Data from the first 2,000 recorded rescues (you read that right) has been collected, calculated, and collated for all you nerds.
Data Drop....Visibility at Victim v Total Recorded Rescues.
From the data below, we can see that 72% of recorded rescues happened in low and zero visibility. The data also shows that, not surprisingly, the survival rate decreases as visibility decreases (High Viz – 84%, Moderate Viz – 76%, Low Viz – 60%, and Zero Viz – 47%), so we need to make sure our training environment mirrors this apparent experiential truth. With the visual density and volume of smoke produced from most synthetic materials, operating in low and zero visibility is our reality. Like in all things, the more we learn about something, the more questions arise.
72% of our victims have been located in low to zero visibility. We should all hold ourselves, our crews and our departments accountable in these conditions and keep on the ground in these elements.
Being low in low/zero visibility is where we can see/hear the farthest and feel for our victims the best. If a firefighter is walking during a low/zero viz search, grab them and tell them to get down and then ask “can you see better now?” Correcting this during an active fire will take a few seconds but will pay dividends for a career.
Tripoding is great in larger open areas, hallways, areas where there may be stairs that lead down and when fire is below but in hoarder conditions and in close quarters such as bedrooms it really just isn’t always feasible and crawling or alike may be warranted.
What’s best for our victims is not always what is comfortable to us but when we get over our ego, we can make our comfort level match that of what is best for our civilians.