The Little Things in Buildings

Sometimes it’s the Little things than have the Greatest Impacts

As you assess and size-up buildings, observational skill set development progresses from the big picture (building features) to the details (architectural details) that include being able to identify, comprehend and apply what you are seeing as they relate to operational parameters (strategies, tactics, tasks) and operational practices (Fireground methodologies). Commanders, Company Officers AND Firefighters ALL require KSAs in assessment skill sets; since everyone should be monitoring the entire Fireground, the Building and Fire Behavior.

Bravo-Charlie Side View of Type III URM Masonry Building Photo CJ Naum,

The degree of KSA proficiencies derived from experience is what will set each group apart as to what each “sees” and processes AND communicates.

During one of my many field trips into the streets, this street view of the Bravo-Charlie side of this Type III building presented a very small detail that would have a very big effect on the Charlie side OPS.

A small steel column was added at some point after the adjacent building was removed (now empty lot).

Closer View of Charlie Wall from the Alley way Photo CJ Naum,


The resulting loss of the supporting adjacent building and the compromised masonry brick party wall is being supported by this column.

It’s compromise, failure or collapse is likely to bring a sizable or complete perimeter wall (PW) collapse.



Single Steel Support Column Photo CJ Naum,

The point here is this: the building profile scan (size-up and assessment) starts big and must rapidly distill down to he details, identifying those features, conditions or attributed that have the greatest  projected or actual severity, urgency or growth potential to the fireground operations.

And DON’T Forget to complete or delegate the completion of the Three-Sixty (360) …

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Chris Naum

Welcome to The authoratative and informational site that provides leading insights on fire service issues related to Building Construction, Command Risk Management and Firefighter Safety.

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