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    Default Tactics for wind driven fires in SFDs

    This is something spurred by the Close Calls section of this months Firehouse magazine, and by the recent windy conditions we have been having here...

    You are called for a reported structure fire in 1 story SFD, aprox. 2200 sq ft, with barrel tile roof. Fire has broken through the window on the A side, near the A/D corner, winds are aprox. 10-15 mph, with gusts of up to 20 mph, blowing from the A side to the C side (Front of house to rear). Unknown if there are occupants (assume there are). Time of dispatch 1645 hours. You are the Lt. of an Engine Co, staffed with a Chauffer, yourself, and 2 Firefighters.

    Next due Co. is 3-4 min out. What is your first move?
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    start a line and make your push!!!!!! The fire has self vented, if the fire does shift on you hopefully you can close the door! But I bet you won't have much of a problem considering you are not 20 stories up and the house is not made of fireproof constuction! You can't let it burn itself out because of the type of construction so you really don't have much of a choice but to make your push and knock it down!!!!

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    Firefiftyfive;
    I had no question that I would be pulling a line, and goin to work, but how would you go about it? Being as that in many SFDs the A side is an entertaining area, and the fire is blowing back towards the bedrooms, would you place a line in between the fire and the bedrooms, or make a push with the wind at your backs, possibly blowing the fire to the victim? Many areas would use a 1 3/4 handline with a fog tip, just because that is what they always use. With the fog line, you also are pushing alot more air through the line, no? What about pulling a 2.5 around to the back, and with a 1 1/8 tip, go head on to it, placing a line between where the victim could be, and the fire?
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    Go with the wind at your back in the front door. The stretch is going to be faster, and with an 1 3/4 flowing 150 to 200 it should go quick. Going in the front also gets you in a better position to make the bedrooms. Consider making the rear with a 4 man crew and a 2 1/2 and think about all the turns and obstacles and then think of a wind driven fire in your face. Think of the wind as nature's PPV

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    Stretching the inital line through anything other than the main entrance (in this case the front door) can have serious consequences.

    Consider that in an emergency most occupants will attempt to exit the building through the most common entrance/exit. By stretching through the back door you are potentially pushing fire/heat/smoke towards that entrance and the hallways and stairs leading to that entrance. This puts the occupants in an unteneble position.

    Also consider that most firefighters entering the building will also be going through this entrance and you are potentially pushing fire onto them as well.

    Stretching to the back is also not as easy at it seems with fences, narrow alleyways, crowded driveways and the usual clutter found in the rear of most single family private dwellings. And depending on the layout, you may be adding a considerable number of lengths to the stretch.

    Not to say that the inital line should NEVER be brought to the rear, but this should not be the first choice in most situations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    This is something spurred by the Close Calls section of this months Firehouse magazine, and by the recent windy conditions we have been having here...
    You talking about the Long Island house fire and the pics of burnt gear?
    I've considered similiar situations looking at some SFD's around here and the scenario of a strong wind .

    Any other doors in your scenario besides A door?

    Wind A to C.
    Fire in A/D
    Assume it's occupied.
    Radio MA/next due what your going to do, what they need to do on arrival.
    With wind and self-venting, be aware that an additional opening may create rapid fire growth and travel.
    Watch out for flanking and getting cut-off.

    Conditions changing. Are you going to wait or not for help. Some options:

    Opt. A
    Send the two FF's into the front, A side, open up on smoke and flame.
    Lt. and Chauf stay out. 2in/2 out. FF's move slow and steady, soak it down, being aware not to get flanked. Get the fire.

    Opt. B
    FF's go to A door, stand-by while Lt. and Chauf get second line to C or D. FF's at A advance in, try to contain it to A/D corner.
    C or D (Lt & Ch) open door and contain fire spread in hall/entry/landing area, being aware not to have opposing handlines.
    Disregard 2in-2 out.

    Opt. C
    Lt. and chauf on second line at A to back up FF's going into A.

    Opt. D
    Wait for MA/next due. Set up lines 1, 2 and 3.
    Hit it hard from A with 1 & 2 when help arrives.
    2in-2 out. IC.

    Opt. E
    Two teams rush in from opposing sides(he who gets there first wins), trying to get to the same area, have oppsoing lines, create a total cluster foxtrot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    Stretching the inital line through anything other than the main entrance (in this case the front door) can have serious consequences.

