Thread: Search or Suppression
08-28-2000, 04:37 PM #1AFD23Firehouse.com Guest
Search or Suppression
In our dept we have an ongoing battle over the tactics of fire attack and search our command officiers would like our 3 man crews to do search and rescue on the fire floor or building with no hose line, our arguement is that if you want us to hang it on the line give us a hose line and well do it so i guess the argument is what comes first search or suppression? In most cases
08-28-2000, 05:13 PM #2ADSN/WFLDFirehouse.com Guest
I would have to go with supression. If the fire goes out everything gets better.
I see a few problems with searching first without anyone hitting the fire. The first is that the fire is going to continue to grow. So an easy bedroom fire can involve an entire second floor while you search. As for searching without a line while someone is attacking a fire, sure. You can conduct a faster search without dragging the line along.
If you have any doubts about fire spread or being cut off from your primary means of egress than I'd take a line with.
A life comes first but not at the cost of one of us.
If a regular room by room interior search isn't possible due to fire conditions then a Vent, Enter, Search profile may work, Just remember that when you vent for life you will draw the fire to you. Their is a good video made by FDNY on this type of search.
08-28-2000, 05:29 PM #3S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
I concur for the most part. Where I would differ is if you knew for certain where someone was and there was a good chance you could get them.
Otherwise - intend to suppress and if you find someone before you get to the fire get them out.
Remember, smoke kills more than the fire. How do you stop the smoke? Put out the fire.
08-28-2000, 06:07 PM #4akjFirehouse.com Guest
Rescue and evacuation (the saving of human life) should always be a higher priority than fire suppression. That said, rescue and evac should only be attempted when it can be done without jeopardizing your life and the lives of your fellow firefighters. Further, the manner in which it is conducted will vary depending upon the conditions encountered.
Attacking a fire without undertaking, or at least considering, rescue and evac may actually result in our doing more harm to the persons trapped or otherwise in need of evacuation from the dwelling by the creation of steam, the forcing of the fire into unburned areas, and the creation of other untenable conditions adn effects. Everything does not automatically get better, especially for those trapped, just by attacking the fire.
Whether you advance a hose line during rescue and evac depends upon the conditions observed upon arrival and those you expect to encounter. If you have actual flame impingement on the fire floor, advancing a hose line may be the prudent thing to do. Similarly, balloon construction should be a warning and cause you to alter your methods accordingly. But, there may also be situations when the presence of a hose line may not be necessary or may not be prudent in order to most effectively perform the rescue or evac in a timely manner even on a fire floor.
The "Chief Revas" memory aid is quite helpful for considering actions when arriving on scene.
R is for rescue - are there people hanging out of windows or trapped by the fire or calamity.
E is for evacuation - are there people who, while not in immediate danger, could be in danger or threatened.
V is for ventilation - effective and early ventilation often saves lives and is necessary for an effective attack.
A is for attack - put the wet stuff on the red stuff.
S is for salvage and overhaul - let's make sure it's out, discover the cause, and clean things up.
08-28-2000, 07:51 PM #5PLFDT1Firehouse.com Guest
have you no faith in your engine companies man!
as they say, "without engine companies us truckees are just more victims in the building"
thank god for good engine co's
08-28-2000, 10:34 PM #6ADSN/WFLDFirehouse.com Guest
OK akj how about this senerio. your engine pulls up on a 80 year old ordinary construction three story six flat. you have fire showing from two windows in one unit on the first floor the second due units are 3 to 4 minutes out. and you have 4 people showing out of windows in various levels of distress. What do you do?
You could preform ladder rescues for the visable residents, but what about the other fire victims. If you have four people trapped and visable you are bound to have some still in the building not visable.
While preforming these rescues the fire continues to grow possibly spreading to unaffected units and taking the lives of thoes victims not in the windows. By the time your second due units arrive and streach lines the fire will have a 5 to 6 minute free burn. Enough time to consume the entire unit and spread to the surrounding units. While you may save some people ultimatly you could loose many more people than you saved and perhaps the building also.
