02-23-2001, 05:31 AM #1Paul GrimwoodFirehouse.com Guest
Interior Firefighting - A History Lesson for ADSN/WFLD
'Paul, correct me if I'm wrong but it is my understanding that firefighters in England and much of Europe attack fires from outside of the building. The brothers on the other side of the pond are not a tenth as aggressive as firefighters in the USA. When the palace had its fire, we saw a lot of companies spraying water through the windows. It didn't look like many lines were being operated from inside.
If you practice aggressive firefighting then the direct attack is the way to go'.
Ok.....Without intending to offend anyone......a history lesson!
1) London & Edinburgh (Scotland) Fire Brigades were the first in the world to initiate interior firefighting following their own innovative inventions of self contained breathing apparatus at a time when US fire services were still organising.
2) Accountability systems for the control of interior firefighting operations (recently becoming popular in the USA) were first brought into use by London Fire Brigade following the loss of several firefighters lives in the 1950s.
3) The 'Two-in/Two out' buddy system was introduced by european fire services in the 1940s and has only just recently been legislated in USA.
4) The use of RIT teams is something the USA has also taken from european strategy - practiced in UK since the early 1970s but perhaps better operated by the Swedes who utilise an RIT every time crews are committed for interior operations.
5) I suppose ADSN is referring to the Windsor fire...........not a Palace but a genuine castle! Has he ever fought a fire in a castle himself? Try venting any structure with 9 foot thick walls and roof.......tell me about it!!!
02-23-2001, 03:27 PM #2ADSN/WFLDFirehouse.com Guest
Sorry, not to many "castles" in Illinois, but plenty of windowless, not easy to vent buildings.
We do things very different from you lads. It works for us, quite well. The general firefighting tactics in much of the US is inconsistent with your indirect attack method. We tried it here and went back to what works. How many people are saved from fires using your method of firefighting? Plenty here, just look at the home page their are press releases posted on a regular basis about saves.
02-23-2001, 04:32 PM #3Paul GrimwoodFirehouse.com Guest
Don't want to get into a slanging match with you here ADSN because this forum is provided for debate. Your views are acknowledged but they represent a mis-informed opinion. I do not believe you have seriously studied the european style of 'pulsing' water-fog as your comments are seriously flawed. Your attitude is also seriously in need of improvement.
I would never ever post such remarks relating to a group of brothers who appear less aggressive and seem to fight fires from the outside. In fact, I hope that you are sensible enough to realise that sometimes this is the most viable option.
I have witnessed some close friends die during interior firefighting operations so you should be more guarded with your misplaced comments my friend.
I have been to firefighter's funerals on both sides of the 'pond' and I feel, having served front-line in both the UK and USA I am qualified to comment on various approaches.
I am constantly sharing experiences with firefighters and training officers around the world and you should realise that many of the brothers in USA have researched and developed 'pulsing' techniques during live training burns. Just today a fire officer in Texas discussed their experiences using these techniques in 146 training burns and concluded that such an approach may prove extremely effective when used under certain conditions (I never said they were suited to every situation).
Support your brothers (from whichever side of the pond they are from) and recognise that we can all learn from each others experiences.
Don't let your 'aggression' spill over into these pages brother - debate is fine but your comments were considered offensive and brought nothing to the advancement of our profession.
02-24-2001, 04:25 PM #4hfdfaoFirehouse.com Guest
02-24-2001, 10:46 PM #5FyredUpFirehouse.com Guest
I was hoping you would respond to ADSN / WFLD's comments. I also found them offensive.
You know for certain that I have not always agreed with your opinions, but I listen, ask questions and perhaps even learn a thing or 2. I agree that debate is fine and sometimes even enjoyable, but attacks and illadvised ones at that are not called for. I would not for one second challenge your aggressiveness or courage in the face of the same dangers we face. We sometimes forget in this country that we didn't invent everything and that everything didn't happen here first.
Take care and stay safe,
02-25-2001, 12:40 AM #6Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
In many, many areas Western Europe is far ahead of the U.S. in the quality of their engineering & tactics.
