1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking What is Strategy and what is Tactical?

    One thing that is difficult for a lot of people (or at least it took me years to get it through my thick skull ) is what is Strategy and what is Tactics.

    It's an important difference -- 'cause for most incidents bigger than a dumpster fire the Chief needs to be worried predominantly about the Strategy to be used, and the other officers on the Tactics.

    So, what's your definition of Strategy and Tactics and/or the difference between them?


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Strategy= The "big Picture". Whats going on, what do you want to accomplish.

    Tactics= The attack method(s).

    The Chief arrives and sizes up the fire building..he decides that cutting the roof, placing a blower in the front door and doing a search is needed...thats his strategy. The actual tasks are the tactics..each part of that big plan.

    Thats the way i see it

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Simply put, strategy is the plan of action. Tactics are the steps taken to achieve the plan

    Learn all the jobs, at some point you'll have to do them

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Lets expand this a little. These are the three levels defined by Brunicini, I don't know how close they are to his actual definitions, but these are what I remember.

    Strategy: Command Level. Establish plans, set objectives and priorities, and allocation of resources to accomplish the total goal. Example: Offensive Strategy, interior fire attack (simplified).

    Tactical: Sector Level. Complete jobs, that have been assigned to them by command, in specific areas to acomplish the overall operational objective.
    Example: Search the first floor.

    Task: Fire Company Level. Indivdual tasks assigned to fire companies to accomplise a tactical objective.
    Example: Lay a supply line, stretch a 1-3/4" to the first floor for search and rescue.

    Alan Romania, CEP
    IAFF Local 3449

    My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.

  5. #5
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The best way I can think of to describe this is through a hypothetical example...

    You roll up to a house with fire showing and the whereabouts of the occupants is unknown. Keeping it real simple (this is an example of tactics vs strategy, not a comprehensive strategy discussion)...

    The Chief (or OIC) might decide on an overall strategy like this: deploy 1 primary search team, 1 primary hose team, 1 secondary hose team, 1 crew to vent on the roof, and assign an officer to take the units he/she needs and oversee water supply. Then, the chief must prioritize these team tasks and assign units and teams based on priority and capability and decide on their initial routes of egress, etc....that's all part of an overall strategy.

    The officers (or senior people, or whatever) on the teams determine the tactics. They decide exactly how to best get to the fire and exactly how to attack it when they get there, how to proceed with the search (order of rooms, etc.), exactly what ladders and tools/saws to use to vent, etc., etc.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Strategy is the overall action plan, you need to ask 3 major question.
    1) What should be done?
    2) What do you need to do it?
    3) Who will do it?

    Tactics are operations that must be done to reach the goal. Examples would be
    1) Primary search
    2) Streaching hoselines
    3) Raising ladders
    4) Cutting vent holes
    ect. Those are my Ideas of strategy and tactics

  7. #7
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Great question Matt -

    STRATEGY - 'The art of directing movements so as to secure the most advantageous positions and combination of forces', or 'the way objectives are achieved'- ie; governing the manner in which forces are used to achieve objectives. Strategy is primarily concerned with the highest level of control, ie POLICY. It is the plan.....

    TACTICS - 'The art of manoeuvring forces in contact with the enemy (fire), or the employment of troops (firefighters) on the battlefield (fireground). Matters relating to the lower levels of control are tactical - they are those which conform to the overall strategic policy'.

    Military definitions for military terms - but still most applicable to the role of fireground command and control.


  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Let's make this simple

    Strategy = What you want to accomplish

    Tactics = How you accomplish your strategy

    I want the fire to go out, the people to be rescued and property loss to cease. So, I will assign companies to apply water to the fire through a hose, search the fire above the floor and rescue any victims, and finally place tarps over property to keep it from getting any more damaged.

    Simple, huh?

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm with BVFD and Benson...the simpler the better, especially for my muddled mind.

    Strategy: Put the fire out.

    Tactics: Ventilation, laying hose, advancing lines, forcible entry, etc.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Great question, Matt!

    I agree with every comment so far. Keeping it simple is really a good idea.

    I would just like to add that I think one of the most important factors in good strategy is having a pre-plan.

    Knowing beforehand what the contents of a structure may be, such as a hazardous material, or unique situations like low hydrant flows in the area, allows you to prioritize your strategies so you can then initiate proper tactics.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Simply put strategy is
    What needs to be done
    Whats needed to do it
    Who is going to do it

    How your going to do it using the seven basic divisions of fire fighting
    These are not in order just arranged to make the acronym RECOVES, makes it easy for folks that have senior moments
    Another way is to use the ICS incident priorities Life safety, Indicent Stabilization and Property Conservation.

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