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I work for a small suburban fire dept. and we don't always have enough men at both stations (due to run volume) to start internal fire attack due to 2 in 2 out rules. My question is this, what about the old fashioned way of finding the room of origin breaking a window, putting the hose in on a tight stream and rotating to knock down the fire or control it until help arrives? I have heard conflicting arguments about pushing the fire. Will a tight stream push the fire?

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-Don't confuse RIT and 2-in/2-out. While there are similarities, there are also differences.
-2-in/2-out is part of the OSHA 29FCFR1910.134 Respiratory Protection REGULATION. It is an adminstrative law enacted by the executive branch of the federal government and in many states adopted by the state agency responsible for its enforcement. If you do not know the legal basis for the enforcement of such laws in your state you should learn it (not to get off track but it has to do with the 14th amendment of the U.S. Consitution).
-In my department we define the 2-in/2out and RIT on a sliding scale.
Phase 1: First arriving companies are to go to work. Interior crews in teams of 2 or more members. At least 2 members on the exterior as the 2-out team. This team usually has other jobs (such as pump operations on our tender or horizontal ventilation). In many cases the two members making up the 2-out are from differnt companies. THIS PHASE OF THE OPERATION LASTS LESS THAN 5-10 MINUTES. Out goal is meet the regulation and buy time until the below company arrives.
Phase 2: If the first company declares a working fire of any kind, 5 additional companies are dispatched and one of these will be assigned as the Intial RIT. The original alarm had 5 companies and 15 members.
Phase 3: If the fire is not out by the time the working fire assignment begins to arrive then a full second alarm (a Mutual Aid box alarm) is dispatched. This alarm will assign an engine, a truck and a chief with 9 members as the RIT.
-Should there be a bonafied rescue on arrival (parent says child in in a specific location, for example) all bets are off nad we go to work. The 2-out are now part of the rescue.
-To take the OSHA 2-in/2-out to the letter, once the fire is out and SCBA and a 1&1/2 inch or larger hose line is not longer required for extinguishment then the 2-in/2-out rule no longer applies. This is not to say that RIT is still not a good idea.

Now, to address a couple of other points raised:
1. It really does not matter where you attack the fire from. It matters what you are trying to do and if you can accomplish it using the selected tactic. Attack from the exterior does not equal a defensive tactic nor does simply entering the fire building make an attack offensive. Can you safely and adequately knock down the fire from the main entry door or a window or must you enter to reach the fire? While it is customary to enter, is it necessary? Will ten feet into an involved room change the effect of a stream that can reach 30 feet? Almost every room of a residence (with the exception of some bathrooms and closets) has an exterior wall with a door or window that will permit access to the fire area and allow us to knock down the fire until entry can be achieved.
2. In many fires we achieve knock down and extinguishment in one step. When short handed what we need to do is STOP the fire from making things worse and gain time to allow the balance of the alarm assignment to arrive and help. This means confining and preventing exposures (usually interior) from burning. Remember RECEO? We do not need to protect exposures, confine the fire then extinguish it and immediately begin overhaul. It's great when we can but when we can't we need to slice the pie into more bite-sized pieces.
Drew Smith said:
-Don't confuse RIT and 2-in/2-out. While there are similarities, there are also differences.
-2-in/2-out is part of the OSHA 29FCFR1910.134 Respiratory Protection REGULATION. It is an adminstrative law enacted by the executive branch of the federal government and in many states adopted by the state agency responsible for its enforcement. If you do not know the legal basis for the enforcement of such laws in your state you should learn it (not to get off track but it has to do with the 14th amendment of the U.S. Consitution).
-In my department we define the 2-in/2out and RIT on a sliding scale.
Phase 1: First arriving companies are to go to work. Interior crews in teams of 2 or more members. At least 2 members on the exterior as the 2-out team. This team usually has other jobs (such as pump operations on our tender or horizontal ventilation). In many cases the two members making up the 2-out are from differnt companies. THIS PHASE OF THE OPERATION LASTS LESS THAN 5-10 MINUTES. Out goal is meet the regulation and buy time until the below company arrives.
Phase 2: If the first company declares a working fire of any kind, 5 additional companies are dispatched and one of these will be assigned as the Intial RIT. The original alarm had 5 companies and 15 members.
Phase 3: If the fire is not out by the time the working fire assignment begins to arrive then a full second alarm (a Mutual Aid box alarm) is dispatched. This alarm will assign an engine, a truck and a chief with 9 members as the RIT.
-Should there be a bonafied rescue on arrival (parent says child in in a specific location, for example) all bets are off nad we go to work. The 2-out are now part of the rescue.
-To take the OSHA 2-in/2-out to the letter, once the fire is out and SCBA and a 1&1/2 inch or larger hose line is not longer required for extinguishment then the 2-in/2-out rule no longer applies. This is not to say that RIT is still not a good idea.