If you streached a line and put a hit on the fire you may have the fire darkened down prior to any help arriving. Also who said that the chauffer can't throw a ladder after getting you water?
My fellings are that the first due engine should almost always attack the fire, and at the liest prevent the fire from growing any further.
If you have the manpower I would preform rescue at the same time as supression. I also agree with S. Cook about the single victim that you know where he is. That would be about my only exception
[This message has been edited by ADSN/WFLD (edited August 28, 2000).]
08-28-2000, 10:52 PM #7ADSN/WFLDFirehouse.com Guest
I also have a question about your acronym? What would happen to a fire in a building while you rescue, evacuate, and vent all before putting water on the fire?
I think you are taking the list of fireground tasks too literally. For example if you see signs of a backdraft wouldn't venting be first on the list. Often times in a fire resistive structure protecting in place may be the best tactic. Try to evacuate or rescue 100 people from a nursing home prior to hitting the fire.
Anyway I'm not trying to pick on you, each fire incident has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated. I just feel that we waste too much time on some tasks when a simple attack can prevent the incident from getting worse.
08-29-2000, 12:38 PM #8WOODMANFirehouse.com Guest
Suppression first you need to get water on the fire to either halt its spread or at least slow it down enough to enable you to effect a good search.You need to look at each fire differently what worked today may not work tonight.
08-29-2000, 04:23 PM #9Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Can you say Big-K scenario???
Life Safety is #1...but usually best accomplished by getting a hoseline in place to protect the exits (stairway) and confine the fire.
If you're fortunate to normally arrive with well staffed engine and truck companies at about the same time, you can adopt aggressive search & fire attack tactics (like FDNY). Most departments don't have that staffing level and response times.
The exception to putting a hoseline in operation first is when the officer-in-charge makes a decision based on their experience, their size-up of the scene, and their tools, tactics, & training that an immediate rescue can be accomplished.
08-29-2000, 04:53 PM #10Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
How many 3 man crews are arriving and in what time frame? A single company of 3 faced with attack or rescue has some decisions to make. How many victims? Where are they? Are they really screwed or just think they are? What is the fire condition, what is the building construction,the occupancy, etc...
In one of the scenarios proposed, the classic “4 people at the window” is given. I agree with his idea that you have to hit the fire. Attacking the fire rapidly begins to make things better for everyone in the building, not just those that you can see. Immediately affecting rescue has the
same results for the 4 that you can see, but given the fact that this is a multi-occupancy dwelling, I’d start off with the assumption that there are a lot more than 4 trapped.
This scenario is a lot like Keokuk, overwhelmed the number of kids and the lack of firefighters, the firefighters become victims as well.
08-30-2000, 10:24 AM #11chiefjay4Firehouse.com Guest
Unless people are visible(at the windows) or no water is available, and there is a confirmed entrapment then do the search. But studies have shown that the best way to save lives is to put water on the fire and water between those trapped and the fire source. Our SOP calls for the removal of occupants that are visible without a needed hoseline. Also if special circumstances orrur such as a person stating that someone is trapped in a room that is accessable from the outside, we will try to make the grab. But in almost all other cases take a line with you.
08-31-2000, 11:51 PM #12RVFDCaptFirehouse.com Guest
I tend to agree with pretty much every post on here. However, I do seem to agree most with suppression first as you can concentrate more on the rescue instead of making your rescuers additional victims. As Dalmation90 mentioned, it would be nice to have fully-staffed truck and engine companies so it could be done simultaneously but most of us don't have that luxury. As another also put it, there is no true hard and fast answer. Each fire/situation will be different.
09-01-2000, 09:12 AM #13bfd1071Firehouse.com Guest
Good question. The answer......you do both together. life safety is important, but your safety is first! You need the line. The line can protect you and the residents of the house. Without the line your rescue is doomed!
