The structural anatomy, predictability of building performance under fire conditions, structural integrity and the extreme fire behavior; accelerated growth rate and intensively levels typically encountered in buildings of modern construction during initial and sustained fire suppression have given new meaning to the term combat fire engagement.
The rules for combat structural fire suppression have changed; but no one has told us. The IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section (SH&S) spent that past year refining and updating The IAFC Ten Rules of Structural Fire Engagement. First published in 2001, the original Ten Rules of Engagement for Structural Fire Fighting provided a set of principles and parameters that incident commanders, commanding and company officers could utilize and implement during incident operations to decrease operations risk, increase and The Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and The Incident Commanders Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety will provide a crucial link towards integrating occupancy risk considerations with more educated and informed understandings of buildings, occupancies, and the behavior of fire with a structure.
It’s no longer just brute force and sheer physical determination that define structural fire suppression operations, although any seasoned command and company officer knows that at times. It’s what gets the job done under the most arduous and demanding of circumstances.
However, from a methodical and disciplined perspective; aggressive firefighting must be redefined and aligned to the built environment and associated with goal-oriented tactical operations that are defined by risk assessed and analyzed strategic processes that are executed under battle plans that promote the best in safety practices and survivability within known hostile structural fire environments.
The demands and requirements of modern firefighting will continue to require the placement of personnel within situations and buildings that carry risk, uncertainty and inherent danger. As a result, risk management must become fluid and integrated with intelligent tactical deployments and operations recognizing the risk problematically and not fatalistically, resulting in safety conscious strategies and tactics.
Today’s incident commanders need to think about the Predicative Strategic Process, refined Tactical Deployment Models integrating intelligent Structural Anatomy and Predictive Occupancy Profiling, while implementing Tactical Patience.
Think about the following;
- Read, comprehend and implement the new IAFC The Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and The Incident Commanders Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety
- Take a tour of your response area, district, community or city.
- Take a good look around and begin to recognize the apparent or subtle changes that are affecting your incident operations; Take note and think about what needs to be adjusted, modified or changed in your operations.
- Read up on the latest research and technical literature on wind driven fires, extreme fire behavior, structural ability of engineered lumber systems, fire loading and suppression theory
- Take the time to personally read a series of the latest NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program LODD reports and relate them to your organizations operations and jurisdictional risks.
- Start thinking in terms of Occupancy Risks versus Occupancy Type and align your operations and deployments to match those risks
- Increase your situational awareness of today’s fireground and refine your strategic and tactical modeling
- Implement both Strategic and Tactical Patience; Slow down and allow the building to react and stabilize, for fire behavior to stop behaving badly and for your companies to increase survivability ratios while meeting the demands of conducting fire service operations
- Reprogram your assumptions and presumptions and options on building construction and firefighting operations; the buildings have changed, our firefighting has not; what are you going to do about that gap?
Without understanding the building-occupancy relationships and integrating; construction, occupancies, fire dynamics and fire behavior, risk, analysis, the art and science of firefighting, safety conscious work environment concepts and effective and well-informed incident command management, company-level supervision and task-level competencies … You are derelict and negligent and “not “everyone may be going home”.