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  1. #1
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    Default Checking overhead extension...

    I recently have started attending tactics classes. One tactic now being used is when going interior when first entering the structure(using a standard one story A frame as an example) and encountering light to moderate smoke, immediately taking a pike pole and pull ceiling overhead to check for fire in the attic. I think it is a good tactic, but my question is..If you entered and made the inspection hole and encountered visible flame, what is your next move?


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    If you entered and made the inspection hole and encountered visible flame, what is your next move?
    I would have to say, depending on immediate manpower, a FEW things need to happen...

    - Expand the hole and attack the fire, at least make effort to DARKEN IT DOWN.
    - EARLY VERTICAL VENTILATION IS A MUST! Get that bad stuff out, before it mushrooms down on ya.
    - PROMPTLY conduct primary search effort.

    We all know that building construction is one of our worst enemies in the fire service. Now with the increased (understated) use of LIGHT-WEIGHT construction, our jobs are limited by time due to early failure.

    We must either get in and get it or get out before it gets us!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Stick the nob up in the hole and whip it around a bit.

    Then start pulling more ceiling!

    Also, find the attic access and get up there if practical.

    Caveat:
    If it's a balloon frame and there's fire in the attic, immediately check the basement. There's a lot more things to start a fire in a basement then an attic, and balloon walls let the fire spread easily from basement to attic while skipping the floors in between. So if you got fire in the attic and it's an older home, always assume it's a basement fire until that's ruled out!

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Checking overhead extension...

    Originally posted by FlashoverTX
    I recently have started attending tactics classes. One tactic now being used is when going interior when first entering the structure(using a standard one story A frame as an example) and encountering light to moderate smoke, immediately taking a pike pole and pull ceiling overhead to check for fire in the attic. I think it is a good tactic, but my question is..If you entered and made the inspection hole and encountered visible flame, what is your next move?
    If there is access to the attic area via pull down stairway, do that before ripping open a ceiling area... just another variation of "try before you pry"

    Signs of an attic/ceiling fire are discoloration of the ceiling surfaces and smoke coming from the eaves. As my friend the "spotted one" (Dalmatian 90) stated, if it is balloon frame, check the basement/cellar area.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    A good initial tactic to employ when encountering smoke on the level at which you enter a structure is to have someone check the level immediately below. If there is smoke there as well, I would concentrate my efforts there before hooking the ceiling on the entry level.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    Default Fire Tactic

    As was stated attack it as best you can depending on your
    manpower. Like the Capt. said try to find an easy access point before you punch a hole. That will not only make the home owner happy, but make your job easier. As always said, Work Smarter Not harder.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

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    If you have punched that hole and found fire, go back near the door you came in and punch a hole there too. You can work the ceiling from an area of fallback and then work the whole room. This can prevent fire from getting behind you.

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    Default Just a thought

    Thanks for the tactical ideas....
    Here are some thoughts though...

    If you go interior and search for the attic access, is this not putting you and your crew in more danger by putting you deeper into the structure with fire weakening the trusses above you?
    Also, since sheetrock is cheap to replace, would an inspection hole really hurt the homeowner that much?
    just some thoughts.....

    FlashoverTX
    http://www.gainesvillefirerescue.com

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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Do the inspection hole first.

    Attic access is just for ease of completing extinguishment, without pulling down all the sheetrock/insulation/etc.

    If you really want to knock out some fire, put a bayonet nozzle up through the sheetrock and let the fire smother in it's own steam before you start opening up.

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    Well in my city a standard house isnt going to have light weight truss roofing material. The first and most important thing is to know your buildings and the construction. Having said that, Im assuming you are talking about a light weight truss house, because on an older house u have more time. One other thing, in my experience, I have never seen an attic fire that pushed fire down inot the lower levels. It is usually clear as a bell underneath until u get into the attic where the fire is. You should be able to tell if there is a fire in the attic more often than not from what the building tells you from the outside. Are there attic louvered vents in the gables? Is there good smoke pushing out of those? How about the eves? If there isnt smoke pushing out of those I wouldnt pull ceilings first thing. If there was and it was a light weight construction I would have to give it serious thought if i couldnt find a scuttle fast. One thing to remember when pulling a ceiling to check for extension is this, where do u pull the ceiling from? Do it in the doorway or outside the room, dont walk into the middle of the room to pull the ceiling, guys have been killed making that mistake. If the poop comes down on you if ur in the room you are screwed but if you were smart and stayed in the hall or doorway you can get out or are already out of the room. If you find a scuttle hole or if u have to pull a ceiling hole and find fire. This is a good time, and one of the view times, to use a wide fog inside a structure. Open it all the way up swirl it around a bit and then shut the scuttle hole and let the steam put the fire out, this works if u can control the scuttle if not put it out and vent the roof also.