    Consider that in an emergency most occupants will attempt to exit the building through the most common entrance/exit. By stretching through the back door you are potentially pushing fire/heat/smoke towards that entrance and the hallways and stairs leading to that entrance. This puts the occupants in an unteneble position.

    Also consider that most firefighters entering the building will also be going through this entrance and you are potentially pushing fire onto them as well.

    Stretching to the back is also not as easy at it seems with fences, narrow alleyways, crowded driveways and the usual clutter found in the rear of most single family private dwellings. And depending on the layout, you may be adding a considerable number of lengths to the stretch.

    Not to say that the inital line should NEVER be brought to the rear, but this should not be the first choice in most situations.
    I hope you meant unburned to burned.

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    Well first off I would not take a 2 1/2 into a SFD, there can be too many tight hallways, corners, and obstacles. An 1 3/4 with a solid bore will put this fire out even with the wind. As others have stated I would go in the front door, it is the main means of egress!

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    I hope you meant unburned to burned.
    I said nothing about unburned to burned. This has nothing to do with that concept. This is about attempting to preserve the priority egress in the dwelling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    I said nothing about unburned to burned. This has nothing to do with that concept. This is about attempting to preserve the priority egress in the dwelling.
    That certainly isn't always the front door. To place emphasis on the front or the back is to encourage error of making an attack based not upon the fire. To emphasize unburned to burned is to encourage putting the line between the victims and the fire, which is the right way.

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    I'd pull a 1.75 around to the back and attack from the back. If you enter from the front, you risk pushing the flames back into the bedrooms, especially with the winds. Enter from the leeside and you're not going to have flames pushing towards the posssibly occupied bedrooms.

    -Damien

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    That certainly isn't always the front door. To place emphasis on the front or the back is to encourage error of making an attack based not upon the fire. To emphasize unburned to burned is to encourage putting the line between the victims and the fire, which is the right way.
    So according to your theory, if the fire is showing at the front door, you will stretch around to the rear of the dwelling and push your line through the back door?

    Too much emphasis is placed on how much FIRE a handline can actually push. This is in fact a misnomer. But what IS pushed by the line is smoke, steam and heat. This is what kills escaping occupants. The chances of actually pushing fire from an burning room to another with WATER is highly unlikely.

    Stretching to the rear in this situation is in my opinion a time comsuming tactical error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    You are called for a reported structure fire in 1 story SFD, aprox. 2200 sq ft, with barrel tile roof. Fire has broken through the window on the A side, near the A/D corner, winds are aprox. 10-15 mph, with gusts of up to 20 mph, blowing from the A side to the C side (Front of house to rear). Unknown if there are occupants (assume there are). Time of dispatch 1645 hours. You are the Lt. of an Engine Co, staffed with a Chauffer, yourself, and 2 Firefighters.

    Next due Co. is 3-4 min out. What is your first move?
    OK, given the above scenerio (which appears to possibly be a R&C fire still) and "common" building construction traits.......

    Fire venting from side A near the A/D corner to me means that fire is more than likely in a front corner room. That front corner room is likely to be either the living room or a bedroom. If it's the living room, then if you enter from the front, you should have direct access to the fire area by turning to the right after going in. Attacking this fire with a properly flowing 1-3/4 handline should be able to easily knock down this fire and shouldn't necessarily "push" the fire to the back of the house since you would actually be attacking it going B to D sides.

    If it's a bed room, then "pushing" the fire shouldn't be big concern because the fire should/could essentially be "contained" in that bedroom. Again a properly placed and flowing 1-3/4 handline should easily be able to knock down this fire and not "push" it anywhere.

    So given this situation, manpower in my department.....we would likely go straight in and have the next due pick up the hydrant unless we found one by the house. An 1-3/4 handline thru the front door and hit the fire. We'd keep an eye out for "victims" as we advanced the line, then with knockdown start a primary search in that area.

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    Fire in the A/D corner. Typical front door in the middle of A. Soooooo, go in the front door, take a right, and put out the fire?
    Last edited by nmfire; 03-17-2008 at 11:37 AM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I'm with Jakesdad, in one and two family dwellings there ought to be a rule that the first line 'always goes in the front door. Yep, I said the rule should say always! Of course rules are made to be broken, so as long as you know the rule and why it was necessary to break it, you're in the clear. But it should be very rare, not like the scenario presented. One notable exception to this "rule" is the single wide mobile home where the rear door will take you right to the bedrooms most often and put the line between the bedrooms and the "Miller Gun Furnace" that is so often the problem.

