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Ok, Enough editorialization (hope that's a word). You are the first officer to arrive at this winter night fire in your district. The process of running a fire isn't that complicated. Look at the "picture" in front of you. In this case, a single family home with fire showing on the first floor (Division 1). Your first task is to determine what you initial priority is. Assign a crew to handle that first priority. When another crew arrives, look at your picture again and then determine what your next priority is and then assign that next crew to handle that next priority and so on!

With staffing as it is in your community - with what you see, what would be your first two priorities? In my department, my first priority would be to knock down the fire and then to clear the atmosphere. This accomplishes two things. 1) We put the fire out which makes all my other problems easier to overcome and 2) with good ventilation, we can "look" for victims as we "walk" through the house because visibility is improved. What would you do?

posted by Skip Coleman
9/25/2007 06:10:00 PM

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Blogger Fay Coleman said...

Daddy! That is a picture of our old house! Why did you set it on fire?? Nice blog posting, though.

Wed Sep 26, 09:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Michael H. Reynolds said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thu Sep 27, 10:08:00 AM EDT  
Blogger NWG said...

I go back to that Tom Brennan quote: when in doubt put out the fire. I think this fire is a good place to employ attackign the fire from teh burned side, which is what Ray McCormack espoused in an FE article not too long ago.

Force entry, get water on the water on the fire, and initiate a search of the second floor if possible. It's a night time fire...people are probably in bed or if they're incapacitated, we're going to find them upstairs, probably in areas where they were trying to get out.

The only other thing you could do is put out the fire while a search team goes to the second floor via ground ladders, but this has to be a coordinated effort.

That's my two cents. Anyone want to pick it apart?

Chris Mc Loone

Tue Oct 02, 10:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Joel Thacker said...

This is our bread and butter operation. Initial attack line through the front door and extinguish the fire, second line to protect stairs and control extension of fire, search first and second floor for victims using interior stairs or VES, additional truck company personnel assigned to vent the structure and secure utilities.

In Indiana, winter days/nights can become brutal. I would also be thinking about additional water supply sources due to frozen hydrants, additional staffing and shelter for occupants of structure

Wed Oct 03, 09:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger cofirecpt said...

Put the fire out.

That's the best option for my crew(3)as the first in engine company. A quick attack off of our tank water(750 gallons), 2nd in supplies us and starts venting the house. 2nd due could also VES the bedroom above the garage.

Entry looks pretty straight forward through the front door. If it's not already open, break the windows to the left, reach in, manipulate the lock and door knob and open it.

It's a winter night, so having a place for the occupants to go would be ideal. Watch out for freezing hose lines, apparatus, and provide a warm area for responder rehab.

Wed Oct 03, 10:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger dcfdny said...

There are a good number of things that need to be done immeidately:
1st - notify dispatch that you are on scene, there is a working fire, give the size and location, and MAKE SURE ADEQUATE FIREFIGHTING FORCES are on their way and know the conditions.

2nd Have the driver establish a reliable adequate water supply; you don't want to be operating in the interior and run out of water. 3rd -5th actions: Order a hand line stretched to attack the fire; if you knock the fire down a good many problems will be curtailed. Opening the front door will be a primary vent hole: however the more you vent the better it will be for your ease of access for interior operations, the easier it will be for search for life, and it will make conditions better for the occupants. It may however increase the volumne of fire and its feroicity. Have water in the line and be at the point of entry before you vent.

If you have sufficient personnel do an interior search, but be very careful of going above the fire until the 1st floor fire is knocked down or a protective line is in place to insure you retreat. If you still have sufficient personnel then get leaders to the second floor windows (most likely locations for bedrooms), vent the windows, then go in from the ladder, close the bedroom door if it is open and then search. If no-one is found, come back out, leave the window open and then go to the window of the next bedroom, then repeat what you just did.

Fires Like the one depected are difficult and very demanding on having adequate personnel at the scene in the first 5 minuets.

Wed Oct 03, 10:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Roman Brandau said...

With only the picture to go off of, and with our staffing, fire attack would be the first priority. This alleviates the issue that we can see. On this note, we need to make sure that we complete a walk-around to make sure someone's not hanging out a window on the back!

