1. #1
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    Question Definitions of aggressive firefighting?

    What is your definition of aggressive firefighting? What type of truck work, rescue work and engine work does this involve for YOU? How does your department fit into this picture.....
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    Default This is a good one.

    Personally there are going to be several ideas/definitions of "aggressive" firefighting. So here goes mine. Aggressive firefighting will first be determined by the upper eschelon. If the officers are going to be passive, then the crews will probably end up following. Officers need to stay knowledgeable and be willing to pass that knowledge on. Leading into the next step, TRAINING! This may or may not reflect onto the officers, (maybe the FF), needs to train, train, train. The main reason is to "keep up with the Jones's", and to also refresh yourself every so often. And finally, its a confidence thing. You have to first feel confident in yourself being able to do the job. Depending on who my partner/crew is, determines how aggressive I will be. We have quite a few newbies that I would be less aggressive with. I know and recognize my limits regardless of who I'm with.
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    Aggressive as what I would consider both positive and negative meanings.

    Merriam-Webster
    1 : a forceful action or procedure (as an unprovoked attack) especially when intended to dominate or master
    2 : the practice of making attacks or encroachments; especially : unprovoked violation by one country of the territorial integrity of another
    3 : hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook especially when caused by frustration


    Looking at definition 1 I see that as a positive in the fire service and a department that is aggressive is one that goes after the fire. But you could also find definition 3 in the fire service but more likely at the individual level. These would be the one opposite of what Fire69dawg stated by not knowing thier limits or those of thier team.

    Maybe the question is how do others control aggression so that it is a positive?
    Stevejd
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    Post Aggressiveness

    A PA state fire instructor related firefighting to NASCAR. To be competitive, one must find the fine line between driving in and out of control. Be able to drive that car to the edge of control without loosing control doing 180 mph.

    Compare that with aggressive firefighting. To be able to quickly, effectively find the seat of the fire, contain the fire, rescue victims, protect exposures, and control then extinguish the fire.

    To be able to execute this violently one needs to have an experienced, knowledgeable "Crew Chief". Telling the "Driver" if he is going too fast, to hard into the turns, etc...

    Aggressive means Horizontal/ Vertical ventilation, extensive interior search, and violent execution on supression of the fire.

    Know it does not awnser who does what, but it is an interesting way of veiwing it.
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    if i recall correctly almost all depts used to be aggressive. then about 20 years or less ago a trend started by some to be more defensive in fighting fires. i don't know if the intent was prevent firefighter's deaths or what. now the depts that fit the defination provided by stevejd are sometimes called aggressive. today a fire dept can be aggressive one day and not the other. it all depends on the call and who is in charge of the incident. we have some buildings here in my district that if there is a fire it is going to be defensive from the start. so it depends on the circumstance.
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    The term is over-used. When did following basic tactics and strategy become "aggressive firefighting" ? I only seem to hear that term when a department /firefighter is bragging about something. I know that sounds harsh but some of us need to get over ourselves just a bit.

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    Some interesting points. I like Drewbo's explanation but I also agree with Ryan as thier are buildings we know are an automatic defensive stance.

    Mikey I see where your coming from and I believe what you mentioning is along the defintion 3 that I posted earlier. It's hard to understand when the word could have a dual meaning was my point. Progressive might be a better term for departments that continuily train and implement new techniques. We need to remember that basic tactics and strategy's were at one time cutting edge. Example would be postive ventilation and the incident command. At one time and in some cases still these could be seen as agressive or like a said maybe progressive and agressive are being confused.
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    I agree with Mikey -- like "Working Fire," "Aggressive Fire Attack" is much overused.

    Aggressive Fire Attacks by definition utilize small handlines (1.5" or 1.75") rapidly advanced on the interior to the seat of the fire, using tank water initially.

