The Art of Firefighter Search and Rescue

The Art of Firefighter Search and Rescue

One of the most critical and challenging aspects of firefighting is search and rescue operations. Firefighters often put their lives at risk to save others in emergency situations. At the Canadian Fire Rescue College (CFRC) in Alberta, we emphasize the importance of comprehensive firefighter training in the art of firefighter search and rescue. In this blog post, we will explore the key elements of this essential skill. Enroll in our Alberta firefighting academy today!

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Before initiating a search and rescue operation, firefighters must conduct a thorough size-up. This involves gathering information about the structure, determining the location and extent of the fire, and assessing potential hazards. A well-executed size-up helps firefighters develop an effective plan and make informed decisions during search and rescue operations.

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Primary Search

The primary search is the initial search for any trapped or endangered occupants within a structure. Firefighters work systematically, often in teams, to search every room and area, using tools such as thermal imaging cameras and sensitive listening devices to locate individuals in need of rescue.

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Secondary Search

Once the primary search is completed and the fire is under control, firefighters may conduct a secondary search. This thorough search ensures no occupants were overlooked during the primary search. Secondary searches are typically conducted in a more detailed and methodical manner.

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Techniques and Tools

Firefighters are trained in various search and rescue techniques and equipped with specialized tools to aid in their operations. These tools may include ropes, harnesses, ladders, and cutting tools to access and extract trapped individuals. Firefighter training in the proper use of these tools is crucial to ensure firefighter and victim safety.


At CFRC, we provide our firefighters with rigorous training in search and rescue techniques, emphasizing safety, effective communication, and teamwork. Our aim is to equip our firefighters with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct successful search and rescue operations while minimizing risks to themselves and the victims they rescue. To get started, reach out for enrollment information today!

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