09-04-2002, 03:26 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 1999
- Here, There, Everywhere
Single Family Dwelling Search Tactics?
Here is a question for all of you out there?
I attended FDIC this past Spring and took the 4 Truck Co. classes. In every class the Search methods being discussed focused on Searching without a line and VES. Now I have no problem with this..it is how I was originally taught and all the Books and Journals Teach it without a line as well. (I'm Not talking about large area searches...only typical residential buildings)
However in my Dept the Policy states that you will always take an appropriate sized protection line when searching. (Since we disbanded the Truck we run Engines and Quints so the 1st due is an Engine 2nd due is a Truck,3rd RIT, 4th Eng or Truck or both)
This means that the second due rig that is tasked with Search (if it is done at all) and they must take a line with them and typically enter the same way as the other line did before them.
-Some reasons given that we should never enter a house without a line are...
...safety, they don't want to get FFs lost.
...What about the back up line?
...What if you find fire?
and the list go's on and on...
Some of us think our policy is out of whack from what is done nationally because every FDIC instructor's Dept did Search without hand lines. Plus we can't carry all the tools and TIC and do an effective search all while humping hose down a hallway with two or three guys!!
So what does your Department do?
09-04-2002, 04:10 PM #2
If it is a single dwelling, and you are doing search, there would be two of you, with the high pressure line off the reel. Quick suppression as you search each room. If a victim is found, one person takes the victim, the other person leads you back down the HP line to the door or safe area for evac.
You then go back up the line and get on with the search until the house is clear. No mucking about, safe and simple. Then you get busy knocking down the fire, recovery afterwards, and back to the station for tea and biscuits.
Keep flexible to the situation people. In a single dwelling house you are probably never going to be more than one room away from an exit point, door or window. If you are on the 2nd floor and the job goes pear shaped, then you can use the line to defend until the ladder is in place for egress.
also it will not be 800 degrees throughout the whole house, if it is the victim is stuffed already and you have no need to enter.
PS. That is New Zealand firefighting, just before someone rips me, we do not differentiate between truck and engine functions, we all do both. and while search is going on, there is no way we vent.
Don't want the fire tearing us a new ***** through escalation.
BA lines are used in larger premises, you search as you lay the line, leaving as direct a path as practical to the end of the line, by then you will probably be at the cylinder level of needing to retire. The next crew comes in and takes over from the end of the line.
The purpose of the line is to move people quickly to the fire without wasting air. The lines have knots or metal rings every 5 metres, as you lay it in they leave a pattern of 1 knot - space - 4 knots behind you. Even if two lines cross over and you grab the wrong one in the murk, you will figure it out fast.
Our aide memoir for this is "Officers, in last, out first." so if you hit 1 knot then 4 (the crew) you are entering not exiting.
Last edited by FlyingKiwi; 09-04-2002 at 04:19 PM.Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
09-04-2002, 05:23 PM #3
Read it again. I said we darken down any hot spots as we search. It is a house for heavens sake. Search is done as fast as possible. Usually starting from a point away from the fire itself. The object here is SEARCH. You do not enter a fully involved room to find survivors.
I know the hose is a damn fine way from experience.Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
09-04-2002, 07:07 PM #4
I have to agree on searching without dragging a handline with you. A lot will depend on the types of residential dwellings (open floor plan or compact floor plan) and response times to the incident, along with staffing levels.
If your 1st arriving company is an engine and 2nd arriving is a quint (they pump also right!), have the first due begin the primary search and communicate to the 2nd in that they will be the attack company and you are making entry for the primary search.
Make sure that you communicate where you are intending to do the search. This will depend on the structure itself (1 or 2 story) and the time of day etc.
Again a lot will depend on your staffing levels and response times of each apparatus. The urban vs. small suburb vs. rural analogy.
There is a lot you have to look at when deciding on using a line or not. Here we never take the line with us on the primary search but we also understand that our second in is CLOSE behind and will back us up ASAP.
