It is no secret that I think helmet cams, and cameras in general are great. Sure now we are always “on air” and a fire in your area could be on YouTube before you even finish draining the water out of your hose line. However think of all the learning we can accomplish because EVERYONES fires are now online for all to see. This is valuable to every fireman as we can learn from the comfort of our firehouse day room.
There have been a lot of talk about transitional attack, and the debate keeps getting heated up. I have written about it several times, because I think it is a viable option that needs to be in your tool box. You all know the arguments today’s buildings, fire loads, low mass synthetics, low staffing, etc. dictate that sometimes we must change our tactics. Notice I said sometimes, as I still feel that crawling down a dark hallway to the seat of a fire and applying water directly to it is still very affective and must be done when conditions allow.
However TODAY we must be able to adjust when that option does not present itself. In the video above you see what appears at first glance to be an older balloon frame construction house with an advanced fire from the second floor. Usually one would say with this construction type that if you beat it to the attic and cut it off you could fight fire for a long time in these structures with possibly plaster lathe construction, and true dimensional lumber. However it is not all about the construction, placing the fire loading with high heat release rates within older construction can still lead to advanced fire conditions, rapid flashover, shorter building collapse times, etc.
It is important that we realize that sometimes the best, most effective, and SAFEST form of fire attack may be to hit it from the outside and kill the flashover potential.
Take a look at this article from the Des Plaines Fire Department http://www.firetrainingtoolbox.com/safeattack.pdf This is a guide if you will to direct your action in todays fire environment. It is not gospel but it is thought-provoking and should be shared with your crews.
The point is in today’s fire service and in the dynamic battleground we find ourselves in on a daily basis there is more than one way to defeat our enemy. Frontal attack may be glorious but it sometimes is not the best strategy. Just ask General Pickett, and Col. Custer how frontal attacks went when the enemy was better fortified.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!