10 Step Action Plan For A Safer More Effective Interior Fire Attack - Part 2

As it pertains to hoseline selection, the choice of the conventional 1.75-inch cross lay--usually made because of its easy deployment--can and has led to tragedy on the fireground.


SAFETY NOTE

Wet Stretch The wet stretch is the safest and most common method of fire attack. The wet stretch requires that the line be charged prior to making entry into the involved structure when immediate suppression efforts are necessary to advance.

Advantages:

  • Allows for immediate fire-attack capabilities.
  • Established safety factor, which serves as a defense mechanism in the case of a rapidly advancing fire.
  • Reduced kinking potential.

Disadvantages:

  • Labor-intensive deployment, requiring firefighters to pull the added weight of water to the fire-attack area.
  • Crews are less likely to pull extra hose due to extra weight.
  • Prolonged/delayed deployment, again due to the additional weight
  • Requires crewmembers to standby at corners (i.e. door jams) to assist with deployment.

Who's doing what to help us accomplish this task? As we attack a fire, we must constantly remind ourselves that the successful outcome we seek is based on the actions or inactions of our crew (or crews). The failure of crews to work cooperatively and concurrently only further aggravates our fire-attack efforts. We must understand, despite our most modest (or not-so-modest) "war stories," that only one member controls the nozzle of a given hand line. Each and every crewmember must perform his or her designated task in order for a safe and effective fire attack to be initiated. The company officer should provide each crewmember with an assigned task to support the hoseline deployment effort. Crew assignments may include:

Nozzle Operator Ensure that the nozzle is set according to the type of fire attack being initiated. (A direct attack should warrant a straight-stream pattern. An indirect attack requires a 60-degree fog pattern, which is also used when initiating a combination attack.) Safely navigate to the point of fire attack, while considering the path of the hoseline and how it may affect the advancement effort. You should maintain a constant awareness of your surroundings (including factors such as smoke conditions, overhead fire development, building layout, etc.). Also: plan for a secondary means of escape if the need arises.

Company Officer Evaluate the fire conditions while maintaining an awareness of the fire and the potential "pushing" actions of the advancing fire stream. (Caution: The pushing action of a fire stream--combined with the pressure differential of steam generation--can cause the fire to wrap around an advancing crew due to room configurations and open doorways.)

Support Personnel Assist in advancing a sufficient amount of hose to the nozzle operator. Consider supplying one length of hose per floor to allow for advancement to the seat of the fire. Support personnel need to carry out several functions.

  • Assist in advancing the hose around corners, doorways, and up advancing stairs.

  • Consider how the building might assist in advancing hose. During multi-story operations, consider deploying the line up the stairs one floor above the fire to allow the downward gravitational force to assist with hose advancement.

  • Follow the deployed hose line to the nozzle and provide back up for the fire attack.

Deployment Tip When possible, attempt to form an "S" formation with the hose behind the advancing crew to reduce the potential for kinks. This can be done on the floor of operation or on the exterior of the structure, just outside the point of entry (depending on the area of fire attack).

STEP 7: EVALUATION OF INTERIOR CONDITIONS

As a continuous means of ensuring the safety of fireground personnel, the company officer should perform a quick interior-risk assessment, taking into account the following factors: