View Poll Results: One or two attack lines on house fires

Voters
36. You may not vote on this poll
  • Mandatory two lines.

    21 58.33%
  • One could be all thats necessary

    11 30.56%
  • Depends on size of house

    4 11.11%
  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5

    Question Real Fire, What are your thoughts on tactics

    Rational For Fire Fighting Tactic's .

    Size Up - Two story duplex , 1000 sq ft per side
    -Notified by occupant of kitchen fire before departure
    -On arrival, smoke visible in all windows, no signs of possible "back draft, smoke explosion etc.

    -Positioned pumper at driveway and requested one attack line
    -Back door was found locked - front door open and opened to ascertain fire showing in kitchen area

    -Fire fighter 2 was nozzle man and had a little difficulty in donning his mask

    -inital attack was made into front hall and continued into kitchen area

    -fire knock down was completed in under one minute
    -I had instructed Mr. Fire Fighter1 to turn off the hydro and open the back door.

    -Mrs. Fire fighter was instructed to pull the hose for the attack team when she was suited up.
    -ventilation was started immediately after knock down, kitchen window was opened and hydraulic ventilation was used by
    Fire fighter 2.

    -due to the use of water for ventilation I agreed with Fire figher 3 when he asked me if he should hook up to the nearest hydrant. approx 150 feet away.

    -it was at this time that My 2 i/c asked for a second line for upstairs. I told him we didn't have the manpower or time. I requested that My 2 i/c to ensure that the fire was out on the first floor and then take the line upstairs. The first floor fire had been knocked down, ventilation started and overhaul of furniture was taking place. There was nobody at the pumper at this time (he was hooking into hydrant) and all the available manpower were in the house except for myself ( I/C of fire). The fire damage upstairs appeared to be mainly due to a flashover. At this time there was no apparent fire upstairs and except for smoke damage most items were salvaged, including their Christmas presents.

    The Fire Chief arrived on scene before overhaul was complete. We were just making access to the other side of the duplex to ensure that there was no smoke damage and to ventilate what little smoke or smell there was. This was done with the help of the Police,

    The Fire Chief and I walked through the complete house as part of the investigation. He was given a complete and through run down of operations and tactics involved, and he was fully aware that only one line had been used because, one, I told him we attacked with one line and the other was that there was only one line deployed off the truck and nothing had been stood down or put away. He did mention that the outside gas shut off had not been turned off. Fire chief commended us on job well done. The Fire Report was completed and given to Fire chief personally, also including details of operations on the fire ground.

    2 i/c now has issues with the number of attack lines used at fire. It was never brought up to myself, DFC or FC after the fire or at any other time in the next year. In the process of a "fact finding investigation" a year later my 2 i/c decides my decision to use only one line was a "life theatening decision".

    I would appreciate any comments by e-mail you might have about the tactics used and whether you think using one line was a life theatening decision or other options I should have explored?

    Please e-mail your thoughts to

    roger.frost@sympatico.ca

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    868

    Default Re: Real Fire, What are your thoughts on tactics

    Originally posted by roger

    -Mrs. Fire fighter was instructed to pull the hose for the attack team when she was suited up.
    [/B]
    I guess the first question that comes to mind is - do you normally allow firefighters to get on appliances without first putting on their turnout gear?

    The second question would have to be what would the 2i/c have done differently given that there was insufficient firefighters on scene to run two attack lines?

    Thirdly is his issue that the attack line went in without another line backing it up, or is he more concerned that an attack line should have been maintained on the first floor in case of flare ups during overhaul?
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

  3. #3
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default psfb, Reply for Real Fire Tactics

    Our f/f's are dressed prior to leaving the hall but do not don the face masks until entering bldg. etc.

    I not sure what his view on manpower was but I do know that at the academy that he trained at they always stress having a hose line on every floor. Mind you, they also stress not ventilating below a fire, so it's a coin toss for which argument to use. I personally assessed the situation of the first floor under control and rightly assessed the 2nd floor of having no live fire?

    This was the 2 i/c's first house fire and he is determined that using only one line was a serious life safety risk.

    How do you support judgement calls against someone set on rules?

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    868

    Default

    In the same situation, we would do the same as what you did. Quite often this is our only choice as many of our appliances only have two sets of scba. If you haven't got the manpower to run two attack lines then obviously you have to make do with one, and your attack crew must bear in mind that there is no line backing them up when they are commiting, and not go in too deep.
    One of the great traditions with our department is that when you haven't got all the appliances and personnel on scene than you ideally need, you just work harder.

