1. #1
    ME93
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool Life before Property!?

    Here's the question.

    You are responding to a structure fire with possible entrapment at 0300hrs. The structure is a two story residence with flames showing from the front upper story windows. Dispatch again advises of likely possible entrapment. You see bystanders standing at the end of the street blocking the road yelling at you that they think someone is still in the house. You see a hydrant about 100 ft in front of you approx 150 ft from the residence. Knowing you have 500 gallons of water on your engine and the second due is fairly close behind.

    Do you go directly to the residence and pass the plug and use the water that is on your truck? Or do you take the time to hit the plug and drop off a man to charge it for you and lose time and manpower? Now, the street is a culdesac so ther is only one way in. You try to pull past the residence to allow the truck to get in. Do you have the second due engine reverse to the plug?

    I have a hard time passing a plug when there are flames showing but it is a very good chance of entrapment. Taking into consideration of the house layout and time of day the occupants may be in the room with fire showing?



    ------------------
    Fishers Fire Dept.
    FF/Medic
    Local 416

  2. #2
    fjbfour
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Skip the plug if the 2nd engine is anywhere close. The fire grows fast enough that you don't want to waste any time getting a crew into the structure for the rescue dinking around with a supply line. Who cares if you end up the losing the whole house if you save one life?

    The only time I'd consider hitting the plug first is if I can clearly recognize that there will be additional lives in serious and immediate danger should I not be able to control the fire with my 500 gallons and my second engine won't be enough help in the short term. This would be the case in an apartment building with heavy fire on any floor except the top, or if there are occupied dwellings in extreme exposure danger (row houses, etc), particularly during early AM hours.

  3. #3
    Firelover
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have to agree with "fjbfour".

    Depending on how close the second due is behind me, I would skip the plug, and go take a look for those people. The insurance (hoping they have some) will cover proper replacement, not the lives just lost.

    ------------------
    Joel

    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

  4. #4
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    Can your first-in team accomplish a search with 500 gallons of water? Is this enough water to rescue them should they become trapped? Is there any gaurentee that the second due engine will arrive without being delayed?

    I was always trained that we don't unnecessarily risk our lives in order to "try" to save victims that may already be dead or may not even exist (been on more than one call with reported trapped victims who were away at the time of the fire).

    I am afraid I will have to go against the grain on this one. If I was in charge on it, I would want to ensure I had an established water supply before I commit firefighters into a building with flames showing.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  5. #5
    benson911
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If you use some hydraulic "rule-of-thumb" calculations, you can put out a lot of fire with 500 gallons. (20'x30'x8'/100 = 480 gallons, that would be a fully involved second floor.) If you can't knock it down with tank water, then the fire's too big and the occupants are dead; or you're not applying water very efficiently.

    You skip the hydrant, drag a dry line to just below the second floor, charge the line and knock down the fire; then you complete a primary search and have the second-in companies finish the mop up and the secondary search.

    As long as you protect your egress (stairs) you can safely attack this fire, stopping the production of smoke (kills people) and saving lives. If you run out of water, down the stairs you go and outside to safety. But, you must protect your entrance/egress path!!

  6. #6
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Smile

    Can you be sure that the firefighter on the knob will apply the 500 gallons appropriately to put out the 20'x30'x8'/100 = 480 gallons fire? And also be certain that the back-up will be sure to keep the egress available? All the while doing a search? Are the victims upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, at Grandma's house?

    From the information we have been given, this team may spend some time searching and could encounter a fair amount of fire while doing this. Another variable we have not discussed is how many people do you have on the first engine. We operate with at least 5 firefighters. So, we can spare someone to catch the hydrant, the engineer and still have a 3 member team enter the fire building. If you are working a 3-man engine, I might be more prone to making a blitz attack with the booster tank rather than delay entry waiting for the hydrant to be opened and then having that firefighter come to join the 3rd firefighter in entering the house.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  7. #7
    FFE3BFD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    You see a hydrant about 100 ft in front of you approx 150 ft from the residence.

    Pass the plug up, 150 ft.is fairly simple to back stretch a line to.






