Structural Vs. Wildland: Tools & Equipment, That Is

Why do so many structural fire departments still fight wildland and wildland/urban interface (W/UI) fires using heavyweight structural tools and equipment?


Using the correct tools and equipment that fit the circumstances at any given emergency incident will ultimately determine the success or failure to safely, effectively and efficiently reach the intended goals and objectives of that incident. In other words, don't use a booster line flowing water at...


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Most structural fire departments spend thousands of dollars to properly outfit their firefighters with the correct PPE to meet all of the health and safety standards that are mandated for structural fire suppression, hazmat operations, EMS incidents, technical rescue and swiftwater missions. The health and safety of our emergency service personnel are a priority issue. Millions of dollars are expended on rehab units and allied equipment to recuperate the overheated firefighter. With this in mind, why not take one more step and spend a few hundred dollars more and properly equip those same firefighters with tools and PPE for wildland and W/UI fire operations, if there is a need to do so? Refer back to the previous paragraph.

One more point. Your response area may contain little or no wildlands or W/UI fire problems. However, through a mutual aid response, your department may be called upon to assist another city, town, county or state in battling a serious wildland or W/UI fire. Will your agency be prepared to do this safely, effectively and efficiently with the tools and equipment on hand?

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Photo by Robert M. Winston
Another method of applying Class A foam is by using a lightweight portable foam-application device.


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Photo by Robert M. Winston
A lightweight portable foam device can quickly coat a vegetation-covered area, creating a virtual "fire break" with little effort.

Be very safe out there. It can get dangerous very quickly.


Robert M. Winston, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a district fire chief in the Boston Fire Department with extensive experience and training in wildland and SWI protection. Questions and comments may be sent to him via e-mail at dfcwins@adelphia.net