Fire scenes can be extremely hazardous, with even minor fires having numerous potential dangers. However, depending on the degree and timing of fire scene participation, all of these dangers can either be eliminated or protected against with the most practical methods. The article covers the individuals who are typically on the scene of a fire (during and post), the hazards that may be encountered at the fire scene and the precautions individuals should always take.
Types of hazards typically encountered include structural instability, loose building components, openings in or weakened floors, slippery surfaces, poor visibility and jumbled interior contents, natural gas or propane, electrical systems, drug labs, chemicals, airborne contaminants, communicable diseases, and fatigue.
Precautions one should always take are: don’t assume anything; if the structure has been damaged, have it inspected by a qualified person; ensure you have adequate lighting; do not enter a badly damaged building if you are tired or sick; avoid entering a badly damaged structure alone, particularly in remote or isolated areas and; wear appropriate attire.
Safety on a fire scene is similar to safety anywhere else. Use common sense, don’t rush, be knowledgeable about your environment and consistently follow proven safety procedures.