This video comes to us from Whitehall, Pa by way of YouTube. In it you see a fire company responding to a multi family dwelling fire with an attached garage(Some might call this a row house). The have smoke coming from the front door, and the garage roll up door.
There are a couple of things I found interesting in the video:
1. You have to build for the future. No matter the size of your fire you have to build your incident for the future. In the video you have an obvious small fire, which looks like it will be easily controlled with a small-caliber hand line. However fire in unpredictable and we have multiple exposures, plus the “unknown” contents of the garage. A small fire can go to uncontrollable within a matter of seconds. We need to make sure that we are not only paying attention to the fire building by laddering it appropriately, and adding sufficient lines (this fire is at minimum a 3 line fire) but we must also get crews into the adjacent occupancies rapidly to ensure no horizontal fire spread.
2. In 2010 (almost 2011) I still can not belive engine companies are blocking special service companies access to fires. Look I know that water puts out fire, however especially in a multi family dwelling ladder company position is vital. The ladder on top can not stretch one inch over its established length, when in contrary the engine company can stretch hose line for days. I also do not know the communications this department has with one another but it falls on the company officers on both the engine and the ladder to coordinate the first due positions, and if you have no intention of leaving the front for the truck then tell them ahead of time so they can find an alternate route to get the proper position rather than having to do it in critical phases of the incident. Quite frankly in this fire the ladder could have just gone home because at a phase where they could have been used they were to busy having to go around the block.
3. WATER SUPPLY!!!!!!!! Again maybe this FD has the 2nd in lay the line for them, which is fine if that’s what you like. I however think with the potential to burn down a row of at least 7 homes that we see I would rather bring my water with me and save time. Not to mention that having the 2nd in lay in further clogs up the scene for that special service company.
4. I personally think we should show a sense of urgency when we got to a fire. Now I’m not saying we should be wildly running around, but we should not be walking with non chalaunt attitudes either. It’s just a matter of professionalism, someones house is burning and we are supposed to save life and property. This building and the fire conditions are allowing us to make entry then let’s get in there and do it fast and professionally.
5. Not that this is wrong but I have never seen someone go into the garage and then cut themselves out with the chain saw(well only in a horror movie have I seen it). Typically combustion engines do not work well in high smoke environments, and in my opinion it’s not the safest thing to be doing. It is an uneeded risk going into the fire area and cutting your way out when you can do so from the relative safety of the exterior.
Well that’s all I have got, I want to hear what you have to say. Feel free to add any feedback in the comments section. Thanks for reading and keep spreading the word about the blog!