Advice Needed, Volunteer Organisation with weird and outdated techniques
Hi all, long time lurker first time poster.
Im part of a volunteer firefighting organisation in Australia, one who's 'primary' responsibility is bushfires (or wildfires, as you yanks call them), however its role is changing, and I am in what is called a Village 2 brigade, the highest level of brigade rating for structure fires. This means we carry SCBA and have firefighters trained in offensive structural firefighting.
Now heres where the horror story begins. The brigade has 6 sets of SCBA, meaning the most firefighters we can put in is 6, if we ignore having a RIT. The organisation itself allows plenty of freedom in what we do, however the teachings are standardised. We can change our MO if we want however.
For example, standard practice for brigades is to have a team of two operating a 38 hoseline (1 1/2 inch) doing a primary search, then attempting fire suppression. Myself and an officer discussed it, and we felt that putting fire protection second to the search was risking higher chances of structural collapse, more smoke and heat reducing victim survivability, and was just a bad idea in general.
Eventually we developed an idea where we would send one team of two to initiate fire suppression and horizontal ventilation, while the second would begin a primary search. This has met with some stiff ongoing opposition by certain officers (Who are no longer qualified as offensive firefighters) who make some grand sweeping claims. Firstly they say "Its impossible to identify where a fire is located in a structure, there is too much smoke", too which I answered "If the smoke is that thick that you cannot locate any possible air tracks or light from the fire, why haven't you begun ventilation immediately, noone will be alive in there for long if its that bad. Also what happened to the IC, shouldn't someone have done a 360 to determine the fires location?" And the answer I got was "Ventilation will result in increased fire intensity and it should only be done as a last resort or during overhaul"
Some of this stems from the course where they teach you about OFF, its repeated over and again that "Ventilation will result in increased fire intensity" which while I agree thats true, Im a firefighter, I have a fire hose, I have training. I can deal with increased fire intensity.
This brigade was formerly two brigades, the one I am in allowed us freedom to change our techniques too better ones, but banned us from training our skills out of fear it would result in "an elitist clique", the other one basically worships its SCBA operators, but teaches them retarded techniques, like upon finding a closed door, they are to exit the building, contact the IC, who will then see if there is a way to ventilate from outside, if there isn't they will reenter the building with an axe (They only enter with a hoseline and kelly tool), cut a hole in the door and shove the nozzle in there. Yes, I know. Im very sorry and I apologise to all of you who had to read that, I may have actively decreased the intelligence of all readers. But its true.
So now I have set the scene/got that out of my system, the advice I really need is:
6 SCBA operators, how to best use them.
Our current practice would result in 2 being in performing both a search and fire suppression, a second 2 would be outside as RIT, and the other two sets on the truck still.
I have two ideas for what we could do, and I have the influence to see them implemented either way, I have come here to see what more experienced firefighters opinions are on this. Maybe theres a superior, third option I am overlooking?
There are no service requirements for a RIT team in this country.
The first is we work two teams of 3. One team of 3 undertakes fire suppression while the second begins a primary search. They will work as each others backup. Bear in mind there are other firefighters outside, just only 6 able to enter. The firefighters outside range in experience/training from incompetent monkeys too amatuer participants. Basically there is a huge skill gap between the people trained in OFF and those who aren't.
Pros: Superior speed and a third set of eyes and arms
Cons: If the team undertaking fire supression runs out of air, there is noone to continue while they leave
The second is to have 3 teams of 2, the first team enters the building for fire suppression and the second for primary search. They both take hoselines (thats one of those things we just do). A third team stays outside not masked up. They will begin to soften the target by removing bars, placing ladders if the need be, and beginning ventilation possible as soon as the first team makes contact with the fire. They could also "hit it hard from the yard" while the first team is moving into position, if the situation allows.
RIT team available, if an understaffed one.
More jobs being completed at once
When the fire suppression team reports being low on air, the RIT could come in and change jobs with them.
Slower movement speed than the 2x3 option.
Thoughts? Im only a newbie at this, in an organisation with very limited structure fire experience. So be gentle, its my first time ;)