• Consider the type of room.
• Use a minimum of two firefighters, one searching/one
• Move into the room toward the swing side of the door.
• Place your tool at the door or at an angle on the inside of the
wall opposite the swing side of the door.
• Under threatening fire conditions, control and close the
door to protect the search.
• Incorporate coordinated window ventilation with door
control in a room when appropriate.
• When using VEIS, control/close the door.
• When searching in bedrooms, sweep the bed, around it
along the floor, and underneath it. Search bunk beds at the
top bunk first, move down to the next bunk, and finally
under the bottom bunk at the floor. Do not move the bed or
mattress to search under it.
• The monitoring firefighter provides illumination with a flashlight at the door. In limited visibility, both firefighters must
maintain good voice contact.
• If no victims are found, close the door when leaving or when
needed to maintain or avoid altering the fire flow path.
• When performing VEIS in limited visibility or in threatening fire conditions, limit the search to one room; exit from
the window onto the ladder.
• If and when victims are found, immediately notify the incident commander (IC) while also requesting additional help
and communicating the intended path of travel to the exit
chosen for both firefighters and victims.
Many tactical and performance techniques should be
acquired and applied to searching for civilians in residential
structures. Through search experience and training, firefighters are always developing new and improved maneuvers to
help improve communication, accountability, and orientation
in near-zero visibility environments.
Based on live residential fire experience, focus searches on
high-life hazard areas while monitoring for fire conditions,
fire flow paths, and egress. Civilians (conscious and unconscious) will be found in the following areas within residential
• Just beyond the entry and the exit doors.
• Behind the swing side of doors.
• Along common passageways leading to rooms or
• In bedrooms, especially in the evening and early morning
• In bathrooms, where they seek protection, thinking that
water is available to protect them.
• In closet areas, especially children.
• In nursery rooms.
Firefighters should bring the appropriate search tools.
However, even when using them for probing and sweeping,
use a gloved hand to confirm the presence of a victim. Use
your hands, not the tools, to locate and find distressed civil-
( 2) Searching and staying low because of conditions require orientation to
a wall to help facilitate locating windows. Sweep high while holding the
halligan bar to the ground in the opposite hand. Reach wide and sweep
with the tool as you move forward. If you need to investigate something
you may have found, feel it with a gloved hand. Use hands to identify
victims, not tools. ( 3) Positioning your tool into the wall enables you to
extend your reach and investigate farther into areas. Remember, if at
any given point during a residential search you are driven off the wall of
orientation, you can apply this technique also off furniture to help with
orientation. ( 4) The position of the flathead ax when searching low. Sweep
the floor ahead and to the side as you go, keeping the handle forward
while the blade is positioned toward the floor.