Interior or Exterior?
How many Departments out there Utilize the Aggresive Interior Attack method on structure fires? I am a firm believer in this method. I cannot fathom the "Hit it from the Window" method of firefighting. If this was the case, why have handlines on a Wagon, you can just Wagon Pipe everything. I am bringing this up due to the responses of some in the "RIT" thread. It makes me wonder if some of the departments that do not utilize a RIC team are allowed to do interior operations.
Not trying to start a Chest Beating ego war, I just want to know your SOPs! So all you Rookies out there, keep the "First time on the line on the barn fire......." stories on the Explorer Forum!
You Waste your time, YOUR LINE IS MINE! :p
:rolleyes: The dept I am with does an aggresive interior attack as soon as we know we can support such operations. As always you have to look from both sides of the fence. I agree with you 100%, but there are times that just knocking down the fire through the window will make it safer for Firefighters to start an interior attack. As you know it is who you have on scene, and right now we are a young dept, with exellent leadership. The chief knows when to attack the fire, and how make it safe. My Vol dept is on the move from the old days of surround and drown to an aggresive stance.
Hit it fast, Hit it hard.
Our chief preaches this all the time.
Everyone knows the stages of fire development (Ignition, Growth, Flashover, Fully Developed, and Decay). For those that have their IFSTA Vol. 4 handy you can find it on page 48-49 (I just happen to be reading up on this for a re-cert test later this week).
Anyways, we hit it fast and hard to keep it from developing further. If you can do that, then you will knock the fire down much faster and keep it from moving onto the next stage. However, sometimes it is unsafe to "kick the door in" and attack the fire.
Getting back the original question concerning response times and SOPs or as we call them, SOGs. For us, before we can send in an attack team of two, a RIT Team of two has to be established, or established within 10 minutes of the attack team entering the building. However, in addition, before the attack team goes in and not including the RIT team, two firefighters must be available outside. This means, if you show up with four on the engine, an attack team of two can go in, as long as there are two firefighters outside, AND the RIT team is established within 10 miuntes. This allows for the first due to get in and kick some ***.
Normally, the first engine on scene sends in an attack team and two remain outside (IC and pump operator). The next units on scene automatically make up the RIT etc etc. For us, it isn't uncommon to have these units show up just as the attack team is getting ready to go in.
First Alarm for us, is an Engine, a Rescue, a Tender and what you in the states call a Squad. Basically everything in our station.
An exterior cut-off/knockdown is *not* incompatible with aggressive interior operations.
Sometimes the oppurtonity simply presents itself; sometimes you're waiting for more manpower.
This past winter we had a fire that had started in the kitchen, extended to the adjacent sunroom. The family got out, but by the time of our arrival, the plastic sun room "glass" had melted. We now had a large amount of fire involving the kitchen, dining room, sunroom, and attic.
I was on the first line off, grabbed an 1.5" with an aspirating foam nozzle and knocked down the bulk of the fire and heat. That nozzle doesn't produce much steam, and tends to have good "stickiness" to keep fire knocked down kept that way. Not much reach, but sufficient for a fire like that. Hit the attic first to stop the attack on the gravity resistance structure. Dropped the nozzle down kitchen door, essentially along the wall dividing the burning part from the rest of the house, and knocked down the fire most jeopardizing the rest. With the attic knocked down and the kitchen darkened down, we then darkened down the sunroom, and moving to the rear finished darkening the sunroom and started darkening the dining room when orders came to shutdown -- an interior crew was now in place with 1.75" to complete the job in the now darkened fire. We moved are line back to the eaves to keep the fire above the interior crew's heads knocked down.