If it's 800 degrees, believe me your not making entry for a rescue, it'll be a recovery effort.
Remember that when you do your size up before entry, you know where you're possible egress points are.
This subject has consistently been brought up in the forums and yes, I'm going to be the minority on this issue once again. Time is not only the victims enemy but your's also. Dragging a line is more time consuming and I'm not willing to give up those seconds trying to pull a line that is hanging up as you go around corners and objects in the dwelling.
Last edited by FireLt1951; 09-04-2002 at 07:11 PM.
09-04-2002, 07:37 PM #5
That why I always preferred truck work. I always felt like the hoseline was a leash. I can get in, search, and out of an area a lot faster without dragging a hose line. It's always worked pretty well for me for me so far.Steve Gallagher
"I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes
09-05-2002, 02:57 AM #6
Your primary search is a rapid search. Try doing a rapid search with a hose line.
1) If the hose line is charged, have fun.
2) If the hose line is uncharged then you decide to charge it, have fun unkinking it.
You could always have someone armed with a water can to attempt to darken any fires if you want. However, the search team is more of a recon team. It should be reporting back to the attack team important information for fire supression such as but not limited to:
1) The location of the fire, if not already found
2) Any extension of the fire
3) any seperate fires in other locations
If your search team really needs to knock the fire down, then feed them a line through a window. They don't teach you how to tie rope to a hose for nothing.IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
09-05-2002, 03:31 AM #7
OK I am waving a white flag.
When I stated the way we do it, I was clear in saying "in New Zealand". Maybe our ways a little different, thats no problem.
Our house construction is completely different. It is predominately wood clad, wood framing, wood truss roof, with corrigated iron roof or tiles. Every now and then there is a brick house.
The floors are wood joist with a wood covering. The walls are usually covered in plasterboard with paper lining both sides, and wallpaper.
This is discussing doing a wee search in a single dwelling. To my point of view the only reason for doing that is if it is reported there may be a vic inside.
Otherwise you are doing an interior attack, and would look bloody stupid without a hose.
Try doing a rapid search without one, your ***** is grass. If an officer said "go search that house without a hoseline" I would wet my pants laughing at him, unless I could see that there was only one room involved.
I have no problem agreeing with you, getting the poor bugger out is number 1 issue. Getting the vic and yourself out is number .5 I guess I am getting confused on the issue of Truck V Engine jobs, seeing as how we make no distinction untill ordered to work by an Officer. The same with RIT, it is a part of our job we all get trained to do at any moment.
Darken the fire, continue the search, no ******ing about, and then get the fire out.
PS. if it is wood wall with a tile roof you had better watch out for a zone of the house collapsing from weight, that will wreck your day.
Um just had a thought in case I was confused, there is a big difference here between ensuring evaction from surrounding parts of the building and "Snap Search" techniques.
Last edited by FlyingKiwi; 09-05-2002 at 03:36 AM.Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
09-05-2002, 04:30 AM #8
Kiwi, in America if someone is going to bring a hose in on a search with them (and it does happen) they are most likely bringing a 1.75" hose with them or one of similiar size (1.5" or 2"). It isn't as flexible (when charged) as the HP line you have, which I am assuming is 1" (God I miss our HP booster line). And yes, you would look stupid doing an interior attack without a hoseline but interior attacks are not the subject of this thread.
Also, you would do a search if there were reported victims or unknown victims. If you know there is no one inside, there is no need to search. If you are unsure, go search.
Just out of curiousity, do they teach you "primary search" and "secondary search" over there or do you just do one search?
Last edited by Adze39; 09-05-2002 at 04:32 AM.IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
09-05-2002, 03:48 PM #9
You are right on the HP line, my mistake for not clarifying that, when it is charged, it is damn near impossible to kink. we lay a big bight of hose outside the house to make it easier to move through and both FF drag it inside.
It is charged to around 2200 kpa where as a low pressure line (2.75 inch) is charged to around 700 kpa. So the amount of water you get out is damn fine for interior work. We use an Elkhart Branch on the end which is a variable from straight to branch.
