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Aurnhammer, Tom. The Fatal Fire: What To Do Before the Investigators Arrive. Fire Command. May 1987. p. 30.

Abstract: This article provides procedures for incident commanders to follow before the arrival of the investigation team. The priorities of an incident commander at a fatal fire scene are the same as any fire scene: preservation of life, fire extinguishment, and preservation of evidence.

Upon arrival, all victims should have their vital signs examined. If it is questionable whether a victim is alive, life support procedures should begin immediately. Firefighters charged with caring for victims should remember the victim's location, position, and appearance. Fire fighters should move deceased victims if their bodies are in close proximity to the fire and at risk for further damage. If the body is not in danger of being damaged, it should be left alone.

After the fire has been extinguished, the incident commander should focus his attention to securing the fire scene. The building and surrounding areas should be sealed off until the investigation team arrives. If overhaul procedures are necessary, they should be performed with care and effort not to destroy evidence. Firefighters and the incident commander should remain at the scene to be interviewed by the investigators.

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