1. #1
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    Question WWYD-Victim at Window

    This is a question for those of you whos dept have the 1st officer perform a so called 360s or walk around.

    Here is the situation:

    -Detached private dwelling
    -2 story in front/ 3 in rear with walkout basement
    -0330 hours
    -Heavy smoke from 1st & 2nd floors.
    -4 foot fence
    -No cars out front, no one in street to greet you.
    -Next in Engine or Truck is still a few minutes out.

    You are the officer of the 1st due Engine company with 1 FF and a driver and yourself. As the only firefighter you have is stretching the 1st line to the door, you the officer walks around to the rear after scalling the fence. As you check the rear, you see a child leaning out of the what is from the rear 3rd floor window(2nd floor in front) with moderate smoke pushing out of the window.

    What would you do?
    Last edited by FFFRED; 12-22-2003 at 09:56 PM.

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    Grab the radio, order the pump operator and the other firefighter to drop what they are doing, grab the ground ladder and come to the rear of the house to rescue the victim, then do a quick VES of the rest of the floor.
    ‎"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."
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    Gonzo stole the orders from my portable!

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    I'd follow Gonzo's plan of attack
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    The only other thing I'd do is call for more help early...and often.
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    Sorry Ron,

    I'd get that handline into the interior stairs and in operation ASAP.

    Instruct the child, assuming proper age to close the door to the room and sit tight at the window.

    Operate the line to protect the interior egress and go get the kid.

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    My initial thought was what Gonzo said....now Artie has me thinking.

    The easy move is to grab the kid, but what if there are more victims; in the next room, on the first floor, etc etc. The best way to save lives is to extinguish the fire....at least thats what they tell us.

    There are a lot of varibles. Assuming you can coach the kid, getting the line going initially with one guy while you are coaching, where the main body of fire is located, can you climb that damn fence again(sorry)....

    Assuming I could get the kid to comply and hang tight, and there was no obvious signs of fire in the immediate vicinity, I think I would get the line going after telling the truck to break the sound barrier and where their known victim was. But I am not so sure I could just leave him there....

    Dave

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    Default By Lt. Bob Pressler , Fire Department of New York

    Every town and small city has several different types of buildings that the fire department protects, ranging from small private homes to large multiple dwellings. Most departments do a fairly good job of attacking and extinguishing fires in 1- and 2-story family houses, although these can be somewhat difficult fires at times if understaffed.

    However, many small departments find themselves quickly overwhelmed as the size of the fire problem increases. A bedroom fire in a 2 1/2-story balloon-framed house is quite a different fire for the incident commander than a basement fire in the same building. One is a fire in a small, compartmented room that has only one level, the attic, exposed above it, which many times can be controlled by one handline. The other is a fire in a large, usually uncompartmented area with natural flues that lead to the attic and all hidden horizontal voids in between. As fire calls move from houses to bigger buildings, such as apartment buildings or strip malls, the fire problem can quickly outrun the resources.

    Top priority
    Are there strategies or tactics these small departments can use to stay ahead of the fire? Although many times there are different ways for a department to attack a fire, there are times when nothing will stop the fire building from being destroyed. The incident commander often is tasked with the hard-to-make decision to let the structure burn and focus on preventing the fire from spreading to surroundings.

    For smaller departments, the need to prioritize fireground operations is paramount. When you don't have enough people to do all of the required tasks, then some need to take precedence. Of course, life is the number-one priority, so any occupants who are showing on arrival need to be removed. If there are positive indicators of people still trapped inside the fire building, then all available resources must be committed in that direction.

    In many cases, you will need a handline to protect the searching firefighters. This may mean that another area of the fireground will need to go without water until the searches are completed. Two rules of firefighting still usually apply. The first is that more lives are saved by the proper placement of the first hose line than all other rescues combined, and the second states that the fire goes as the first line goes. A properly stretched and operated first line saves more lives and makes fire operations go more smoothly. So if there is no visible or reported life hazard, use your resources to get a handline to the seat of the fire.

