1. #1
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    Default Stretch the line or search?

    I must apologize to Firehouse for posting this thread, but a great roundtable discussion in this/last months Fire Engineering poses a great question. I was suprised at the opposing answers and why some people would write in such stupid answers in a national magazine(IMO).

    Re-phrased: You arrive on the first due engine, your next in appartus and personnel will be slightly delayed (whatever reason). On arrival there is heavy smoke but no fire showing. The neighbor says she believes the occupants are inside. Would your first due engine stretch the line to the fire? Would they strecth the line to search with? Or do they make the search without the line?

    Use your own company staffing. Remember your next in companies are slightly delayed (3-4 minutes?) Explain your line of thinking as sometime this is really the answer.

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    IMHO putting out the fire is the best rescue.
    Attack the fire and ask for more resources

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    With an engine company of 5, I say have the lineman and backup man pull the line and advance it inside to the fire while the OIC (equipped with the TIC) takes the layout man and performs a search for occupants.

    If it came down to it, and also depending on the type of structure, the engine operator could throw the extension and roof ladders to the residence if the first due truck is delayed.

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    From the same topic on this forum 1999 -

    'Get water on the fire before interior searches begin. There is the odd occasion when a 'snatch' rescue is the obvious priority....however, the philosophy of rescue as the priority can lead to a dangerous form of 'tunnel' vision where the rescue operation leads to serious delays in firefighting ops. I have seen it several times where crews become preoccupied with 'the kids' that are reported trapped inside!
    See the 30 page report on my website where 2 firefighters were killed in a backdraft whilst searching for kids. It was 15 minutes after firefighters arrived that fire attack began - after the backdraft had occurred! Your right Cap' - 'coordination' is the key......fire attack and rescue can function together. However, if its a choice - take the fire attack option first. In 1991 I put forth a 'fireground action plan'(7 primary actions & 6 secondary actions) that placed fire attack ahead of interior search ops. In 1994 John Mittendorf (LAFD) clearly made the point that 'controlling the atmosphere and conditions within a structure' was increasingly being viewed as the PRIMARY action over search ops. These views were not popular and were considered highly controversial! However, if the firefighters that died in our backdraft situation could do it all over again.....I would like to think they would take the fire attack option first!'

    1999 THREAD

    I still have the same opinion on this ....

    And see the original roundtable on this - ROUNDTABLE 2002

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    Water on the fire.

    Now with a daytime crew of 5 (3 paid firefighters on-duty plus acouple of volunteer riding out), assuming the officer goes in as well, there should be enough folks to stretch the line and do a quick peek into the rooms on the way. Not talking about a full-blown search, just stick your head in the door, maybe with a TIC.

    The best way to save folks is to put out the fire.

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    (Edited: I read the question wrong, and thought it was about stretching a supply line.)

    After re-reading, I would likely stretch the line for search, and fight the fire opportunistically (i.e. if you found it first).

    Rescue is the first priority under my training when victims are CONFIRMED, and while putting out the fire would certainly help, it is no more guaranteed than finding the victims first. Additionally, the side effects of forcing down the smoke layer may be more dangerous to the vics than the delay in direct attack. I see it as 50/50.

    But I would not see a big problem in reversing that scenario either. Most points are well taken. Whatever you think has the highest chance of success for the given scenario.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 05-02-2006 at 11:59 AM.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Our normal first due is 5 or 6 so we can split the crew if needed, as it would be in this case. Driver pumps and can vent/ladder if necessary. Officer and 1 guy inside doing primary, other 2 guys pulling 1 3/4" line.

    This is all assuming the PD has not already entered and made a search.
    "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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    I have to come back and ask a question.

    I keep thinking about different scenarios of this in my mind, but I cannot find a situation where the two jobs of rescue and suppression are not intrinsically connected.

    We train on the principle that the first entry teams responsibility is to stretch a line and perform a primary search of the highest risk area (almost always adjacent the seat of the fire). They are searching for victims on the way in, but in a relatively focused route to the seat of the fire. If they find any, they either remove them or turn them over to the backup team for removal. Once they reach and search the immediate area near the fire, the second principal of "never passing fire" is applied, and the fire is knocked down.

    I have to admit I can't understand where on an actionable fire, you would ignore the fire and put your sole (or primary) team in another area/function altogether? Anyone have specific examples?
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Engine company stretches hand lines and puts water on the fire.
    Truck company forces entry when needed, searches, ventilates.

