Tools For The Engine Company Tool Box: Private Dwelling Fires

Private dwelling fires challenge the expertise of our fire fighting forces and require coordinated operation. Seventy percent of all fire deaths occur in private dwellings.


  • The first charged handline should go through the front door to extinguish the fire.
  • The second line will standby outside as a backup for the 1 st line. If not needed than it can be used to extinguish any fire that might have extended.


  • 1st charged handline through front door and up the interior stairs to the upper floors.
  • 2nd charged handline will standby outside as a backup for the 1st line. If not needed it can be used to extinguish any fire that is discovered in the cellar or extended to the exposures.


  • The 1st arriving engine should consider dropping two handlines.
  • Operate the line on the exterior to prevent auto exposure before entering the building.
  • Consider stretching a 2 ? inch line for faster knock down.

Note: Wood frame buildings that initially appear fully involved may only have their exterior siding burning.

Units operating a line to extinguish fire on the exterior of a building should sweep the line across the face of the building, starting at the top, so the water cascades down the exterior. Do not operate the stream directly into the windows.

These articles are intended to educate the members of the engine company with some "food for thought," there are many tactics that can be deployed, the more you know, the safer you are.

As always keep the e-mails coming in. Keep training your troops, keep asking questions, and most of all stay safe.