  8. #8
    M G
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    An established water supply and well placed lines will stop fire and save lives. While you are trying to rescue people, the fire is growing almost exponentially (thats alot!) and you are wasting precious seconds not applying water. Im going to opt to secure the hydrant and stretch a line.

    ------------------
    The information presented herin is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.

  9. #9
    fjbfour
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    M G:

    You said: "While you are trying to rescue people, the fire is growing almost exponentially (thats alot!) and you are wasting precious seconds not applying water. Im going to opt to secure the hydrant and stretch a line."

    You can flip that around, too. I still stand by my sentiment that "While you are trying to establish a water supply, the fire is growing almost exponentially (thats a lot!) and you are wasting precious seconds not rescuing victims. I'm going to opt to save lives and let the second engine secure a water supply."

    All bets are off if I encounter the specific scenarios I listed in my first reply, or if I don't have another engine close by. The rescue crew can drag a line in and use the booster tank to protect their egress, and worry about suppression after the primary search is completed. Just an opinion, and we all know there is an exception to every rule.

    Stay safe!

    ------------------
    Frank Billington
    - - - - -
    "You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently."
    - - - - -
    I am not presently a member of the Plymouth (MN) Fire Dept, and my statements are not to be construed as related in any way with the PFD.

  10. #10
    fjbfour
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I could also make an analogy out of it.

    If you see someone in the street that looks like they might be about to get hit by a car, do you:

    A) Sprint and try to tackle them out of the road, possibly putting yourself in harm's way, or

    B) Set up some traffic control before you go see if they got hit or not?

    I know this isn't totally accurate in the representation, but it conveys my logic approach.

  11. #11
    Staylow
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Time is the issue here. The people inside don't have any. We have to get inside quickly and aggressively if they are to have any chance. How far back is the next due engine? Not far, then pass the hydrant. Will your tank give you enough water to put out the fire? I don't know. This is the one point that we need to see in order to make a better call. But, it may give you enough time to secure the stairs and hold back the fire while someone searches the rooms next to it. If you run out of water you can always back down the stairs. But, at least you made an attempt at a search. If there are people in the house they are counting on you to help them. Isn't that what we are paid to do?

    If the hydrant is only 150 feet from the house the pump operator can drag a supply to it after he gives his crew water, if he thinks the next due engine is going to be delayed. We are only talking about 3 lengths of hose and very little time.

    500 gallons of water can put out a lot of fire. You have to get inside and secure the stairs and give those searching time to find potential victims. As long as the second due engine is not too far behind then you can pass the hydrant.

    Stay Safe!

  12. #12
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Newspaper headlines the following day:

    "Victims Perish in House Fire While Firefighters Run Out of Water"

    Sub-headline:

    "Fire Hydrant only 150 Feet Away"

    Now, let's go to court and see what the NFPA and IFSTA standards have to say about this. Does anyone here have something in writing that explains what order you conduct things at a fire scene? Is there a standard that says to establish your water supply and THEN perform search & rescue. Or, is there anything in writing that states you immediately conduct a search & rescue while relying on the next due company to establish your water supply? I am playing "devil's advocate" here, but in this law suit happy country of ours, we will have to answer to this if the worst happens.

    The headline could as easily read:

    "Victims Perish in House Fire While Firefighters Fail to Use Water on Fire Truck"

    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.


    [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited 01-12-2001).]

  13. #13
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Any good engineer should be able to charge the preconnect, then pull the supply line and hit the hydrant before running out of water. 500 Gallons can put out a great deal of fire. As an officer the decision would be based on my knowledge of my crew.

    You could also drop the supply line and let the engineer finish the hook up. By the time the engine stops and you pull and flake out the line, the man who you left at the hydrant can walk up to the fire building. That wouldn't use up more than just a few seconds, and you would save the engineer from dragging his own line.

    While it is preferable to have a secure water source, some situations dictate a faster attack, I feel that this situation is one of them.

    Stay Safe

  14. #14
    benson911
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In repsonse to Metal Medic's questions...