    Supplemental tactics
    In house fires, a single firefighter may be able to get a handline into position at the front door while awaiting help. This usually isn't true for fires in larger buildings or complexes, where the incident commander may need to use all responding firefighters to get the first line into position. New York City's Bronx borough, for instance, has numerous buildings where 15 to 20 lengths of hose are needed for fires on top floors. When confronted with fires in these buildings, the incident commander usually will use the three engines assigned on the initial alarm to get the first line into position.

    Usually, the first line is stretched into the front or main entrance to protect the interior stairs. If your department has only five firefighters on the initial response and the stretch needed is greater than the standard 200-foot pre-connect, there are several other stretches that may be employed. For instance, to get a line to the fourth floor in an apartment house with this limited number of personnel, use ladders or possibly a rope stretch.

    With both tactics, stretch the line to the floor below through a window of an apartment in the vicinity of the interior stairs, not necessarily near the fire. This helps keep the stretch to a minimum. One point that is always important, but especially important with rope or ladder stretches, is that the firefighter with the nozzle needs to make sure that he or she maintains a working length of at least 50 feet of hose at all times. This hose will be used to actually advance into the fire area.

    After addressing life hazards and placing the initial handline, the next priority usually will be securing water supply — fires can't be extinguished without water. Booster-tank water alone will get you only so far. Company officers should know how long their booster-tank water will last flowing through the different attack lines carried on their apparatus, including the use of multiple attack lines, large flow handlines like a 2H-inch handline and master-stream appliances.

    A 500-gallon tank will supply a 1 1/2-inch handline flowing at 175gpm for approximately 2H minutes while the same tank being “dumped” through a truck-mounted deck gun at 1,000gpm will last less than 30 seconds. There may be enough water on the rig to knock down the fire or attempt a rescue, but a continuous water supply is needed for a successful outcome.

    Sequential events
    Once a positive water supply is established and the first handline is in operation, the incident commander must re-address the possibility that there is someone trapped in the fire building. Conduct searches of the structure starting with the most exposed areas. For a nighttime fire in a 2 1/2-story frame house, search the bedrooms as soon as possible. This may be accomplished via the interior or over ladders, but the incident commander must make sure that these rooms are searched.

    In larger buildings like an apartment house, search the rooms adjacent to the fire as soon as conditions warrant. The apartment directly above should be next, and then the top floor apartment in line with the fire apartment, followed by those adjacent. While searching for victims, firefighters also should check for any fire extension. Keep in mind that because of staffing restraints, the time for a second or third handline to reach the upper floors may be considerable. The incident commander and the company officers conducting the search should try to anticipate the need for the additional lines and the time needed to get them into operation.

    Because of limited staffing, ventilating the fire building often is an afterthought or done in limited areas. The resources and time needed to raise ladders, send firefighters to the roof and open a proper ventilation hole is considerable. Unless the fire is located in the attic or roof, vertical ventilation should take a back seat to horizontal ventilation in house fires. One firefighter with a 6-foot hook for the first floor or a 10-foot hook for upper floor fires can rapidly remove the windows and provide needed fresh air for both the advancing engine as well as any trapped occupants.

    Certain types of buildings will require that the ventilation sequence be modified. For fires in flat-roofed apartment houses, roof ventilation is a priority. This initial ventilation is of the interior stairs and usually is accomplished by opening the bulkhead door or by venting skylights over the stairs. This improves conditions in the interior stairway and prevents mushrooming of heat and smoke on the top floor.

    If the fire is in row frames or on the top floor, immediate opening of the roof will be required. Any skylights or scuttle covers should still be opened, but the cutting of the roof and opening of ventilation holes will be required if you hope to keep the fire to the building of origin. In all cases, horizontal ventilation will still be required, but may need to be done after the vertical ventilation is underway. Firefighters operating on the roof may be able to reach over to get the top floor windows or can use a tool on a rope to vent.