    You're not aggressive if you're stopping to lay in a line.
    You're not aggressive if you're reverse laying out.
    You're not aggressive if you're humping 2.5" house around.
    You're not aggressive if you're pouring water in through the window.
    You're not aggressive if you're pouring water down a smoke filled hallway when the fire is down the hallway and around the corner.

    You are aggressive if you grab a small line with your initial engine crew, go to the seat of the fire, and kick the snot out of the fire.

    It's "aggressive" 'cause you might not have big enough of a line, 'cause you might not have enough water supply secured, and 'cause you might not have enough help on scene yet.

    But it's effective in many situations 'cause it'll put the fire out and stop the emergency before you could otherwise get all the pieces of the puzzle put in place.
    ==============================================

    "Aggressive" is a "badge of honor" so the original concept of it has been stretched from the initial rapid attack/small lines/water tank concept to include just about anything were people go inside and get sooty -- hey, we're dirty, so we're an aggressive department!

    "Worker" is a similiar "badge of honor" so people pull up, "Hey, we have a working car fire!" or "We have a working room & contents!" -- worker does not mean "flames showing" like most in the fire service seem to want it to be (so people can brag "we had xx Workers last year!"), but it's fires that take or are expected to take 2 or more attack lines to control.

    And while we're on the subject, the best way to keep a fire from becoming a Worker is to Aggressively attack it while it's still small enough for one small line to control

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    Default

    Working is another good one I agree. I've always considered a call working when I had to get off the truck and do something.

    Maybe we're on to something here. We can develop the FireFighters lingo dictionary to help smooth out the issues. Maybe Merriam-Webster will publish it and we'll all make millions. Especially if we design it to look like a tool that will fit in a compartment.

    Just thought I'd try and add a little humor to a good discussion.
    Stevejd
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    Aggressive is all the things some of you have said already. To my department it is the following:

    Get the hell out of the house when a run comes in
    Step off the rig ready to roll (Fully dressed w/SCBA)
    Already know by fire conditions & structure type what has to be done
    First line off tank water
    Get to were the fire is coming from, not whats blowing out a window
    Make a search of the joint quickly & completely
    Kick it in the *** and ask for another assignment
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Some interesting posts, this time I think I must disagree with Dalmation. I think you can be aggressive with a 2.5".
    If you have a factory, or commercial building, or a highrise office and need a 2.5" because of fireload. It isn't aggressive to pull a 1.75" and loose the building, it is stupid.
    In Addison we have the world headquarters of Pampered Chef. The Building is three stories and about 900,000 sq ft, most of that is warehouse. Even though it is protected if we have a fire in there I'm bringing in a 2.5", so I'm better prepared for a worst case scenario.

    Activly going after the fire, and taking it, is aggressive. Spraying water and wishing it would go out isn't. Taking some risk can be aggressive, but it is a fine line between aggressive and reckless.

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    Maybe the question is how do you control aggression to make it productive? With some very good points being made it leads me to think that you can be considered aggressive in numerous ways.

    I'm sure some could even say they we in an aggressive defensive mode to protect exposures.
    Stevejd
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    Ok, so we all agree (for the most part) that "aggressive" means to put water on the fire fast and without delays..

    "aggressive" to me:

    immediate and effective hose line placement within the fire building, with AT LEAST 2 lines stretched by the first due company. This should be well coordinated with the trucks and coincide with:

    immediate and effective topside venting. If no vertical venting is possible, then VES from the exterior from fire escapes and/or ladders...

    immediate and effective laddering of the building on at least two sides and every floor...

    immediate and effective primary searching above the fire and/or without a hose line to protect yourself....

    Immediate and effective protection of means of egress, ie. stairwells in taxpayers..
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    Some interesting posts, this time I think I must disagree with Dalmation. I think you can be aggressive with a 2.5".
    If you have a factory, or commercial building, or a highrise office and need a 2.5" because of fireload. It isn't aggressive to pull a 1.75" and loose the building, it is stupid.


    Ah, but ADSN -- those are traditional tactics, not aggressive ones.

