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Which Came First?

Here I go again beating up my RIT friends. No, I'm not anti-RIT but I continue to be amazed at the lack of balance or should I say prioritization in our fire training. RIT training is fun and fire behavior training is.......boooooooooring, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Why is it that only 1% of the FF1 curriculum is on fire behavior and there is no fire behavior in FF11, FF111, Fire Officer 1 or Fire Officer 2. Are we firefighters? How do you defeat your enemy if you don’t know your enemy? How well equipped for surgery would a surgeon be that only spent 1% of his time learning anatomy? I admit, I never really gave it much thought until a couple years ago because I thought I already knew everything I needed to know about it. Turns out there is so much information out there now that there is no excuse not be looking it over and talking about it. I thought we already had most of the answers to the fire behavior questions but I was most certainly wrong. I once was blind but now I see.

How many times have we had to deploy RIT because we started our operation by opening the front door and waiting 3 minutes for the hoseline to make entry? How many times did we have to deploy RIT because the windows were taken out feeding the oxygen starved fire a good dose resulting in an explosive fire spread?

I was watching some videos for a class this week and these lessons and mistakes keep being made over and over and over again simply because of our lack of knowledge when it comes fire behavior and fire dynamics. Have you taken the time to watch the Governor’s Island Experiments? Are you keeping the front door closed until the hoseline is in place and the crew is masked up and ready? Are you coordinating ventilation with the application of water on the fire? Do you know the difference between a legacy fuel load and a modern fuel load and why tactics have to be different? What is the priority, pulling the plywood off the windows or getting water on the fire? Are you closing doors inside the structure to keep it compartmentalized and prevent the fire spread? Is your knowledge of a flow path limited to keeping obstacles clear between you and the urinal? How many hours did you spend training on RIT this year? How many hours did you spend learning the new information out there on fire behavior and fire dynamics? Which came first the need for RIT or the lack of fire behavior knowledge? If you arrive 1st in on the scene of structure fire tonight and the front door is open will you close it or leave it open while you complete your 360?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “Prevent RIT, Properly staff the 1st Hoseline”

Want to know more?

PS: Don’t stop training on RIT but increase your fire behavior training.

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