Thread: TACTICAL FIREFIGHTING
01-05-2002, 09:32 AM #1
I have my own concept and views on an SOP I have researched and titled TACTICAL FIREFIGHTING and I want to run this by you for your views.
TACTICAL FIREFIGHTING is based upon a 26 year review of firefighting tactics around the world. It recognizes that some firefighters operate behind the principles of 'open and vent' whilst others prefer to 'close and hold' - ie; restrict venting until the fire has been suppressed. Other conflicts lie in the old smooth-bore versus water-fog debate. Some envisage using PPV as an attack tool whilst others prefer to save it for post-fire ops. Another unwritten rule is to take the fire before the rescue, although some oppose this view and operate the reverse. In general, there are many views, opinions and preferences. When I talk of these I am meaning departmental preferences and not those of the individual - ie; current SOPs often reflect what should be done.
However, I have strong views that we are missing the point in so many ways. We should be matching the tactics with the conditions presenting on arrival - with the structure's design, construction and geometrical layout - and in general, with the situation we are facing, and each one is different.
Why argue smooth-bore versus fog; or to vent or not to vent when each individual strategy has pros and cons - distinct advantages in certain situations. Why not be trained and equipped for all circumstances and choose the option that fits the conditions best.
Further still, we must ensure that our approaches are not in conflict with our objectives and that by varying and running different strategies in unison they do not counter each other - for example (one of many), can we use water-fog in a ventilated compartment?? Well YES we can - providing we are not attempting an 'indirect' application.
TACTICAL FIREFIGHTING is an SOP for selecting and combining the various tactical options for safe and effective use. Such options include straight-stream, indirect water-fog and 'new-wave' 'pulsing' water-fog applications; and horizontal, vertical and PPV tactical ventilation methods including isolation and 'close-down'. The 21st century firefighter will be trained and experienced to recognise the advantages of each specific tactical approach and match or combine tactics with specific fireground situations for optimal effect.
Could you operate under such an approach? ie; are you willing to accept that there many ways to fight a fire but there is generally only one way to gain optimum effect with maximum safety. Each situation is different - we shouldn't approach every routine fire the same!
01-13-2002, 12:39 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2001
I would be willing to LISTEN to what you have to say, the problem you're going to run into is how to apply those ideas. The fire service seems to be about 20 years behind the private sector. It's limited by budgets, technology staid administrators, and to be honest complacent non trainable firefighters. (I think it was Manning who said they quit, but they still come to work!). While you and I try to have these discussions on nozzles/applications there are many more that are happy that water just comes out of the hose. But I'm all ears (except maybe that 3d stuff).
01-13-2002, 05:13 PM #3
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- The southern shore of beautiful Lake Michigan
Hello Paul, Good to here from you again, Brother!
I'm with you on this one, I think!
I'm not so sure this "problem" can be addressed by an S.O.P.!!!!
Firefighting tactics have to be formulated in a fraction of a second using ALL of the sensory input available to the individual and may have to be changed twice as fast!
The only way to formulate good tactics is through MUCH training and years of experiencing what works and what does not! Some mistakes are bound to be made..... No matter how well the S.O.P.'s thought out! Officers are sometimes good for this!
I do agree that everyone should be trained with EVERY available resource......(believe this or not)....Even 3D!!!! (there, I said it!)
If I am in a very bad situation, I want (and will use)EVERY possible "tool" available to me. The idea is to train everyone.....and hope everyone retains this info.!
Like BLACKSHEEP said, some people just "show up"FTM-PTB
01-13-2002, 07:56 PM #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"
I whole heartedly agree with you that we should be thoroughly trained for every situation and proficient in tool use and attack methods, HOWEVER
here in the northeast fighting a fire in a building is much different than fighting one in the newer parts of the country. Example ppv. I understand the concept, and sure it works if the buildings are of fire rated materials steel studs,
fire stops etc, but if my dept were to use it we would probably burn down 95% of our fires due to balloon construction, hidden voids etc. This was proven on a mutual aid house fire in a 75 yo house
and the dept to which we aided used ppv resulting in a fireball racing through the first floor almost crispening 3 members due to unchecked fire in a void. Solid vs fog. We were the 1st in the area to revert back to solid bore almost 10 yrs ago. Our fires go out quicker with less water and less of a beating for the crews and potential victims. I totally believe in proficiency in all aspects however all ff's should take into account their areas and make sure the tactics that they employ are appropriate to situation and not some hot new concept sent from the fire gods who live in a utopian place. Trial and error in training under safe conditions are the ways to find this out, not on the fireground with lives on the line."I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."
Edward F. Croker
Fire Dept. City of New York
HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.
01-14-2002, 07:17 AM #5
Thanks for replying on this one guys....
Blacksheep.....'complacent non trainable firefighters'.......I agree that these people probably exist in every fire department in the world! (However - the mere fact that people visit these boards demonstrates that there are those of us out there who wanna learn and I KNOW he wasn't referring to anyone heare!). Well.....maybe one or two and I take your other points as relevant - money always plays its part, especially where training is concerned.
gfdtrk4 - Hey again Bro.....You are right, probably a philosophy is a better way of putting it but heck - I can only just spell that word! Firefighters like SOPs better! Your points are also taken onboard and are most valid......except the last one!....'Even 3D!!!! (there, I said it!)'....hey fellah - YOU ARE WORKING TOO HARD
Take a break! The mind can get a bit clouded if you look at this screen too long!
and Puffy - You make valid points also and I find myself nodding to all you say (not that smooth-bore stuff )!! Yes of course, NO SOP could be as rigid not to take into account local area and risks etc....and PPv used in an offensive fasion......well that's not top of my list anyway but I know it has its advantages in specific situations and structures.
The main points are -
1. Lets look at all options.
2. Ensure that any options we choose to make part of our SOP are able to work safely and effectively alongside each other; or the people know when NOT to create conflict by combining opposing options.
PPV - Venting windows - venting stairshafts - closing (isolating) air supplies into the structure - smooth-bore - straight stream - Indirect combination attack - pulsing 3D water-fog - high-flow lines or low flow high-pressure boosters. I have used them all and to me - they are all equally valuable under the right circumstances.
PPV in balloon-frame.......Nah! High-pressure boosters in timber-frame or commercial properties - nah perhaps not! But there is a time and place for every option and we can equip and train to maximise our capabilties. I am not say we should all bring back high-pressure boosters!! I understand the real world and how it works.
Untrainable? I think we should attempt to turn that around as best we can. We are reactive in our approach - yes....instinct plays a big part. But we need to be pro-active in our philosphy and recognise every opportunity to advance our profession without becoming too prone to 'tunnel vision' and tradition.
Thanx again for your most valid points and analysis.
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