Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1

    Default Small Unit Tactics

    Hi -

    I'm looking for some input from some of you veteran firefighters and officers. We are an engine company with a small 5 man crew that covers a large rural district. Our second and third ins are 20-25 minutes away (also staffed with only 2-3 personnel each) and any additional resources after that are at least an hour away. Our department has only engine companies, no trucks, although we do have a rescue company whose primary mission is water rescue and wilderness rescue but they are also an hour away so venting, forcible entry, and search and rescue at all structure fires become the engine crew's responsibility. We've been assessing our plan of attack for instances where search and rescue may become necessary. We rarely do S&R because we're so short staffed (and because structure fires are such a small percentage of our calls - we run EMS too) so most of the time we end up doing indirect defensive attacks and "surround and drown." However, as we all know that next instance where S&R may become a necessity is only a call away so I'd like a critique of our tactics from you firefighters and officers who do a lot of S&R. Our tactics will primarily cover 1-2 family dwellings as this describes 95% of the structures in our district.

    So first of all, nearly all our chiefs and officers require at least an 1 3/4" line when entering the building at any time, even for S&R. It's not specifically stated in our procedures but it's common practice. Personally, I feel such a large line is too cumbersome to do an efficient primary search. At the largest I would want a 1" line for ease of advancement and mobility, or better yet a 2.5 gal pressurized water extinguisher. I feel this is enough to serve the purpose of any water used during a primary search, that is to fend off the fire and buy time, not to extinguish. But I have a feeling the "big line" thinking has been passed down because we're all engine guys. Your thoughts?

    Next, is the use of a lifeline for a primary search team. I've heard both good and bad comments about this. Mostly I've heard that they're good for large spaces but for an average house they just get the guys all tangled up. What I've been considering for your average house fire is for a primary search team to go in strapped to each other with a 10' strap and carabiners at the ends for an easy disconnect if need be. One guy's with the irons and one guy with a small 1" line with an auto fog/straight stream nozzle to do 3D firefighting and hold any flames back (all in short bursts of course) and then to have their RIT waiting outside with another set of irons, straps and biners, and a 2.5 gal pressurized water extinguisher (and of course radios for both teams). I thought of this configuration because then the small diameter hoseline essentially becomes the lifeline but it's still small enough to be manageable. Your thoughts?

    Finally water supply - our department's policies state that all first in companies are to secure a 4" supply when arriving on scene to any structure fire, including those where S&R may be necessary. Again I'm of the feeling when life is on the line that speed is your friend; not reckless speed, but efficient speed. As I mentioned previously, we only have 5 guys so snubbing robs us of that one critical guy that would allow us to set up 2 teams of 2 guys each (plus the engineer) at least until he's finished, not to mention the time to stop, drop him off, pull the hose off the back, slowly proceed to the fire etc. etc. We carry 1000 gallons on our engine - surely this is enough to keep the fire at bay if used prudently, until our second and third in arrive and they can worry about water while we worry about rescue?

    So what do you veterans think? Has our department become so pump oriented that we've got water behind the ears or am I just an engine guy with delusions of ladderdom? I'd really appreciate your comments - who knows, your ideas and experience could save a life!

    P.S. Any good drills for S&R, Venting, and Forcible Entry? - hands on stuff please... Thanks!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default just my thoughts

    Something you might want to concider is positive pressure attack. View webcast from fire engineering and the posts here about. Works great with limited initial man power. The 1" lines sound good for manuverablity but there just is not enough water for what is burning today. Always remember if you remove the fire it makes it better for all. (victims and firefighters). This from engine 8 to an engine 8

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Somewhere
    Posts
    478

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EngineCo8 View Post
    Hi -

    As I mentioned previously, we only have 5 guys so snubbing robs us of that one critical guy that would allow us to set up 2 teams of 2 guys each (plus the engineer) at least until he's finished, not to mention the time to stop, drop him off, pull the hose off the back, slowly proceed to the fire etc. etc. We carry 1000 gallons on our engine - surely this is enough to keep the fire at bay if used prudently, until our second and third in arrive and they can worry about water while we worry about rescue?
    Small town department here. My 2nd engine is closer behind than yours, but our first engine is 1000 gallons of water with a 5 man crew.

    If flames are showing, we always drop the 5 inch line. Always. Too many times in the past they ran out of water with out securing a hydrant. I would especially recommend it when your next engine that can secure a hydrant is so far behind you.

    When we drop the hose, the engine doesn't drive that slow on its way to the fire though. It takes about 30 sec max to jump out, grab the hose, take a wrap on the hydrant and then the engine starts going fast again.

    While the engineer and the guy at the hydrant secure a water supply, the other 3 guys lay out two handlines. By the time the crew is ready to enter, the guy from the hydrant is there and ready to man the back up line.

    It really can work.

  4. #4
    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    2,323

    Default

    1000 gallons of water is very likely not enough to extinguish a heavily to fully involved SFD. It is however, enough to get a decent knock down on a large volume of fire with an aggressive interior attack.