    Sometimes people tend to apply rules as rules, when in reality they need to be interpreted as guidelines. Ususally once they get a bit of experience they will learn this.
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

  5. #5
    Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Ok, I know this is a tactic forum but first I got to make a comment.
    IM amazed on some of the posts on how FF are expected to do so much,
    stay with in saftey guide lines with inadequate manpower. Your Chief
    should be complaining for more manning and more companys for a
    response to a working fire and be thankful for you doing the job with
    what you had. Few tips to think about when you find yourself in a
    single engine operation.
    #1.Position a portable ladder to a 2nd floor window.
    #2.Drop two lines in front of fire building. 2nd line for next co.in.
    #3.ECC test and hook-up immediately to hydrant after lines are
    dropped , supply booster water until ECC ready to switch over. Know
    your booster water limits.
    #4.After fire extingushed on first floor and you are going to advance
    to 2nd floor,leave one FF with radio at base of stairs on first floor
    to monitor conditions of fire area in case it starts to light up .

  6. #6
    Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    65

    Default

    A kitchen or house can be replaced. A Fire Fighter can not. IF for what ever reason a ff becomes incapacitated or has a hose failure for what ever reason you have a very dangerous situation. If a fire fighter is down or hose down and there is no back up then that inside member is hooped or very quickly will be. It should be an automatic
    SOP so there isn't different ideas for different fires. Lots of fires get misjudged and can turn on you if you are not careful. As in I/C you should know this.
    Some days yer the fire hydrant and some days yer the dog.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    gfdtrk4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    The southern shore of beautiful Lake Michigan
    Posts
    250

    Thumbs down I MAY BE WRONG!?!?

    You say this was his first fire.... and he has control (here is where I'm not sure what you mean by 2 i/c? is that the 2nd. floor, or the interior????) of other ff's???
    His first fire?
    His FIRST fire???

    I have a big problem with this (maybe I just don't understand)!

    Maybe "no backup line" was, in fact, wrong.....But, this was his FIRST FIRE!!!!!

    Was this person on the second floor (above the raging inferno?) without a more "seasoned" "veteran"...and without a line?

    I know things are a little different in Canada, but not that different.

    At his first fire (or anyone's first) they should:

    Shut UP!
    Listen UP!
    Step UP!
    and....
    Clean UP!

    I really don't think this (rookie?) should be second guessing just yet! Should spend more brain power thinking about what he saw at his FIRST FIRE!!
    FTM-PTB
    trk4

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    3,120

    Default

    Random thoughts...

    Fire above you is not a life threatening situation until it begins to attack the gravity resistance system, or if it blocks your egress.

    Stretching a line the 2nd floor is NOT the same as a backup line

    It's amazing...but sometimes you can (oh my gosh) put out a fire faster than you planned too. While a backup line is a very good idea, if the fire is out before it can be pulled, oh well.

    From the sounds of it, fire was basically a room & contents fire. Most kitchens in single family dwellings are a straight shot from the front door...go in and put it out. If things turn to doggy do do or you lose your water, egress is 12 feet right behind you. (Yes, I know it was a duplex...which are two single family dwellings that just happen to share a wall.)

    Sounds to me like a four-man crew did a heck of a job. I would argue from what is stated here, the greater danger would have been in delaying attack to assemble sufficient staff to man a backup line -- time the fire would've extended from the kitchen to involve the first floor, and more time for it to find a way to attack the gravity resistance system. Sometimes the situation is such you have to wait for more help, this doesn't sound like one.

  9. #9
    Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    65

    Default

    The more I read this initial post the more I wonder.
    1} Structure fire and you know you are responding with small crew. Why didn't you call for a second responce?
    2} Upon arrival why didnt you "catch the hydrant" on initial arrival. It beats humping 200 feet of high vol hose for water especially when you need it right away. And then start Hydraulic ventilation with out an adequate water supply? Likely your truck carries any where from 400 to 600 gallons of H20. Not nearly enough for an initial attack.
    3) How was there a flash over on the second floor when the fire was on the first?
    4} Your pump operator should never leave the truck.
    5) Why would there be a "Fact finding mission" a year later. If there was anything pertinent it should have been investigate immediatly afterwards.
    6} The 2 I/C's first structure fire? How in heck is he 2 I/C in that case?