I have seen the solid tip or fog discussions go on in these forums, and just wonder why you would deny an effective tool half a chance. Being able to pulse into the smoke layer on fog and knock down flashover as well as lowering your ambient thermal temperautre means you can move in close and attack the flames on solid stream, or darken down and get on with the search. All with a twist of the wrist on the branch.
The object is to keep the temp as low as practical, as this gives your victim a better survival chance and yourself a better workspace.
Yes on the unknown victims we would do a "search" while darkening down. for a reported victim we do a "snap rescue" trying to get a possible location of the person and working to that area quickly.
"Snap Rescue" puts a whole different level of pressure on the crew and any other responding truck.
Both searches are conducted quickly, but I reckon the "Snap Rescue" just gets the heart going a damn site faster.
We do the usual search things, cupboards, ovens, under beds, quartering the rooms etc.
Darkening down while searching means exactly that, no stuffing around, knock the fire back and continue searching.
All the other things are normal, watch for springy floors, watch and feel for wires, check doors with back of hand and move either side, one FF does a quick open and close while the branch man checks for flames or drawback of smoke into the room. watch for flames in the roof etc. And listen for the recall signal if it goes pear shaped around you.
Hope that clarifies things.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
09-05-2002, 05:14 PM #10
Here's something to throw out and see what sticks to the wall...
1) Kiwi's area searches with 1" hoselines filled with water. Any of us who remember booster lines know how much easier they are to fool around with over humping 1.75".
2) One of the main arguements against searching with a hoseline is it slows down the search team.
3) Charge an 1.5" or 1.75" line with CAFS you'll get GPM flows like we're used to in the United States, with a line with the weight and associated better maneuverability of Kiwi's 1" lines.
4) Let's throw a total left hook now -- go oriented. The search team gets to the general location, one guy stays with the line in the hallway, and the two firefighters with him each take seperate rooms to primary search, then come out and the team advances down the hallway together again. Guy on "search nob" is protecting his buddies several ways -- one, keeping track of them on the battle line (what good is accountability at the front door if no one knows what room you're lost in?), two keeping the guys oriented so they can find their way out, and three keeping a hoseline ready to protect their backs.
I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the position Fred's department is in with the "search" team being required to always pull a line. But there are ways we can look to compromise -- hey, if one of the arguements is a line slows down a search crew too much, but on the other hand you don't have extra engine companies available to stretch protective lines so the search crew needs to take their own, maybe we can find a combination of tools, technology, & tactics that works out better all around.
09-05-2002, 06:25 PM #11
Great points Dal.
We have 4 FF per truck, OIC stands around waving arms and making noise (Joke Boss, honest). Driver is pump operator / BA control.
No 3 is branchman taking the HP line to entry point and setting up. No 4 gets standpipe connected and working (if there is time)
Most trucks carry around 1000 gallons so a "Snap Rescue" can be easily conducted, as the HP line will take around 11 minutes to empty that much. If you are still searching after 11 minutes you are doing everything wrong.
Thats about 1 1/2 gallons per second out of the branch or 90.9 gallons a minute, or lots of steam if you do it wrong.
On entry the team moves to one wall, left or right, and then conducts the search moving along that wall through the whole house (we are assuming a complete smoke laden atmosphere here), the hp line pulls into the room with the number two, and is pulled out again on exit.
The two FF stay in immediate contact with each other, swinging out from the cylinder or holding hands to increase search area. The BA sets have a lifeline with two snap locks, one at 1 metre and 1 at 5. This allows larger areas to be searched after they are clipped to the bottom of your partners cylinder.
The golden rule is never to loose contact with your partner if you are in a bad to zero visibility situation.
On finding a victim the FF shouts "Body Body Body" to notify his partner, and hopefully those outside. The person finding the body drags the victim out being guided by his partner. the HP line is left where it is. The victim is taken directly clear of the threat area, this may or may not be outside the house, and is passed over for complete extraction to medics.
