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If you can remember from what you were taught or if you currently instruct in engine operations how do you handle the question of opening the line in smoke. I say you do not open the line in smoke, however when the smoke is extremly hot you must open the nozzle. Other options include leaving the area (fallback position) and increasing ventilation of the area. What do you say?

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I definitely agree with you on this one Ray. You should not open a line in smoke unless your pinned down to the floor by the heat. This is really only to protect your own butt so you can fall back into a safe position until adequate ventilation can be acheived and you can make an advance. I would add one thing and let me know what you think about this.

In a structure where I am a little suspect on how high the ceiling is and have a heavy snotty smoke condition I would throw a quick blast up at the ceiling (just a second or so). This does two things for me, it gives me an idea of how high the ceiling really is and lets me know a little bit about what the conditions are up there. Throw some water up there and it either does not come back down or you hear it boil when it hits the ceiling tells me the smoke could be ready to pop and we need to fall back till ventilation is effective. I feel all too much crews are not doing this in large structures and by the time you feel that heat on your back it might already be to late. We are getting in too deep without knowing the condtions high over our heads and find ourselves bailing out or even worse.

In a regular residential structure your gonna feel the heat quick and you can take action to protect yourself right away but in a super market or department store there may be 10 or 20 feet of smoke and heat over your head. By the time you feel that "pin you to the floor" heat the smoke up in that large ceiling area is gonna light off a lot quicker than in a residential structure. Even now a days in these new mcmansions and qiant houses with large open great rooms, two level entries, etc.. we should consider giving the ceiling a quick shot just to give us a clue on what we are dealing with.
Hey Ray long time no see, as for adding to your discussion well Joe pretty much said exactly what I was thinking. No sense in repetative typing. Anyway stay safe brothers and hope to see you this april in Indy.
I agree Joe. Thats one of the main things engine companies should be thinking when they enter a commercial building. How high is the ceiling? Any occupancy that has a 12' ceiling instead of the standard 8' high ceiling will contain 50% more smoke, heat, fire. As you stated if we are being pushed down we have to respond.
See you in Indy George.
Ray
Joe hit the nail. I just want to point out, and I know we discussed this before, that putting water into smoke because of the heat, or if you have cathedral ceilings, is not "penciling" the fire like is taught over the other side of the big pond. Unfortunatly, this tactic, that we use for knocking down heat in a flashover simulator so we can continue with instructrion, was taken at face value and is being done inside structure fires as we speak here in the US. I remember once what John Newell told me, if you feel compelled to put water on smoke due to the, heat, likely more than not, there is fire above it, so put the fire out! This is not to be confused with someone opening a nozzle on smoke that is tolerable. We had a job not too long ago, where it was lights out, I got turned around inside the room and had to follow the hoseline out, due to the sprinklers activated, and we could not make a push, as we knew there was an open elevator shaft. Till the water went away, we stood fast! Anyway, be safe
Russ
Russ I probally told you this story already but I was at a live burn where the heat was so bad a FF searching on the opposite side of the house was on his belly. The nozzle FF got burned and I had the nozzle - opening it up in smoke briefly until another FF took the line then the fire vented and we put it out. A wooden ceiling cover above us was heavily alligatored.
hey ray
you always come up with the best questions bro
when i first case on the job, this was totally taboo
in recent years, we have heard of penciling (short bursts at the ceiling) to cool the overhead during the advance so that any superheated gases rolling down the hallway do not ignite overhead -- vent opposite is a must here as steam may be created
also have done the heat test using a short burst up in the smoke to get a gauge on how hot it is up there as line is adbvanced toward the seat (especially when u can't find the seat)
these are just short bursts -- full water should not be used till u see flame
Hey Brothers, Great Responses Joe and Russ and Chief Avillo! This has been a long discussed topic in my dept. Im from a volunteer co in Monmouth County NJ. I as well as other members of my company have been teaching this to our members for years. We've also added on using the hose stream to orient yourself not only with the height of the cieling but to use it to indetify natural opeings (for ventilation and means of eggress).I once got myself into a debate at a strategy and tactics class which was given by a very well know instructor. I brought this topic up and he basically laughed at me. He's from the old school and wanted nothing to do with it. Im not sure if I didnt get my point accross or what but his response was you dont put water on smoke "kid". I never stopped doing this myself and niether have my members who believed in it too. Stay safe!
Great comments

I think it is also worth mentioning that if the smoke is to that point, meaning you think you have fire above you; Use a straight stream, don't fog it unless you like blistered ears. This will seem like an obvious comment to the smoothbore brothers but to the young foggys it may not be as apparent. I had been taught that this tactic could be used, I got blistered. I've been in the area when others have tried it, I got blisters then too, at least the other times, I had company.

