Offensive Versus Defensive Tactics

If we are to reduce the number of injuries and line of duty deaths relating to firefighting, we must take a better look at the total fireground picture and not just focus on the fire. Topic: Offensive Versus Defensive Tactics Time Required: 2...


• Need for specialized apparatus due to the particular hazard

• Apparatus access the location on all sides

• Incident Operations

• Incident command system in place and everyone be trained on its application and use

• Chief officer responding to assume overall scene command

• Adequate radio frequencies available to a working incident

• Standard operating procedures in place to provide a guide for the placement of responding units, provide for the establishment of a rapid intervention team, include personnel accountability, and provide for firefighter rehabilitation

• Establish an initial fire attack of 100 GPM with 2 minutes of arrival

• Backup line capable of producing at least 200 GPM in place in place within a reasonable time

• Personnel ready mentally and physically for the incident

• Mutual aid agreements in place to acquire resources that may not be available within the department

• Pre-Incident Planning - has information been collected on buildings especially those with the potential for a large loss of life or property (target hazards)

• Occupant protection

• Location and number of exits

• Location of escalators and elevators

• Location of windows and other openings suitable for rescue access

• Special evacuation considerations such as disabled occupants, very old or very young occupants, and large number of occupants

• Location and areas of safe refuge

• Flammable and toxic interior finishes or processes

• Potential life hazards to firefighters

• Flammable or combustible liquids

• Toxic chemicals

• Explosives

• Reactive materials

• Radioactive materials

• Processes performed in the building that are inherently dangerous

• Physical condition of the structure

• Structural components that may fail during a fire

• Construction materials that might lose their strength when exposed to fire

• Ornamental building fascia, awnings, and marques

• Unsupported partitions or walls

• Roof construction

• Conditions in the building that can become dangerous during a fire

• Stacked or high-piled storage

• Heavy objects on the roof that can cause roof collapse

• Heavy equipment that may fall through a floor or cause the floor to collapse

• Building features that may confuse or trap firefighters during a fire

• Large open areas

• Dead-end corridors or hallways

• Open vats, pits, or shafts

• Openings into underground utility shafts or tunnels

• Multilevel floor arrangement

• Maze-like room divisions or partitions

• Alterations that disguise the original construction

III. ON SCENE CAPABILITY (EO 1-3)

• Size-Up

• Size-up is accomplished by doing a complete 360-degree walk-around of incident scene noting condition of emergency, potential hazards to personnel, and deployment of resources

• At structural fires, incident commander notes type of construction in order to visualize fuel or fire loading and identify potential weak points

• Stage is the fire in and next likely stage

• Length of time the fire has been burning and the impact it has had on the building (if the fire has been burning freely for 20 minutes, consideration should be given to a defensive attack)

• Condition of the structure

• Complete walk-around may not always be possible due to terrain, fire or hazardous materials spread, traffic congestion, building size, or other congestion situations

• Establishing Control Zones

• Control zones allow for accounting of victims, efficient use of personnel accountability system, and prevention of non-emergency personnel from endangering themselves

• Establishing control zones at incident helps to organize scene into three manageable areas

• Restricted area or hot zone - Area where incident is occurring; only personnel directly involved in operation and who are fully equipped with protective clothing and SCBA are allowed into this area

• Limited access area or warm zone - Area immediately outside hot zone occupied by personnel and equipment that are supporting hot zone personnel; access to area is limited to personnel supporting operation and who are wearing protective clothing and SCBA