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    Default Rescue Situation

    Ok, I want to know what everybody thinks about this situations. Were Im from we are a small fire department and it normally takes about 10-15 min before the first truck rolls up on scene. You roll up on scene with about three or four firefighters, heavy smoke and flames comming from the house. The next truck is about 5 minutes away. You have a report of people still inside. What would your department do? Would you pull off a hoseline and do a search or go write in and search without a hose line with heavy smoke and fire inside?

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    put the fire out.... things usually get better after that.

    if confirmed location commit 3 to hoseline placement, once it is holding and flowing 2 ff's break to the search.

    if location of victims is remote from the fire, you can consider 2 man ves and 2 men to hoseline.

    but with your scenario there are too many unknowns to really be specific. (house lay out and construction, smoke and fire location, was there creditable victim location or just a do-gooder passing by say "i think they might possibly....)
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    if you are talking about a house fire and you get there 10 -15 minutes AFTER it is reported, more than likely if they are in there they are dead, and not much left of the house

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    Depends on the training and experience of the personnel on-scene.

    As the previous poster stated, if you are arriving 10-15 minutes after the tones (which is likely at least 20 minutes from the start of the fire) you are likely looking at some pretty advanced fire conditions which likely will be beyond a 3-4 firefighter crew.

    Sounds like a situation where we need to be more concerned with our safety as compared to the victims, which likely are no longer viable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Depends on the training and experience of the personnel on-scene.

    As the previous poster stated, if you are arriving 10-15 minutes after the tones (which is likely at least 20 minutes from the start of the fire) you are likely looking at some pretty advanced fire conditions which likely will be beyond a 3-4 firefighter crew.

    Sounds like a situation where we need to be more concerned with our safety as compared to the victims, which likely are no longer viable.
    Bob is going to stay outside, I can attest to that!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Bob is going to stay outside, I can attest to that!!!
    If the firfe has a 20 minute headstart in this area, it will most likely be heavily or fully involved on arrival.

    There would be no point in attempting to make entry, even if there are reported victims as they simply would likely not be viable, and body recovery is not worth the risk to us.

    Again this will depend greatly on the experience and training of that intial crew, the laedership ability of the senior firefighter/officer, department SOPs, in addition to water tank size and the availibility of a supplemental water supply.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-16-2011 at 11:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MILLER99 View Post
    Ok, I want to know what everybody thinks about this situations. Were Im from we are a small fire department and it normally takes about 10-15 min before the first truck rolls up on scene. You roll up on scene with about three or four firefighters, heavy smoke and flames comming from the house. The next truck is about 5 minutes away. You have a report of people still inside. What would your department do? Would you pull off a hoseline and do a search or go write in and search without a hose line with heavy smoke and fire inside?
    It's kind of a hard question to definitively answer without a better view of what the fire conditions actually are. Your definition of "heavy smoke and flames" may not be the same as mine or others. I've heard numerous dispatches and/or size-ups in my area reported as "fully involved" and then later see pictures of the incident that shows that a significant portion of the building was never involved in fire.

    As others have already pointed out to some extent, there are a number of variables that need to be considered. The actual amount of fire, location of the fire, building construction/condition of the structure and location of the victim(s) are all very important factors and should be looked at collectively to determine the potential viability of the victims and if conditions will reasonably allow for a rescue attempt.

    The next biggest factor will probably be the personnel on that first unit. What is the training/experience level/capability of those 3 or 4 FFs? If you're showing up with a driver (only), 1 full-duty FF, 1 outside FF and Junior, then you would not be in much position to do anything in terms of rescue even if conditions would permit it. If you're showing up with 4 full-duty FFs, then you should absolutely make the attempt if conditions will reasonably allow it.


    That being said, if this were my department, then we'd be arriving with no more than 3 on the first unit, unless the fire was dispatched during shift change. If conditions allowed for a rescue attempt, then depending on the location of the fire in relation to the suspected location of the victim, we would likely do one of two things: 1) Pull a line and send 2 FFs in to do some suppression as they searched and worked their way to the victim location or 2) Attempt to suppress or hold the fire with 1 FF while one or both of the other 2 FFs attempt to locate the victim(s) whether by VES or regular search practices.

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    The officer will have to make a quick size up. (I know-yawn, really?)

    1 Are there survivable areas? (I know this is a touchy point. You said heavy fire so I'm assuming some time has passed.)

    2 Can a line be placed in service between said survivables and the fire?

    2a Simular to the post above, get control and let two break off and search.

    SIDE NOTE: If you have to, you can retreat with the hose as you search, however, if it is that bad, you have a major problem.

    2b Put Out the Fire and most of your problems become manageable. Just remember, your survivables don't have time for a sustained attack without an effort at search.

    3 If you can't pull #2, can you Vent,Enter,Search survivable areas?

    SIDE NOTE: You can enter through a non typical opening like a window with a hoseline to get a line between the fire and possible victims.


    All of this depends on that officer's (senior FF) size up.

    If the whole house is rockin, it may be a defensive no go.

    If there is very heavy fire above or below then it may be a no go.

