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First law enforcement officer on the fire scene

What should you do, and not do, when you arrive at a fire before the fire department

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Sometimes you are first to arrive at a structure fire. What you do in the first few minutes can dramatically affect the incident. Depending on what you do, you might make a bad situation much worse.

Don’t park in front of a fire hydrant. And don’t block the road or driveway. Don’t go inside. You don’t have the proper equipment. You don’t have training on fire behavior. You do not know enough about this dangerous enemy. The simple act of opening the door could have disastrous effects for anyone inside.

Try to determine if anyone is inside. Ask bystanders. Yell into the building. Listen for a response.

If it can be done safely, try to limit airflow. Close doors. Don’t break windows. The less air that the fire has, the slower it grows. And the greater chances of survival for anyone inside.

I know. Some of you might go in anyway. Even though you shouldn’t. If you do, when you enter a room, close the doors that are between you and the fire. This can help slow the fire down while you are in the room. Make sure that someone knows where you are. Let dispatch know what you are doing. Remember your entry point. And get out as soon as you can.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Cops often arrive first on the scene of a residential fire, playing a crucial role in keeping residents safe until the fire department can arrive and evacuate victims

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.