Could have an interior-only attack worked? Sure. Could we have mounted it at the moment we did the exterior? No, would've needed a couple more minutes of hose positioning and getting one or two more guys in airpacks. Once launched, and the fire having a little more time to intensify, they would've faced much more fire & heat than they did. Oh, and they still would've had to fight there way through that fire and knock it down before being in position to pull ceilings and knock the fire above their heads down. Anything negative from the exterior knockdown? Well, the interior crew didn't have any where near as much fire to brag about afterwards ;)
Very good responses from all. I am glad to see that our Brothers North of the border like to "Go in an Get some!" For informational purposes I will breakdown how the assignments are staffed in our county so you might easier understand why we prefer the Interior Method 75% of the time. The PGFD standard response order is as follws:
Box Alarm(Commercial Building or Apartment),
4 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 Squad (Or Tender for the Mounties,)1 Batallion Chief
Street Assignment ( House Fire),
3 Engines, 1 Ladder, 1 Squad, 1 Chief
Gas Leak Commercial or Apartment,
3 Engines, 1 Ladder or Squad and a Chief
Gas Leak Residential,
2 engines, 1 Ladder or Squad and Da Chief
Automatic Fire Alarms Residential or Commercial,
1 Engine, 1 Ladder or Squad and Da Chief
On All Box and Street Assignments, The Rescue squad is the Dedicated RIT. But this almost Never happens because some of the Squads are on the Scene before the Ladder and must do Truckwork. Otherwise, we follow the Standard NFPA "2in-2out" policy as best we can. Usually there is another unit on your *** while you are pulling the first line, so having a backup is not usually an issue. Keep up with the responses, I love hearing how other Volunteer Departments operate,
Maybe our Department isnt the Most AGRESSIVE! Be safe all!
I volunteer with a 100% volunteer dept. operating five stations with 7 Engines, 2 ladders, and a myriad of other vehicles(including 2 heavy rescues, a tanker, and a hover craft!)
A typical structure assignment includes 3 engines, a truck, and a rescue. We kind of pride ourselves on being aggressive - get in and get it - but you have to look at the big picture: how much manpower do you have, who is it, what time of day it is, what type of building, etc. If the officer in charge deems an interior attack will be the most viable; then by all means we're getting dirty.
But you also have to look at what is stored in the building - during the day or at night? Nightime tends to be a more aggressive attack on residential fires, the people are more likely to be home and we have the luxury of a heck of a lot of manpower. During the day, like most vollie depts., we suffer from a lack of manpower and sometimes it's tough to get that 2 in 2 out bit in place before commiting to a fire attack - you do what you have to to get the job done. If the guys(and girls) who show up can get at it safely and effectively then we do the job. If not then it's the old water in the window and wait for the manpower.
Of course all this doesn't really make a difference whe the Fire Marshall gets there and put's it out with the can :D
We stick with that 2in2out-assed-up-piece-of-****e-rule, but that is another thread. Anyway, our 2out is quite often the ambulance crew from the same house as the first due engine, which responds simultaneously. But it does take a little longer for them to get fire-ready, and sometimes in the delay hoselines are used from a more or less defensive position until an interior attack can be effected. Which prolly ain't the best thing to do, cuz most times where is water directed? Right in the window the fire has vented, pushing it all back in, instead of pushing it out from the inside. Let me add that I haven't seen this method used on a fire in which people were trapped or known to be inside, which would "hopefully" keep someone from shooting water from the outside. And also ixnay 2in2out. I ain't saying it's right, I'm just saying it's done!
In my department, an aggressive interior attack is definitely favored. Unfortunately, staffing shortages often seriously hinder this. We are usually able to have two people geared up and ready to go upon arrival; they stretch the handline into the structure while a good many others arrive on scene by themselves. That coupled with the arrival of the squad truck gives us the 2nd attack line and the RIT. Chief and Asst handle command and accountability. Hopefully by that time, 2nd in company arrives....delicate balance. Like many others have, said, it may not be the right way of doing things, but it's our only choice.
An exclusive exterior attack will never save a trapped person. I feel everyone should be trained in aggressive interior operations.
Having said that we also have to take care of ourselves. I know that many departments out there don't have airpacks, NFPA approved gear, or trucks built in the last 30 years. In some cases an aggressive interior attack is not the best course of action. OSHA requires you to have resp. protection in IDLH air. IDLH is usually defined as a fire larger than incipient. You also need a partner and if not involved in a rescue the 2 out also applies. If a fatality or severe injury results from violating the OSHA laws the fines could destroy some very small poor departments.
So is an area better off attacking from the outside and protecting exposures? It may be the best they can do. Let's hope that the grants and other loans can help fix those problems.