    If you have a fire that has 2.5" volumes -- do you want to make an interior attack without first securing water supply? Do you have the manpower on that initial pumper to stretch a 2.5" deep into a commercial building or up into a high-rise?

    Aggressive tactics were developed to keep compartmentalized fires compartmentalized -- no time wasted securing water supply, no time wasted stretching bigger lines.

    But that doesn't mean all fires should be fought aggressively -- if you have a fire that calls for needing a secured water supply and a big line, you take the time and do it.

    Don't confuse "aggressive" with "interior" or "taking the water to the fire" or simply being efficient. I know from your other posts you like reverse lays, and the examples you gave a great places for some good reverse lays if they work in your district -- the crew can drop the 2.5" and be advancing it while the driver and pump goes to grab a hydrant. Good interior attack with the right sized line, with water supply established, and efficient use of time and manpower,
    nothing wrong with that!

    Maybe I'm splitting semantics, but "Aggressive" tactics had a specific meaning when it first came out -- just over the years that definition kept expanding so everyone could wear the badge of honor, "We're an aggressive interior attack department" whether or not they were -- and many who called themselves that were still excellent interior firefighting organizations.

    Efficiently stretching lines, securing water, venting, searching are all earmarks of solid interior fire operations. But an "Aggressive Fire Attack" really is a tactic that focuses on the initial operation of the first in engine to get water onto the fire from the inside as quick as is firemanly possible -- you disregard water supply, venting, searching relying on companies behind you to do those functions as that first company with it's three or four or five guys focuses on getting a line to the fire room.

    Like all tactics, there's times that's not appropriate -- like commercial buildings, and there's times it's just what the doctor ordered -- like most single family/duplex/low-rise apartment buildings with the fire still in the room of origin.

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    I've always considered "aggressive attack" to be defined as fast and highly mobile. 1" or 2" lines are aggressive, where a 2" is not.

    I've seen structures lost where an aggressive attack would have confined it to a room and contents job, but the IC's insisted upon traditional tactics that delayed attack and eventually escalated to a defensive "surround and drown". Nobody except the structure got hurt.
    Fiberglass forever!! (they won't let us have leather)

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    Dalamation90-

    What would make your definition different than a regular bread and butter operation? Most departments that would even be considered close to aggressive, when faced with a simple room and contents fire, will pull a 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 and go off of tank water leaving the other crews to do the other jobs. Why does this operation seem so aggressive to you?
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    Aggressive firefighting involves a quick offensive attack on the seat of the fire using interior hoselines. Get in and get the job done. Requires good coordination and a competent hose crew.

    Truck work is truck work. Get in with the tools...do a search..remove victims, vent and check for extension. A good truck person needs to be able to work independantly.

    My current department has no truck....

    My old one had a core group that always did the truck work.. and..we were good at it!
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    Aggressive is jumping from the rig, grabbing the water can and running in and knocking down a room and contents.

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    Default Agressive

    Agressive is pushing yourself and your crew harder than the other guys and getting the job done when others would have given up and gone defensive. However, this also entails being smart enough when to push it and when to get out.
    Move fast or move aside...

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    At the rate we going this thread could hit the ranks up there with paid vs volley topic.

    Seriously this has been a good topic. There's been some really good points and debate made. Not sure I've come to a single definition yet but close.

    It still makes me think that of a FF dictionary is in order.
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    What would make your definition different than a regular bread and butter operation?

    Nothing is saying it's different -- if your regular method of attacking a compartmentalized fire is small line/booster tank/first crew has water on fire from the inside before others arrive. It's not a bad tactic.

    But it does have a specific meaning. You simply don't see "Aggressive Fire Attack" in the fire magazines and books prior to the early 1970s.

    That's when New York and other northeastern cities started experimenting with things like 1.75" hose, bigger booster tanks, rapid water chemical additives, and using SCBA regularly.

