Building sides (alpha/bravo/charlie/delta)

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polkaroo

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#1
I'm increasingly hearing comms both fire and Toronto ETF about Alpha / Bravo / Charlie / Delta sides... just yesterday at the Mississauga fire, "caution Charlie/Delta wall about to collapse"

Are those directions or sides of building in relation to the front?

Thanks!
 
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#2
I believe so, although in Ottawa they use "Side 1", "Side 2" etc. , numbered CW
from the front. Not sure what they do with complex building shapes, or round...

Dave
 
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#3
In general firefighting terms Alpha is the front of the building with Bravo being the left side, Charlie being the back, and Delta being the right side. A for the front and sides B C & D go clockwise around the building.

So the Charlie Delta corner would be the back right corner (when looking from the front of the building.)
 

ofd8001

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#7
Not every building is perfectly oriented to a direction. You could have the Alpha/Bravo corner pointing due North.

Also, from time to time, you get buildings with more than four sides (The Pentagon is a good example). Then you'd end up with a fifth side - Echo, but run out of directions (N,S,E or W).

Lastly, they don't issue us poor old firefighters compasses.
 

rdale

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#8
Why don't they use north, south, east and west side of the building ?
Last thing you want is a FF waking up at 4am, coming on scene of a major fire with trapped occupants in the middle of the night, and trying to figure out compass bearings.
 
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#10
A is usually the addressed street facing side of the building or the distinguishable front of the building, it is also where you are most likely to find command, but not always. other sectors are labeled for each exterior wall going clockwise. Generally speaking.
 
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#11
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#12
What if the FF saw someone running from a fire scene and tells an officer "...he ran from the bravo side..." officer replies, "...huh...from where ???...".
As a firefighter who's been doing this for longer than I care to think about, I have yet to have been approached by a police officer and been told, "hey, the fire's coming from the North-East corner of the building."

Calling street directions on a vehicle pursuit and identifying the sides of a building are completely different things. In my former life, I was a state police dispatcher, so I can relate to why the two different ways work for each of the respective agencies.

I take it you've never commanded a fireground incident?
 
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#13
Okay, so since the answer is a fairly long way up the page, let's just reiterate:

Clockwise starting from the front:

Alpha - front
Bravo - left
Charlie - rear
Delta - right

In my department we do the same as OntFF221's department, more sides, more letters.
 

mikewazowski

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#14
Since the original question has been answered by people within the same geographic area as the poster, there's no need for any further discussion.

If anybody wants to debate the Incident Command System as it applies to their areas, please take it to the appropriate forum.
 
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