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Thread: Intior Attack Questions.

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    Default Interior Attack Questions.

    Recently, my department conducted our OSHA annual interior burn refresher. Our department is a small combination department. One of the things usually practiced in these refreshers is allowing non-officers to be incident commanders as to get some training at it in a controlled environment (and I suspect this will play a role in promotions when they occur). Anyway, there were a couple things that I was more or less "dinged" on during my time as incident commander, and I was curious what others thought. I wasn't told I was wrong for doing these things, but I was told I wasn't neccessarily right either.

    The incident was presented as just a house fire with a known victim inside the structure. When my first team "arrived" I had them enter the structure without a hose line as to immediately begin to start a search. I sent a second team in as fire attack and search with a dry line within a minute. The thought was the first team could immediated begin searching for our known victim and could search more quickly without a line. The second team could also search more quickly with a dry line and then could have the line charged when they came to a fire.

    I was dinged on both of these things after the scenario was over. I stated of course that each incident would dictate what is done, and obviously in a metal burn building where we know the location of the fire and know it is contained (and so on because we use this building often with the same scenarios) is different than any house than we will have a fire at. I also stated that I thought the time to try something "new" (out of the norm) was in training to see how it worked, instead of on a scene with the unknowns.

    Are there any opinions out there on these things? I'm not looking for an "I'm right or wrong," I'm more interested in what others do and practice and how these things work for them in training and in real life situations.

    Thanks for the thoughts.
    Last edited by FloridaFF3; 04-11-2012 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Spelling Correction


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    You've got to practice like you play. I won't say you did wrong, because you used the info you had. I've seen similar things on the fire ground before. I think a lot depends on your staffing levels, and an honest assessment of both fire conditions and skill levels. if you have a four man engine and conditions permit I could see one guy stretching the attack line while a team of two start a search. The thing is, and there will be others here that will disagree, but everything is contingent on many factors that need to be assessed in seconds; fire condition, smoke condition, construction type, occupancy, time of day, access to additional resources. No two fires are ever the same.

    And yes. There is at least one survivor in this city who is happy a company officer got a little aggressive and searched ahead of his team. These things, however, should be the exception not the norm.

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    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Searching with no line is acceptable, but I would be reluctant to enter without charging the line. A dry line could get into all sorts of pinches and binds that a charged one would not, inhibiting the flow of water should they need it. If you enter with it charged, it will obviously only go to places that a charged line could go.

    It's also better to charge the line outside to ensure that there are no leaks and that your nozzle works properly. You should also bleed off the air before entering, to prevent a big fat WHOOSH of air when you're trying to extinguish the fire, not encourage it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    You should also bleed off the air before entering, to prevent a big fat WHOOSH of air when you're trying to extinguish the fire, not encourage it.
    There's not enough air in a dry hose line to make a difference. You'll give it more air by hitting it with a wide fog pattern initially. Making sure your nozzle is set and working good is a good thing though.
    VES is a viable tactic when done correctly.

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    East makes a good point about stretching dry. That said, we stretch dry at just about everything. Again it's a matter of conditions. When we have a fire we are getting 3 engines, 2 trucks, and a heavy rescue going in, plus RIT (engine and truck). And if your near one of the borders you'll get an out of town engine too. All are companies are a minimum of four members. Everyone gets on a line and helps advances it, even if it's only a little way, and doors either get chocked or come off the hinges.This much manpower, and a culture of getting a glove on a line allows us to stretch dry. If you don't have the luxury of manpower you might be better off not trying a dry stretch.