There are differences...some in building construction (more masonry, smaller rooms), some cultural (habits of keeping interior doors closed), some in organization.
Portable ponds a/k/a dump tanks? Developed in England to deal with the Blitz in 1940.
Large Diameter Hose? Ditto
On the subject of hose, why is the tradition-bound U.S. Fire Service still using threaded couplings? Just about every other industry from petroleum to chemicals to air fittings use quick connect of some sort. So does European fire services...they're snapped in and going while the "aggressive" American firefighters are still looking for the Higbie notch to line threads up.
Their aerials may not have the same tip-load...but often have twice the reach, commonly exceding 150', towers exceding 200'. Ideas like Baskets -- designed to slide up and down the aerial bring personnel and equipment up, lowering victims down...all with out climbing the ladder or having to swing a bucket away from the building and to the ground.
While the U.S. fire service whines about the evils of bunker pants causing additional "stress," the Dutch compensate for the stress on their firefighters by enriching their SCBA bottles to 40% O2.
States like Massachussets fight to get bonuses for college-educated firefighters...nations like Sweden *mandate* that their Fire Officers hold either an Engineering or Architectural degree.
Ever seen an open cab european pumper? Ever? Even after the riots of the 60s, it took a lawsuit in the 80s to standardize the US on enclosing their trucks.
Most European pumpers have either rear-mount or front mount pumps -- both styles weigh less, need less complicated plumbing, and allow the water tank to situated in the middle of the truck for better weight distribution.
Plus roll up doors so you're not stuck parking next to a car or telephone pole and not being able to open a compartment.
Staffing? Look at some of the largest German cities like Hamburg -- 2,200 career, 2,900 volunteer, 1.8 million residents; Berlin 3,900 career, 1,900 volunteers protecting 3.5 million residents. For comparison, L.A. County has 3.5 million residents protected by 3,500 career firefighters & 125 call firefighters; I believe the largest jurisdiction with a significant combination system in place in the U.S. is Prince George's County with a population of 750,000 with about 1,000 volunteers and 700 career. Look at numbers like those and do the math who has the personnel to launch heavy, aggressive attacks.
No, they don't tend to flow as much water as we do. Part of it is building construction and use that has smaller compartments. Part of it is that making steam sucks up 5 times as much heat as letting water roll down the hallway...plus the disruption of the fire and displacement of fire gasses and Oxygen by steam, you can get away with much lower flows. Indirect and direct fog attacks are not inherently unsafe or inneffective -- they are when mixed with tactics from other strategies.
We look at implementing accountability, adopting 2in/2out or 1710 under the flag of "firefighter safety." Bah. Look at England where you don't "tag" in to enter a structure -- you give your tag to an entry control officer who is solely responsible to calculate -- on the board -- when you're due out, and if you're not out in time to notify command to initiate a search. Gee, someone dedicated to making sure people are tracked inside a burning building -- what a novel idea for the 1950s when Britain began doing it, and we in the U.S. still fumble with what tag system to use fifty years later.
And I really hate to burst people's bubbles here...but first Western Europe has much less of a need to make rescues because of better building codes, construction, and habits; and much of the U.S. outside of the most metropolitan areas do not have the manpower or station density to make rescues from a fire compartment. Yes we "save" more lives...because we have a lot more fires, fought in much worse buildings. Fires that never occur, or if they do are confined to smaller areas, across the pond. You'll find any Western European country has fire death rates many fold lower than the U.S., both in absolute terms and in deaths per 1,000 fires.
The surprising thing is...the Europeans tend to be eager to learn from us...as in asking for CAFS demonstrations at Intershutx (should I point out the largest firefighting trade show and conference in the world is held in Germany...).
02-25-2001, 12:37 PM #7HallwaySledgeFirehouse.com Guest
Closed mindedness and a refusal to change has led the American fire service to be far behind in many aspects. As far as Addison / Winfield. Not that impressed with what I've seen come out of Addison as far as fire suppression and rescue and I'm surprised that Winfield is still incorporated as a village after seeing that dept. operate. Give it a rest FF / Lt. you're not from Chicago or New York and your last name aint Brunacini, Smith or Brannigan.
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my Department or it's Administration.
02-26-2001, 01:37 AM #8Captain GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
I think we suffer from the "not invented here, so it's no good" syndrome. Looking at Dalmatian 90's post was an eye opener. Let's not forget that the first "fyre enjines" in America came from England!
We all do the same job...it does not matter if you are fighting fires in NYC, LA, Tokyo or London. We can learn from one another...if we are willing to open our eyes and ears to listen to new ideas!
Firefighters: rising under adverse conditions to accept the challenge!
02-26-2001, 06:29 PM #9ADSN/WFLDFirehouse.com Guest
Obviously I hit a sore spot, sorry to offend anyone. Their are a lot of differences between firefighting styles. Much of the differences come from the age of the structures, many well over 100 years old. I interpreted the exterior firefighting as a lack of aggression, again sorry to offend.
As for the 3D fog, I'm still not convinced that it is a better way of attacking the average structure fire. I'm not unwilling to learn more about it but am very skeptical.
So Paul if you know about any classes, demonstrations or seminars in the area please E-mail me or post it.
As for Hallway's comments. It's obvious that you don't know of what you speak. First Winfield is a Fire Protection District that has developed into a skilled, aggressive and professional department since the first full time chief was hired back in 1991. As a district, Winfield is 100% independent of the Village of Winfield or the unincorporated areas of West Chicago, Wheaton, and Carol Stream, that we cover, so no one's incorporation status hinges on the FPD's success or failure. In reference to Addison, we have one of the lowest fire losses in our area. If you haven't see anything come out of Addison it is probably because we do the same thing that most of the area does...only better.
Hallway, If you would like e-mail me and I'll personally give you a tour of either department.
02-27-2001, 12:33 AM #10HallwaySledgeFirehouse.com Guest
Hey ADSN/WFLD sorry it took me so long to reply, been busy. I think, however, that I illustrated my point by making the remarks that I did. I illicited a strong emotional response from you after citing some innacuracies that one could take as the rantings of an uninformed / not-as-informed-as-I-think-I-am type person. Personally I have nothing against Addison or Winfield. Oh, and I am quite well versed in 70 ILCS 705 et. al. (the Illinois Fire Protection District Act) and the inherent differences between FPD's and FD's. I did take offense to your reply to Paul's post and thought that it was disrespecting him and his comrades across the pond. I, myself, find some of their tactics and methods very unusual. That feeling, however, is the result of only knowing American style firefighting. I think that we could learn much from different ways and methods of firefighting. I appologize for disrespecting both your departments. I merely meant to illustrate a point. Oh, and tell Bayne Jr. an old friend from the South of Elgin says "Hi". Stay safe.
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my Department or it's Administration.
02-27-2001, 11:24 AM #11Paul GrimwoodFirehouse.com Guest
It's nice to see that the brothers can come together......eventually, whatever side of the pond we are from!
There are some wise statements made in this thread by natural 'leaders' and I thank you for acknowledging the points as discussed. In the UK we are far from perfect and are still advancing the knowledge we are gaining from Sweden in relation to these "3D" Gas-cooling techniques; and also USA in relation to Incident Command, Water transport (LDH etc), Positive Pressure ventilation, and a whole host of other stuff. This form of communication that utilises the internet as a medium of sharing experience will enable us to learn from each at a quicker pace. Info was slow to filter through in the days before the www.........
I receive an amazing amount of e-mail from firefighters in Spanish speaking countries and they are as keen as all of us to advance their profession.
We should all hold each other in great respect and I know, at heart, that is generally the case. We are all doing the same job and my respect lies just as much with 'brothers & sisters' in war ravaged countries and third world nations who are upholding the traditions in the face of major deprivation.
And Hallway Sledge.........don't fear......I also find some of OUR 'european' tactics and methods extremely unusual!!! We are far from perfect!! Ha!
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