Now, to address a couple of other points raised:
1. It really does not matter where you attack the fire from. It matters what you are trying to do and if you can accomplish it using the selected tactic. Attack from the exterior does not equal a defensive tactic nor does simply entering the fire building make an attack offensive. Can you safely and adequately knock down the fire from the main entry door or a window or must you enter to reach the fire? While it is customary to enter, is it necessary? Will ten feet into an involved room change the effect of a stream that can reach 30 feet? Almost every room of a residence (with the exception of some bathrooms and closets) has an exterior wall with a door or window that will permit access to the fire area and allow us to knock down the fire until entry can be achieved.
2. In many fires we achieve knock down and extinguishment in one step. When short handed what we need to do is STOP the fire from making things worse and gain time to allow the balance of the alarm assignment to arrive and help. This means confining and preventing exposures (usually interior) from burning. Remember RECEO? We do not need to protect exposures, confine the fire then extinguish it and immediately begin overhaul. It's great when we can but when we can't we need to slice the pie into more bite-sized pieces.

+1 on what Drew said.
Drew,
I'm sorry but I cannot agree with the statement of it "It really does not matter where you attack the fire from. It matters what you are trying to do and if you can accomplish it using the selected tactic." If we are attacking a fire from an outside window it's a defensive posture and we are stating that the environment inside is too dangerous for us to be in there with all of our PPE and SCBA's. At least temporarily, we have written the occupants off. Especially since they aren't afforded the protection of all of our fancy gear. I'm not saying that we can't transition back to an offensive tactic if conditions change but so do the chances of any victims left inside. I know that we must perform a risk benefit on each and ever structure fire and it's constantly re-evaluated on everything from staffing to fire conditions. But when we start advocating that stuffing a hose line in a window is an aggressive offensive attack we are going the wrong way. Preservation of Life comes first! How do we clear the building? By going inside and making a search. If you're original statement were to hold true all the time, then we could get a good knock on everything from the street with a deck gun and there would be no need for those SCBA's. I know, it's an extreme point but you see where I'm going with this. Fires should be put out from the inside to the outside unless it's too dangerous to commit interior crews, and if that's the case then we have put civilians lives down the priortiy list or written them off completely.

As far as the 2/2 rule; it's a shell game to satisfy the number crunchers. Tell me that a chief outside in his civies and a pump operator probably also in his civies, makes it any safer for the two guys fully bunked out and going inside. It doesn't! What everyone knows that we need on scene is more bodies ready to go to work. But that's just my personal opinion.
Thanks and stay safe, but don't lose the aggressivess that makes us good firefighters.
Brian
If you put the fire out 90% of your problems will start to go away. In this day and age you are not pushing fire around as much as you might think. The actual amount of water that you will need to flow in order to accomplish a knock down is very minimal. Open the bail and adjust the pattern based on the conditions. As soon as the fire darkens down shut off the nozzle. The continuous flow of a nozzle is what will "push" stream and heat throughout the building. It is imperative that you put water on the fire as soon as possible especially if you have staffing problems.

Be aware of your surroundings as well. Try to get a good look interior from all windows and doors to assess conditions and look for victims. It will only take one person to handle the nozzle at a window. Use other personnel to do a good size up of the building. After you have accomplished a good knock down have personnel go back and re-assess their respected size up for change. Adapt to what you find.

Stay low, stay safe.
Anyone who has worked with me knows I am far from unaggressive. I have pushed myself and my company members and companies. Sometimes too far, but I learn from those instances and vow to nor make the same mistake twice. If you take no risk you cannot screw up. Taking that risk is not an option for me.

I too also do think that many times 2-in/2-out is a shell game. To go down the 4-member company path, if we arrive with four, which two stay out? The driver/operator and the officer? The driver/operator and one member? I do know that regardless of how many are in and out that if a member is in distress all the brothers will go to his aid. I know this because I’ve been at fires where this very thing happened. I also believe that getting the line in place using everyone is the best plan, but that is not the law and as a chief officer I am not willing to go to jail because some one who is not one of us thinks they know better. I will ensure 2-out and while it will meet the rule it is probably not the best plan but the only possible plan in the first 5-10 minutes. If a department relies on chief officers or pump operators to meet the two-out then those members better be in PPE and ready to go-no excuses.

