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Thread: Master stream tactics

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    Default Master stream tactics

    Anybody know of some good training videos on YouTube, or discussions on any firefighting blogs, etc.? I'm thinking of putting together a little class, but I don't seem to recall seeing much of anything. I'm mainly looking for engine ops, not ladder pipes or platforms.
    I see a lot of times where guys just point and aim a deck gun or ground moniter, without really paying attention to the situation. Many times a stream just goes right over a building, or they don't use it effectively and don't really put the water where they need to. Thanks.

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    Have you researched this topic via "official" training mediums, such as the IFSTA red books? Another option would be neighboring departments (and their respective training programs).

    The internet provides access to alot of good training materials. It also is home to a ton of garbage. Make sure that any source you use for training is credible and meets "industry standards" for fire service training (and is not merely someone's rant).

    Good luck.
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    Fire Engineering has a Training Minutes episode about using tower ladders at ground level as an excellent alternative to just lobbing water with a deck gun. You'll have to go back a few seasons to find it though.

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    What exactlyare you looking for? Practice to improve accuracy of the stream? If so, what we have done on both POC FDs I am on is to set up cones and have the deck gun operator, with the assistance of a spotter have to knock them down. The positioning of the spotter is critical for guiding the deck gun operator when the operator can't see the target becauseof the stream.
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    We've gone away from using the deck gun to using Blitzfires instead. We find the ability to place and move the blitzfire better than a fixed deck gun. Being able to hit a fire at ground level has been more effective than from the height of an engine.
    "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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    Sorry canít help you on any good training Material.

    But if I were doing the class each member would spend at least an hour doing nothing but removing and reattaching the stacked tips. Then give a written test.

    Can you guess why

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    What exactlyare you looking for? Practice to improve accuracy of the stream? If so, what we have done on both POC FDs I am on is to set up cones and have the deck gun operator, with the assistance of a spotter have to knock them down. The positioning of the spotter is critical for guiding the deck gun operator when the operator can't see the target becauseof the stream.
    Yes, that's part of it. Also hitting the fire over walls by lobbing it in. Good suggestion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    We've gone away from using the deck gun to using Blitzfires instead. We find the ability to place and move the blitzfire better than a fixed deck gun. Being able to hit a fire at ground level has been more effective than from the height of an engine.
    Well, it depends on the situation. We have both on our engines, so we have options. Our engine/tanker on one of my depts has 2-3" lines from the tank, so we can flow around 900gpm, can't do that with a Blitzfire. Certainly the Blitzfire has some mobility, but we can also put the deck gun on it's mobile base, and it doesn't take but a few seconds more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToDaRoof View Post
    Fire Engineering has a Training Minutes episode about using tower ladders at ground level as an excellent alternative to just lobbing water with a deck gun. You'll have to go back a few seasons to find it though.
    I'm not looking for anything to do with ladders or platforms, just engine master stream ops.

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    I cant think of any training films either, but we have also used a variation of fyredups trick , but we use 3 plastic 55 gallon drums with several concrete blocks in them to keep from tipping. Spotter tries to fill them. they are spaced out. different distances. also I remind the operator to look at the color/configuration of the smoke and to TRY and listen for hints on what the stream is doing.
    ?

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    Not sure I've seen anything, certainly nothing specifically addressing defensive master stream ops. There's a ton of "what not to do" videos online. I think a decent article that addresses tactical placement of master streams (both engine and aerials) might to overdue? Oddly enough "we" seem to forget everything we know about how fire spreads when we go defensive. Look at nearly any magazine or video and you'll find a FD testing roof coverings and proving they shed water. Sticking streams in upper floors while lower floors burn. Suppressing venting fires only to force lateral fire spread. While there is some specific advantages in specific situations for master streams from above, this seems to be the most poorly executed tactic routinely used.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 10-14-2013 at 09:36 AM. Reason: keyboard caused misspelled words

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    I remember this quote from one of my Recruit Instructors when I was in the Academy...

    When the master streams get set up... it usually means that the building will come down...
    CaptOldTimer likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    I remember this quote from one of my Recruit Instructors when I was in the Academy...
    Not always.

    Initial operations with master streams can be a wonderful and very effective offensive tactic in situations where you have limited manpower or in larger structures.

    There are several videos on You-Tube demonstrating this.

    I will look when I have some time.
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    Here's an example with a blitzfire on a garage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oge-39gTlQk

    Here's a couple of examples of the deck gun as the initial attack tool on a well involved residence with exposures:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oge-39gTlQk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSH2x5OkAr0

    Here's an excellent example of using a master stream to knock down a fire with interior followup:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsEwLzQY5vA

    Yes, it did take them awhile to actually use the master stream, but once they did,
    knockdown was very effective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    I remember this quote from one of my Recruit Instructors when I was in the Academy...
    I thought the saying was "When the ladder pipe goes up, the building goes down."
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    I remember this quote from one of my Recruit Instructors when I was in the Academy...
    As I recall, Houston at one time used the deck gun for an initial blitz off tank water while water supply was being established.

    Haven't kept track of it, so don't know if they still use the tactic.

    I would opine that it does follow the mantra of "big fire, big water," perhaps knocking down the fire enough that smaller streams can have an effect.

    As for the ladder pipes, yep.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    As I recall, Houston at one time used the deck gun for an initial blitz off tank water while water supply was being established.

