In this video we get to see arrival from initial fire department units at the scene of the house fire. Due to the video it is hard to tell what exactly is on fire. At first I thought it was the entire D side (or 4 side for those of you who do not do the ABCD thing) but then as I looked at the position of the fire and wear the stream was directed It almost appeared to be either an attached, or detached garage, or possibly even just an addition.
Either way the D/4 side of the house is on fire. We see 2 engine companies arrive (one was a telesquirt) and begin to stretch lines. They have their masks on and all there PPE and they appear ready to work, which is a good thing. However do you notice something missing? Do you notice some tactics missing?
First and foremost the guys off the telesquirt bring ZERO tools with them. Sure it appears that man power may be light but even if they are assisting with the first line at some point some tools are going to be needed, best to bring them along and stage them instead of leaving them on the rig.
Second I have no problem with giving an advanced fire a shot from the outside prior to making entry, it’s a good tactic to slow down fire spread, and give possible victims a greater chance of survival. However when we do it we want to make sure that we bleed the line first, get our pattern straight, and do not use a fog stream. When you introduce a fog stream into this situation you WILL push fire back into the occupancy, thus making the entire point of why you attacked from the exterior in the first place mute. Also unless the structure, or fire is keeping us out of the building we need to transition this attack to the interior once we have made our initial hit.
Third and this goes along with some of the second comment, why did they not go inside? Even if it was an attached or detached garage its obvious that this fire has spread into the occupant space. This appears to be an occupied home, and given no occupant accountability we have an obligation to search, and to make an interior attack to cut the fire off from spreading to the rest of the structure. There is no reason that a 3 person crew can not force the front door (well if the brought tools with them), stretch the line interior and hold the fire in check while a search is done. Once you perform the search then you can transition back to the outside if the fire is to great, or you can continue to fight fire, and have incoming companies stretch additional lines. Bottom line is this fire is now in the occupant space so that’s were we eventually need to get to.
Like in the last post it all comes down to FRONT END TRAINING! Instead of winging it on every run, sit down and assign duties to the riding positions on your rig. Get together with your department chiefs, mutual aid chiefs, or who ever makes your decisions and create operations based on order of arrival, for example:
1st Engine: Initial Command and Fire Attack
2nd Engine: IRIT
1st Truck: Search and Rescue
Doing this allows for less talk on the radio, as the incoming units should know ok we go here 2nd we are the IRIT, let’s go to work. You can tailor this to your run assignment and your staffing, but just saying it, or even typing it is not enough. YOU HAVE TO TRAIN ON IT! You have to get on the drill ground with your companies and the companies you run with and work the kinks out prior to the alarm.
Critical functions on the fireground should not go undone, even with limited staffing we have to perform the basics it may just take longer or be prioritized different but Command, Fire Attack, Search and Rescue, Ventilation, Salvage, and Overhaul and there associated tasks (Forcible Entry, Utility Control, etc.) must be done at every fire no matter the amount of people who show up.
Ensure when you arrive your ready to work (PPE,SCBA, and tools), and know your job/assignment. If at any point you do not know what you supposed to be doing, or who you’re working for then I dub the Sir Freelancealot! But seriously not only are you freelancing but your placing your self in danger from an accountability standpoint.
So how would you attack this fire? With your staffing level detail how this fire would go down in you department? Leave your remarks, feedback, general inquiries, etc. in the comments section, email, or on twitter (@averagejakeff)
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!