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Your the second arriving engine on scene dispatched to a reported electrical fire with flame spreading up the wall in a 1 story residential, occupants evacuated. Upon arrival you notice no smoke or obvious fire extension, the first due engine has a charged 1 3/4" preconnect at the front door and a crew inside investigating. What would be your immediate concerns and tasks?

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In our case the second due would set up as 2 in 2 out for the call, unless so ordered otherwise by the IC
In our case second due would be setting up water supply to the initial attack engine (portapond) we have no hydrants . and use the crew for 2 in 2 out while pump operator gets set up for tanker operations  if needed .

The officer and fireman would stretch at least an 1 3/4" backup (or second attack line--depends on how you look at it) line.  The engineer would assist with water supply.  I would bring a least a 6' hook, TIC and have an attic ladder ready to go also. 

Three things come to my mind imediately.  Utilities, water supply considerations if needed, and re-evaluating and monitoring a 360 degree size up.


Utilities: It is apparent from the dispatch information that a utility issue is why you were called in the first place.  It makes sense to me to pay particular attention to isolating electrical power to the home from the exterior service or via the interior breaker panel.  If there is an electrical fire, de-energizing the source is essential for the utilization of the handline.  Additionally, de-engerizing the source would remove the engery that fueled the start of the fire.


Water supply:  I would be careful about establishing an imediate water supply.  As per the description, there is no visible signs of fire or smoke, the stretched line from the first engine is NOT interior but merely placed at the door, and personnel are interior investigating.  That being said, I would not discount having a water supply plan and a frank conversation with my crew as to what we will do to establish a water supply if needed.  I would have my hydrantman flow the hydrant to ensure we have a working source but communicating with interior personnel about establishing the supply is key.


360 Degree size up:  Ensuring that a continous and on-going size up is extremely important.  The potential for a hidden wall fire may show itself through exterior observations before interior personnel observe any conditions indicating a hidden fire.  Incorporating a thermal imaging camera into your exterior walk around can provide vital information regarding a fire within walls and extension to roof lines.  Additionally, the second and subsequent third due compnaies will be performing exterior support operations in the event that they are needed.  The second due in officer needs to assess the entire building from all sides while developing potential plans of action.  Identifying ladder placement points for access to the roof, forecible exit points through secondary access doors, identify any safety hazards to members operating now and in the future, and develop a sense of interior layouts through exterior obersavations; i.e. where bathrooms, bedrooms, and the kitchen areas are based on size and placement of windows.


I wouldn't necessarily begin 2 in 2 out.  Based on the scenario there is no indication of an IDLH atmosphere that would warrent an immediate 2 in 2 out need.  I would not stretch additional lines at this point because the initial line is not even interior and operating yet.  While neither options are wrong by any means, I feel that the second due personnel can be utilized to address the three issues listed above as opposed to backing up operations that are not 'theoretically' operating yet.


Just my opinion....  And its worth about two cents. 

-Our second arriving engine is tasked with water supply and on a working fire will lay in a 5" to the first arriving engine. After laying the line the apparatus of the second engine company should pull up and out of the way to keep the scene clear for ladder companies.

-Pulling a back up line from the first engine is a standard practice for the second arriving engine with a working fire. Remember, there is a distinct difference between a back up line and a second attack line. This is not minutia but rather acting professionally, properly understanding our tasks and being able to communicate correctly and effectively. 

-A back up line waits at the door or positions itself strategically to protect an attack line company. The back up line will not flow water unless it is to protect the attack company.

-A secondary attack line is just that, another line stretched to attack the fire. A secondary line, as a good practice, should be larger than the initial line stretched. If you're not making progress with an inch and three quarter why stretch another one? Bring the two and a half. Far too many firefighters and officers today over rely on the 1 3/4 hose and have become afraid of the 2 1/2. As Tom Brennen would say, "bring your biggest gun".

My thought is keep it simple but aggressive, reverse lay to hydrant, "one off, one in". Make the company ready for the next tactic (which might be pick up the feeder) while your driver fills the feeder.  My general thought for the second tactic would be get a line above the fire the description given seems to indicate the first line would either extinguish the fire completely or it might go up a bay.  In any case with this description a back up line would take a back seat to a line on the floor above.
In our area, the 2nd due Engine Co ensures a water supply to the 1st due Engine and then stretches a back up line to protect the 1st due Engine Co unless otherwise ordered by the IC.

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