There is no question that it takes discipline to do this job. It takes discipline to perform. It takes discipline to come in everyday and make sure your tools are ready for the fight. We never know when it will happen and we must always be prepared. Now let’s take it to the fireground. Coordination of ventilation and fire attack is one of the most important things that takes place. Almost a harmonized dance between the engine and ladder crews. The engine knowing that the ladder made it to where they were ordered, or even better, they read the building and knew right where to go. The ladder crews thinking of the engine stretching correctly with the right amount of water to the right location. All crews wondering, taking their battle formations and ready to lead the offensive. All crews knowing what is expected of them as well as what to expect from their comrades. This is coordination. We are focused on our immediate duties all while understanding the next step that other companies will be taking.
Coordination between the two crews is an essential piece in our victorious outcome. It takes discipline. It takes discipline for the ladder to get in position and wait to vent. Their tools in hand at the ready, listening to radio traffic, watching fire and smoke conditions, waiting for the opportune time to perform the task they are focused on. If performed to early, it may hurt the crews working inside who have not yet reached the seat of the fire. They have to be ready to perform this task in unison with the interior crews. It takes patience, it takes discipline to wait for that moment, the moment when the engine is in place and ready to strike.
The engine crew is now charging down the hallway, feeling the heat, lights piercing through the smoke like headlights in a thick fog. They are pushing to the seat of the fire, in a ventilation limited condition. They haven’t reached the seat yet, still pushing. Any ventilation at this point may hinder their efforts and drive them back out due to rapid fire growth courtesy of the newly introduced elements and unanticipated flow path. It takes discipline. It takes that engine officer communicating with exterior crews. We’ve made the hallway, making the push now, we are at the seat of the beast and are about to deliver the deadly blow with our well positioned hose line. Its time. It’s time to ventilate in front of that interior crew. The order is given and the ladder crew takes windows. Both have performed their jobs well. Both have used discipline to ensure nothing was done prematurely or maybe not at all.
The coordination worked. The discipline each company had to ensure that they remained focused on their tasks paid off. A coordinated ventilation and fire attack is not just something we pay lip service to. It should be something we put into action at every one of our fires. It should be something we practice and train on with the companies around us. Make yourselves ready for the fight. Not all companies are created equal; some will perform and some won’t. Be the crew that sets the bar high. Repetition in basic fundamentals such as these will win the day. Done get left behind, be a Game Changer!