Any student of this profession by now as read or been instructed on all the UL and NIST research, some of our largest and busiest departments have changed some of their procedures due to this remarkable research. In my opinion for any size department it makes sense to re-think your present tactics and current policies if you have any and if you don’t now may be the time to start a procedure based on all of this data and train on it.
That said, two items out of all the data to me anyways really mark our “bread and butter” fires and those are coordinating ventilation and giving the fire if needed a “quick hit” from the outside at the best location and then going interior to finish up the job quickly because those of us who have studied the data and more importantly know from experience realize that the fire will re-energize, many call this quick hit “resetting the fire”. As an instructor one of the major inadequacies I see is the placement and advancement of the first line, I am speaking of getting the first line flaked out correctly and advanced quickly without the critical kinks. In listening to a Fire Engineering radio broadcast recently two highly respected fire service veterans were discussing the UL and NIST studies and the one became very vocal in his concern that many fire departments and more specifically engine companies are not proficient enough at “dragging the line” around to the rear applying water and quickly getting back to the front door to make entry.
The example shown below is just an option to keep in your tool box when arriving with heavy fire showing on any side besides the front, for example a basement fire with fire venting from windows on the B or D side or fire issuing from a large patio window or walk out basement on the C side. It will take a coordinated effort on the part of the engine but after training and communication it is my thought that it can be done.
STEP 1: Officer determines a “quick hit” on the fire is necessary on the C Side; attack line is stretched to this location
STEP 2: After line is stretched and charged, pump operator stretches a second attack line to front door for attack crew. NOTE: Remember; “as the first line goes, so goes the fire” you want to stretch your lines in series NOT parallel. The first line must be stretched first and put into service.
STEP 3: Once crew hits and “re-sets” the fire; they leave this line on the C-side and go back to the front A-side door to take the second line laid by the pump operator interior.
STEP 4: Second engine arriving or whoever handles your back up line can go around and take the original line laid and move it to the A side OR a third line can be deployed to the front door. Some may say this is too many lines, but I say use your imagination, many of today’s fire apparatus carry front bumper lines if it is packed of sufficient length maybe this 1 ¾” line can be used as the original line on Charlie? You will only find out through training and experimenting with your members and apparatus. We all know that firefighting is a time sensitive event and the second crew cannot doddle in getting that line around from the C-side back to A, it isn’t as time sensitive in my opinion as getting interior to finish off the fire after quickly applying water on the exterior.
The UL and NIST data is a great tool one that any officer would be negligent to think about in today’s environment, but fire companies must still be first and foremost efficient at laying the line and getting it in place and applying water as soon as possible. This suggested practice may just solve some issues of line placement. Give it a try and practice, practice, practice.