As we noted last month in Part 1 of this column, for most firefighters, odds are your most common structural fires involve single-family dwellings. In addition to construction concerns, "what's inside" is a major factor that can lead to close calls, or worse, for firefighters. In this case, for...
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House fires, or "private dwellings," are what most of us do — but unlike our ability to pre-plan commercial, industrial and related "public" buildings where we can get in to plan and inspect, we cannot when it comes to single-family dwellings. Private dwellings are just that — private — and who knows what may be inside? While we can plan to respond to fires in neighborhoods and types of construction, the interior is a mystery. That's why it is essential that firefighters and officers operate expecting the worst possible "we-never-know" scenarios and conditions.
WILLIAM GOLDFEDER, EFO, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 33-year veteran of the fire service. He is a deputy chief with the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Ohio, an ISO Class 2 and CAAS-accredited department. Goldfeder has been a chief officer since 1982, has served on numerous IAFC and NFPA committees, and is a past commissioner with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and is an active writer, speaker and instructor on fire service operational issues. Goldfeder and Gordon Graham host the free and noncommercial firefighter safety and survival website www.FirefighterCloseCalls.com. Goldfeder may be contacted at BillyG@FirefighterCloseCalls.com.