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    I would have first in commit to fire attack, and second in perform VES which not only accomplishes horizontal ventilation but also your primary search. Remember get water onto the seat of the fire and many problems (for both us and victims) deminish tremendously.
    glaze1 likes this.
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    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    I would have first in commit to fire attack, and second in perform VES which not only accomplishes horizontal ventilation but also your primary search. Remember get water onto the seat of the fire and many problems (for both us and victims) deminish tremendously.
    Putting out the fire is always a good thing, no?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    Putting out the fire is always a good thing, no?
    I dunno, that's what I have always been taught.....with a smoothbore nozzle which delivers a high amount of GPM in an orderly efficient military manner onto the seat of the fire.......but then again I dont have any college degrees or certifications falling out of my bunghole, so what could I know?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I'm not opposed to a crew searching ahead of the line, we often get in ahead of the line, find the fire and tell the hose crew the best route and begin searching from this point back. But the second team likely should immediately be the fire control team. Not necessarily fire attack, but cutting off the fire from the means of egress, protecting the search crew from extending fire, then attack as appropriate given water supply and fire conditions allow.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 04-12-2012 at 10:23 AM. Reason: my keyboard caused a spelling error

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    Always been a believer in water on the fire first.

    That being said, I have never worked in a department with a ladder that arrived at the same time or in some cases before the engine whose primary purpose was search.

    I would say the line goes in before search, and that applies to the 2nd story in the case of 2-story home with a fire on the first floor. Wet line to the 2nd floor ... Then search either off the line or keep the line stationary at the head of the stairs covering the hall.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    I would have first in commit to fire attack, and second in perform VES which not only accomplishes horizontal ventilation but also your primary search. Remember get water onto the seat of the fire and many problems (for both us and victims) deminish tremendously.
    I would do the opposite. Ya gotta have someplace for all that steam and heat to go if you want to give the victim a better chance at survival. Plus the hosemen take less of a beating.
    If the truck can get a jump on attack, that works better for us. Not saying that we haven't initiated fire attack before holes were made, but when we have reports of a life inside, that's a game changer for us.
    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    .......but then again I dont have any college degrees or certifications falling out of my bunghole, so what could I know?
    Oh, couldn't be much. Couldn't be much at all.
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    Truck arrives and does truck work. Engine arrives and does engine work. Not an either or....both.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    There are alot of unknown variables to make a very good response. Such as how many guys did you have to make entry? three guys? two guys? Is it a ranch, two-story? I will assume it is a ranch house.
    The first thing I would try to determine is the location of the victim. If you know which bedroom the victim is in I would VES that room with the first crew. The second crew can enter with a charged hoseline. I will stretch dry up to the landing of a second floor, but I would never in a house stretch dry on the first floor or into a basement. Conditions can change quicker than you can get a line charged and with Murphy the time you really need that water your dry hoseline will be under a door and you won't get the water. So for me if I know the location I would VES. If I didn't know the location I would stretch, put water of the fire and start searching from there while the one guy is putting out the fire. I have done this when I had a guy I could trust. If it is a room and contents help get water on the fire, he can hold the fire and put it out while you search. Depending on the size of victim you might need his help again to get the victim out if help hasnt arrived, but with only two guys right off the bat that is what I would do.

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    Good answers so far. They show one thing- the fact that yes indeed there are multiple safe ways to accomplish the same goal. There's not enough information to make a more informed decision on this particular incident, but that is typical and is indicative of the ever changing fire ground. I agree with your mindset that training is the best place to try something a bit different; obviously provided safety is maintained. My philosophy is if you have a well thought out logical and safe way of doing something try it in training. It may never be used at a true fire, but then again, it may completely change and improve the way your dept does things. You don't know til you try.

    I'm an advocate of stretching dry to the entry door for a first floor or basement fire, and to the landing or base of the steps for a second floor fire. I know that there is the potential for pinching under doors--I handle that while kicking out the kinks. It works for me based on my experiences; it may not work for the next guy or next department.
    Last edited by YFDLt08; 04-18-2012 at 10:07 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Every department is different in many ways in how they tactically do any number of tasks. None of them are wrong assuming that 1) The objective is met in a timely manner, 2) It is done as safely as possible, remembering that this job is inherently dangerous and other than not responding there is no way to make it 100% safe.

    Having said that I will offer up my opinion on hose stretches. I believe it is most advantageous to stretch dry as far as you can, SAFELY. I am not advocating advancing dry to the fire room in a single family dwelling. I do agree with advancing dry to the base of the second floor stairs. I do agree with advancing dry as far as possible in warehouses, big box stores, apartmen buildings, and other large structures simply because it is faster and easier. The nozzle person can carry a bundle of 50 or 100 feet of attack hose that can be flaked out near the fire area ensuring enough hose for the advance to kill the fire. I am not telling anyone else how to do it, local staffing, training, and SOGs will define that.