    The fireground constantly challenges the incident commander to use the resources available to overcome what sometimes appear to be insurmountable odds. It's the incident commander's job to evaluate each incident, based on the type of fire and the available resources, to make decisions to safely mitigate the hazard.
    Last edited by E40FDNYL35; 12-23-2003 at 08:58 PM.
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  9. #9
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    A few quick points:

    1. 3 members on scene. Child at the third floor window.

    2. Only an engine on scene. "What is it's longest ladder? 24'?

    3. Time needed to remove the ladder from it's rusted mounts, carry it to the rear, get it over the fence, set it up, find out it's too short.

    4. A "CHILD" showing. What parents leave their "CHILD" alone? Assume more life hazards.

    5. GET A LINE PLACED AND OPERATING!

  10. #10
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    Question

    There are a lot of varibles.
    Can you get up the interior stairs? Have they burned through? Where is the fire? How long would you attack the stairs before deciding on another option? Can you ladder the front and get the girl from there? AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Overload!!!!

    My first thought was to go as Gonzo said, but E229 has me on the fence. Sitting here praying I am never on an engine with only 3 guys...
    "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?

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    Gonzo had me with him E229 stole me away,40/35 confused me.
    I'm runnin around with bones try'n to figure out what to do!!!


    Seriously Training says set up hose line put out fire,but bones
    put the image of my little girl in the window. I'm on my way
    to the costume store to trade in my santa suit for Spiderman!!!!

    God help us to never have to choose and give us the strength
    to live with our choice,but by damn make it quick. the worst plan
    is no plan the next worse is 2 plans Be safe happy holidays

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    A 24' should make the sill of most 3rd story SFDs.

    Say 8' for basement, 8' for 1st floor, and a sill 3' off the floor that's 19'.

    70 degree angle of a perfectly placed ladder needs 21' to make it, so you still have three feet of leeway to miss not extending fully, or move in or out from the house cause of ground obstacles.

    We used to carry a 3-section 35' on our old Engine-Tank, don't now but I wish we did just for the situation of needing to make it. Don't know about raising it with three, but we usually have 4-6 guys between the ET and POVs by the time it arrives. BTW, we have done 3 person raises of 2 section 35s from our Ladder -- did it by accident at the drill (don't ask how!) but after we realized it was a bit of a confidence boost to know you could actually do it in a pinch.

    I'm still going back to my original training -- you pick off known life.

    I also think one of the factors, more for me than Gonzo who at least knows he has several more companies coming in from his department and confidence in their skills & abilities, is in my world you're never positive who else is going to show up. I know I have three FFs right now who can throw a ladder; I don't know if we push the line in and find ourselves over our heads with fire volume we'll have people to push a second line in or even simply a crew to make the 2nd floor and search. We *know* we can get the kid. We only *assume* we can hold the stairs to protect *assumed* victims. Good assumptions, tough choices, good thread here!

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    When I first read the scenario, the immediate thought that jumped into my mind was just as Gonzo said. Then 229 pipes up, and all of a sudden, I'm not so sure any more. All good points to consider. But this is where I ended up:

    Here's what I KNOW:

    There's a kid who I KNOW is still alive.
    I KNOW I can save him.

    Here's what I DON'T KNOW:

    I DON'T KNOW if there is anyone else inside.
    If there are, I DON'T KNOW if I can save them.
    I DON'T KNOW where the fire is or what's burning.
    With only 3 guys, I DON'T KNOW if I can safely hold the stairs AND perform a search.

    I'm going with what I KNOW, and I'm getting that kid. If there are others inside that don't survive, that would be tragic, but I could live with myself. I'd tell myself that they were already gone, that I couldn't save them all, whatever, but I could live with myself if I saved the kid.

    If I went the other way, in the front door thinking I was going to save everybody, and I didn't save that kid....

    I'm going with what I know.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
    Vermont

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    My thoughts, in the front door, one flight up to the kid with a handline on my ***, full bunker gear and an SCBA...I'm getting the kid and the fire will be under attack helping any remaining victims.

