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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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Fire Prevention week. October, every year. Three words that drive some firefighters batty. Fire Prevention Week! Why is that? Frank Brannigan said "no firefighter was ever killed in a fire that was prevented".

Why wouldn't that mantra ring from every fire department and station in the country every week of the year? The first week in October is dedicated to Fire Prevention. School drills, Great escape programs, the whole deal. We have kids come to the station and the whole works, and then - the next week in October and we're back to hoping and wishing for the next fire.

Somebody isn't sincere and I don't think it's the Kids. What do you think? Do we talk a good game?


posted by Skip Coleman
9/24/2007 07:04:00 PM

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Blogger Steve S said...

Is Fire Prevention Week the first week in October or is it the week that October 9th falls on?

Mon Oct 15, 09:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Darren said...

Fire Prevention Week is October 5-11 in 2008.

Mon Jul 28, 03:00:00 PM EDT  

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The National Response Framework is now open for review and comment. The Framework as it is now known was formerly called the National Response Plan. Reviewing this document is really important; all chiefs and command level officers must read this document. The NRF covers the National Incident Management System (NIMS), ESF emergency support functions like our USAR teams, Support and Incident Annexes and the National Preparedness Guidelines. USFA director Greg Cade has asked us all to take a look at the Framework.

Greg is right on the money. We need to review this. Like it or not, it directly affects how we are going to train and respond. This is our chance to participate. Let's take it and be part of the process. Read it over--or just what concerns you, if that is all you can do--and let them and us know what you think.


posted by Bobby Halton
9/24/2007 01:32:00 PM

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Blogger JimB said...

If clicking "Teview of the National Response ....." is suppose to bring to the "National Response Framwork" page it is not working. All it does is bring you back to this page.

Thu Sep 27, 02:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Peter Prochilo said...

Jim, blame the Web guy (me) on this one.

Here's the link:

Thu Sep 27, 02:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Peter Prochilo said...

A comment from Michael H. Reynolds...

"During my rapid and cursory scan of the NRF, I did not notice the mention of LEPCs or their role. These organizations could be the portals through which the NRF is taught, implemented, and managed. They could become the pivotal organizations upon which training, exercising, and planning is charged at the local level. This implies that the LEPCs be funded through a specific grant program designed for LEPC implementation of the NRF . . . dream on. This lack of funding is a primary reason that LEPCs are frequently wishy-washy, non productive, or inactive. In spite of this some LEPCs are very proactive and productive. Involving LEPCs in the NRF and in a funding scheme through the ODP could bring them to the forefront of the NRF."

Tue Oct 02, 10:44:00 AM EDT  

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Don Fisher sent us these photos of a cactus-on-the-roof situation in Arizona.

Don wrote:

We have all responded to trees on a house but what about a 120-year-old squraio catus? Have we been trained to cut these? What are the hazards?

Well Don, according to Mr. Western himself, Bobby Halton:

Not to be a stickler here but it is a Saguaro cactus not squario cactus ... this is truly a unique plant and is extremely fragile in terms of its ability to withstand cold temperatures. Although I am not exactly sure, I believe the plant dies after exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees for 24 hours or something to that effect. As such, this fall could have been the result of a cold snap. It is a sticky situation. The Saguaro Cactus lives only within the Sonoran Desert of southeastern California, southern Arizona, and northwestern Mexico. In the Sonoran Desert, the Saguaro Cactus can grow in very limited areas below elevations of 3,500 feet. The Saguaro Cactus is protected by the United States government because it was beginning to disappear from the landscape. There is a national park to protect the Saguaro Cactus. The name of the park is Saguaro National Park.

Now, I'm just a Jersey guy myself, so I don't know anything about these things. So who's right?



posted by Peter Prochilo
9/20/2007 01:35:00 PM

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In addition to the lack of even the most basic of firesafety measures at the Deutsche Bank at Ground Zero in NYC, the building was (and continues to be) full of plywood. Even though it is accepted practice to construct asbestos removal "containment" partitions of plywood in a building of a few stories, why is it acceptable to use this material (and plastic as well) in a 40 story high-rise under demolition (with torches and the like)? It was reported yesterday that only weeks before deadly fire that killed two firefighters, that a fire was noted by environmental inspectors as they did their inspection and the FDNY was never called. You could not build a new high-rise with plywood walls and partitions - why does it make sense to allow it in a building under demolition? Why does the US EPA allow such dangerous practices? Why does the EPA think that the use of plywood is even a good containment method when fire is a distinct possibility? The photo shown was taken on 9/11/07.



posted by Glenn Corbett
9/18/2007 01:28:00 PM

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Via Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder's The Secret List:

As you may know, last Wednesday afternoon's fire destroyed the Schuylkill Hose Company No. 2's engines, hazmat truck and gear and caused more than $1 million in damage. This Fire Company in Pennsylvania can use some assistance. If you have safe and immediately usable fire equipment, PPE etc to donate or wish to assist them as they get back on their feet, please contact Glen Sattizahan. His e-mail is: [email protected] and his cell Phone # is 570-449-2613.


posted by Peter Prochilo
9/18/2007 09:11:00 AM

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Can I ask a favor of you? I have been watching the news of that lunatic murdering low life Bin Laden, he just released a new video. I cannot tell you how much this demon upsets me. I know every American has the same gut revulsion when they see his hideous face. I am not going to post a link to this one; if you can find this blog you sure do not need anyone to lead you to that story. I just know you all feel the same way, it tears our hearts out when we remember what this man and his followers did to us, to America.