    Ventilation is in far too many departments an after thought. It should be part of any well coordinated fire attack. Whether you use VES for immediate venting, other horizontal venting, vertical venting, or even PPV when appropriate it always makes it easier for the interior crews and increases survivability for victims. Well, assuming it is done properly.
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    I can see them dinging you for the dry line. Here's my take on it, stretching dry is a good tactic, but only when it is used to speed up the stretch. Not when it is done to speed up the hose team searching. What I mean is, when it's a hose team stretching a line dry stretches are great they let you move quickly. If its a search team that is taking a hose, the dry stretch isn't that good of an idea. They'll be focusing on searching and covering ground not stretching a line, which will invite opportunities for the stretch to get messed up. Did I say that in a way that makes sense?

    Whether or not to send in the search team first or stretch a line depends on a lot of variables. What is the stagger time between companies, how big is the fire, where is it, reports of person trapped vs. being told a person is inside and in what room, construction type. So its hard to comment on that without more info.

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    A lot of good information provided so far. Of course, in mentioning needing more information, the worst part about doing this in training was the fact that on this particular scenario, I was given no specific information, just "I was responding to a house fire." Our burn building is a 3 story metal container box structure with the burn pans with fire on one end of these 50 foot containers, technically on the outside. The good thing about this is we practice many scenrios with this, like anywhere from 1-3 story buildings, basement scenarios, etc. Normally special information is given so you know which structure you are dealing with. I was given none except a fire with entrapment, so I was basically walking around this structure (360) having to use my imagination on this. That was one of the reasons I wasn't as receptive to being dinged, because how can you really ding me on a scenario I had to make up?? (I say this very light heartedly, but the "dingers" were being crabby about it saying every scenario was different so you never know what you may need to do. The funny part is I had already said that every situaton dictates the decisions made).

    Anyway, off my soapbox about that, because I'm sure its quite boring for all of you who weren't there and back to the actual topic. I definataly agree that there are a lot of scenarios that will dictate using a dry line. Obviously, you want to do whatever to have a charged hose before you get to the fire. On a normal house fire, I always have the hose charged going in, because 95 % of our house fires are single story homes that are no bigger that 1200 square feet. Obviously we have fires at bigger homes (2 stories with fire in attic for example, which may dictate a dry line until second floor). But if you are going to come accross fire quickly, you need to have a charged line, in my opinion.

    As far as the search team, again, the scene will dictate that decision (imagine that). Much of this of course depends on how many firefighters are on the scene. Most fires we have where an interior attack is made, generally the first team is the fire attack team with a line. The second team will all depend on the size and location of the fire. Sometimes its a search and rescue team with no line, sometimes it is a second fire attack team (more commonly it is the search and rescue team). I'll point out that if you need 2 fire attack teams, it may be time to consider a defensive attack (all depending on the fire). For this scenario, in the idea of trying something different for training's sake, sending in a search team first seemed like a good idea to me. Of course, I knew I had a fire attack team that would make entry within 30 seconds and I was also working with my "3 story house with a fire on one end of the structure on the first division."

    Of course, there will always be your devil's advocates that will "what-if" any scenario to death. Sometmes that good and sometimes not. If the devil is bringing up good, legitimite ideas, then I am all for it. It's those that just can't accept leaving well enough alone and insist on always being right and having the last word that irk me...which unfortunately a lot of the scrutiny handed down that day fell into that category. But, even still, we all learned a few things and were able to talk about things (even with the naysayers), so all in all, it was a pretty good day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YFDLt08 View Post

    I'm an advocate of stretching dry to the entry door for a first floor or basement fire, and to the landing or base of the steps for a second floor fire. I know that there is the potential for pinching under doors--I handle that while kicking out the kinks. It works for me based on my experiences; it may not work for the next guy or next department.

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    maybe he goes through kicking kinks and ripping doors off the hinges?

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