    Haven't kept track of it, so don't know if they still use the tactic.

    I would opine that it does follow the mantra of "big fire, big water," perhaps knocking down the fire enough that smaller streams can have an effect.

    As for the ladder pipes, yep.
    Detroit uses it now.
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    I think you may be overthinking this. Put the water where it will hit fire. If the operator can't see the target, use a spotter. Be willing to admit it when something just isn't working. Rigs can usually be moved to get better positioning if necessary. Yes, it will take time and have a cost as far as fire spread but water that doesn't hit the fire is also a waste of time. I've seen guys operate master streams for long periods of time and accomplish very little. If there is no position that works, go back to multiple handlines. At least you'll have some flexibility in placement As an example, instead of trying to lob over roofs put handlines on roof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I think you may be overthinking this. Put the water where it will hit fire. If the operator can't see the target, use a spotter. Be willing to admit it when something just isn't working. Rigs can usually be moved to get better positioning if necessary. Yes, it will take time and have a cost as far as fire spread but water that doesn't hit the fire is also a waste of time. I've seen guys operate master streams for long periods of time and accomplish very little. If there is no position that works, go back to multiple handlines. At least you'll have some flexibility in placement As an example, instead of trying to lob over roofs put handlines on roof.
    I'm not overthinking this, many times firefighters don't think at all. I've seen many times where a master stream is aimed at the FLAMES, not what's actually burning. You can shoot water throught the flames all day and do nothing. And I've also seen where they don't bother think about the different tip sizes, and call for more pressure instead of going with an appropriate sized tip. Then there's the thinking that you need to have a lazer straight stream and blow water right over a structure, when you could use a larger tip with lower pressure to gently lob a stream over a wall right on top of a fire. I'm trying to come up with something to get guys to think of the mechanics of stream placement, GPM's, building contruction factors, etc.. I've got my ideas on this, but I'm looking for information to back this up. Surely some fire guru has written an article somewhere on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I thought the saying was "When the ladder pipe goes up, the building goes down."
    That too!
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I'm not overthinking this, many times firefighters don't think at all. I've seen many times where a master stream is aimed at the FLAMES, not what's actually burning. You can shoot water throught the flames all day and do nothing. And I've also seen where they don't bother think about the different tip sizes, and call for more pressure instead of going with an appropriate sized tip. Then there's the thinking that you need to have a lazer straight stream and blow water right over a structure, when you could use a larger tip with lower pressure to gently lob a stream over a wall right on top of a fire. I'm trying to come up with something to get guys to think of the mechanics of stream placement, GPM's, building contruction factors, etc.. I've got my ideas on this, but I'm looking for information to back this up. Surely some fire guru has written an article somewhere on this.
    Most members have no idea about the use of the stacked tips and how each tip relates to flow.

    That should certainly be part of the class, especially for the drivers/pump operators.

    Here are few articles:

    http://www.firenuggets.com/x_ARDSIll...r2005index.htm

    http://firelink.monster.com/training...n-the-big-guns

    http://www.firehouse.com/article/102...master-streams

    http://www.firefighternation.com/art...master-streams

    Hope this helps you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I'm not overthinking this, many times firefighters don't think at all. I've seen many times where a master stream is aimed at the FLAMES, not what's actually burning. You can shoot water throught the flames all day and do nothing. And I've also seen where they don't bother think about the different tip sizes, and call for more pressure instead of going with an appropriate sized tip. Then there's the thinking that you need to have a lazer straight stream and blow water right over a structure, when you could use a larger tip with lower pressure to gently lob a stream over a wall right on top of a fire. I'm trying to come up with something to get guys to think of the mechanics of stream placement, GPM's, building contruction factors, etc.. I've got my ideas on this, but I'm looking for information to back this up. Surely some fire guru has written an article somewhere on this.
    My point is that you don't really need a guru. You seem to have a good grasp of the things you want to teach. Go ahead and do it. Not everything has to be a program or a course or a seminar.

    IMO, improperly positioned and/or operated master streams are the fault of the supervisor. He/She is the one who should order placement and use of streams (of ALL sizes).
    Last edited by captnjak; 10-15-2013 at 11:20 AM.

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    Start before you even flow water. Can the deck gun be operated at all angles 360 degrees around its mount on the engine? How about below grade? A lot of times obstructions are found on a scene and not before hand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I'm not overthinking this, many times firefighters don't think at all. I've seen many times where a master stream is aimed at the FLAMES, not what's actually burning. You can shoot water throught the flames all day and do nothing. And I've also seen where they don't bother think about the different tip sizes, and call for more pressure instead of going with an appropriate sized tip. Then there's the thinking that you need to have a lazer straight stream and blow water right over a structure, when you could use a larger tip with lower pressure to gently lob a stream over a wall right on top of a fire. I'm trying to come up with something to get guys to think of the mechanics of stream placement, GPM's, building contruction factors, etc.. I've got my ideas on this, but I'm looking for information to back this up. Surely some fire guru has written an article somewhere on this.
    Referring to the "lob" tactic, my #2 POC FD had a brush fire that spread into a wood pile remnant and at first the officer called for a hand line and I said "why don't we just deck gun it?" I had to explain that we would underpump the gun and just lob or rain down the water on the pile and save a mess of grunt work with hose lines. It worked great and with minimal use of hooks we overhauled the pile. It worked so well in fact that the tactic was used again a short time later at another incident.
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