    "Can you be sure that the firefighter on the knob will apply the 500 gallons appropriately to put out the 20'x30'x8'/100 = 480 gallons fire?"

    If I can't trust my own abilities or those of my team members, then I can't do my job. I know what the members of my shift and department can do and not do. You have to be able to trust your crew, or you can't do the job.

    "And also be certain that the back-up will be sure to keep the egress available?"

    You have to protect yourself, in addition to trusting your department's procedures and members. Protect your own egress and watch your own back. The officer on the line or the lineman at the rear is responsible to ensure the fire isn't getting behind you. Entering a burning building at any time with any amount if water is risky. If I have 500 gallons, I better be able to put out two rooms in a residence with that, or I don't belong on the knob.

    "All the while doing a search?"

    Darken down the fire, leave your line (if you feel comfortable doing that) and primary search the rooms next to or across from the fire room. Darkening down or completely extinguishing the fire stops the production of smoke, giving the victims a chance to breathe if they're still breathing.

    "Are the victims upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, at Grandma's house?"

    You search the most affected/worst rooms first (the ones where the victims will be the worst,) then work your way to the least affected/best rooms last (the ones where a victim could be hiding and still safe.) Hit the rooms closest to the fire room, thus getting the most dangerous spaces first, then move to the less dangerous or safer rooms.

    Interior fire fighting is the riskiest job in the world. You are entering an uncontrolled atmosphere and attempting to bring it under control with water. To accomplish this as safely as possible requires following a system. That system is based upon your department's SOP's, equipment, manpower and training. To delay attacking the fire in this scenario, because you want to hit a hydrant, is unnecessary because the second-in engine is soon to arrive. Even if it never arrives, you should be able to extinguish two residential bedrooms with less than 500 gallons, or you need to get better at what we do.

    Lastly, if this fire was set and the fire load is a lot greater than expected, that will be readily apparent when the fire in the first room doesn't go out. Then, get the heck out of there and wait for support.

  15. #15
    fjbfour
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    And the headline could say:

    "Victims perish in fire as firefighters outside prepare water supply".

    Byline:

    "Firefighter laments: 'They were yelling as we arrived, if we had just reached them a few seconds earlier'."

  16. #16
    ME93
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Thank you for your excellent reponses so far!

    Now, we usually only have staffing of three on our engines (yes it's a pain in the arse). Also, yes you should be able to stop a fire with 500 gallons of 2 bedrooms typically 15 x 10 rooms. What happens if the fire gets ahead of you and into the attic with light weight trusses? Also putting water on the fire without ventilation will in fact produce steam which could infact cause more harm to the victims. Now saying that what kind of nozzle do you want?

    ------------------
    Fishers Fire Dept.
    FF/Medic
    Local 416

  17. #17
    bfd1071
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have said this before, and I guess i will have to say it again. Supression and rescue go hand and hand. Without a hose line for protection your chance is slim for rescue. Remember, you can also use the line to protect trapped occupants. It would be foolish to lose a few people because they where performing a rescue without protection.

    As for the hydrant, go past it. It is only 150 feet away, charge the handline when they call for the water. Walk the feeder back, or since you said it was a dead end rd, and the second engine is a short time away, have them feed into you.

    ------------------
    ** The opionions are mine and mine alone, they are not that of my dept or the local**

  18. #18
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by fjbfour:
    And the headline could say:

    "Victims perish in fire as firefighters outside prepare water supply".

    Byline:

    "Firefighter laments: 'They were yelling as we arrived, if we had just reached them a few seconds earlier'."
    Who is yelling? The people in the street or the victims in the house. If I could positively identify that there were victims and what their location(s) were, I might be more prone to pass the hydrant to perform the rescue. Even if the hose team was poor and wasted the 500 gallons in doing so. If they rescue the victims and burn down the house... that is a win.

    I think what we are seeing here are a lot of perceptions and differences in procedures. If we had only 3 personnel on the engine, that could change my approach. But we normally run with 5, so I don't see where we lose a significant amount of time letting one firefighter bail out at the hydrant to pull the supply off and then position the engine. The engineer would charge the pre-connect from the booster tank, and then go about connecting to the hydrant. It is also just as reasonable to have the 5th member hand carry the supply from the scene back to the hydrant.