    That being said, I would want to make my initial entry and attack with tank water. If there are victims inside, seconds are critical. The time spent (I won't say wasted) securing a plug may well mean the difference between a rescue and a recovery. I'll write off ANY structure if it means performing a successful rescue! If fire conditions upon arrival are such that you know you will be defensive from the start, then lay a line on the way in.

    If the fire is relatively small when you arrive, then securing a water supply before hand may not even be necessary. 1000 gallons, if used effectively, will put out a whole lot of fire.

    I realize your perdiciment...Most of the fires you see are unoccupied, therefore property conservation is your goal. But as you stated, your very next call may be with people trapped.

    So far as searching with a 1" line goes, I would ALWAYS opt for the 1-3/4"!
    If you find the fire first, knock it down, hard and fast. If you find a victim first, then your crew will be committed to making the grab (and providing treatment once the victim has been removed), so firefighting efforts will be greatly delayed anyway. If no victim is found, you have enough water to make an effective attack.

    The protection factor and extinguisnment capability of the higher GPM line is extremely important. A 1" line just won't cut it for a high volume of fire. And if things begin to go south quickly, you will need the bigger line to cover the crew as they back out.

    Also, many people feel that the nozzleman must be within an arm's reach of the search crew and that all searches must be performed with a charged line. I totally disagree.

    In many, if not most cases where a search is being performed, the line will go to the fire, or at least be placed in a position to prevent or slow further spread of the fire into uninvolved areas while they are being searched. The search team need only to be within a reasonable distance from the line to be protected by it. This means the on the same floor, or at the same end of the structure, not necessarily in the same room.
    A primary search will not be made in areas where fire conditions make survivability nil, so well involved areas of a house won't have a primary anyway.

    Basically it boils down to having adequate protection for your interior crew, and making the chances of victim survival as high as possible. Property conservation must always take a back seat to the first two.
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
    IAFF Local 2339
    K of C 4th Degree
    "LEATHER FOREVER"
    Member I.A.C.O.J.
    http://www.tfdfire.com/
    "Fir na tine"

  5. #5
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,519

    Default

    I use my tongue first and then try to go in at an angle.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  6. #6
    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    2,323

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    I use my tongue first and then try to go in at an angle.

    You, my friend, have a twisted little mind!

    That's funny as hell!
    Last edited by fireman4949; 11-16-2007 at 09:02 PM.
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
    IAFF Local 2339
    K of C 4th Degree
    "LEATHER FOREVER"
    Member I.A.C.O.J.
    http://www.tfdfire.com/
    "Fir na tine"

  7. #7
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,519

    Thumbs up Easy remedy = Don't lay in, LAY OUT!!!

    Sorry, after seeing what you are talking about, I agree with 4949.

    Do off duty members live near the fire station? Is there another engine for them to use if they were recalled?

    With outside help so far away, I would recommend that any off duty personnel be paged or recalled at the earliest possible moment that a working fire is evident - whether it be multiple calls, reputable sources, or as soon as the first engine company reports their size up.

    I would bet that in most cases, this would allow another engine to arrive on the scene prior to your second in companies and should allow the first pumper to commit with tank water most of the time.

    It will be impossible to make an accurate size up stopping short sometimes hundreds of feet at the hydrant. The only other option is this: Pack a hose load that will allow you to stop at the house, make your size up and either commit with tank water OR pulll your lines and send the engine to the next plug. Memphis has top notch manpower and hydrants and we still operate under this premise.

    We reverse load - male couplings on top - 750' of 2 1/2" hose in one bed section. In the next bed we load (2) 150' lengths of 1 3/4" hose coming off of a wye, with the first 50' of both sections bundled into a shoulder load and the wye hanging about 3 feet out of the bed. After everything is loaded, connect the wye coming from the bottom of the 1 3/4" to the male section on the top of the 2 1/2" hose. In your situation, I would probably only connect ONE section of 1 3/4" hose on the wye. This would make it easier for the 4 guys there to make the stretch and get the all important first line in operation.

    It may sound complicated, but its pretty easy. I can post some pics if necessary.

    This would allow the officer to:

    1. Arrive at the fire building.
    2. Conduct a proper size up.
    3. Determine whether to attack with tank water.
    4. obtain a water supply and attack the fire.

    The only draw back is that it puts the rest of your tools and equipment down the street. With some minor planning and everyone coming off with a tool, that problem can be easily remedied.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 11-16-2007 at 08:53 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber dadman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    oHIo
    Posts
    251

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by captredneck View Post
    Something you might want to concider is positive pressure attack. View webcast from fire engineering and the posts here about. Works great with limited initial man power.
    http://www.ventry.com/fans/faq/co-low.html
    http://www.ventry.com/fans/specific/FC-PPA-article.html
    http://fireengineering.com/webcasts/...ls.html?id=516
    http://store.pennwellbooks.com/popratforfiv.html
    http://www.positivepressureattack.com/index.htm

  9. #9
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,519

    Default

    The PPV fan might help some, but there appear to be much bigger issues.

