When firefighters enter the burning building they are trained in navigating procedures. Although there are variants to these navigational procedures in general, the firefighters stays in contact with a wall and uses it as a reference to stay orientated. Teams are then deployed on right and left hand walls to search within the building.
Along this route the team leader has to make mental landmarks on the way in, so he/she can recall them, to safely lead the team back out of the building again. Firefighters are trained in this manner because the dense smoke makes visibility practically impossible.
Firefighters can become disorientated in this harsh environment resulting in the team becoming lost within the building. The self contained breathing apparatus provides only a limited air supply. If the firefighters do not make it out in time their air supply will deplete with fatal results.
When firefighters do become lost in the building there is no way for the Incident Commander (located externally) to locate them, to allow an emergency team to rescue them. This is also known as situational awareness.
An emergency event may also require a response from law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) experts and military personnel. All of whom would benefit greatly from situational awareness and navigating capabilities.
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