09-01-2000, 11:48 PM #14firenurseFirehouse.com GuestOriginally posted by AFD23:
...3 man crews to do search and rescue on the fire floor or building with no hose line...
In my oponion it is foolhardy to enter a structure fire without an adequate means to to get your butt out when *$%@ hits the oscilating device. If you are doing a search without a backup crew available, I feel you must have the hoseline as a backup. If you can hit the fire on your search then great. If you get lucky and find someone you will be able to find you way out quicker by following the line out. If you have to bail out quickly, having the hose as a lifeline may very well save your life.
So in summary, given your situation I belive the hoseline is a must for your own safety.
[This message has been edited by firenurse (edited September 01, 2000).]
09-03-2000, 04:23 AM #15Paul GrimwoodFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with RVFDCapt in that almost all of the posts here give good advice with the general consensus biased towards fire suppression first.
However, what happens on a forum thread is different to what occurs at the real thing! Even so, a good commander must ensure that -
a) fire suppression takes priority.
b) Do both together if manpower allows.
c) visible external rescues and KNOWN 'grab' situations MAY take priority over water - circumstances present differently and a rapid size-up will decide.
d) No firefighter should be allowed to search alone - work in pairs as a minimum.
At Keokuk I am informed that 4 of the initial 5 firefighters to arrive were involved in search and rescue - hey, its kids and we ALL wanna get in there! But effectively, 2 Ffrs should have got water on the fire. The firefighters were lost 10-15 minutes following arrival....that's a long time without water.
09-03-2000, 02:32 PM #16Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Keokuk arrived initially with two vehicles and four men -- An ***'t Chief, A Lieut, and 2 Drivers.
A Lieutenant was the hydrant man and left at the plug.
The Assistant Chief went inside immediately to begin a search.
The Chief arrived with a third firefighter just after the apparatus and was told the A.C. was inside. He then sent the two Drivers inside to find/help the A.C. and ordered the 3rd FF to don an airpack and stretch a line.
Immediately after the two drivers entered the building, one victim was handed out and two police officers took off for the hospital CPR in progress (hospital is only about 1/2 mile away...virtually in sight of the fire)
Then another victim was handed out, which the Fire Chief began CPR on and the Police Captain drove the fire chief to the hospital. At this point, I believe (big assumption there...) that the only Public Safety type person still outside was the lone third firefighter who stretched a handline to the foyer, donned and airpack, and charged the line.
Between the time she stretched the handline, donned the airpack, then charged the line, the flashover occured and burned through the hose. She shut down the line, got a nozzle on a section of hose back, re-charged the line, and began to attack the fire.
At this point, another engine staffed by two called-back firefighters, the LT who had been at the hydrant, and Chief who had rushed one of the kids to the hospital all arrived more or less simultaneously on scene.
Elapsed time the trucks originally arrived -- about 5 minutes or so.
09-04-2000, 10:49 AM #17Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
It all comes down to good SOP's and discipline. If you are on an engine and KNOW that the truck is doing the search, you had better never abandon a hoseline or freelance into another job. Knowing that the engine has stretched an appropriate sized line allows that first truck crew to search with some confidence that they are being covered. Response assignments which allow the engine and truck to arrive nearly simultaneously are a big plus and constant training on company duties are necessary.
As far as Keokuk, they had no chance. Too much fire, too many victims and not enough manpower. Is it common for towns like this to call back manpower rather than bring the next town in? In my county we travel across district lines pretty regularly on automatic aid and most departments don't even handle structure fires with a single company any more just to ensure they have the right numbers. The fact that the PD transported the first 2 and the Police Captain transported the next with the fire chief tells you a little about the depth they have there. No mention of EMS.. was there a delay with them too?
09-04-2000, 03:30 PM #18Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Couple good questions...
. Is it common for towns like this to call back manpower rather than bring the next town in?...No mention of EMS.. was there a delay with them too?