    Sorry if you feel like I am lambsting you, that is not my intention.
    How ever you did ask for in put.
    What I see here is some one inexperienced having a sucessful knock down and conclusion. Then not likeing it when some one questions him about it after the fact. That fire could have been something very different and you coulda ben in a whole world of trouble before you knew it. Suppose the fire started in the basement and had burned through the floor and due to poor visibility 1st in falls through the hole in the floor. Bingo your world just turned upside down.
    Some days yer the fire hydrant and some days yer the dog.

  10. #10
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1

    Default

    The use of multiple lines for a house fire is obviously situational. IF the fire is only a contents fire, and staffing is low, don't waste time with pulling additional lines. If the fire is in multiple areas or 25% of the total structure, then consider it.

    One thing to consider is the placement of that second (or more ) line. Leave it on the rig until you've decided where it needs to be. No sense stretching it on side A when it's needed on side C.

    Sounds like you tactics were very appropriate. We all know the hardships of low staffing. Staffing levels dictate many decisions and activities that take place on scene.

  11. #11
    Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    65

    Default

    Originally posted by sirhcdeer
    The use of multiple lines for a house fire is obviously situational. IF the fire is only a contents fire, and staffing is low, don't waste time with pulling additional lines. If the fire is in multiple areas or 25% of the total structure, then consider it.

    One thing to consider is the placement of that second (or more ) line. Leave it on the rig until you've decided where it needs to be. No sense stretching it on side A when it's needed on side C.

    Sounds like you tactics were very appropriate. We all know the hardships of low staffing. Staffing levels dictate many decisions and activities that take place on scene.
    Contents fire? Never witnessed just the house on fire and not contents.
    "and staffing is low, don't waste time with pulling additional lines. "
    IS there not something wrong with this statement?

    If the fire is in multiple areas or 25% of the total structure, then consider it. So you might consider pulling another hose only if 25% or more of the structure is involved.?

    AGAIN I ASK If knowingly responding to a structure fire under manned
    why wouldn't you call for a second responce?

    I am sure both of you guys have created a lot of swimming pools and lost a lot of homes.

    I suggest both of you study some fire ground tactics strategy and command.
    Some days yer the fire hydrant and some days yer the dog.

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    RyanEMVFD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas
    Posts
    2,386

    Default

    First I must say good job on containing and extinguishing the fire. My questions would be 1) when was mutual aid requested? 2) I would still lay a second line for a second crew or RIT Team. I'm not going to repeat what others have already stated but still good job.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    3,120

    Default

    Contents fire? Never witnessed just the house on fire and not contents.
    I have. A few times. Guess you've never seen a house on under construction burn. Or an attic fire (I don't count fiberglass insulation as contents...). Or a partition fire. Or a car fire or garage fire that's extending and involving the exterior of the house. House's structure is burning in each, without involving the contents.

    Many, many more times I've seen just contents and nothing related to the structure of the building on fire. Once in a while, you even get the surprise room and contents when as much as you pull sheetrock, you never find extension beyond it.

    "and staffing is low, don't waste time with pulling additional lines. "
    IS there not something wrong with this statement?


    No, there isn't. It's called size-up and prioritization. Fighting fire isn't something that can be neatly contained on index cards in your breast pocket, and it takes using your brain to decide the course of action that minimizes risk.

    Waiting for the fire to grow while you assemble a larger team is not always the best option. While waiting for those resources, the fire is growing and it's chances to weaken the structure are increasing.

    Fire in the kitchen, first floor of a single-family dwelling, front door unlocked -- that's usually a pretty easy hose stretch and knockdown if you know what you're doing. Fire on the first floor -- it's not affecting the floor below you or the roof above you yet. That's a pretty good situation to go straight for the attack and end the danger here and now. Waiting for more resources is waiting for the building to become more dangerous to enter.

    In this situation, you have four firefighters and one pumper. Pulling a second line from the pumper wouldn't compensate for a failure of pump or running out of water -- a major reason on serious fires your backup lines should be from a second engine. Single family (i.e. half of a duplex) with fire on the first floor opposite the front door -- your means of egress is not in danger of being cut off by fire, so no need for a hoseline to prevent that. I suppose you nozzle could plug up with debris, or your hose could burst...turn around, follow it the 12 or 15 feet out the front door. If the hose failed when you first went to make the attack, the building was tenable enough to enter, it should be tenable enough to scaddadle out. If the hose fails 30 seconds after putting water on the kitchen fire, it should be knocked down enough that you can safely exit as well. With a proper size-up, the risk of this attack is minimal.