As for placement of the line, 99% of the time the line goes in. I’m not advocating “stuffing a line anywhere.” But it is my opinion that if the stream reaches 20-30 feet and the room is on fire I can apply that water from the safest location which may be at the door and not inside it. Under desperate circumstances that may be at a window (a door that does not extend to the floor). I respectfully disagree with your disagreement and do not subscribe that simply being outside makes any attack a defensive attack. As I stated above, what I believe makes an attack defensive is that we are not trying to out the fire out but keep it from getting bigger. Regardless of whether you call it offensive or defensive, if you cannot make entry then the victim is going to die (if they are not already dead). If you cannot make entry because you are citing the 2-in/2-out then you need to reexamine whether or not there is a bonafide rescue which exempts to rule. Hitting the fire from the street with a deck gun is not the same as tactically applying a hand line from the doorway. Some will say that we must assume every building is occupied and therefore we can disregard the 2-out rule all the time. I don’t think that argument will hold up in a court of law but good luck with that. My goal is to stop the clock, the clock that is killing anyone inside and buy time until more members arrive so we can finish the job.
Brian Arnold said:
Drew,
I'm sorry but I cannot agree with the statement of it "It really does not matter where you attack the fire from. It matters what you are trying to do and if you can accomplish it using the selected tactic." If we are attacking a fire from an outside window it's a defensive posture and we are stating that the environment inside is too dangerous for us to be in there with all of our PPE and SCBA's. At least temporarily, we have written the occupants off. Especially since they aren't afforded the protection of all of our fancy gear. I'm not saying that we can't transition back to an offensive tactic if conditions change but so do the chances of any victims left inside. I know that we must perform a risk benefit on each and ever structure fire and it's constantly re-evaluated on everything from staffing to fire conditions. But when we start advocating that stuffing a hose line in a window is an aggressive offensive attack we are going the wrong way. Preservation of Life comes first! How do we clear the building? By going inside and making a search. If you're original statement were to hold true all the time, then we could get a good knock on everything from the street with a deck gun and there would be no need for those SCBA's. I know, it's an extreme point but you see where I'm going with this. Fires should be put out from the inside to the outside unless it's too dangerous to commit interior crews, and if that's the case then we have put civilians lives down the priortiy list or written them off completely.

As far as the 2/2 rule; it's a shell game to satisfy the number crunchers. Tell me that a chief outside in his civies and a pump operator probably also in his civies, makes it any safer for the two guys fully bunked out and going inside. It doesn't! What everyone knows that we need on scene is more bodies ready to go to work. But that's just my personal opinion.
Thanks and stay safe, but don't lose the aggressivess that makes us good firefighters.
Brian

Brian,

The original question posed by one of our brothers delt with the 2in/2out rule. As discussed earlier the 2in/2out rule is null and void when we're talking about life safety! We all know that. Rescue is not the issue at hand here.......effective firefighting with decreased staffing levels is. I personally have been in a similar situation before and an effective stream to cool down the heat, smoke, and fire gasses is a great idea to keep the fire "in check" until appropriate staffing levels get on scene. Once you get enough firefighters on scene to make a safe interior fire attack then you can go ahead and move forward with that strategy. In the meantime there's nothing wrong with applying water from a window, doorway, or whatever.

Now.....is the 2in/2out rule implemented for number crunchers? I don't think so. It's actually implemented to help US. Those guys on the outside may not be in bunker gear but they should be able to get their PPE on and help should somebody inside need it! My opinion.

Jason

Post Script - I almost forgot about the "pushing the fire" argument. In my opinion you can push some active fire because fire nozzles have pressure and move water/air in the direction that they're pointed. The flip side of that argument is that nozzles are also extinguishing fire as they're pushing. I'm not an engineer and haven't done scientific tests regarding this subject but on the fireground and during training I've experimented with this issue. I found that straight streams and solid streams move less fire than wide angle fog nozzles. I hope this helps.
Jason, you hit the nail on the head. Most of the replies address 2 in 2 out but the real questions was tactics. Is the inderect attack still viable? And will a strait stream push the fire?
Bob Farrar said:
Jason, you hit the nail on the head. Most of the replies address 2 in 2 out but the real questions was tactics. Is the inderect attack still viable? And will a strait stream push the fire?