I also believe if we're to a point that we're trying to ward off roll/flashover and we still can't see the seat of the fire, throw the water until drops of water start coming down, meaning, we've got the temp lowered below 212.

Speaking of high ceiling; Watch out for the dropped "ceilings", the reason for the parentheses is because if one tile is dislocated close to the fire, it isn't a ceiling any longer; It's a hot gas collector.
Mike
Good point. It seems second nature for us (the folks who respond to Rays topics) to use SS on combos or just keep our smoothbores on the rigs! You bring up good points. My best friend is a Div. Chief in a large west coast department. We have this "discussion" all the time, and they still insist on teaching thier rookies the 60 degree fog thing. They still burn up guys. Go figure.

Mike Walker said:
Great comments

I think it is also worth mentioning that if the smoke is to that point, meaning you think you have fire above you; Use a straight stream, don't fog it unless you like blistered ears. This will seem like an obvious comment to the smoothbore brothers but to the young foggys it may not be as apparent. I had been taught that this tactic could be used, I got blistered. I've been in the area when others have tried it, I got blisters then too, at least the other times, I had company.

I also believe if we're to a point that we're trying to ward off roll/flashover and we still can't see the seat of the fire, throw the water until drops of water start coming down, meaning, we've got the temp lowered below 212.

Speaking of high ceiling; Watch out for the dropped "ceilings", the reason for the parentheses is because if one tile is dislocated close to the fire, it isn't a ceiling any longer; It's a hot gas collector.
Hey Russ, I cant believe what you just wrote. How do they get away with it? One thing that I can never figure out is when you hear guys stick up for combination nozzles in relation to pre flashover conditions. I've read alot of post's and replies on this site and to hear guys say if you are trapped in a flashover you can put the nozzle on a full fog pattern to me is insain. Am i wrong for thinking that?Im not trying to get off the topic but combo nozzles dont belong in a structure fire. One other thing also i've been in a HOT flashover chamber training at fdic and they tought penciling I believe it was a smaller fog nozzle. Ive never used the technique myself but it seems to be becoming more and more popular. Can that be accomplished properly with staighrt bore nozzles and whats the wear and tear on the equipment? My co uses 1" slug. One other note also ive been in fires where we were banked down with fire overhead and when we opened the nozzle it cooled the area down pushed it back and made it tenable to advance. Ive also been in fires where that was the complete opposite. Most of the time ive encountered these conditions when stretching down a long hallway.If we had a fog nozzle in those cases and opened it up on fog in such an enclosed area I believe my wife would have been visiting me at St Barnabas' burn center. stay safe guys
Great topic. All of the information stated on here is wisdom. I define wisdom as experience that is shared. I would like to add that I teach my guys to respect the smoke, IE thermal layer, when attacking the fire. I explain to them that a hose stream will create a negative vacuum behind them, esp. if it is a fog nozzle. This pulls smoke and heat right onto the nozzle and their back up. Without proper fire attack this is usually a mistake a FF only makes once in their career. We have started advancing two lines when possible. Primary attack is a smooth bore with a fog team on back up. The back up will either follow the primary team all the way or stop and protect interior stairwells.
Ron - One of the worst things to come out of flashover training was this idea of penciling a real fire. You must remember that flashover trainers are trying to maintain the fire to get numerous flashes. I saw a guy from this site telling people to use short bursts of water on a single room fire so you don't upset the thermal balance. This is an example of someonne who hears a popular phrase "thermal balance" and wants people to think he is progressive when in reality he doesn't have a clue. I say spend some time in an engine, learn what should be done and then you can talk.

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