1. #1
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    Default Combining Defensive & Offensive Approaches?

    What considerations and opinions do you have in combining (in general) tactical approaches in a defesive (exterior) mode from one side (rear) of a structure whilst operating in an offensive (interior) mode at the front - No occupants involved.

    1. Two storey commercial structure 100' x 200' of traditional construction.
    2. As above but lightweight truss construction.
    3. Three story timber-frame town house.

    A broad question I know but I am just looking for your tactical views in general.

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    If I am reading this correctly. You are asking if anyone would consider attacking the fire from the rear of the commercial structure from the outside while there are FF's attacking the fire from the front in the building. I strongly disagree with this approach. I don't think that you should ever be spraying water into a building if FF's are inside fighting fire. First of all the way that you described this, the exterior crew would be pushing the fire onto the interior crew. So that is a safety issue. Also by doing this you are possibly pushing the fire into parts of the building that haven't caught fire yet. If I was on the interior crew I would be looking for the company officer on the exterior lines later after the fire to have a serious coming to Jesus meeting with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    in an offensive (interior) mode at the front - No occupants involved.
    The interior crew are the occupants. An exterior attack means that you have written the building off. Why risk death or injury to the interior crew (the new occupants) if the building is going into a dumpster after the fire is out?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFDLT1
    If I am reading this correctly. You are asking if anyone would consider attacking the fire from the rear of the commercial structure from the outside while there are FF's attacking the fire from the front in the building. I strongly disagree with this approach. I don't think that you should ever be spraying water into a building if FF's are inside fighting fire. First of all the way that you described this, the exterior crew would be pushing the fire onto the interior crew. So that is a safety issue. Also by doing this you are possibly pushing the fire into parts of the building that haven't caught fire yet. If I was on the interior crew I would be looking for the company officer on the exterior lines later after the fire to have a serious coming to Jesus meeting with.
    I'd have to agree. I think the risks to interior crews would be too great. I can't imagine a scenario (other than for exterior exposure control with no exterior streams directed into the interior), where I would combine the two attack modes. I'd either be in an offensive or in a defensive mode exclusively. Not both at once on the same structure for the reasons stated in the above post. If there are crews working inside the structure, then basically, there are occupants. I also wonder what effect combining the two might possibly have on being able to accurately "read" smoke conditions.

    I could however see if there were two or more totally separate compartments, divided from the slab to the roof deck by fire walls, and sharing only common roofing, where both modes may possibly be used at the same time...Interior on one side and exterior on the other. This would have to be known to be the case ahead of time though through pre-planning the structure.

    Now that I have said that, I will probably have a fire next shift that will prove me wrong on all counts.




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    There are some occasions when fire officers have initiated both defensive and defensive approaches from opposing sides due to ineffective incident command. At one recent fire (NIOSH report) there were two engines acting independantly (defensive versus offensive) from opposing sides without any realisation that another crew were working on the opposite side (in a house)

    There may be situations where such approaches occur and are tactically viable. If the exterior attacks from one side maight be weakening roof, floor and other structural elements that are common throughout then this strategy should not occur. However, there may be situations where both approaches can be employed in unison?

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    I would say it's possible to combine the two, but in very limited circumstances. An example would be a large building with subdivisions that are known to be undamaged, ie firedoors or firewalls.

    We recently had a 3 story apt building with fire through the roof on arrival-4am. 2nd and 3rd floor apts of one address-2 apts each floor-were fully involved, and the fire was through the roof. This was the middle of a building, the building has 6 entrances with a pair of apts on each floor in each stairwell. I'll try to attach a pic to make it clear. The building has firewalls in the attic and double drywall in the outer walls of each pair of apts. Initial handlines got nowhere, TL was raised and prepared master stream. Engine and truck personnel went to adjoining apts with handlines and hooks and pulled ceiling and found fire had not extended past fire walls. TL and a ladderpipe knocked the fire down in about 15 minutes. Fire walls held, very little extension into the adjoining spaces.
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    re-read what was posted above!!! Simply the answer should be NO!! Don't wonder about all the what if's. Just dont do it or think about it. You WILL get someone hurt. Not only does it push the fire towards the interior team, but it pushes all the other crap that comes with fire..HEAT, smoke, steam and everything else.

    Apparently 30 yrs or so ago defensive was how they fought fires, shoot the water through the windows, bust out every window etc....... Well, we have a Captain (they wear white helmets) that now has a brownish tan helmet from all the HEAT that was pushed at him in a residential 1 story fire when an old timer decided he saw fire around back in a window and thought it would be a good idea to spray water in that window. It about killed the man. I am still not sure the old timer learned anything, even after seeing the helmet that was COOKED!
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    Sure, there are a few instances above that you could MAYBE pull it off. What I was trying to convey is that its all about K.I.S.S I know there are a lot of very smart people in the fire service, on the same token there are a lot that are not so smart and are not capable of understanding the WHAT IF's of a discussion like this. So simply said don't do it and the worry of someone being hurt by that not so intelligent fireman goes out the window
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilson10
    Apparently 30 yrs or so ago defensive was how they fought fires, shoot the water through the windows, bust out every window etc.......
    Not sure at all about that Wilson but I do agree with all else that you say.

    However, my reasons for raising this issue are twofold -

    1. Niosh reports are filled with situations where offensive/defensive modes were reportedly intermixed due to a lack of command.

    2. I do feel though that in some instances the two strategies may be implemented in unison with success, by those trained and experienced in such approaches.

    But make sure we follow our SOPs/ICS.

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    Paul,

    My volly FD just did at a training burn in a side by side duplex. We burned in the east half of this structure until it become structural unsafe to be there. Then we moved to the west side and did training burns in there. There was no interior connection between the sides. When the fire broke through on the east side exterior streams were used to keep that in check while we continued to use the west side. There was no ill effects on interior crews because there was no openings to allow the streams to force the fire or byproducts down onto us.

    Of course this isn't a "real" fire and the tactics were more or less to prolong the drill but they did work and actually quite well.

    FyredUp

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    Flowing water into a structure while we are on the inside, BAD idea. Now , you can hit the fire then move inside.
    A tactic taught to us by our friends on the lake, Chicago, involves pulling to the A side of the building. You have 3 windows or so of fire showing out the second floor of a commercial under office / residential. Good chance their is no one inside or they are dead. You use the deck gun for about 30 to 45 seconds while the guys pull a skid or line. After the gun is shut down finish reversing out and the crew takes care of whatever is left.
    I participated in a drill with this tactic. Regular two story residential, two rooms up front post flashover, one room in the rear well on its way. The engine stopped in front and hit it. 2" tip for 30 seconds. When the crews headed up their was fire in quite a few areas, closets, around corners etc. but the majority of fire was knocked. It was fas easier, and safer to mop up then to fight through three rooms of fire.

    If guys or victims are inside no streams from the outside.

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    Not both at the same time for the reasons mentioned above. But one (exterior) followed by the other, moving in with handlines, sure. For some interesting comments on this look at a post titled "Deck guns for inital attack"
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