    Reverse laying to a hydrant and stretching 2.5" hose, and waiting for the building to be vented is/was a much more traditional & conservative & arguably safer way to attack the fire.

    It was Aggressive since it was more risky than traditional tactics -- do you have enough flow, do you have enough water to handle the fire. And the risk-benefit trade off is keeping a fire small limits it's danger v. letting the fire grow while you get more players into position and heavier equipment into play.

    A corrollary to that trade-off is 2in/2out today -- if you don't have four firefighters on an engine, and some will argue 5, you can't make an aggressive attack on a room & contents. You gotta wait for that 2nd company to provide the "legal minimum manpower" (if you're in OSHA land or other states that have adopted 2in/2out) before advancing a line inside. Problem is, that fire is growing, making the building even more dangerous to enter once you do have the manpower that makes it supposedly safe to conduct interior ops.

    It's probably important to remember factors like the rubber lined cotton jacketed hose of 30 plus years ago was much heavier than today's polymer lined polyester hose, that before 1.75" many departments had a choice of 3/4" booster or 2.5" hose (1.5" was for the Navy and rural departments), and not waiting for the truckies to vent wasn't an easy option without SCBA to make your way down a hot & smokey hallway -- SCBA lets us penetrate deeper, faster than any "leather lung" could.

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    I think the term aggressive can also apply to truck work. When searching for victims above or past a fire, like the VES method FDNY uses, that's aggressive.
    So Dalmation, you can't have an aggressive fire attack if you secure a water supply while streatching lines, or flaking out a larger line, for you it is just good firefighting when you take the attack to the fire?
    OK, not quite the same definition I have but that's why this isn't China.

    Stay Safe

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    It may be aggressively done, but it's not the definition of Aggressive Fire Attack.

    The "big brother" to the Aggressive Fire Attack is the Blitz Attack where you use high flow deck guns/monitors/large handlines from tank water knowing you will most likely run out of water and be left waiting for resupply or waiting to secure a water source.

    The Aggressive attack is gonna be inside, and it's water use is lower from both lower GPM nozzles and longer time to get in position. Most likely you'll have a second engine in place before you run out.

    Due to the speed you exhaust your water, you won't see many interior blitz attacks. Putting an exterior 2.5" line in place and flowing 350-500gpm range is gonna exhaust most fire trucks within 2 or 3 minutes of their arrival. Deck guns can suck you down even faster.

    Laying in a line, then opening up with a deck gun or 2.5" isn't a blitz attack -- it's using a master stream since at that point your water supply is virtually unlimited and the benefit/risk of knock down fire/run out water that defines a Blitz isn't there.

    Forward laying or Reverse Laying while stretching an attack line, especially a big handline, isn't an Aggressive Fire Attack since the benefit/risk that defines and AFA of confining & knocking down fire sooner/risk of undersized line or inadequate water supply is no longer there. So it's just good solid firefighting.

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    I think aggressive is, knowing when it's time to NOT be aggressive.

    Most all of us, the old farts anyhow, know what jobs we can make a stop on and the ones that it wouldn't matter if you had 50 f/f's, 100,000 gals of water, the end result is gonna be a new parkin' lot.

    And it's aggressive to teach the new probies the difference.
    These views/ opinions are my own and not those of my employer/ department.

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    Dalmation90


    I have to disagree with you on this one just a bit. Pulling a 2.5" line and hitting it hard and fast is a blitz attack. Now a blitz attack is no good unless you can have established a water supply by the tim eyou exhaust your booster tank.

    Additionally, dropping a line on the way in and blasting it with a master stream or perhaps the BLITZFIRE with all you got to get a quick knockdown while H20 supply is established by the next engine is a form of blitz attack. One may argue that laying the line takes the blitz out of it but I look at it as a blitz attack with plan "B" in the chute.

    I consider both of these to be aggressive moves and actions that required all the guns you got when your feet hit the ground. Therefore a blitz attack is in a sense a form of an aggressive fireground tactic.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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