The two FF get back to the HP line ASAP, and continue searching from that point.
The funny thing is that you work that fast and hard out you hardly notice the branch in your hands, unless you need to cool things down a bit and then it is real handy.
Would I be happy using a can as suggested, no probably not, I do not like the idea of trying to beat a fire to death with an empty can.
I guess the key thing is darkening down fire zones and pulsing the smoke (non combusted material) to lower temperatures, while trying not to generate to much steam. It also gives a complete picture of what you are dealing with.
Second arriving crew will get waterways established if a "Snap Rescue" is on, along with 2nd BA team wearing and advancing their attack line. Then it is simply co-ordinating between fire attack and search team, until house is declared clear of victims.
Damn, this is the most typing I have ever done here.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
09-05-2002, 08:20 PM #12
Just thought I would throw my two pennies worth in here.
In the UK, we train for primary attack and search almost all the time. If you are riding the 1st appliance to a job, and are wearing the BA, then your primary task is search and rescue if the fire is "persons reported" and interior attack if not.
As soon as we arrive at an incident of these types, we are able to enter a building almost immediately, due to a combination of rapid entry procedures and the use of high pressure hose reels. In normal circumstances the BA team will be under air and heading for the door, or the last point a person was seen inside, say a window for instance. By the time they reach the door, the hosereel will already be under pressure, (25 bar in our case) which is plenty pressure for most house/dwelling fires. (If you don't have hosereels, just to update you, they are charged at all times with water to the branch, so their is no waiting for water to come from the pump).
If we were engaged in a search then the 1st BA crew to arrive would begin to works its way to the most obvious point a person would be thought to be, time of day/night factors in - nighttime, probably in bedrooms, etc, etc. In the case of a person having been seen shortly before our arrival we would head straight for that point.
On the subject of searching, we can do this one of two ways. The first is a simple left or right handed search following the walls of the building and into the rooms leading off that wall. Using a hose reel is fairly easy due to its low drag and ability not to knink on corners, (with luck a second crew, on arrival would follow this line in, assisting the passge of the hose). Any persons found on this search are brought back along the same route and if possible handed off to the crews behind the 1st in team. Any team following up to take over just has to follow the hose to the branch. We never search off the hose. Our format is to go room to room, using the hose as protection and only going as far into a room as we comfortably can, eg by sweeping doorways if we cannot stretch the line into the whole room.
As with the NZ procedures, if the building was larger and maybe more spacious, all our BA sets are equipped with a 6 metre retractable personal line. Its a bit like one of those extending dog leads, and moves back and forwards on a spring loaded ratchet. (I think this is the point the originator of the thread is getting at). One team member will clip his line to the other persons set and then whilst one of the team stays on the wall of the building, the other can move up to 6 metres away, searching the cenrtre of the room etc, without losing contact with his team member. Because the line is retractable, there is always tension on it and this means we know the other person is still moving about and roughly, how far or near he/she may be.
we alos use this method when using guide lines to search factories and the like. The guideline is laid in and tied off to strong points and our personal lines can be clipped to this, then onto one another so we can search "off the line" for a distance, without ever losing our point of contact or reference within the space we are in.
As Kiwi has pointed out, this type of searching, whether on or off lines can be done very rapidly and is somthing that should be practiced as often as possible.
In most of the cases I have experienced, searching is done by other crews who have entered following initial knockdown of the fire, which in a lot of our cases, due to building design/construction is normally confined to one room. This leaves just the heat and smoke to contend with, but with good procedures and practice it is quite easy to do.
Bit of a marathon post, hope you did'nt fall asleep half way through.United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.
09-06-2002, 12:59 AM #13
From Dalmation's post:
"hey, if one of the arguements is a line slows down a search crew too much, but on the other hand you don't have extra engine companies available to stretch protective lines so the search crew needs to take their own, maybe we can find a combination of tools, technology, & tactics that works out better all around."