    My engine company does not "search" for victims. They attack the fire, but if they stumble across a victim they will remove. Truck company will search and if they stumble across the fire, they may contain/protect their search with a water can. We do not search with a hoseline.
    "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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    Ahh, I guess you can do that when you have more than 1 or 2 "companies".

    You "Big City" guys.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell
    I have to admit I can't understand where on an actionable fire, you would ignore the fire and put your sole (or primary) team in another area/function altogether? Anyone have specific examples?
    Known rescue. When, on arrival you see victims in need of immediate rescue, you must commit to removing them. A ladder rescue is a personnel consuming activity that probably will fully tax most engine companies. Some of you enjoy better staffing/turnout than most of us and will be able to begin other tasks, but most will be forced to abandon anything but the rescue.

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    Default Should be able to do both

    Any first in Engine company that cannot stretch a line and do a quick search is either understaffed or undertrained or both. Most times knocking down the fire is the best way to help victims but note MOST. Proper training, staffing and experience is the best way to accomplish our primary mission of saving lives. If you can't do it, change it or find something else to do.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Known rescue. When, on arrival you see victims in need of immediate rescue, you must commit to removing them. A ladder rescue is a personnel consuming activity that probably will fully tax most engine companies. Some of you enjoy better staffing/turnout than most of us and will be able to begin other tasks, but most will be forced to abandon anything but the rescue.
    I can understand the defensive/ladder rescue scenario, especially in the high-density hotel environment here in our little resort community, but your original question was only three choices regarding interior attack/rescue so I focused on that topic.

    I might send a secondary team in without a hose, or to a separate area, but our primary team always hits the fire floor first. To me, failing to locate (and hopefully contain) the fire early is just asking for entrapment. We are lucky if we get 2 hose/search teams to a fire, with perhaps a couple officers/late arrivals on RIT.

    What was the dominat opinion in Fire Engineering article?
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    I see what you meant now. I'd say about 60% of the FE respondents would locate/confine the fire with the line. 20-30% would search with the line and the rest say Life is the priority so they'd make the search without a line.

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    If I was in the officers set I would split the crew. 2 on the hose, 2 starting primary search where they can.

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    OK You get to a fire before the truck, you have your PPE but no air. Look around,offer your gear to a COP we know we are to be safe.
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5pts384
    OK You get to a fire before the truck, you have your PPE but no air. Look around,offer your gear to a COP we know we are to be safe.
    Dude, your presence is requested in another thread!

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    We have only a 3 man crew and the pipe man pulls a 1 3/4 line Engineer or driver charges line Capt or OIC will take over the pump panel and the pipe and driver do a primary along with the handline doing a Oriented Search. When we enter the line does not enter every room with us.

    The driver also has a TIC or in most cases the CAPT will also join us and we run off our tank and the second in truck only 2mins away will take 1st in eng pump panel.

    As for 5pts384 GIVE IT UP.........AND MOVE ON.. You probally just a can man any way

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    An engine company's number one job is to streatch a line. It would be only under the most extrodinary circumstances that a removal of a victim would be first. If the fire was such that extinguishment wasn't possible then protect the stairs till more support is available.
    A victim is most easily rescued via the interior stairs, so maintaining them is paramount.
    Obviously if the crew comes across some one they will remove that person, but all things being equal their job is supression.
    Now their may be a time where the two may be undertaken. Lets say you have a two story colonial with a fire in the kitchen. on arrival you have a report that some one is trapped in a bedroom. I don't have a problem with attacking the fire and if it darkens nicely leaving a guy on the nozzle and going up myself to see if I can get the victim.
    It is all about a mentality and having assignments for the individual crews preplanned. If you have officers that wing it, things will not go as smooth.

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    I too read this article with some interest since I was passed over for a promotion when I was asked this very question by an interview panel. Here was my response to the scenario:

    The first crew to arrive would stretch a line and enter the house with the intention of searching for victims. If they encounter fire along the way, they will fight the fire to preserve their primary means of egress. The crew from the second arriving engine would then take on the task of a COORDINATED fire attack, making sure not to jeopardize the first crew in the process.

