“Engine 5 on scene of a two-story wood-frame residence; nothing showing.”
There has been a lot of talk lately about the use of the term “nothing showing” and whether a first-arriving unit should use this term to describe the conditions they see. Fueling this discussion is research into fire behavior and smoke travel conducted by UL and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which indicates observations from the street may not accurately capture the severity of the incident. As a result of this research, several well-respected authorities on fireground operations have recommended a move away from this term. There is even talk by the IAFC and the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) to remove the term “nothing showing” from the vocabulary of the American fire service.
All of these people and groups make compelling arguments against using “nothing showing.” As is often the case, however, there are two sides to the discussion.