Searching Beds

From the earliest days of our firefighter training we are taught to search buildings. Searching is a fundamental fire ground task that requires skill, practice, and understanding. One critical component of searching a residential building is searching beds. When I am searching and come to a bed I search it the same way every time. Doing it the same way every time ensures consistency so nothing gets missed.

When I find a bed I set my tool down on the ground so I can use both hands to search the bed. Get on top of the bed and touch all four corners. If you touch all four corners of the bed there is very little chance you have not touched any other portion of the bed while moving from one corner to another. Be sure to also check for any victims that may have fallen between the bed and the wall. After searching the entire bed extend your arm above your head to check for a bunk bed.

The top bunk of a bunk bed is a commonly overlooked area while searching. Extending your arm above your head is the best way to check for the presence of a top bunk. Other cues that may indicate a bunk bed include the vertical posts to support the top bunk and a low bottom bed. The vertical posts are not a sure fire way to locate a bunk bed since some bunk beds do not have them.

When searching a residential building and you are in a room that you believe to be bedroom the lack of a bed should come as a surprise. Loft beds are also common in order to maximize the space. The presence of a ladder in any residential building should also be an indicator of an area that needs further examination while searching. (See photos below)

After searching the bed, the space between the bed and the wall, and checking for a top bunk; be sure to check under the bed. Lay flat on the floor and sweep under the bed with your leg.

If you find a victim in a bed remove the victim to the floor and re-search the bed. You may find an adult victim first due to their size and then find a child victim that had been previously concealed by the adult. Once a victim is located in any circumstance a radio transmission is warranted. Transmit who you are, where you are, how many victims you have located and if you need assistance to remove the victim from the building.

1 Comment

  • A Peck says:

    This is an amazing post, very informative and interesting. You just alerted me to a few things about safety that I've not thought of before, and maybe have even taken for granted. Thank you. This has been most helpful.

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We specialize in the basic fundamentals of firefighting. While we believe that hazardous materials, terrorism, emergency medical and the various rescue disciplines are essential parts of the Fire Service, we also think that the basic fundamentals of firefighting have been overlooked in recent years. We are here to help turn that trend in the other direction.

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