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    Default Hooks

    Flashover..you are asking the right questions of the suggestions given to you. Its good common sense to pull as you go. I'm a smooth bore guy, but if you suspect attic the fog is often helpful

    Be Safe

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    bayonet nozzle? dal, you mean a low velocity applicator on a rockwood nozzle?

    Nope, but it's a Rockwood accessory (too).

    A bayonet is a lightweight piercing applicator. Although I'm guilty as the next of mis-using the terms, generally a Bayonet is a lightweight device where a true Piercing Nozzle is heavier and has a striker plate to use a sledge against it. Bayonet Nozzles go through sheetrock, Piercing Nozzles through Cement.

    The Low Velocity Applicators are a different beast. Originally they where used for fighting Class B (flammable liquid) fires by cooling them while using a minimum of water flow & minimum of movement (gentle fog from the "low velocity") Some departments use them as second story applicators -- I know FDNY had a write up a couple years back about some of their companies carrying them for "blow out" fires -- they'd be sent into the window of the fire apartment from the window below to cool the wind-blown fire down.

    But then there is an actual Second Story Applicator for Rockwoods which is distinct Low Velocity Applicators. It has a similiar long pipe, but the end has a spud just like the nozzle, generally equipped with the fog nozzle, but I suppose if you're going through lightweight stuff like sheetrock or thin aluminum you could put a bayonet on it. They've got a kick if you've never used them before -- imagine a 65gpm nozzle at the end of a 10' pole -- and can get into spaces quicker than a team working through the building can. Our training in them, although in practice I've never seen it done, is called a second story drill which uses the second story applicator to knock down a room while a ladder is being raised to that window. A team then goes up the ladder with a hose to make entry into that room. The nozzle head goes all the way in so it acts like a sprinkler, not like a ventilation venturi! We do use the 2nd story applicator more on agricultural buildings & in overhaul than as an attack tool on residences.

    it ain't gonna do squat but make allot of steam, if that even.
    And that's a problem in an unoccupied, unvented space like an attic? Steam is our friend -- it means we've sucked up BTUs, and in a place like an attic it displaces the Oxygen and unburned fire gases like CO, so the fire also smothers and isn't as likely to start free-burning again when it is ventilated.

    If you have a good idea where the fire is, a bayonet through the sheetrock puts water at the source of the heat with minimal opening (which allows more air in).

    Like one of the posters mentioned, you usually have a good idea if it's a fire confined mainly to the attic -- lots of smoke there, none in the house or basement. Part of a quick size up for me is if it looks like an attic fire (lightning strikes do this often in my area!), I grab the Rockwood line & bayonet as the primary nozzle.

    Caveat though, if you didn't go in with the bayonet, just open up the ceiling and hit it anyway. Sometimes a good tactic executed immediately is much better than the best tactic done in another three minutes!

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    Dal

    Your last paragraph is probably one of the best items in the thread. We can get so fancy sometimes with adjuncts that we delay application of the basics. One item we have used in the District for years is an iron extension pipe anywhere from 3 to 5 feet in length with inch and a half female and male couplings on the ends. This is usually brought in by companies on a box alarm that are not first arriving. They attach a fog type revolving distributor nozzle and it works quite well. The length of the pipe keeps the operator's hands down by his mid-section and the rigidity allows him to "pump" it up or down through the hole.

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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Your last paragraph is probably one of the best items in the thread

    Thanks, I know I can wax poetically about some neat tactics from time to time. But getting the wet stuff on the red stuff is still top priority!

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    MembersZone Subscriber Airborne's Avatar
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    Default Time to show my ignorance!!!

    Being that I'm still a FF1 student I may be a step behind on this.


    1. First things first, would it not be up to the IC doing the initial size up to determine if it is safe enough to have the primary search team move in. And to start getting people in position to start vertical ventalation.

    2. If you are doing a primary search, would it not then be your duty to be moving in fast and get the search done. I'm not sure why you would be pulling celling as you go, or making holes in it to check for fire.

    3. Granted that part of the primary search is to also located the location of the fire so that vertical ventilation can be position above it. But my understanding is that you are looking for it's source more so then to see if it has made it to the attic?