    If the fire is in multiple areas or 25% of the total structure, then consider it. So you might consider pulling another hose only if 25% or more of the structure is involved.?

    AGAIN I ASK If knowingly responding to a structure fire under manned
    why wouldn't you call for a second responce?


    What does that matter? You could call for a second response (another station I assume). And if they're 5, 10, 15 minutes away that means what? You stand around and give your first in crew pretty colored vests while awaiting more resources?

    Strategy & Tactics are not something set in stone. Departments adjust them to their local conditions as SOPs. Sometimes company officers need to adjust them to the conditions of an individual call. You could have the same building on fire, but different tactics called for based on responding resources and their time-to-arrival.

    This isn't just an issue for rural fire departments with fairly long response distances between stations, although they see it everyday. Urban tactics can be affected dramatically by blizzards or even multiple incidents that have reduced the coverage of companies in an area.

    To follow a cookbook that says you will always do A then B then C without regard for the individual incident is a recipe for disaster when someone follows them in the wrong situation.

    I am sure both of you guys have created a lot of swimming pools and lost a lot of homes.

    I suggest both of you study some fire ground tactics strategy and command.

    I humbly suggest you stop studying and actually get some experience under your belt -- from the sounds of it, you've done a lot of studying, and little experience.

    Matt

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    HF&R_H28's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    227

    Default

    (being volunteer), what and how many we pull depends on the number of people there

  15. #15
    dazed and confused
    Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,993

    Default in this situation maybe

    (gah--read your post and corrected mine)

    "Flashover" on the second floor with no fire damage? How is that possible? It wasn't a flashover if there wasn't any fire damage.

    Why wasn't a line laid from the hydrant initially? It doesn't sound like you had a second engine coming to establish water supply for you (then again, how many trucks were responding on this?). So why would you not establish a water supply, especially if you knew that you had no backup???

    I can see the arguments for not bringing in a backup line if you can reasonably confine/extinguish the fire in a quick offensive attack. What is reasonable varies from person to person, and department to department. It's a judgement call... a decision that requires discretion. I guess to me, if it is between incipient and room+contents, a quick attack without a backup line could be acceptable. Anything more than that, though, and I think you're starting to gamble a little too much.

    Kevin37Truck's points are very valuable I think. Guard your stairway--your main point of egress. And always have a second way out, so ladder the second floor.
    Last edited by Resq14; 03-04-2002 at 11:42 PM.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    fftrainer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Northern, NJ
    Posts
    889

    Default

    My only thought is on staffing. It seems you did what was possible with the staffing you had and the fire you had, however the staffing was the life safety issue.

    Not sure the time of day, dept. type (vol/career), but going forward I would consider automatic dual response for structure fires. There are a few municipalities in my area that a structure or possible structure fire between 6:00 and 18:00 generates an automatic dual alert do to daytime staffing shortages.

    From a dept. rules standpoint, perhaps you should revisit your bylaws regarding the time threshold for fact finding investigations. A lot of things come and go a year later and you might not get the right facts. Maybe a 30, 60 or 90 day rule is necessary. Just a thought for future events!

    Stay Safe!

  17. #17
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Garland, TX, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default

    "There are many instances when fire above you can be extremely hazardous. I'm sure Matt will agree. I only mention this because it is very important to consider what is burning above you. Failing truss systems, weakened structural supports bearing loads such as roof-mounted HVAC units, building collapse, etc...

    I believe that's what he is refering to by "gravity resistance systems

  18. #18
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Cicero, IL
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Had to step in and soundly agree with Dalmation. Couldn't have said it better myself, Matt. Phyer Phyter, you really need to get out and do some work. Maybe throw your credentials out for the group. This business plays out 100 different ways most times and to waste time with backups and hitting hydrants prior when not needed is garbage. Our engineers regularly drag 200 feet after initial line is set because interior team doesn't spray water at smoke and waste it. Sounds like your average 1 roomer and your team did just fine. This line of work lends itself to too much monday morning quarterbacks.
    Regards, Brian CFD #357

  19. #19
    Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    FDNY
    Posts
    59

    Default jumping in late...

