Top 5 Safety Hazards

A lot of our ideas for this subject are derived from the Surrey BC Fire Department

The span of control for command is 3-7 people with an optimum of five.  The same can be said as well about information.  When a company officer is looking or scanning a preplan for information, both  en route and on scene, it is difficult to separate out important information.  To helps us separate out important information several jurisdictions have adopted a “Top 5” Safety Hazards philosophy.  What this means is that we define up to 5 hazards that firefighters need to worry about when responding to an emergency at a certain occupancy.  These hazards are generally defined.  For example is an occupancy has a confined space in a certain place, we would note prominently on the preplan that there is a confined space.

Getting Started

Every jurisdiction has their own and unique hazards that they deal with.  For example, if your community has a lot of occupancies with bow string truss construction, that would be definitely a hazard that would be high on a mental checklist to watch out for.  Below is a sample list of the hazards that can be included on preplans.  Also included is a sample of how to symbolize the information on top of a preplan.  It can be done graphically or by text.

  • Abandoned
  • Biological Hazards
  • Bowstring Truss
  • Chemical Hazards
  • Close Exposures
  • Collapse Likely
  • Common Attics
  • Confined Spaces
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Emergency Generator
  • Evacuation Assistance Req
  • Fall Hazards
  • General Life Safety
  • Hazardous Entry
  • Hazardous People
  • High Fire Load
  • High Occ. Numbers
  • High Storage
  • I Truss Floor Joists
  • Metal Truss
  • No Roof Operations
  • Open Shafts
  • Over/Next Water
  • Overhead Wires
  • Poison Hazards
  • Poor Access
  • Poor Engine Access
  • Poor Ladder Access
  • Poor Radio Reception
  • Poor Water Supply
  • Radioactive Hazards
  • Soft/Hazardous Soils
  • Storage
  • Strong Magnetic Fields
  • Wood Truss
  • Cell Phone Antenna


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