Know you way out
When in the middle of a burning building, it is very easy to get disoriented and to loose your way. In the video put on by the Chicago Fire Department and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, one of the firefighters speaks of diving for a stairwell and feeling like the distance was unsurmountable (my words not his). He later looks at the distance he had covered (during overhaul) and found that it was only 15 feet. 15 feet, that’s barely 1/2 the distance across some houses, but with the smoke & flames & heat that 15 feet probably felt like 15 miles. If I am correct on this, in some cases, you go in on a line (okay that “line” might be a hose”). It is important that, if that is the case, you never leave the “line”.
I wrote earlier on Awareness. That applies here as well. Be aware of your position at all times (don’t rely on what you think you know or on something you saw on paper a month ago, a week ago, or even a day ago). Constantly keep an awareness of where you are at in the building. Be aware of all possible egresses (not just the one you came in on) so that if the “shit hits the fan” and the company leader (captain, battalion chief, whomever) calls for an evac you can find your way out – Of course in the process of getting your ass out of there, DON’T FORGET your buddy.
Remember KNOW your way out and Stay SAFE!