Skip Colema wrote an article called Seraching Smarter, Part 1: The Basics. In it he answers the argument of the search team needing a line, amongst other things. He makes this very valid point in this regard in the Feb, 2001 issue of Fire Engineering on pg 116 he states, ".. if you are searching an area in the house in your bunker gear and SCBA and dont feel comfortable because of fire and heat conditions are there savable victims in that area? The answer is no... ..Move to an area where you can pull out victims who are still alive."
And also I dont really think that we need to look for anything new or a new technology, not that that is necesarrily bad, but the FDNY has been carrying around a water can for the last hundered yrs or so and it works for them.
Last edited by dfd3dfd3; 09-06-2002 at 01:03 AM.
09-06-2002, 01:34 AM #14
Ok stick with the can for a minute. fine if you are assured response within a few miuntes to get you out when it goes pear shaped. how long does a can last?
From what I have read in these forums, you are looking for larger hoses to throw more water faster. Fine for kicking butt, however on a search all you are trying to do is search as thoroughly as POSSIBLE given the conditions.
As was mentioned before, you open the door and there is a fully involved room. Close the damn door, say "pardon me" as you continue the search. Anyone in that room is not having a good day, move on.
As martin said, you have to be aggressive, and do not start burning my butt over THAT word, it is a state of action, not something to brag about your Brigade. It is hard work done as fast as you can physically do it.
Then turn around and fight the fire. I am not saying you lot search, you lot fight fire, just because that is the truck you drive. It is a case of search and fight together. the operative word is TOGETHER.
once again, there is a difference between ensuring evactuation, and searching the fire zone
As a kicker, how many victims die at night time because they woke up, smelled the smoke, stood up into the thermal layer and took a breath of super heated smoke?
Last edited by FlyingKiwi; 09-06-2002 at 01:38 AM.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
09-06-2002, 06:35 AM #15
Kiwi please forgive my removing part of your post, it was done for effect. I am going to try to stay away from the technical side of things, because what happens in smoke inhalation can be difficult to understand, and more difficult to explain.
how many victims die at night time because they .... took a breath of super heated smoke?
any victim that has inhaled heated gases at temperatures between 160-250F will more than likely have irreversible damage.
There is also pulmonary irritation, but it gets rather complicated. It should suffice to say that irritants can cause direct tissue injury, acute bronchspasm, and activate the bodies inflammatory response. Resulting in procedures like Cric's being done rather then intubation due to unseen inflammation making intubation physically impossible.
Inhalation injuries can range from immediate threat to a patient's airway and respiratory status to only minor mucosal irritations.
Why did I put all this in here? Two reasons: It was brought up, and simply because the majority of fire related deaths, which are not LODD, are caused by smoke inhalation, not the fire itself. How many times have you gone to a fire only to have someone jumping around on the street screaming, being held back by neighbours, trying to go back inside because someone is still in the house (or for some completely ridiculous reason ). If you can get in and get out with 'reasonable safety' while primary attack lines are being stretched, then do it. If you can't then either take a line with you, or wait for it to be knocked down.
09-06-2002, 06:56 AM #16
So many interesting and valid points made here that also serve to demonstrate the variance in our approaches in USA - UK and NZ. However, the debate has become confusing - what is a proby to make of all this?!
Fred has informed us that FDIC promoted search tactics -
(a) Without a hoseline.
(b) Without VES?
If we are discussing large apartment blocks/multi-storey buildings (Fred refers to 'typical' residential buildings) then primary search tactics using both VES and 'without hoseline' become most viable.
If we are discussing smaller houses/2 storey apartment blocks then VES MAY not be at the top of the list for primary search routes and I understand the US reluctance to take a hoseline in where the search may be slowed.
Two valid points of the discussion -
1) Dalmation discusses a 'compromise' and I agree with him here.
2) dfd3 mentions the FDNY 2 gallon 'can' that truckies often take on their primary search.