    Oh and by the way, lose the lifelines while doing searches in dwellings and I would not tether myself to anyone else. Stick with traditional search techniques. A TC might help some, but I don't think they are all they are cracked up to be.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 11-18-2007 at 05:48 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  10. #10
    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    2,323

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    The PPV fan might help some, but there appear to be much bigger issues.

    Oh and by the way, loose the lifelines while doing searches in dwellings and I would not tether myself to anyone else. Stick with traditional search techniques. A TC might help some, but I don't think they are all they are cracked up to be.
    I totally agree on the tethering issue. All that will do is slow you down, limit mobility and provide an entanglement hazard. Lifelines...Not in a SFD.

    TICs are great tools, but should never be relied upon a the sole means of performing a search. Learning proper search techniques and patterns is more important and a whole lot cheaper.

    PPV is another great tool. We use it at all structure fires, but to use it properly, safely and effectively, you must train, train, train!
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
    IAFF Local 2339
    K of C 4th Degree
    "LEATHER FOREVER"
    Member I.A.C.O.J.
    http://www.tfdfire.com/
    "Fir na tine"

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Jacksonville Fl
    Posts
    507

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    I use my tongue first and then try to go in at an angle.
    OH MAN.. i almost fell off the couch!

  12. #12
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default Cafs

    I realize that if you don't have these resources it might take time to put them in place.

    Do you have compressed air foam? This might be a good way to get more out of your water supply. Also, that 1 3/4 line will be considerably lighter as you move it around.

    I agree, NO search ropes in a residence. Try it in a drill at your station, with good lighting and you'll see the pitfalls.

    Lastly, it sounds like your rural area has good water sources? Hydrants? If not, do you rely on tenders?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,063

    Default

    I have a couple of questions after reading your post. Has anyone ever made a rescue in the history of your department? Also have you ever put out a fire and had the occupants move back into the building?

    I don't mean to be rude, but from the picture your painting the citizens of your community aren't paying for a fire department. I'm not sure what to call it, but I know what it isn't.

    Most rescues in SFD's happen in urban areas where aggressive firefighters make quick entry. I think the concern about search lines, water cans and the like is a bit out there. Through no fault of your own, everyone is already dead before you got there.

    From my experiences and many others, fires that occurr in SFD's can be quickly knocked down with a few short blasts of water through the nozzle of your choice using no more than 100 gallons of water. If the fire isn't "good'n black" after 100 gallons, usually less, the whole thing is coming down.

    Keep your head up, but I don't think your community is giving you the resources you need to be effective. I would evaluate the risks that I am willing to take accordingly.
    Last edited by Geinandputitout; 11-19-2007 at 02:19 PM.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1

    Default Small Unit Tactics

    Quote Originally Posted by Geinandputitout View Post
    I have a couple of questions after reading your post. Has anyone ever made a rescue in the history of your department? Also have you ever put out a fire and had the occupants move back into the building?

    I don't mean to be rude, but from the picture your painting the citizens of your community aren't paying for a fire department. I'm not sure what to call it, but it is not a protection service.

    Most rescues that happen in SFD's happen in urban areas where aggressive firefighters make quick entry. I think the concern about search lines, water cans and the like is a bit out there. Through no fault of your own, everyone is already dead before you got there.

    From my experiences and many others, fires that occurr in SFD's can be quickly knocked down with a few short blasts of water through the nozzle of your choice using no more than 100 gallons of water. If the fire isnm't "good'n black" after 100 gallons it is probably not going to go out and if it does it will probably not be habitable.

    Keep your head up, but I don't think your community has placed you in a situation that is going to allow you to make a difference.
    Yes to both questions above, but as I mentioned we have very large districts (ours covers almost 200 square miles). If the fire occurs within about a 10 minute response area then we've made good saves but some of the residences and other structures can be as much as 30 minutes away from us even responding lights and sirens. Our department covers a mostly rural community that is moderately to sparsely populated. That's one of the reasons why we rarely end up doing S&R because everyone is usually out by the time we get there. But my reason for placing this post is that I wouldn't want to get complacent - if there is the chance to get someone out, I wanted to hear what you firefighters who have the opportunity to do S&R all the time had to say.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Small Unit Tactics
    By EngineCo8 in forum Fireground Tactics
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-23-2007, 04:15 AM
  2. Aerial tactics
    By AerialTrainer in forum Fireground Tactics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-11-2006, 01:47 PM
  3. Small City tactics
    By BCmdepas3280 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 10-15-2005, 10:29 PM
  4. Tactics
    By volunteercareer in forum Wildland Firefighting
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-05-2002, 10:22 PM
  5. Tactics
    By obiwan in forum Fireground Tactics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-24-1999, 12:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts