Personally, searching in front of the hoseline is the best job on the fireground. You have the greatest opportunity for tactical impact both in victim survivability and guided fire attack, while requiring the greatest need for self mastery. Perhaps no other job requires as much critical thinking with as much consequence.
In today’s climate of fire tactics, it is important to differentiate between being aggressive for aggression’s sake and exercising wisdom through aggression. The pendulum seems to constantly be swinging between the “safety culture” and those rebelling against it. Similar to the debate on running on fireground, there is a time for everything, but knowing WHY is where fireground wisdom prevails.
We don’t search in front of the line to prove a point. We do so to 1, maximize the search tempo for victims. This simply cannot happen effectively behind a hose line. 2, search for, locate, confine, and direct extinguishment of the fire. Depending on the involved building construction, this role can be missed or not needed. But find yourself in a deep building with an odd layout, and this is a critical task.
Be sure to LISTEN to the audio in this video. Shown from the searcher’s perspective, he is operating ahead of the line, locating the fire, providing searches, and directing the hoseline exactly to where the fire is located. This particular fire was in a building with limited access very remote from the location of the fire, both delaying the hoseline and necessitating direction.
Search in front, and let wisdom drive actions.