That 'can' provides a small amount of water that can be sprayed in short bursts into the overhead to slow the potential for flashover or provide a quick hit at the base of a burning chair or mattress (for example) to slow a small fire's progress. But for the life of me - I cannot understand WHY the US dumped the booster line as an interior option for primary search tactics - esp in small residential properties!
The IFEX GUN www.ifex3000.nl is probably a more effective option than the 'can' for primary searches without a hoseline. But in small residences, as the point has been made by Kiwi and Martin - the HP booster-line is ideal. The 3/4" hosereel tubing offers flows around 35 gpm but the high-pressure concept offers punch that can only usually be found in high-flow main lines. In the USA, for primary searches, this 'tool' would save firefighter lives I am certain.
Primary searches without a line are dangerous and other options should be explored.
09-06-2002, 07:05 AM #17
In Kiwi's defence - I think his point was that the initial breath/s in the upper thermal layer were sufficient to cause immediate disablement although smoke inhalation was probably the eventual cause of death.
Thanx for that valuable and interesting information Temptaker.
09-06-2002, 08:49 AM #18
Thanks, my post was actually in defense of him. I should have stated that more clearly but was trying to keep things as simple as possible. I was trying to point out that most signifcant factor in civilian death is the fact that they are overcome by the atmosphere first, regardless of what comes after that. The longer they are in there, the more damage is done. The don't have to be anywhere near the flames to be dead.
09-06-2002, 09:10 AM #19
Apologies Temptaker - your post is excellent. We are talking the same talk but in a different language Acknowledge your point.
Thanx again bro
09-06-2002, 10:24 AM #20Originally posted by dfd3
Skip Colema wrote an article called Seraching Smarter, Part 1: The Basics. In it he answers the argument of the search team needing a line, amongst other things. He makes this very valid point in this regard in the Feb, 2001 issue of Fire Engineering on pg 116 he states, ".. if you are searching an area in the house in your bunker gear and SCBA and dont feel comfortable because of fire and heat conditions are there savable victims in that area? The answer is no... ..Move to an area where you can pull out victims who are still alive. [/B]
Your search is going to cover areas that you can effectively operate in wearing protective gear (if you can't, the victim can't either). Choose your entry points carefully to allow for the best possible effective rescue effort. Variables as to where you enter will exisit relating to location of fire, time of day, building layout, response numbers and times, staffing etc. Remember to size up before entry to allow you to understand where you are and where your egress points will be. All members should be aware of the layouts of the dwellings in your respose areas. We have a varity of dwelling styles and layouts here, but we still have the knowledge of those by using size up to our advantage. Ride around your response area and look at the dwellings and let the crew guess where the living room, bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms are, then ask the occupant if you can go in and see the layout, they will usually have no problem with it (unless something illegals going on) . Here, the norm is livingrooms have larger windows, kitchens and bathrooms will have smaller windows and bedrooms average size.
I'm looking at this by the type of dwellings we have here. Most are 2 story wood frame with kitchens on either the B or D sides. Dining rooms will be off of the kitchen area, usually on the A side, living rooms are always on the A side, 1st floor bedrooms are always in the rear sections, C side. 2nd floors will have the bathrooms in the same general area as the 1st floor (usually centered)on the B or D sides with bedrooms on the A and C sides. Basement entry is always off the kitchen area and usually on the B or D side with an entry door there. Almost all of our dwellings are from 1000 sq ft to 2000 sq ft in area. Most are tightly packed with many turns and doorways, pretty confined at times with all the furnishings. This makes dragging the line with you quite cumbersome and time consuming.
As for the HP lines, we still have them on our apparatus (1") and they are a very effective tool when used properly and yes we have used them more than a few times at the beginning of a rescue operation. It is less of a problem with hangups and less cumbersome but will still get caught on many objects in a tightly packed dwelling. I have still been more effective without dragging the line with us. One key is to make sure you communicate where your team is and all pertinent information from your continuing interior size up while searching.
We'll always have varying opinions on search techniques involving the use of handlines. Just as we'll always have those same varying opinions on hose size. Your tactics will be directly related to your departments abilities.