    4. Now I do understand if you suspect that it is in the attic that this may pose unsafe conditions for search, but with out a reason to suspect it, why poke holes, that would be like saying I don't know if fire has made it into this wall, so I'm going to start punching holes into the wall to see?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    4. Now I do understand if you suspect that it is in the attic that this may pose unsafe conditions for search, but with out a reason to suspect it, why poke holes, that would be like saying I don't know if fire has made it into this wall, so I'm going to start punching holes into the wall to see?

    But that's what we do?

    Is there fire in this wall? I dunno. HALLIGAN!

    Fires have a way of crawling into awful small spaces to regroup and attack you again.

    Truck operations involve not only finding life, but also finding fire. Someone's gotta help those bozos on the knob figure out which way is up.

    Depending on how your setup, the Truck guys could get in ahead of the hose team (who after all are dragging hoses) to do the search in the fire area, and heck, find the fire room for the hose monkeys.

    In many rural/suburban areas/small cities, it's the first in hose crew that is also the "search" crew, so they're focusing on finding the fire and getting water on it, and maybe find a victim.

    1. First things first, would it not be up to the IC doing the initial size up to determine if it is safe enough to have the primary search team move in.

    You could still have fire above you that's not obvious to the IC or you're unsure of -- doesn't look bad, but gotta have the crew inside take a look-see. It's better to open up and squirt a little fire than have the Chief standing outside watching the smoke get heavier, get faster, get blacker, oh, look at that, we have flames from the eaves, that ain't good. Chiefs are kinda easy to please, they see lots of white steam they're happy and munching on donuts instead of bothering you.

    2. If you are doing a primary search, would it not then be your duty to be moving in fast and get the search done. I'm not sure why you would be pulling celling as you go, or making holes in it to check for fire.

    That probably really depends on the situation and your experience. If you have light smoke conditions, you can often make a primary search standing up to quickly visually clear the rooms. You're also opening ceilings & walls to try and figure out where this smoke is coming from (if it isn't obvious from the outside)

    If your doing a primary search for life and you're crawling on your belly in smoke, you're not standing up to inspect the ceiling, heck, you probably can't stand up due to heat. You're just doing a quick search by feel, and if you find the door to the fire room, you try to close it and then go let the hose team know where it is!

    But again, in most places you'll probably find the hoseline gets to the fire first, then the search team works from them backwards. Larger cities, and some small cities depending on their organization, can get the resources fast enough to a fire to be searching ahead of the hoselines. Most places don't/can't so the hose goes first and search follows.

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    I am not a big fan of just poking holes to poke holes. If you had fire in the attic, you would have signs of it from the outside. Smoke would be pushing from the gable vents, from the ridge vent, around the attic fan, around soil pipes, as well as simply pushing out the eves. If you see these signs from the outside, then I say go ahead and try poking a hole.

    If you are simply encountering light to moderate smoke in the structure, it is more likely to be a fire remote in the structure to your location. Remember if the fire in the attic is so bad that the smoke is banking down into the first level, it should be pushing pretty good from the above mentioned openings.

    A better choice would be to search the main level for fire. If you find none, then check the basement or crawlspace level. If you still dont find the fire then check up above. Either by opening an attic access, or by poking a hole. Before poking the hole however, try going to the room on the main level where the smoke and heat are the worst. That room is where the fire is most likely to be located above.

    I am a fan of lifting ceiling tiles in commercial occupancies however. Which is where I first heard of that tactic being applied. I large open office spaces with drop ceilings we always lift a ceiling tile inside the door if we encounter smoke or heat. Hope this is helpfull. Keep it safe out there.

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    Just an idea but I would use Thermal Imageing Camera to try to determined if there is a fire above before I would open up a hole because if the fire started up there and is out of oxygen. You just gave the fire all it needs for Backdraft!

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    MembersZone Subscriber CFD Hazards's Avatar
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    I agree with Shafer607. If you are just in an investigative mode, I would call the truck in with the TIC before I began poking any holes. If a TIC is not available then check the wall/ceiling with the back of your hand first. If it is hot then pull a line in before you make any openings.

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    Unless you have a charged line in place, I WOULD NOT start pulling the ceiling right away, but instead make a small inspection hole. Then with a charged hoseline in place pull the ceiling from the door into the room. Expose the beams until no charring or fire are found then go one or two more beyond this to make sure you have found all hidden fire.

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