The 2nd crew would be sent directly upstairs for a search. I would have them enter via the front door and work their way up to the second floor. Any victims on the stairwell or in the hallways are in a much worse position than those in the bedrooms, which is where access via ground ladders would put us. We can't see any victims at the windows, which means that, if they are trying to escape, they're probably in the hallway or on the stairs.

If we did our fire prevention well enough, then hopefully this family is sleeping with their bedroom doors closed and we will have a chance to find them and remove them as the fire is being extinguished!

Wed Oct 03, 08:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Captain Sheridan said...

First priority is to get a hand line on the fire. Second Priority is search of the bedrooms. Stretching a line and putting water on the fire will save more lives than anything else we can do. If the 2nd crew is delayed, I would split the crew and try to get people up to search bedrooms. For a known life hazard, if we couldn't do both tasks, I would go with saving life 1st.
When the 2nd crew arrives I would split them up and have 1/2 the crew get to the rear with portable ladders and VES 1st and 2nd floors.

Thu Oct 04, 09:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Okc fire said...


I think that most who have already viewed this picture will agree that putting out the fire will solve many of our problems. The next issue of Search along with ventilation can be handled as the next company arrives.

The one thing I haven't seen anyone take into account yet is the establishment of any command structure. Someone has to be in charge! With a limited response company (ie. only 3 personnel on the first due unit) someone has to make the decisions of what type of attack will be made. I would assume that most would opt for a Fast Attack mode and make limited assignments to other responding companies with respect to their response times and functions. Once the first Chief Officer arrives on scene then a Command Post can be established to fill out the remaining functions of the fire alarm. Until the Chief gets on scene, we have to have someone calling the shots. In todays climate of manpower shortages and 2 in 2 out policies, I think too many firefighters think they are handcuffed until other units arrive. Establishing command, putting out the fire, and removing victims can sometimes be accomplished by the first arriving company when all goes right.

OKC Fire

Fri Oct 05, 05:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger irishfirefighter72 said...

What would I do?

First, give a thorough radio report describing the world as I see it to all the other units responding (short, yet descriptive). Second, conduct a 360 (who knows maybe there are victims visible from the rear). Third, upon completion of the 360 give an update over the radio and establish command. Fourth, determine in a life hazard exists, if not ensure that the dreaded two out is established. Fifth, if not already done, have the next due secure a water supply.

Now onto the fire attack, I would have a sound ventilation plan that that supports my fire attack and life safety plans. The plan would call for stretching a line(s) to the rear (opposite the vented fire and turbulent smoke), opening up the rest of the A-side (giving the fire a larger vent point opposite of our advance), hooking and pulling the ceilings along the way, conducting some primaries, establishing RIT and several secondary means of egress, and ensuring that all utilities have been secured, all this while maintaining sound accountability of every member on scene. If all goes well, the fire goes out with minimal effort, we all go home, and the residents get a big fat insurance check to rebuild the house.

Stay Low Stay Safe & Train Everyday

Mon Oct 08, 09:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger mike said...

I would wrap a plug (if I can see the smoke and fire before arrival) or have the second due do that. I'm part of a 2 man quint, we would pull our line, determine as best as possible if the home is occupied, complete a 360 view and set up while waiting for the next engine to arrive with 3 on board. If life safety is present, rescue would be started, and announced on the radio. Otherwise, attack would be started, and when the 3rd due arrived (another 3 man crew) search would be started. I would most likely call for our 4th station to respond its 2 man engine and 2 man mini-pumper. Our volunteers would most likely be responding with 2 or 3 as well. There is only so much you can do. Mutual aid from other departments would most likely also be called to the scene and fill-in at stations. Getting the wet stuff on the red stuff as soon as possible, in a safe manner will do wonders.

Wed Oct 10, 11:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger said...

1st. Size Up. 2nd 2 man nozzle team ready tomake entry with smooth bore or straight stream. 3rd Get a water supply(which we hit a plug on the way) established. Then in a perfect world my truck would ladder up, vent and then hose team knocked down seat of fire allowing a search.

Tue Oct 30, 05:28:00 PM EDT  

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