My understanding is Keokuk is in a fairly rural area, and it is as fast to recall their own people as bring in a mutual aid company.
Sounds like there wasn't much depth to EMS either. The third firefighter had joined an ambulance crew to help them with victims from a serious MVA just before the fire. The Fire Chief picked her up at the hospital enroute to the fire...sounds like the ambulance hadn't yet gotten back in service after the MVA.
09-04-2000, 05:25 PM #19Paul GrimwoodFirehouse.com Guest
Matt - now this is perhaps somewhat controversial but -
What if......same scenario as Keokuk......5 firefighters arrive on 2 engines and initiate a 'quick water' attack without the hook-up? That's 2 firefighters on fire attack; 2 firefighters on search ops; one firefighter (Chief)? o/s at the pumper. That's two engines with how many gallons?
I can appreciate the situation here and can't begin to imagine where the hook-up is coming from! But a quick hit on any fire might be worth thousands of gallons later.
I am not sure of the strength or numbers in Keokuk but with 13,000 residents they must be able to roll more than 5/7 hands on a structure fire at 8am?
09-04-2000, 07:37 PM #20DSmitsFirehouse.com Guest
Need I say more than Size-up, Size-up, and Size-up. Part of that size-up is construction if my memory serves me correctly. There is not a correct answer to the original post as there is so little information. It does not surprise me that so many still thought they could give a definitive answer. WAKE UP F/Fs!!!!. When will you realize that you should slow down, think, and size-up every building before going in? All of us want to be hero but you really aren't a hero when your in the casket are you? It isn't just about putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.
09-04-2000, 10:46 PM #21Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
The tank option has some good points Paul. We run 750 gallons here, so we have some time, the manpower is balanced to support the rescue and attempt to control the fire. When you get there everyone has to know this is for rescue only, get in and get out. Another possibility is to use civilians to make the stretch, usually more bystanders than firefighters and they love to help. They can move 5" a block or so pretty quick, the pump operator can make the hook up then if necessary.
09-05-2000, 12:04 PM #22Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Unfortunately, 6 people is like full staffing for them...
Keokuk as a city, is, um, cheap SOBs? A few years back the same city fathers who didn't want to pay for the firefighter funerals or accept liability for a memorial park had wanted to abolish the career department.
I think Keokuk fits into the original question well. Not to criticize the actions taken, but to look at it as one with a lot of lessons.
It's very, very dangerous to search without getting the water on the fire. Reading the exerts from the NFPA report, it sounds like there was heavy fire on the side of the building the ***'t Chief couldn't see...so his size-up was skewed and things went downhill from there. Normally, you can recover from any given mistake...but here resources were spread so thin, they couldn't make up for it.
09-07-2000, 05:34 PM #23thewarthogFirehouse.com Guest
Put the fire out and everything gets better. Is the fire blowing over their heads? Is it just heavy smoke? The easiest way to perform a rescue is generally to put out the fire.
09-07-2000, 07:54 PM #24AFD23Firehouse.com Guest
It would seem under the ideal conditions that suppression and search should work hand in hand most ideal conditions happen in the classroom or in the training, the solution we came up with is no searching without a hoseline on the fire floor. why lay it on the line for nothing the engine has plenty of hose to have an attack line,and a backup line, well if no one has the backup line then take it with you if you are the searh team, and let the next arriveing company set up the back up line. Of course their is always alot of variables with any incident and all are different.
09-16-2000, 10:22 PM #25InfernoFirehouse.com Guest
I would say that the best is if both could be done at the same time, however that's not usually the case. If you went inside and searched first, you are putting yourself in a much more dangerous situation, especialy if you are searching without a hoseline. Since as firefighers we count our lives as being more valuable than a victim who is possibly already dead, I think that it would be safer and more efficent to fight the fire first if you can't do the two jobs simultaneously. How many working fires do you go to and find a live victim? How many working fires do you go to and find a fire?
When In Doubt, Blitz It Out!
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