Bob,

Like I said I haven't done scientific research on this but in my opinion you can knock down the fire from the window with a straight stream effectively. How much fire will it push into another room......that I don't know. I think the amount of fire that is pushed depends on factors such as wind direction and speed, flammable liquids burning, construction, etcetera. In an ordinary construction residential structure I doubt you would push the fire very far if at all.

The bottom line here is that you're better off knocking down the fire early from the outside instead of standing around waiting for additional resources. My opinion.

Jason
Drew,
I would never question your agressiveness. I don't play the guessing game if I wasnt' there and there are always two sides to every story. On fire attack, offensive or defensive, the point of the attack is to keep the fire from getting bigger. Short staffed companies look at the option of placing a hose line in the window to get an initial knock on the fire. I understand that. I too have worked for a volunteer company that rolled with 3, then a smaller career dept. with a max staffing of 8 and now am spoiled with manning out the ears on each fire alarm. While each fire is different in it's heat production, room configuration, doors open or closed, etc. you are playing russian roulette with any civilians that may still be inside when you stick a line in a window. For those that think you don't push heat and fire try being in full gear on the other side of one of these well intentioned attacks and you'll know what I'm speaking about. Then think about having absolutely no proctection at all like the victims we are trying to save.
My actions for fire attack are decided upon a gathering of all available information, including staffing, possibility of viable victims, location and size of fire, etc. etc. etc. they are not based on what some lawyer may think about it 3 years later in a court of law. I will take great risks to save a life but will not throw away those lives of my men or myself.

The 2/2 rule was meant to help the bean counters understand that we are entering a dangerous atmosphere and we need more staffing on the scene to make life safer for the firefighters as well as the civilian population we are charged with protecting. They even put a little escape clause for themselves in it that says we can go inside to save a life if there aren't enough people on scene. I thik they did this to save their own butts if they have to go before those same afformentioned lawyers. Politicians and lawyers common sense in relation to firefighting is neither common or sensable. I know very few that have walked a mile in the shoes of a firefighter, yet they write the rules? The rule that they need to write is one of adequate staffing for every fire dept. in the country, but I'm not holding my breath. If we had adequate staffing it would nulify their 2/2 rule since we would always have it on scene or enroute.

I'll stand by my assertion of sticking a line in a window is a defensive tactic, that compromises victim survivabilty. And that is the great thing about this site, we can respectfully agree to disagree at times.

Brian
I would never advocate an attack starting through a window due to the 2 in/ 2 out rule; as a specific tactical choice where victim viability is not likely, maybe. As Michael Bricault said, it's really not a valid approach to an offensive attack.

But, as was also noted, we use this when employing a "marginal attack" or a "blitz". You need to be certain that there are no viable victims in the room or potentially in the path of the steam, heat and smoke that may permeate the building. Not necessarily "pushed" by the straight stream but by the volume of the expanding steam, a little bit goes a long way. You likely cannot be sure how confined the fire is. Is the door to the room open? Are the wall or ceiling intact? The interior crew cannot make forward progress, so the fire gets darken by a larger line or gun, knowing full well we're in property protection mode, not rescue.
-A consistent theme with many respondents is that the occupancy be void of occupants in order to really go to work with the hand line, even through the window. The key to this tactic being acceptable, they have said, is that the occupancy is empty.
-So how do you know? The answer is that firefighters don't know until they have made entry. Period. Until such time as the primary being completed firefighters must consider the structure to be occupied. The occupancy type and/or information from bystanders is not reliable. The only way to be sure is to perform the primary search.
-Something started the fire. Even abandoned buildings need to be searched. Short of a lightning strike someone got in and started the fire; and they still may be inside.
Michael Bricault said:
-A consistent theme with many respondents is that the occupancy be void of occupants in order to really go to work with the hand line, even through the window. The key to this tactic being acceptable, they have said, is that the occupancy is empty.
-So how do you know? The answer is that firefighters don't know until they have made entry. Period. Until such time as the primary being completed firefighters must consider the structure to be occupied. The occupancy type and/or information from bystanders is not reliable. The only way to be sure is to perform the primary search.
-Something started the fire. Even abandoned buildings need to be searched. Short of a lightning strike someone got in and started the fire; and they still may be inside.

Your going to send two crews into a collapsing structure to look for an arsonist?
We have stopped finding new ways to kill ourselves. We will now kill ourselves in the same old ways.

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