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What Would You Do?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH5Fh3NecFQ]

In this instalment of what would you do we are presented with a house fire. We get a rare look at most of the development of the fire, and a scene without fire department intervention until later. This gives us a chance to fully absorb the scene and practice our critical decision making skills, and then see what the responding department actually did.

I will just provide a few insights. I preface these insights with the fact of I know nothing about this department, their staffing, or there operations. I do not know if they have a ladder truck, squad, rescue, ambulances or anything else. These are just observations made based on my own experience level and the departments I have been apart of.

1. First In Lay In: Time and time again in real life and in video I constantly see companies forgoing laying into fires. It could be SOG, it could be preference, it could be down right laziness. I am just a fan of laying in. I find it the most efficient way to ensure that you get a continuous water supply. In the departments I have been a part of we always laid into fires, and had the second engine finish the hydrant hook up. This way if for some reason the 2nd engine never shows the hose is already on the ground, and the driver of the first rig can hook his own hydrant up. If the hose stays on the rig, and the second engine never shows, now that driver may have to hand jack that LDH to the hydrant, further delaying the water supply component. If the stretch is too difficult for one person, the entire company may have to be redeployed to the LDH stretch which delaying the fire attack.

2. Apparatus placement: Again I do not know if this department has a ladder company, but if you do we have to understand as engine company firefighters that the ladder and cord reels are the same length every time. The fire ground real estate is critical for the special service companies in order to deploy them effectively. Engine companies literally have thousands of feet of hose. It is better to have to stretch some additional hose lengths and leave room for the special service than to park in front of the residence now making the special service useless. Our ladder companies and squads/rescues show up on different apparatus because they provide a different service than the engine. Their mission, their deployment model are different and for good reason. Do not deny the special service company the chance to provide you with air superiority (ladder), high-caliber streams (ladder pipe), or any of the other things they provide that we may not have (fans,forcible entry,special tools,etc.). The only thing this apparatus position would give you advantage is if you utilized your own pre piped deck gun, which leads to the next point.

3. Line selection: Big fire big water, is a phrase that sounds good in an assessment center, and people constantly speak it at every turn, yet I rarely see people put it into play. This fire was the prime example of a large advanced fire that needed a large-caliber hand line, and or a deck gun/portable master stream. To the naked eye it may look like the initial medium caliber line (1 3/4) was effective, but if you take a look at the thermal column there is still a massive fire inside this structure. Some of the hesitation to deploy these lines is staffing. I argue that companies that are heavy staffed can make miscalculations in line selection and correct them by using the people they have to deploy another line. Minimally staffed companies can not afford to make those mistakes as the personnel to add additional lines are not readily available, and to take those from in coming companies could impact other critical functions. the 2 1/2 can be deployed exterior with 1 firefighter, and interior with 2. it is hard, dirty, and labor intensive but it can be done.

So now it is your turn, take a look and apply your departments deployment model, and practice your critical decision-making skills. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

A couple of things before I sign off…..

I said a few posts ago that myself and Ryan Pennington (http://www.viewsfromthejumpseat.blogspot.com/) had teamed up on a new venture. I did not want to say too much about it until I was 100% it was going to happen, but now since it is a go I am very excited and proud to announce that we are providing a new Podcast for Firehouse.com. It is called “Average Jake Views From The Jumpseat” . we have already recorded the first episode and it is with the editor and will be available for listening online very soon. Additionally I may also be contributing some blog type content for Firehouse.com. Again I am excited to see where this new venture can go. If you have any topic you want to see covered on the Podcast send it via email ([email protected]) twitter @averagejakeff or in the comments section of a post.

Lastly it is NASCAR race weekend here in Richmond Va…and the start of NFL football season. So I will be at the race track starting tomorrow until the race is run. I will however also on Sunday be taking part in the 2nd Annual Richmond Virginia 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. It will be an honor to once again share the stairs with firefighter that truly embody “Never Forgetting”.

Well that’s all for this time!

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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