Blue Flower

In order to start searching much better, I will ask you to change the way you look at primary search as a procedure.

Primary search is surely about “making a grab”. It is also about getting inside of a burning building often before anyone is fighting the fire. But above all it is about navigation inside of that building, in other words being able to get from point A to point B in the safest way possible and then safely get back out. If you can’t navigate, you won’t find anyone to “grab” and, chances are, won’t make it out alive yourself. Yes, knowing how to package and extract the victims is vital, but before it can happen, you need to get to your victims first and then you need to know where to go to bring them (and yourself) to safety.

If you don’t think navigation in primary search is hard, try doing this in zero visibility and unknown layout. You should be doing this in training often, by the way, at least once a week, preferably every other day. It is an eye-opener (no pun intended) for many, many very experienced firefighters from the busiest fire departments in the world.

So I declare that successful, efficient and safe navigation solves around 90% of all your problems in primary search. When you start thinking about primary search as a navigation task, you start looking for better navigation methods and stop considering “just jumping in to see what happens because, c’mon, the house is on fire”.

Next: Two core requirements