    Construction may figure into the heavy fire and smoke call. Grandma's country home with heavy joists may still be standing in a half hour while Uncle Ted's new lightweight ranch home may be headed to the basement as you pull a line....

    Ther are too many variables to be specific. Learn as many tactics as you can so you have a bleve of options when the time comes...
    A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    if you are talking about a house fire and you get there 10 -15 minutes AFTER it is reported, more than likely if they are in there they are dead, and not much left of the house
    If you have a district where you anticipate a long response time to a structure fire, you need to promote fire safety & prevention. Being honest to the citizens and saying, "you are this many miles away from the fire hall and our response time will be this many minutes". They need to be told that the FD most likely cannot reach their home fast enough to conduct rescue operations of occupants.

    They should be encouraged to install fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and home fire sprinklers as warning devices. Homes, especially with children, disabled and/or elderly residents definitely need a fire escape plan, too.

    This is the approach that I take in my community. I once was a driver for a rural FD that had response boundaries in 16 townships. I believe that district is now all or parts of 18 townships. It was hard to reach a burning structure in time. There was a substation that could get a pumper out to an outlying area, but the time and distance to respond was way to far to perform any rescue. Using smoke alarms, at least gave the occupants a means of warning from a fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    If you have a district where you anticipate a long response time to a structure fire, you need to promote fire safety & prevention. Being honest to the citizens and saying, "you are this many miles away from the fire hall and our response time will be this many minutes". They need to be told that the FD most likely cannot reach their home fast enough to conduct rescue operations of occupants.

    They should be encouraged to install fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and home fire sprinklers as warning devices. Homes, especially with children, disabled and/or elderly residents definitely need a fire escape plan, too.

    This is the approach that I take in my community. I once was a driver for a rural FD that had response boundaries in 16 townships. I believe that district is now all or parts of 18 townships. It was hard to reach a burning structure in time. There was a substation that could get a pumper out to an outlying area, but the time and distance to respond was way to far to perform any rescue. Using smoke alarms, at least gave the occupants a means of warning from a fire.
    Excellent point.

    If the reality is that you will not be able to get to the home within 10 minutes, tell the folks that, and then let them know how they can prevent fires, and respond to fires.

    We have areas with extended response times in our district, and I am honest with the residents telling them that it's unlikely that we can get there in time to make a rescue, so you need to take responsibility for your own escape.
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    thank you all for the input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Excellent point.

    If the reality is that you will not be able to get to the home within 10 minutes, tell the folks that, and then let them know how they can prevent fires, and respond to fires.

    We have areas with extended response times in our district, and I am honest with the residents telling them that it's unlikely that we can get there in time to make a rescue, so you need to take responsibility for your own escape.
    Is that within 10 minutes of dispatch or 10 minutes travel time from the station?

    Just wondering since I'm in an urban/suburban area and have some VFDs in the area with relatively small districts that have a hard time making the scene within 10 minutes of dispatch on a fair number of calls.

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    I'm a little late to the discussion but simply put - the building and conditions of the fire play a big role in what I will do.

    If I can make entry - I would send a crew to do primary fire attack. Unless I knew exactly where I need to rescue - IE someone hanging out a window, getting to the fire is my first priority. The attack crew would do a quick search along the way to the fire but they are looking for fire - not people.

    With only 3 or 4, I won't be able to do much more than get a first line on the fire. I got 2 on the line, one on the engine/OIC and perhaps one to feed line, work on water supply, etc. If I had 4, I would not send all 4 in at once.

    Once I get more manpower - I will search if conditions allow.

    There is a reason you hear this saying - 'The fires goes as the first line goes'
    If you can tackle the fire, you remove the source of the problem for most everything else.

    Many of our fires are defensive based on conditions upon arrival. The time stack up is the time to page, the time to get to the station, the time to get apparatus to the scene and then the setup time on scene. If we don't have people on station - this can easily be 5-10 minutes until apparatus are on scene. Even then - it can be longer to get more apparatus in place - such as tanker/tenders.
    Last edited by The nots so new FNG; 08-18-2011 at 12:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    If the firfe has a 20 minute headstart in this area, it will most likely be heavily or fully involved on arrival.

    There would be no point in attempting to make entry, even if there are reported victims as they simply would likely not be viable, and body recovery is not worth the risk to us.

    Again this will depend greatly on the experience and training of that intial crew, the laedership ability of the senior firefighter/officer, department SOPs, in addition to water tank size and the availibility of a supplemental water supply.

    Pretty much what one of the speakers at the FASNY training day said today.

    Survival time for a human body in a 300 degree atmosphere is one minute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Is that within 10 minutes of dispatch or 10 minutes travel time from the station?

    Just wondering since I'm in an urban/suburban area and have some VFDs in the area with relatively small districts that have a hard time making the scene within 10 minutes of dispatch on a fair number of calls.
    He stated 10-15 minutes from the first truck leaving the station.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    He stated 10-15 minutes from the first truck leaving the station.
    No, he stated "it normally takes about 10-15 min before the first truck rolls up on scene".

    Regardless, my question was about what you wrote, not the OP. That's why your post was quoted in my post.

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