Education

What Does CHALETS Stands For and How to Perform Step by Step

Acronym CHALETS stands for CASUALTIES,HAZARDS, ACCESS ROUTES, LOCATION(S), EMERGENCY SERVICES (PRESENT AND REQUIRED), SAFETY (HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF), AND TYPE OF INCIDENT. CHALETS as a acronym helps facilitate good communication among firefighters during emergencies, ensuring all appropriate precautions are taken for safety and ease of operations.

Most importantly, fire departments can ensure that no firefighter gets injured by warning everyone about hazards in the area before entering into an unknown environment. It can be used for any accident, building collapse, or emergency event.

When you get notified of an emergency scene, this acronym makes it easy to initiate your team’s safety protocols and better prepare for the task at hand. This acronym is mostly related to structural fires but can also be used for other emergencies such as plane crashes, large vehicle accidents, etc.

CASUALTIES NUMBER, TYPE, SEVERITY:

Casualties are all people who were either injured or killed during the incident. The severity of injuries usually relates directly to how many casualties there were—the more people that are hurt, the worse the situation must be. It is always necessary to find out if anyone was killed because that could change how you operate at the scene. Most likely, firefighters won’t be able to go inside a collapsing building if people are still trapped alive in there. It’s always necessary to know the number and type of casualties (injured versus trapped versus deceased).

HAZARDS:

Hazards include things like hazardous materials (like asbestos and lead), potential explosions and fire, structural hazards, etc. It is very important to determine these hazards before entering any building because the consequences can be devastating if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Some fire incidents involving heavy smoke or high heat will cause hazmat crews (people who handle hazardous environments) to get involved. Structural collapse incidents usually create more serious hazards than other types of emergencies, so we always need information about this before we start operating on the scene.

ACCESS ROUTES

Are paths firefighters can take to enter and exit a building safely during an emergency operation. Make sure these access routes are not blocked by any hazard such as debris, fire, water, etc. Once you determine your access routes, it’s time to clear them for use so that no firefighter is trapped inside the building due to some obstruction. It would help if you keet in mind that some hazards might prevent us from entering certain areas, so you need all the information before approaching any dangers. If this concerns trenches or ditches, remember: never go down if there isn’t someone on top of them! Even if the area looks safe, don’t forget to have someone check the area before you enter it. Access routes are especially important if your team is operating on a partially collapsed building because then there will be more than one way to get into (and out of) the building.

LOCATION(S):

Location(s) describes where an emergency occurs; usually, this means a city, street, and cross street. For example: “4500 N 5th St” or “Taco Bell at 830 South W Street.” You should always try to get as much information about the location as possible; it’s even better if the caller can give you some useful details like burning, how many people are trapped inside, etc. If there are multiple locations involved in an incident, firefighters will need to know about them. For example, if a plane crashes into an apartment building and then catches on fire—responders need to know that there are two locations involved in this incident.

EMERGENCY SERVICES:

Emergency services are one of the most important pieces of information you might need during any emergency—simply because it tells us who is already present at the scene and who is going to respond after we arrive. It’s always a good idea to ask dispatch what types of units have been dispatched so that your team can get more information about what you’re up against at the scene.

For example: “Do we have HazMat teams on-site?” or “What kind of support do we have?” or “How many engine companies are there?”

TYPE OF INCIDENT:

Sometimes, it’s helpful if the dispatcher tells your team what type of emergency occurs at the scene. They can do this by telling you that, for example, it’s a fire, rescue, collapse, or hazardous materials incident. It is very important to know how big the emergency is so firefighters can use their resources efficiently and get all information about hazards in time to do their jobs safely. There are also types of incidents requiring more than one department, so knowing who else is on the scene helps with resource management and safety measures.

Following are the Steps to be followed while performing CHALETS:

Other departments like the police can use these steps because they have a lot of things in common with firefighting operations. Still, it’s their responsibility to know the laws and policies, so they don’t cause problems for firefighters at scenes.

STEP 1:

Get ALL information about hazards present at or near the scene so you can plan your actions and make sure your team members will stay safe.

STEP 2:

Identify yourself to the Incident Commander (IC) or Command Post (CP), so you can get all required information about what is happening at or near the scene.

STEP 3:

A. Know how many people are on each shift and who they are, where they work, etc.(You should know this because we have some rotation, so if there were no injuries on previous shifts, you might get injured on yours.)

B. Read instructions on the extinguisher before using it; also, don’t use any equipment you haven’t been trained to use.

C. Keep a clear space around you and your team members at all times, especially when using any equipment that produces smoke or fire.

D. Don’t enter a burning building without having a mask on – always have your SCBA on before going inside!

E. Know the location of the closest assembly area where we can regroup if there were multiple incidents or if one incident becomes larger than expected.

F. Always be aware of what’s happening around you, not only at the scene but outside too – make sure you know everything about weather conditions and always prepare for them (it might affect our safety).

G. Do not approach “hot” areas until they’re declared “cold” by the IC.

H. Maintain a cool head and help your team member as much as possible (but don’t neglect yourself).

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