Blue Flower

My primary search series continues in the "Firefighting" magazine and this time, in February issue, we get to the point where we begin discussing specific algorithms that you can use for small area search. In particular, I describe a "Door" and "Room" algorithms and explain why "Room", while being more intuitive (and popular among the firefighters, even if they don't suspect that they are actually using this algorithm) is actually a horrible choice in zero visibility and unknown layout.

If you remember, in the previous issue of the series I have presented a number of typical mistakes that firefighters make when attempting to search small areas. This time I continue this conversation by presenting a choice that a search team faces what they find a door in the compartment they are searching. The choice is binary: your team can either attempt to finish searching the room or go through that door into the new room right away.

In this article I explain how most firefighters who have not been trained under my search system tend to favor finishing the room. Indeed, our intuition tells us to do just that: avoid leaving unexplored areas behind. Because of that this is what most teams would tend to do before they get trained by me. This is what is called "Room" algorithm in my search system, because it favors rooms over the doors. Sadly, this popular choice leads to serious complications and/or disorientation potential in zero visibility and unknown layout.

The article then continues with a presentation of much simpler and more reliable alternative, the "Door" algorithm. In this simple method, all you have to do is to go through the first door that your team finds in the room on the side that corresponds to your overall direction of the search (left- or right-hand, depending on what you chose before the entry). It is literally an equivalent of following the wall and never separating from it, which is what we should be doing anyway in small area search. 

If you can't read Russian, that's fine, you can find a similar discussion of this topic on this website in English here.

However, if you do understand Russian, you can either download and save a copy of the article in PDF format or you can view it right here on this page.

Download a copy of the article in PDF format