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I'm just back from a fire call not long ago. A fairly typical call. An alarm sounding at a home. No source of smoke. Homeowner has no idea why the alarm is going off. The 911 dispatcher instructs him to evacuate the residence while we're on the way. We get there, and he's out front. Though he's told dispatch that he's evacuated the house, as we're checking things out we come to find out that his wife and his young daughter are ASLEEP IN BED.
AYFKM? True, this turned out to be a faulty detector. It happens. But to tell the 911 operator (and as a result get that information relayed to us in route) that the home has been evacuated when in fact your little girl and your wife are asleep in bed --- I can't even imagine what kind of thought process leads to that.
When we go in to investigate a call like this we have all our gear on -- including an airpack in case we need to put the mask on quickly. We're carrying hand tools (like a pick-headed axe and a water extinguisher) in case we need to hack our way out, and we're looking for the source of the problem. We could open a closet door and find fire. We could find carbon monoxide. There are a host of things that could happen very quickly.
Suppose the fire is in the attic? If something were to happen while we were still en route, we'd get there thinking the house was evacuated. We'd be making decisions about safe entry to extinguish based on saving property, not lives. That's a big difference in terms of the risk we'll take and the priority of different aspects of what we do.
Once again: AYFKM?
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