Article 13: EASTERN CAPE UMBRELLA FPA: Acronym LACES

The acronym “LACES” was developed with the goal to provide a simple way to help firefighters remember some key elements to survival.

LACES stands for “Lookouts”, “Awareness”, “Communications”, “Escape Routes” and “Safety Zones”.

L = Lookout

The Lookout is the eyes of the firefighter, especially of the Crew Boss, Fire Controller or Section Fire Boss. Lookouts should be in a position from where they can see the fire line, the fire staff and the crews working the fire. The lookout should be able to recognize and anticipate situations and must report changes immediately.

A = Awareness

All firefighters, including the lookouts, should be aware of the action plan. Everyone involved should also be aware of the fire weather, fire behaviour, the activities around them, the terrain, etc.

C = Communications

The fire officer, crew leaders and lookouts should always be able to communicate. This may be by direct radio contact, or through a lookout or other relay point. Ensure good communications at all times.

E = Escape Routes

Have at least two planned routes of escape. If your primary route is cut off, know what you are going to do. Every person on the fire line must know the plan.

S = Safety Zones

Safety zones are places (known to every person on the fire line) of refuge, places you can be assured of your safety. Their size is dictated by the fuel, terrain, weather conditions and worst-case fire behaviour.

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