    The whole unburned to burned thing is "old school" 1 1/2" tactics when we used to literally go in using fog and push the fire out. Now we attack with adequate GPM through straight stream (solid even better) and extinguish the fire at the seat. This allows us to make the front door, the most likely means of egress the first place we take a line. Going to the rear or another door in a private dwelling can cause delays and in any home over 1 story will most likely cause the main stairs to become a chimney.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Fire in the A/D corner. Typical front door in the middle of A. Soooooo, go in the front door, take a right, and put out the fire?
    We used this same tactic last night. It worked. Amen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I'm with Jakesdad, in one and two family dwellings there ought to be a rule that the first line 'always goes in the front door. Yep, I said the rule should say always! Of course rules are made to be broken, so as long as you know the rule and why it was necessary to break it, you're in the clear. But it should be very rare, not like the scenario presented. One notable exception to this "rule" is the single wide mobile home where the rear door will take you right to the bedrooms most often and put the line between the bedrooms and the "Miller Gun Furnace" that is so often the problem.

    The whole unburned to burned thing is "old school" 1 1/2" tactics when we used to literally go in using fog and push the fire out. Now we attack with adequate GPM through straight stream (solid even better) and extinguish the fire at the seat. This allows us to make the front door, the most likely means of egress the first place we take a line. Going to the rear or another door in a private dwelling can cause delays and in any home over 1 story will most likely cause the main stairs to become a chimney.

    Well said RFDACM!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Fire in the A/D corner. Typical front door in the middle of A. Soooooo, go in the front door, take a right, and put out the fire?
    Quote Originally Posted by Geinandputitout View Post
    We used this same tactic last night. It worked. Amen.
    At least I'm not the only one thinking this is being made WAY more complicated than it needs to be?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Ray says to go through the front!

    May have to be a member to view the article.

    FIGHTING FIRES FROM THE UNBURNED SIDE
    Ray McCormack
    http://www.fireengineering.com/displ...UNBURNED-SIDE?
    Many articles on fireground operations sound great until they start to mention taking the hoseline directly to the unburned side of a home for a fire that doesn’t require alternate tactics for extinguishment. If you have been trained or are training firefighters to fight fires from the unburned side as a first-line fire attack strategy, your hoseline is in the wrong place. Simple as that! The attack line should be stretched through the front door-not as a matter of convenience, but to protect life.

    April 1, 2006

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    Quote Originally Posted by dadman View Post
    Ray says to go through the front!

    May have to be a member to view the article.

    FIGHTING FIRES FROM THE UNBURNED SIDE
    Ray McCormack
    http://www.fireengineering.com/displ...UNBURNED-SIDE?
    Many articles on fireground operations sound great until they start to mention taking the hoseline directly to the unburned side of a home for a fire that doesn’t require alternate tactics for extinguishment. If you have been trained or are training firefighters to fight fires from the unburned side as a first-line fire attack strategy, your hoseline is in the wrong place. Simple as that! The attack line should be stretched through the front door-not as a matter of convenience, but to protect life.

    April 1, 2006
    Well, hell now we can't do it or we'll all be labeled FDNY whackers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dadman View Post
    Ray says to go through the front!

    May have to be a member to view the article.

    FIGHTING FIRES FROM THE UNBURNED SIDE
    Ray McCormack
    http://www.fireengineering.com/displ...UNBURNED-SIDE?
    Many articles on fireground operations sound great until they start to mention taking the hoseline directly to the unburned side of a home for a fire that doesn’t require alternate tactics for extinguishment. If you have been trained or are training firefighters to fight fires from the unburned side as a first-line fire attack strategy, your hoseline is in the wrong place. Simple as that! The attack line should be stretched through the front door-not as a matter of convenience, but to protect life.