My department has been accused of being behind the times because we still use 1 1/2" lines. We evaluated and used 1 3/4" awhile back and found it to be much more cumbersome in our dwellings, so we choose to keep the 1 1/2" attack lines. Personally I like the 1 1/2" because of better mobility inside these dwellings than the 1 3/4". We still and will continue to have 1" HP lines on our apparatus as another tool in our arsenal.
Again, you must look at your response to the incident regarding your staffing and respose times on your next in companies. Each fire will bring with it different problems so you learn to adjust your tactics in relationship to the incident itself.
I guess I should start using word to post but I like just sitting down and typing away with my mind sometimes working faster than my fingers.
Last edited by FireLt1951; 09-06-2002 at 11:01 AM.
09-06-2002, 02:26 PM #21
The probies gotta do what they're taught to do!
All areas are different, and part of the fun(?) of discussing tactics are how everyone does it differently, or slight variations.
2-1/2 gallon cans are great -- in NYC. But we also have to remember no one else in the U.S. and few places in the world run at the staffing levels and density of companies as FDNY. 4-5 man engines and 6 man trucks and what, about 1 square mile per station on average? Was reading a National Geographic article last night that just casually mentioned a that there was two fire stations within the 1/2 square mile neighborhood. If your on a six man truck company, with plenty of 5 man engines and more 6 man trucks coming to your sign in the next few minutes, and you gotta get to a fire on the sixth floor of a big apartment building taking a can to help make a quick punch to be able to gain control of a door isn't a bad option. Now cans certainly have a place in other communities, but you gotta realize why your taking it with you and how it fits your department and buildings -- hopefully you're not taking it since FDNY does and a bunch of instructors at FDIC were copying them.
If your in a situation with two 3 man companies are gonna be working the two-story single family residence alone for awhile, taking a line with the "search" team is a different proposition. The attack team is hopefully headed for the fire, and the "search" team may very well be taking a line to the floor above and want to be able to deal with what they find, like flames extending in a balloon frame -- endangering not only them but the attack crew below.
There's very few "tactics" that are wrong. Most of the time when things go bad we're either not doing a set of tactics together like they should be done, or we're mixing and matching things (like using PPV while also having guys go through windows doing VES). The best classes I've taken have been taught by FDNY officers, but what I learn there isn't neccessarily something that will work back in my home district -- we don't have the constistency in the quality or numbers of staff as FDNY, and many other factors (like response times, building design, water supply, or even the life hazard to name a few). Doesn't mean we're a worse department than FDNY, just we have conditions that mean we have to do things differently. What's effective in your area is a better measure of how good your department is than whose tactics you use.
We can all learn from each other, and try out new things in a reasoned way and see what works better in our areas.
We can all go out a play. Play is a good thing. Play doesn't mean winging things and flying by the seat of our pants -- sit down and think out what you're gonna do, what's the safety issues, and let the troops now you're going out to experiment and try X, Y, and Z today and see what happens. If some of the stuff you play with works out, then you can make a formal training session on it, and then you can have drills to build profeciency on it. If some of the stuff just doesn't seem to fit, hey, you were just playing with the idea so abandon it.
A lot of times in the fire service we adopt mantras that Instructors like to say, and people never really question them. Instead of saying you need a minimum of 95gpm or 125gpm or 150gpm or whatever to make an initial attack, we got lazy and said you need an 1.75" line minimum. Now a long 1.75" line that's being underpumped delivers a lot less water than a 1" line pumped hard...but somehow we have tried to simply rates of delivery and hydraulics down to, "always pull at least an 1.75" and unfortunately the background of "so you can deliver at least xx gpm at xx psi" is lost.
In the end, it's up to use to explain to our probies how and why we do things the way we do in our own areas.