    Search procedures may also affect this scenario. In this area, we normally do not abandon the hose line to perform a search. Also, if we do not know the location of victims, we do a systematic left or right hand search of the building. If you proceed "right" and the victims are to the "left", you could be in there a long time before you find them.

    Has anyone come up with the "textbook" response to this situation yet?

    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.


    [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited 01-13-2001).]

  19. #19
    johnusn971
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by fjbfour:
    And the headline could say:

    "Victims perish in fire as firefighters outside prepare water supply".

    Byline:

    "Firefighter laments: 'They were yelling as we arrived, if we had just reached them a few seconds earlier'."
    Another Headline the next day:
    "3 FireFighters die while fighting fire. They ran out of water."

    In NYC Rescue and Surpression are seperate. The Engine Co. Should never bypass the hydrant that they need to establish a secure dependable water supply. Personally? I wouldn't want to be inside when the water in the tank runs out. What are you going to do? Take your mask off and spit at it? Keywords too- Possible. How many times have any of us heard of "possible" trapped people who turned out to be the family parrot that they couldnt live without? Or something stupid like that. Possible. We could possibly save the house. To vague to risk our lives. If we are dead, anyone who is possibly inside, is screwed anyway.

  20. #20
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    I think we are about to beat this one to death, but after reading another posting in this forum, I have another observation.

    Isn't it funny how quickly some here rely on only their booster tank when they are going in on a working house fire. Yet, how many of these same people insist on calling in enough water to fill a swimming pool when they respond with the same engine and the same booster tank to a working house fire in a rural setting.

    Am I missing something here, or does it just take more water to put out a fire when you have no secure water supply? And why is it that we need to run a 6-tanker shuttle and use 12,000+ gallons of water on the rural fire, when we know from this posting that 480 gallons of water will put out a 20'x30'x8' structure.

    Perhaps it is because your water supply is uncertain? Just as your second due engine could become involved in a crash 4 blocks from the fire where the first engine decided not to establish it's water supply?



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  21. #21
    rudedog
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Hydrant 150 away? Bystanders? Unless the bystanders are in wheel chairs,its a no brainrs.

  22. #22
    st34ff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Arrow

    This question is one that I think can only be answered at that moment. We can talk and talk about it, but until you have this situation, you don't know how you will react.
    I have had a situation sortof close to this. We were dispacted to a dwelling fire. Chief arrived to fire blowing out all doors and windows. I was on first arriving truck. We had a total of 3 people on it. Hydrent was about 150-200ft away. We went into service with a deck gun and a handline. We did not hit the hydrent. Next due engine was to lay in from hydrent. Well, to put it nicely, we suck all 1,000 gallons out of our tank. The bystanders did not know if the family was there or not. The were out shopping at that time. The call was made, weather it be right or wrong not to hit the hydrent.

    Kyle

  23. #23
    axman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Why not have your pump operator hit the hydrant while your crew is attacking/searching for the occupants if the hydrant is only 150 to 200 feet away from your pumper?

  24. #24
    fjbfour
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I agree with Metal, a faulty assumption we often make is that the second (or third) due company will arrive at all. There is never a guarantee.

    We truly have killed this topic, but the truth is that there is more than one "right" way to handle this call, and more than one way to get someone killed at this fire. We call 'em as we see 'em, and experience counts!

  25. #25
    F52 Westside
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I have to agree with Metal on this one, kind of. I would wrap the hydrant, drop the bag and lay in, letting the second due tag it, which is our S.O.P. with smoke or fire showin'. If like Metal says the second due is delayed or gets in a crash the Operator can tag it.
    There is no simple answer, there are alot of variables. If, like Carl Wesler says, you have your aces and bowers(sp.) on the 1st due, maybe you could handle it with the tank water. Maybe you have alot of turnover and have alot of inexperienced people then this might not work. You have to think about how to adapt and overcome the situation you have at that moment.

    ------------------
    Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
    ECarn21's Homefire Page
    Local 3008
    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

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