  15. #15
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    Default good scenario -- lots of variables and what ifs though

    If I hadn't read these posts, my initial reply would've been to throw a ladder... maybe consider a side window or a front window if the back wasn't feasible due to height, fence, etc.

    But...

    I think that is acting more on emotion rather than training. Getting the first line in operation could very well save all the residents. There has been a lot of published info on the importance of placing the first line into operation.

    It's risky either way:

    A. Go for the obvious kid via ladder, and you run the risk of increased fire growth--perhaps beyond the capabilities of 1 handline--which would endanger any remaining occupants.

    or

    B. Make entry through the front door, be confronted with an unknown amount of fire with a small handline, be unable to make the stairs (or unable to adequately protect your way back down the stairs), and to risk not only the obvious victim's life, but the lives of any other victims and your own.

    Still, sitting here and being able to rationalize it, I'd opt for the latter, thinking that the handline would be enough to protect the stairs and allow for a RAPID trip to the second floor for the obvious victim. You only have 2 interior people so you can't be taking your time. The kid must come out, then a rapid search of the second floor (conditions permitting) would need to happen. To me, this is the best way to manage the entire situation, not just the obvious.

    Perhaps the pump could be dead-manned, the operator could throw a ladder to a 2nd floor window, and the child could be passed out, allowing the crew to remain inside for a quick sweep of the second floor.

    Hopefully the cavalry has arrived by now.
    Last edited by Resq14; 12-23-2003 at 04:31 PM.
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    Just another thought...is bringing the child out the window a better option than bringing them down through all the smoke/heat/fire? The child does not have gear nor a SCBA.

    Good discussion, let's hear more thoughts...
    "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?

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    is bringing the child out the window a better option than bringing them down through all the smoke/heat/fire?
    Removal priorities:
    1. Interior stairs
    2. Lateral egress- N/A
    3. Fire escape- N/A
    4. Ladders
    5. Rope

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    Ditto the fervent hope that I never have to respond with a three-man crew. My best course of action would be:

    * FF advance line to front door while OIC and pump operator raise 24' ladder to position and remove kid.
    * Rapid interview with kid to determine other occupants and likely placement in the house.
    * OIC and FF advance line to 2nd floor (or area identified by kid to likely contain other occupants.

    I have great respect for Gonzo and 229, and the differences in approach indicate to me that independent, rational thought processes are alive and well on the forums.

    Isn't it great to have a thread that doesn't involve vol vs. career?

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    Originally posted by E229Lt


    Removal priorities:
    1. Interior stairs
    2. Lateral egress- N/A
    3. Fire escape- N/A
    4. Ladders
    5. Rope
    Lt., does this apply only to unconscious victims or to all victims, whether alive and screaming or not? Or are these priorities for this scenario only? Also, I am curious as to why it is preferred to rescue the kid via the interior stairs instead of the window (assuming you can have one member perform the rescue via the ladder, and still have a line in place). I am certainly not arguing with your tactics, just trying to learn. Thanks for your contribution to this forum!

  20. #20
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    I know I am only an explorer, here is my 2 cents. I would get a line charged don my SCBA and the other FF and I make a quick Primary Search/Extinguishment. My reason for this, it was brought up on another post, what if there is other victims? The first thing I would do is radio into dispatch my updated size up and that there is a at least one victim trapped on the third floor. Then I would make entry and extinguish the fire as best I can to try and reach the child at the rear of the structre, but at the same time searching other rooms.I also would have IC and the engineer raise an extension ladder to the third floor(rear)to rescue the child By that time hopefully the second engine in and the truck would be on scene.Another way of doing this could be to extend a ladder to the second floor, but I could personally see it hard because I don't want to have to worry about having enough hose or anything of the sort.Please feel free to leave comments on how I could do it different thanks
    Last edited by GFDSlappyRob; 12-23-2003 at 10:16 PM.

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    Eric, good question,

    The priorities of removal are/should be for any and all victims. They are in order of safety to both victim and rescuer.