09-06-2002, 03:39 PM #22
I think the decision to search with or without a line should come down to experience. The instructors teaching at the FDIC are from the big cities and may, in their own departments, respond to 2 or 3 working fires per day. Unless you are working in a run down section of a big city, like NYC, Detroit, Chicago or Baltimore, you may be lucky if you are responding to 2 or 3 fires per month. Live burns provide great training but they don't happen every day. Books and magazines provide great insight but don't replace the experience gained by going to fires every day. You had better be very confident in your skills if you decide to search without a line.
09-06-2002, 04:19 PM #23
Personally, never seen a straight stream push a fire, only a poorly used fog pattern.
The best classes I've taken have been taught by FDNY officers, but what I learn there isn't neccessarily something that will work back in my home district
My department has also begun taking water extinguishers into calls, but not for reported fires, we usually bring them for alarms and minor smoke conditions. Reason being, while investigating an alarm, should you actually find fire, you have something to fight it with. It would be too much effort to pull hoses for every alarm call."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
09-06-2002, 04:28 PM #24
Tactical placement of lines is essential and communication and awareness on the interior is equally important. Tom Brennan (ex FDNY) will offer sound advice on 'rear of fire' situations where the primary search crew are operating (with or without line) in an area where conditions are likely to deteriorate quickly (even with straight stream) when the engine line pushes in. He quotes effective timing is an important feature in this respect.
CFDE3 makes some good points.......
09-06-2002, 05:29 PM #25
Wow....so many valid points here..My head is spinning!
Paul, Bones, Kiwi and FireLt all think similar to me. And as far as TEMPIE goes....you go girl...throw out that medical terminology and give em the what for!
I too have done searches with a hoseline and without. Have searched in front of the line as it is advanced and many other scenarios. I also am a believer in the "CAN." Someone said...We do not have the staffing of FDNY...AMEN BROTHER. My engine runs with a driver, me and a firefighter and they expect me to command... Do the math..too many jobs...not enough hands! If I have 4 people...I am drooling going down the road.
So...with a crew of 3...arrive on scene with smoke showing in middle of night... Do a walk around and order line to front door while in progress. Middle of night...hmmm..where's the victim most likely? Put hoseline in place between that point and fire and I do the looking while he does the cooking. In and out quick with a light and a haligan. (they took my can because the children used em to play with) If I know someone is trapped I am gonna immediately bump a 2nd alarm as I establish command and run it off my portable through my PO until the calvary comes. If I don't find em right off in the bedroom then I work my way out. With the luxury of 4 folks it is all the same now except I got me a helper in the search. This is all in a SFD. If you are running a multi family occupancy then you have to make a decision where to begin.. Complicates matters now since you have potential for multiple trapped victims and multiple compartments. With a limited crew you can only do so much.
As far as being "gone" when ya get there....That is a call I will not make. I am gonna go after em and find em. If they are burnt like toast...then...we write that one off as a bad experience. Sure..When they stand up they will be rendered unconscious or disoriented most likely....but..they may not be dead...and if they quite breathing then they have not inhaled much more than the first shot. So if we can find em and revive em we are heroes...if they don't make it we made a "valiant effort." If you have never worked in one of these situations then you can not imagine how it is nor can you adequately evaluate the way we do it. Being effective and safe in these situations comes with experience you learn in the field not in class. Classes are great for giving you the base knowledge...but you gotta do it...
We also do not have the "Red Lines" any more because idiots in some part of the world started using a nozzle that discharged 30 gpm in an attempt to put out a fire in a well involved house fire and could not understand why it did not work. So the pumpers started being spec'd with out them.
We will all agree that searching without a line is not optimal as far as safety but sometimes it is necessary. I know that truck companies (for those of us that have em) work ahead of the engines and over the fire all the time. That is what they do and as others have said..."that is why I love truck work."
It is certainly not a tactics book but it is worth reading. It tells of many many situations where searches were done in manners like we have discussed. Some of them were successful and some were not. Sometimes the firefighters were lucky and other times they got hurt. It gives you a sense for what it is like in the real world. I suggest you read it...that book is>>>> THE BRAVE by George Pickett retired FDNY. It makes you think...for sure..09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
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