    Lots of good points and advice offered. I am not going to rehash what has already been said but try to pile a little on top.

    Virtually any and all tactical problems encountered at any job will be solved by one thing... putting out the fire. Rescue, ventilation water supply, firefighter safety, all of these things can benefit tremendously from the fire going out. If you study line of duty deaths at fires, the common thread in many of them is uncontrolled fire spread.

    That being said, placing and operating the first line is the most critical operation of all. In my job the phrase is "the knob is the job". Every second you spend wating for additional members to arrive, or for additional lines to be stretched allows the fire to grow. The bigger it gets, the worse every problem gets.

    A proper size-up of fire condition and location will determine the size and number of lines you will need. There is a huge differance between a back-up line and a second attack line. Make sure that if you are stretching one or the other, it is clear what the need and intention of the line is.

    A back-up line is a good idea, for the protection of the first line and the security of egress avenues. However, waiting for one to be stretched before advancing the first line, should be saved for situations where the conditions indicate a strong need for it. To have an SOP that requires it on all fires can be counterproductive.

    Dalmation did a good job of describing a scenario where the attack should begin before a back-up line is in place. His point is very valid in that the longer you wait, the worse it gets. Therefore, your attempt to make everyone safe by waiting for another line, has actually made the situation much more dangerous.

    Don't underestimate the initial size-up and its impact on this decision. The type of structure/construction, size and location of fire conditions and the entry/egress points are all huge factors in these scenarios. Your safety in a given structure is heavily dependant on these factors. I would do things in a fireproof multiple dwelling that I would probably not do in a private house of frame construction. This is a thinking mans game.

    I would like to hear from Paul Grimwood. Not only because he is the best English friend that an Irish Catholic could have, but because I would venture to guess that none of us has spent the time and energy that he has to study many different departments and to study various SOPs.

    Guys like Kevin from 37 Truck are valuable resources too. The retired and senior men are the ones that you are reading about when you pick up your SOP manual or your strategy and tactics textbook. Remember, the things you read about were learned the hard way by these brothers.

    Phyr-Phyter...

    Be careful pal. When you make derogatory statements to a few brothers about their lack of knowledge, you better make sure what you are saying is right. More than one of your points is a little shaky, and seem even more shaky after you take a shot at someone else and their opinions.

    If you think the procedures used by your job are great, then offer constructive advice, but remember that your job and the other brothers jobs are different. I think some of the things you said were wacky, but I don't know enough about Canada to say that you have created some swimming pools or that you need to study some fireground tactics and command.

    One quick example would be when you said that 400-600 gallons of water was clearly not enough for an initial attack. That sounded a little off to me, especially since the vast majority of fires nationwide are fully extinguished with less than that. But then I read the rest of your posts, and figured out that employing the tactics you are promoting, 400-600 gallons is probably not nearly enough, by the time your initial attack is started.

    See? When you open your mind and listen to your brothers, without passing judgement on what they say, you are bound to learn something. I learned from you that if you wait until all the necessary safety positions are filled and precautions taken, even on the most routine fires, you will need a whole lot of water to get the fire out.

    Keep studying and please keep the rest of us straight!
    Last edited by southbronx; 03-08-2002 at 12:18 PM.

  20. #20
    Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Very good post. There have been many good points made and presented.

    I Think the performance of the crew in question were well done and safe. If you are faced with man-power isses there is not a great deal you can do, but get that initial line stretched. And make no mistake. The first line is the most important aspect in fighting any fire. It sets the tempo for the rest of the incident. I don't believe you should use the man-power you have to set up a back-up line. Keep focused on the job at hand. Don't over extend the few resources you have.

    As far as I am concerned there is plenty you can do with 400-600 gallons of water. But, I believe it would be unwise to opperate a second line off of the booster tank (either a back-up line or a second attack line) if you have not secured a supply. This would just take away water from the first line making the attack. Once you get a supply go right ahead and start pulling additional lines.

    I think the crew described here did a good job with what they had. Lack of man-power is much more dangerous than not having a back-up line. If you are of the opinion that there is no flexability on the back-up line issue than I would be nervious working with you. Time can not be wasted waiting for additional man-power to arrive and you can not afford to over extend the resources you have just to provide yourself with a back-up line. That first line must be stretched agressively and thoughtfully before a relitively small fire like this gets out of control.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register