For example, a fire that occurs along a highway will require different tools and techniques as compared to a fire that occurs in a residential area. Upon getting to the scene of the incident, the commanding officers normally size up the scene of the incident so as to come up with an action plan (Smoke, 2005, p.323).
All other crew members are expected to follow the instructions of the commanding officer. The most crucial element of a size up structure includes: the construction type, occupancy, apparatus, life, hazards, water supply, auxiliary appliances, staging, weather, exposures, area, location, time and hazardous materials. In a size up exercise, the strategic priorities that assist the commanding officer on the ground include; rescueing, exposure, confinement, extinguishing, overhaul, ventilating and salvaging.
The size up exercise is crucial as it enables the fire officials to anticipate the emergencies as they occur. It also enables them to evaluate the hose lines required, the location of the incident and identifying the potential fire victims. The size up exercise must be able to evaluate and examine the incident in terms of the safety to the personnel and public, the impact on the environment and the exposure to threats (Localizado, 2004, p.227).