    Here were my reasons:

    #1 - The victims may be clinging to life laying on the floor where the last "good air" might be. In our modern, airtight houses, applying water to a fire will likely produce a large quantity of hot steam and could upset the thermal layers, bringing super heated gases to the floor level. Either one of these hazards could contribute to mortality of the victims.

    #2 - A firefighter is better equipped to aid a victim trapped in a fire than the victims would be. The firefighters would have tools and a radio with them. Should they become trapped by the fire, they have a better chance of self rescue or directing other to their rescue than the victims would.

    #3 - The solution to saving the victims might be as simple as closing a door, opening a window, and riding out the duration of the fire in a "shelter" until it is safe enough to leave. A person suffering from smoke inhalation would probably not be able to recognize this option as well as a firefighter could.

    #4 - I didn't feel I would want to have to explain to the survivors that their loved one died while I was busy trying to put out the fire, instead of trying to find the victims.

    Of course, you have to adapt to what you are presented with. In this case we are told the house has heavy smoke with no fire showing. If you open up a door and a flash over occurs, you obviously need to address the fire first. But if the building is stable and you are able to "read" the smoke, it might make more sense to search first and THEN fight the fire.

    According to my interview panel, I was completly wrong since we save lives by fighting the fire. Interesting topic none the less.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    I believe John Norman's Fire Officer's Handbook of Tactics clearly explains this issue best. Read in chapter 1 General Principles: Concept's 1 & 3. As witht he FE article, one respondant nicely explains how this situation killed the brothers in Keokuk, Iowa.

    Sorry about the promotion MetalMedic, but in our department too you would have been setback a few points for that answer. We basically teach and expect all our officers to use Norman's 5 basic Concepts for the basis of starting any operation. I think you'll find that if you can address the concepts upon arrival everything goes very smooth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Sorry about the promotion MetalMedic, but in our department too you would have been setback a few points for that answer. We basically teach and expect all our officers to use Norman's 5 basic Concepts for the basis of starting any operation. I think you'll find that if you can address the concepts upon arrival everything goes very smooth.
    Don't be sorry for me... I have found other ways that I can lose my mind in the fire service!!! :-D

    So I take it that Norman's take on the matter is to throw water on the fire, and then worry about the trapped occupants? As I mentioned, I think this situation (and many that we face) can have more than one right answer. In a written or verbal forum, you are limited by what you perceive in your own mind as you try to formulate a response.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    At a fire a few years ago in NYC, an engine and truck arrived to find a fire on the 1st floor of a 6 story H-type tenement. A elderly man showed at a window near the front door, with heavy smoke behind him. The covering boss, the can man, and the irons man from the truck company went to get the window bars off the window and try to save the man. The engine stretched to the fire apt door, and lo and behold, it was locked. There was an obvious delay on getting water on the fire, because the truck went to the window instead of their assigned position, the fire apt. door. By the time the door was forced (by the 2nd due truck), the fire had extended to the floor above, which put a great many more people in danger. Not exactly the same situation, but it shows the point that in MOST cases (obviously, there are going to be situations where a search must be done before the line is stretched), getting water on the fire will solve the problem of rescue.
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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    Im guessing the point of the question is...your the only company there, and will be for a while...what do you do? With an Engine Company, you can not stretch a line if you dont know where the fire is (no visable fire..only smoke) In this situation, on my job,in the majority of companies (and this exact scenerio would be rare) The officer, and our doorman,who would now grab a set of irons (3rd firefighter on the line) would enter and search for the fire location, while searching for occupants. The Nozzle and Back-up firefighter would stretch a line to the front door...or apartment door..The officer would inform them as to the exact location of the fire...then conduct a thorough search...if no truck is in yet. Most Engines on this job plan for it, and each guy knows what he would do ahead of time.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 05-03-2006 at 09:30 PM.

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    The way we would probably handle this being that we ride a 3 man engine is this. The FF starts to stretch the line while the LT (driver) helps flake out the line. After the Capt does his walk around he meets up the the FF at the door and they go in to attack the fire. If they come across the victim they rescue them obvisously. While this is happening the LT would horizonally ventilate (coordinated with the fire attack). That is one option as to what would happen, the other is this. They would put a good knock on the fire, then Capt leaves line to do a quick primary search while FF finishes putting fire out. Like most have said in here though. Our 2nd due engine is 95% of the time only 1-2 mins behind us and are pulling up as we are making entry and starting the fire attack.

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