Most importantly, is why he did it, he wants the whole world to join his religion, or he wants to kill them. That will never happen, not on our watch not in America. I do not care if you are political or not, that is irrelevant, as Americans this makes our blood boil. I am not the worlds leading authority on history but I seem to remember a little something about religious freedom and a bright shinning place called America.

As we gather on Tuesday morning and pray, yeah most firefighters pray, a lot, to whatever deity you find comfort believing in, pray that this freedom this precious God given basic human right is never taken from us, by anyone. I am not going to insult you by suggesting how to you how should pay your respects on Tuesday. I know you will be heavy hearted on Tuesday as you remember our murdered brother firefighters and the innocent citizens they died protecting. I do not need to make suggestions to anyone who is reading this page but if you are religiously minded, I have a favor to ask. I just wanted to ask you to pray for especially for each other, for all our military, our fellow public servants and this incredible experiment called America. God Bless America and never forget 9-11-2001.


posted by Bobby Halton
9/09/2007 11:49:00 PM

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We all know our citizens come first always. This is a great DVD that is free, that right free.
"Working With People With Disabilities - A Guide For Responders" is now available from The Baltimore County Fire Department.

This 26-minute training DVD, produced in cooperation with the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities, is designed to help personnel from emergency medical services, fire, police, and others work effectively and compassionately with persons with disabilities. In addition to public safety agencies, the DVD also is being used for training by the American Red Cross, Central Maryland Chapter, the Baltimore County Department of Social Services, and the Baltimore County Department of Aging, and other organizations. You should check if viewing this DVD counts for EMS continuing education credits.

This training has been endorsed by the Maryland Department of Disabilities, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS), Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, Maryland State Firemens Association (MSFA), and the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions, as well as a number of other public agencies and non-governmental disabilities advocacy groups.

This DVD training would not have been possible without the help of those persons with disabilities who were gracious enough to appear in the video and share their first person accounts. They communicated their views, concerns, needs and expectations more effectively than we could have explained. We also thank the many advocates for persons with disabilities who previewed the DVD and made many helpful suggestions for improvement.
The DVD is available at no charge for training purposes. Contact Fire Director James M. Korn at [email protected] to obtain a free copy.

James M. Korn, Deputy Director
Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security
and Emergency Management
700 East Joppa Road
Towson, MD 21286-5500
Office: 410-887-4860
Cell: 443-807-2075



posted by Bobby Halton
9/08/2007 11:34:00 AM

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Blogger helan said...

Dear Mr. James M. Korn:

May I be so bold as to introduce myself as Dawn Helan Wang, a fire science researcher in China.

I would ask a favor of you to supply me some information about the fire volunteers' training and the market statistics about fire products in US.

I am from Shanghai Fire Research Institute of Ministry of Public Seurity of China. Now I need the above information to do my survey about fire volunteers and fire products in US. I would like our fire related professionals to know US fire fields situation so as to we can cooperate with each other to make a safer world.

I really apprecaite to your great help and that will be my pleasure if you would like know something about China fire fighting and fire protection situation.

Thanks again!

Best regards

Mrs. Dawn Helan Wang
Shanghai Fire Research Institute of MPS
Tel: 0086-21-65248058
Fax: 0086-21-35040421
Email: [email protected]
Address: 918 Minjing Road, Shanghai 200438, P.R. China.

Wed Sep 12, 08:59:00 PM EDT  

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I was recently sent an e-mail with an attachment (I am posting below) that sent me to a site with the video and radio traffic of a Mayday given by a Houston firefighter and an Incident Commander at a low-rise fire.

I get a lot of these. This one got to me. I found myself pacing and eventually in tears. It is an incredible accounting between a very disciplined Incident Commander and a fire captain.

If you have not seen the video, I suggest you do. I don't know who the Incident Commander was or who Capt. Abbt is but If I was down and lost at a fire, I think I would want the chief who is know as "Command" at this fire to run my Mayday. Again, If you haven't seen it, do so and then let me know what you think.

If discipline and control was a city, this chief (again, who I have no clue who he is) would be the mayor.


posted by Skip Coleman
9/06/2007 07:38:00 PM

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Blogger cfd911 said...

Everyone no matter the rank should listen and think about this call. The IC was in control and remained calm even when the radio traffic went gridlock. I have always said there are too many radios on the fire ground. Too many people don't realize that we don't need every bit of info all the time.

Listen to the Capt.'s breath sounds coming across the radio. As I listened, I started thinking, am I listening to a firefighter taking his last breaths before he dies? Can you not feel the difference in his voice and breaths?

Watching the video reminds me that we have all of this great equipment, but we never train on how to use it in the "big fire". On your next shift, go in the truck bay and get in your mind, what can I use on the same type of scene.

The tip of a ladder is worth far less than the life of one of our firefighters!

Fri Sep 07, 09:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Bobby Halton said...

Hey Chris David was the guy who made this tape he is also a close friend of Capt Appt. This is a great tape the link above will get you to Chris' site.

Sat Sep 08, 03:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger dadman said...

Moving and gripping video that shows what can happen when things go wrong. Should be watched by small and large dept's to give a view of what to expect when the unexpected, or unwanted, happens.
Was this the same incident where the rescued Capt. thought he wasn't going to make it, and considered staying by three victims inside?

Wed Oct 24, 07:25:00 PM EDT  

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