    April 1, 2006
    I do not have a subscription to that site so I cannot review it in it's entirety, but I have to say making a general statement like that can be misleading.
    My bread and butter fire is 1000 to 1500 sq ft of ordinary construction, and where practical, we will enter from the unburned side.
    This is my generalization of a primary offensive attack. We have 3 to 6 FFs (1 to 2 engines) on arrival and we conduct a primary search as we advance the line. There are exception to this tactic, but by and large is how we work. We will even delay application of water to remove a victim, if we feel applying the water would worsen the environment for the victim.
    All incidents should be approached on the conditions present at the time of arrival. To exclude a technique simply because an article said so would greatly limit one's ability to adapt to the situation.
    Applying water to the fire may not be the most important task to keeping the victims alive.
    This approach also hinges on available manpower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    So according to your theory, if the fire is showing at the front door, you will stretch around to the rear of the dwelling and push your line through the back door?

    Too much emphasis is placed on how much FIRE a handline can actually push. This is in fact a misnomer. But what IS pushed by the line is smoke, steam and heat. This is what kills escaping occupants. The chances of actually pushing fire from an burning room to another with WATER is highly unlikely.

    Stretching to the rear in this situation is in my opinion a time comsuming tactical error.
    Not necessarily. I would go to an unburned side. If there's another viable entrance prior to the back door, I'd take that. Sometimes, there's a door straight off the driveway.

    A handline going in a vent point stops or slows the fire venting. It's going to vent elsewhere. It will be diminished, perhaps, but it won't matter to those on the other side.

    Sometimes the unburned side is not a viable option, but it's been so in many cases. If the room to the right of the front door is burning, but not the room the front door itself opens on, then that's unburned. It's part of the unburned side. You needn't necessarily go all the way to the back door, but giving a side to "always enter" is absurd. You attack according to fire conditions, proceeding from unburned (that which is not burning, not that which is diametrically opposed to the involved portion) to burned unless this isn't possible.

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    Now I know not to waste money on fire engineering magazine. They apparently fall into the absurdity that all territories and social behaviors conform to theirs.

    Another advantage of advancing from unburned to burned is that the primary search is protected by a line between them and the fire. Maybe primary search is old school, too.

    If the front door is blazing merrily away, I doubt anyone is hunkered just inside hoping to be saved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Now I know not to waste money on fire engineering magazine. They apparently fall into the absurdity that all territories and social behaviors conform to theirs.
    There was a time when I said the same about Firehouse, as of late the roles seem to have reversed, but I'll always take an article from which it came. i beleive you'll find Ray McCormack knows a little something about engine ops and supporting the search.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Another advantage of advancing from unburned to burned is that the primary search is protected by a line between them and the fire.
    Some of your reasoning makes sense why no one way fits all of us across the land. In the Northeast I'd say that there are far and again more multiple story (1.5 and up) private dwellings than single story homes. It fits our area to use a broad tactic that the first line goes in the front door. If all we had were single wide mobile homes (or at least a significant number) or similarly laid out houses maybe it wouldn't work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Maybe primary search is old school, too.
    Not here, but sadly it seems by many posts on FH.com this could be true. We put the first line in the front door to protect the primary search crew and confine the fire, extinguishment is not job #1, covering the search is.

    From what I've seen of Houston FD, you guys certainly aren't slouches, so I wouldn't be so foolish as to discount what works there. But I've also seen that it looks like a ton of single story front to rear private dwellings with the mid door being to the side, so different construction features call for different tactics.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    If the front door is blazing merrily away, I doubt anyone is hunkered just inside hoping to be saved.
    But again, I disagree with using "unburned to burned" as the priority indicator. I'd select the entry point that would fastest accomplish getting a line between potential occupants and the fire. Again, in our area the front door will do this 95% of the time. Of the single story homes in my area, most are laid out perpendicular to the street with the side door (2 or 4) entering into the kitchen. To enter this way would always cause the push toward the rest of the house. The front door puts you midway in the home and between the bedrooms and the living room and kitchen.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 03-19-2008 at 05:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    I do not have a subscription to that site so I cannot review it in it's entirety, but I have to say making a general statement like that can be misleading.
    My bread and butter fire is 1000 to 1500 sq ft of ordinary construction, and where practical, we will enter from the unburned side.
    Ordinary construction? Or common woodframe? Do you have a significant number of 1.5 story or greater or more single story front to rears? These seem to be the factors that preclude hard fast rules. Can most of us agree that if there is second story the stairs are most likely right near the front door? I know this covers 95%+ of my area.

    Again, why the unburned side? Is this a West Coast thing where you guys can't stop fighting wildfires even when the trees are cut down, sawn and shaped into a house?

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