02-27-2001, 12:57 AM #1phyrngnFirehouse.com Guest
Fire downstairs, search upstairs...hit it???!!!!
Hey folks...a few guys on my department have come into a contentious debate. You arrive @ a fire in a SFD with possibly people trapped. Your search crew goes upstairs to the bedrooms to find the victims, while the E-Co stretches a line to the first floor and finds fire. Question...do they hit it and risk steaming the people upstairs (Search crew and potential victims?)...do they ensure that they have adequate ventilation to push the fire out of the house (and will this prevent cooking the guys upstairs), or do they radio the fellas upstairs and say that they have the fire, find the victims or get the heck out? Just curious as to what everyone thinks....
[This message has been edited by phyrngn (edited 02-27-2001).]
02-27-2001, 12:22 PM #2StaylowFirehouse.com Guest
If you use a straight or solid stream you will not steam anyone. DON'T BOTHER WITH A FOG PATTERN!!!!!!!The engine crew MUST get between the fire and the crew searching upstairs. They have to aggressively attack the fire to keep it from spreading and putting the search crew and victims in danger. There is a very good article in the February issue of Fire Engineering by John Coleman about searching. He writes about this subject specifically(searching upstairs while the engine crew attacks the fire bellow).
02-27-2001, 01:21 PM #3Paul GrimwoodFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with StayLow (almost)!!!!!!! Hit the fire as soon as you can - protect the escape route of the firefighters upstairs but don't waste time delaying an attack on the fire. Correctly used, a fog pattern won't steam anyone upstairs unless you over-drench the wall and ceiling linings or fuel surfaces but If you can see the fire then a direct attack (SS) is perhaps the most effective - assess the conditions and adjust your stream to suit.
There was a fire here a few years back (in UK) where the initial crews delayed the fire attack in exactly the situation you describe in order to direct maximum effort to the rescue attempt of children upstairs. An ensuing backdraft engulfed two firefighters and they died along with a child they had tried to rescue.
Hit that fire pronto.............!
02-27-2001, 03:03 PM #4ALSfirefighterFirehouse.com Guest
I'm along the same lines as the other guys but have a little bit of a different outlook. I have never seen a condition where I have been searching on the upper floors where steam became a major problem from the suppression activity below me. Heavy smoke yes, but not so much as steam. Especially if the windows in the fire room were taken out properly. Secondly, if you can get an idea of where the person(s) are trapped, I'm always a big advocate of entering the upper floors via ground ladder. Even if locations of victims are unknown, get ladders up on all four sides, and be sure your interior people know where they are. I also have no problem in shutting doors if conditions warrant it, that will give you some protection from heavy smoke/heat conditions. In fact if your worried about steam from suppression more then likely you are going to be dealing with a large volume of fire, where you may not either have control of the stairwell, or be able to maintain control of it. I'd know where I am upstairs, know that I have a FAST/RIT team out there if I need to get out fast and there is no ladder in place at that peticular room. Within this debate the argument of "with a handline, or without," can be started. As a truckie I can tell you I more then likely wouldn't. Speed is of the essence if there is a significant amount of fire below. So throw those ladders!!!! They are there for a reason, and better to have them up and not need them, or not have them up and get F@&ked!!!! Unless you don't know what your doing, you won't really cook your guys upstairs. (Fog patterns suck, but not as bad if you wear your gear including a hood) They will be hurting more with the fire still going and gaining then if you add a little steam to the environment.
The above is my opinion only and does not reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, am a member of, or deal with.
02-27-2001, 03:11 PM #5S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
"Question...do they hit it and risk steaming the people upstairs"
Good advice so far.
I hear the "you've got to do the rescue before you put out the fire" all the time.
I ask those people to answer the following questions and let them figure it out for themselves (seems to be more tactful than forcing the issue)...
What do most people that die in fires die from?
How do you stop the production of smoke?
How long should the hose team wait to start water? Until the rescue's made? Until just before flashover in spite of the status of the rescue? How long? What's the magic condition?
Let's assume for the sake of arguement that initially no doors can be closed and it hasn't extended in other ways, if you don't spray a little water, how will you control fire spread?
2 story - the stairway has to be controlled, how will you control it without flowing water? Basement fire in a 1 story the same thing.
Then for the 'fire doubles every 30 seconds' believers (because this is another myth that's hard to bust) I ask how long is this SAR going to take? 30 seconds, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more minutes? Now how big is your fire
Have you ever heard of anybody getting steamed to death in a fire?
02-27-2001, 09:55 PM #61M89Firehouse.com Guest
My vote is in with hit the fire. Continuation of fire increases heat, fire gases, and generally untenable environment on the second floor. Have been in this situation many times and have never been steamed or steamed the SAR team. Just takes teamwork and a good fire attack crew.
A lesson learned early from an "old salt" and often re-enforced over 25 years: "You'll be amazed at how many problems are solved when you put the fire out"
02-27-2001, 10:56 PM #751Truck_KFirehouse.com Guest
A real Truckie will have the folks out on the front yard before the Engine even has the line charged....So where's the problem?
But really, like the brother from Westchester said....CLOSE THE DOOR!.
02-28-2001, 01:21 AM #8Chief802Firehouse.com Guest
Not sure what the debate is here. With todays combustibles in a SFD, the fire burns too hot and too fast to ignore. Knock down with a primary search on the way to the seat of the fire is a must. Then go to rescue. I also agree that ladder companies should use ground ladders to access the second floor. This ensures that windows are taken out and gives them a second way out when things go bad.
02-28-2001, 09:12 AM #9cwray85Firehouse.com Guest
I dont really see any debate here at all. Bottom line is you need an aggressive fire attack to stop fire spread. The guys upstairs will be ok, and like a few guys have said should they encounter severe conditions upstairs, close the door.
02-28-2001, 09:56 AM #10phyrngnFirehouse.com Guest
Great posts everyone!!! Thanks for the help!!!
03-04-2001, 06:42 PM #11natemarshallFirehouse.com Guest
Actually, if you have a fire downstairs you want to hit that fire first. You never want a fire burning below you.
First team takes line to hit fire, second can then search upstairs.
03-04-2001, 09:04 PM #12ALSfirefighterFirehouse.com Guest
I have to say I disagree with the way I interpret your tactic. To me the time frame of when all this occurs depends on size up, the amount of fire involvement, and of course manpower. If you wait for suppression, and the fire advances, next thing you know you could have victims that you may have found and gotten out before it got that far. While I wouldn't want my crew conducting a secondary search with fire under them, (this being that if there still is heavy fire by the time we start this there is a problem), a primary search is even more important at this point. Again, like I've said, if conditions warrant it. If you've got heavy smoke conditions banked down to the floor and can't see your regulator at the end of your mask, don't enter the room its time to go. However, I also have to say that I know my crew and our abilities on not forgetting how and what the primary search is for. I've trained volunteers and even in drills their primary searches take as long as our secondaries. In fact we had a job in a 3 story victorian style home. The owner had died, and the family was waiting for the legal stuff to be done so they could sell the house. All possessions and dead loads were still in the house, and the police had been there several times due to vagrants breaking in to stay in there. (The utilities were still on to prevent pipes from bursting and so on) Upon arrival, light grey smoke was found on the first floor, with thicker dark grey smoke from the vent holes out of the foundation. Attack started in the basement from the outside storm shelter doors. My partner and I started primary upstairs. Conditions changed, smoke now getting thick on 3rd floor, of course the balloon construction started to give us problems. And the gas meter fell off the wall in the basement. How long the utility company got there to shut it off in the street is another story. They turned it off once they found it under the debris. Anyway my point is if we waited for the attack team to get a full hold on it. We would have never completed the primary.
The above is my opinion and experiences only, it doesn't reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, am a member of, or deal with.
03-22-2001, 11:08 PM #13FireDude002Firehouse.com Guest
Coordination would be my answer. Firefighters should be able to withstand a little heat and smoke, unprotected resident/victims may not be able to. An aggressive fire attack with a good search effort would be my choice.
04-01-2001, 12:50 AM #14R.G. SMITHFirehouse.com Guest
AGGRESSIVE ATTACK ON THE MAIN BODY OF FIRE HAS TO BE YOUR NO. 1 PRIORITY. AS ONE OF OUR CAPTAIN'S PUT IT: "IF YOU PUT OUT THE FIRE, MOST OF YOUR PROBLEM IS GONE." THOUGH I REALIZE THAT IT IS NOT A PERFECT WORLD, AND DIFFERENT SITUATIONS DICTATE DIFFERENT TACTICS, I FEEL THAT IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE NEVER GO ABOVE A FIRE WITHOUT AT LEAST KNOWING THAT THE ATTACK CREW HAS LOCATED THE SEAT OF THE FIRE. IF AN ENGINE CREW GETS HUNG UP OR LOSES WATER WE COULD LOSE BROTHER AND SISTER FIREFIGHTERS........
NEVER GET OFF THE TRUCK WITHOUT A TOOL & STAY SAFE
04-06-2001, 12:09 AM #15AXEFirehouse.com Guest
Well I dont agree with not steaming if you dont use a fog pattern...
If the fire is hot enough and you put water on it... It WILL steam...
It depends on how advanced the fire is and how much of a search has to be performed....
Each fire will be different....
04-11-2001, 10:56 AM #16oz10engineFirehouse.com Guest
What is the problem? The house is on fire! What does common sense tell you? Put the fire out! Getting to deep into this is going to get someone in trouble. If the engine finds the fire but waits, say 2 minutes to put water on it so the search can be conducted, how much has the fire grown and how much more smoke was produced ? Keep it simple. ENGINE COMPANIES SAVE LIVES BY PUTTING FIRES OUT
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