have been many times a 360 degree walk-around sizeup was never done. This is probably the most important thing to be done to identify hazards, type of building construction, utilities and - most importantly - the actual seat of the fire.
Everything above with emphasis on the last. Water Supply! If we can't secure water we can't fight the fire most of the time. It's rare we get to a room and contents before it has extended well beyond the capabilities of our on-board tanks. We roll an engine and a full tender to the scene but already have a second tender on the way to a draft site if we're staffed well. Then it's shuttle shuttle shuttle. I am also on a small rural POC/VOL department in a pretty remote area. We've had to drag Type 4 pumps through the snow across the ice on frozen lakes sometimes. Therefore we keep an Otter Sled, pump, and a power-auger during the winter months on our main tender. We don't have auto-mutual aid so during size-up additional resources take a priority if needed. Our closest mutual is 20mi from our department so it'll be a while before they're there to help.
Sounds like everyone has already gave you an excellent foundation from which to start from. You will find if you implement these things that the fire ground will operate alot smoother good luck and stay safe.
WOW!!! I thought winter in Indiana sucked. Our closest mutual aid dept. is about 6-7 miles away from our station. They could be closer or further away depending on where the call is. But if we have a bad winter, it could take them an extra 10-15 minutes to get to us. That seems like forever when we have a fire that's gotten a good head start on us. I would hate to even try to imagine what it's like for you guys.
Your initial size-up, upon arrival should be quick, concise, and discriptive without being too lengthly.
Identify YOU (call sign, company designation, etc.) as arriving on location (announce that location) and be simple:
2 story frame with fire showing from division 2.
You DON'T nned to get into all the specifics yet. YOU can make ( and should make) better mental notes as with smoke conditions, etc. From this point, if you need to request any additional companies, now is the time.
Begin your secondary size-up...your walk around. THIS may help you determine the extent of the fire, and the possible occupancy, being unoccupied, or unknown. One of the most widely misued terms in our business is "fully involved'
If fire isn't blowing out of every windwo, door, on every division...it aint fully involved!
Secondary may include extent of involvement, and initial actions beingg taken, such as ...first-due engine is stretching a line through Alpha side front door.
You SHOULD announce your attack mode, especially if you, the first-in officer is nvolved in the initial fire attack. BUT the terminology MUST be accepted, understood, and part of your departments operating policy. Do NOT attempt to throw new lingo during an actual job!
All the other acronyms and such are good tools for your mental picture and tactics and strategies, however there is little reason to cram it all on the air.