    I was given a three man crew as per the scenario. Had I been given a 3-2 response with 4 and 5 member crews on each I would ask you this, should I commit all my forces to the removal of the one known victim? Or, should I divide my forces and attack all the known and unknown issues? The placement of a child at a window has made many of you react with emotion and not common tactics. Take the child away from the window and make it a report of a person, possibly on the top floor. What are your tactics now? They should be the same.

    The idea of going for a ladder rescue of the child, commits your entire force to one goal and endangers any remaining life and property. This was my first thought and I went with it. Had it been a true event, I am SURE, I would have made these choices.

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    Originally posted by E229Lt
    Eric, good question,

    The priorities of removal are/should be for any and all victims. They are in order of safety to both victim and rescuer.

    I was given a three man crew as per the scenario. Had I been given a 3-2 response with 4 and 5 member crews on each I would ask you this, should I commit all my forces to the removal of the one known victim? Or, should I divide my forces and attack all the known and unknown issues? The placement of a child at a window has made many of you react with emotion and not common tactics. Take the child away from the window and make it a report of a person, possibly on the top floor. What are your tactics now? They should be the same.

    The idea of going for a ladder rescue of the child, commits your entire force to one goal and endangers any remaining life and property. This was my first thought and I went with it. Had it been a true event, I am SURE, I would have made these choices.
    Lt., your reasoning makes perfect sense, but I was assuming that one member could handle the laddering/rescue (assuming it’s only a child) while the other two remaining members stretch a line to confine the fire and/or search for other victims. But then again, your IC would be tied up, and only one member to perform the rescue, which may be too much to handle.

    One other question, Lt. From your own experience and knowledge, is it ever a good idea to extinguish the fire, then perform the primary search, or rather just confine the fire and do the search? I have always been taught to only confine the fire until there is no life hazard, unless you must extinguish fire to get to them. Obviously solid/straight stream is a must, and the thermal balance should be disrupted as little as possible.

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    is it ever a good idea to extinguish the fire, then perform the primary search, or rather just confine the fire and do the search? I have always been taught to only confine the fire until there is no life hazard, unless you must extinguish fire to get to them.
    Ugly word "always". You tell me, here is a picture of the first floor in question, do you confine or extinguish?

    The item between the fire and the stairs is a closet, floor to ceiling.
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    Last edited by E229Lt; 12-24-2003 at 08:19 AM.

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    Thumbs up

    E229Lt, I will agree with your removal priorities. Well, not #3, at least for my area. The few fire escapes that do exist have been neglected far too long and are in place mostly for show (sad to say). I will also agree that "always" is an ugly word.

    My gut reason for ladder to window for child first was simply due to the unknowns, mostly as far as where the fire was and how much.

    Your posts and reasoning have been useful, thanks for the input.

    Just a couple years ago, we had a fire with somewhat similar circumstances. 3 story L-shaped structure with heavy fire showing on first floor bottom of the L. First engine on scene pulls up, orders 2 1/2 to be pulled to the back. I then notice 2 people waving from a second story window but no smoke near them. Luckily, we did not have that 3 man engine, we had 6. 2 guys raised ladder and 2 others went around towards middle of L, where staircase was. People were given the option of ladder or stairs, they chose the stairs, which did not have any fire and very little smoke at the time. The 2 1/2 knocked down fire protecting the stairs.
    "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?

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    Also, I am curious as to why it is preferred to rescue the kid via the interior stairs instead of the window (assuming you can have one member perform the rescue via the ladder, and still have a line in place).

    The LT's list of egress priorities is pretty much in order of their safety.

    -- Many people have never climbed a ladder. Even fewer have climbed
    out of a window and onto one.

    -- A 70# kid is one thing to man-handle out the window and help on the ladder. Take a 200# adult, hope they're in good shape so they can help themselves, and getting a 300# fat lady it probably ain't happening.

    And I'm still stickin' to my original answer in this scenario

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