The rules of engagement are very clear and must be adhered to: An Interior fire attack shall not be initiated prior to the establishment of an IRIT (Initial Rapid Intervention Team) consisting of no less than two members. Exception: A known life hazard exists where immediate action could prevent the loss of life.
The strong traditions of the fire service in certain areas continue to bring us rewards and admiration, while others seem to lead us down a path of destruction. It's up to each of us to evaluate the way we do business to ensure that we continue to focus on those critical steps that support our safety and effectiveness. While the five steps mentioned in this article are by no means rocket science, they at least ask the question - Is what we're doing safe and effective? It's this question that I ask each of you to consider as you work to enhance your operations on the modern fireground.
In our next segment, we will address the five remaining steps in our action plan for a safer more effective interior fire attack including: hoseline advancement, evaluation of internal conditions (risk assessment, and what efforts can be made to minimize risk potential), coordinated ventilation efforts, fire stream management and progress reporting.
Tim is a 17 - year student and educator of the fire & emergency services, a former Assistant Fire Chief for Missouri City Fire & Rescue Services, Texas and a former Firefighter/Paramedic with the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department. Tim has earned B.S. degrees in Fire Administration, Arson and an A.S. degree in Emergency Medical Care from Eastern Kentucky University. Tim is a contributing editor to numerous publications including the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) monthly publication The Voice and the Fire & Emergency Television Network (FETN) in which he is the writer/developer of the featured "SURVIVAL!" program. You can contact Tim by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.