Agressive interior attack is the only way to save a structure, if feasable. Otherwise you become a "Cellar Saver" and while you feel safe, how do the people in your town feel when every fire they see the house winds up in the foundation? And how many other town's fire depts are going to feel safe when your backing them up and something may go wrong? The answer is NONE!!!!!!!!
We are interior fire fighters. Of course, when the ceiling/roof starts to fall in, we become exterior fire fighters. 2 companies in town, 1 is interior with smooth bore, 1 is interior with automatics on straight stream. We try to "outdo" each other with the perfect nozzle! :p
Shammrock54, I agree with you but, is a unoccupied structure worth a firefighters life? Absolutly not. I'm talking about towns that don't have the protective gear NFPA, or even OSHA approved to keep the firefighters safe.
For most of us their should be no question, aggressive interior attack is the way to best serve our community. My vol/poc department just gave a bunch of equipment, hose, nozzles, and tools to a department down south. It was the stuff we didn't want and didn't have any use for, the receiving department was very greatful because they didn't have stuff as nice as our "old junk". That is the kind of department I am talking about.
The reason, I feel, that many departments aren't scrutinized about a total loss is that the general public, is afraid of, and feels that fire is an uncontrolable force and if anything is saved, exposure or some personal belongings or watever they are greatful for us trying to help.
We are pretty agressive on fire attacks. If it is safe to do so we will send a team in. When the personnel arrive the RIT is established. The main line we take in is a 1½ inch line with usually two people on it with maybe one at the door if manpower is there.
We're kinda well known in the city for making good, agressive interior attacks, knocking the fire down, and containing it to usually one room. If there`s two guys on the rig, one stretches the line, and the other get the rig in pump, since the line is always charged at the door, they meet up there and procede in for the attack. It obviously gets even easier with 3 people, and with 4 your all set. Rarely are there only 2 guys rolling on the rig anyways, and within minutes you`ll probably have 20-30 guys at the scene. Of course in some cases interior attacks aren`t always possible, then it`s time to turn defensive.
Both of front line pumpers are quick attack rigs ready with 2, 1 3/4 attack lines ready in a horshoe pack. Everyone else seems to use flat packs, but IMO the horshoe is the only way to go. We also have 200 feet of preconnected 2 1/2 on the back, and another preconnected 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 line with a New York Pack (400 feet total?).
Edit: We`ll always have a RIT team standing by as well...
Our Dept. prefers to do interior attacks if conditions permit. Of course, every incident is different. We arrive at a structure with 4-5 firefighters on the pump not including the chief. The tanker and rescue are close behind with 6 to 8 more f.f.
Unless the building is untenable, GO IN OR GO HOME. Even if the building is vacant or appears unoccupied you never know what you might find within those 4 walls. One key to do it safe is to size up
3 sides of the building and get an idea of egress, fire location,
smoke condition and color, fire intensity, etc. Also select the correct hoseline for the job. 4 or more windows or commercial 2.5" alll the way. Don't overlook ventilation. Underperformed and it actually lessens damage and makes it easier for attack and search and rescue. To lose a building due to unaggressive tactics is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. It looks bad to taxpayers who fund the dept. and expect
a better level of service. Having said this, if you were to pull up to
a building that is greater than 50% involved or building with high risks; lightweight trusses ,hazmat etc. then defensive ops. could be in order. Some points to ponder.;)
I have to endorse Interior Attacks. I was taught at the academy to send one line to the SEAT OF THE FIRE, another to the AVENUE OF SPREAD. If you have the luxury of a third line....back up the first
Way back when....the Chief would send one line inside, and then order the second one into the window on the opposite side of the structure.
(It's funny how the interior crew would come running out, at about the same time they opened up the line into the window):eek:
What a way to learn about opposing streams!
Unless on arrival the situation dictates stay out (abandoned, through the roof and out every window), you won't be finding me tossing water through a window!
Why issue guys thousands of dollars worth of PPE to have them roast marshmallows on the front lawn? Not the best Public Relations stunt!
Obviously safety is of paramount importance here, but I try to stick to what I learned way back in FF1. In the door and attack from the unburned to the burned, find the seat of the fire and knock it down. Oh and then find a probie to start picking up hose ;)