By now I am sure a lot of you who frequent the trade magazines, fire service blogs, etc. have seen videos and reports on how new and old furnishings impact fire growth and development.
We all know it yet we continue to see minimal change or acceptance to change on the tactical level.
I heard this quote from an instructor the other day while he was teaching about difficult airway. Basically he said when it comes to difficult airways he doesn’t belive in “fighting fair” and he is going to use every tool at his disposel in order to secure the airway, and secure a good clinical outcome for the patient. This brought to mind the question….
Why do we fight fair?
Lets think about it.
Fire is dangerous: It is hot, it produces toxic smoke and can use it’s by product for destruction and death. It is already well ahead of us by the time we know about it.
Buildings are dangerous: The wood used today even if dimensional is not of the same density, of legacy construction and does not perform as well under fire conditions. Additionally the buildings connection components are not as strong as they used to be.
Our training is inadequate for todays fire environment: We train in concrete burn buildings with class A combustibles that in no way mirror the fire growth, fire behavior, or building response of the modern fire environment. Even when we train in acquired structures the fuel packages and safety features we add to the houses make them unrealistic.
Some of our staffing levels are inadequate: Some departments are being made to ride with less than 3 people making it even more difficult to make a positive impact of today’s fires.
Taking into account all of these things, knowing all that we know, and yet we still make the conscious effort to fight these fires fairly!
We do not owe these fires a fair chance! We need to take the maximum amount of water, people, and equipment in order to overwhelm the fire. BY taking in undersized crews, handline, or pushing poor tactical choices is the same as going after an elephant with a BB gun.
Do not get me wrong overkill is not the answer, but when appropriate use the big guns, as an old captain of mine used to say know the difference between an infantry fire, and an artillery fire. Do not be afraid to knock it down from the outside and then finish it off, in that same breath do not be afraid when it is warranted to crawl down that dark hallway with a handline and put the fire out.
No matter what you do, or who you are the fire always has the element of surprise when it comes to us, lets minimize its advantage by using our superior fire power and not giving it the chance to win.
As usual thanks for reading spread the word and STAY SAFE!