Monday, April 20, 2015


In his book, Fireground Strategies, 2nd Edition, by Anthony Avillo, is outlined an acronym for remembering all the pertinent information on a scene-size up.  The acronym is, “COAL WAS WEALTH”.  

"Coal" by Jeffrey Beall

Life Hazard

Auxiliary Systems
Street Conditions

Apparatus & Personnel

Though intended primarily for scene size- up this can be a valuable tool for pre-planning and understanding the hazards and needs on a facility or within a community.

Construction - what is the construction type?
Occupancy - what is the occupancy type?
Area - how big is the structure (square footage/stories/area)?
Life hazard - what danger to occupants and responders is posed by the structure?
Water - is there a dedicated water supply? where are the hydrants located?
Auxiliary systems - are fire sprinklers or fire alarm systems present and operational?
Street conditions - is the structure accessible or obstructed?
Weather - what impact potential does weather have on the structure or operations?
Exposures - what buildings or structures are nearby?
Apparatus & personnel - what is the required apparatus and number of personnel?
Location - what is the builidng address? how is located on the property?
Time - is time of day a factor for emergency response operations?
Hazards - what hazardous materials or processes are located in the building?

By asking these questions one can start to prepare for various emergencies that may occur, and become familiar with what types of operations actually occur within our areas of operation.