It is great to be back after a fairly lengthy hiatus due to the need to focus on the organization I serve Horry County Fire Rescue. Since coming to Horry County Fire Rescue I have had the opportunity to serve with a very dedicated caring group of people who have to overcome a lot of adversity everyday. These great men and women who serve tirelessly everyday serving the over 300,000 citizens and 15million visitors to the Grand Strand each year. With adversities like understaffing, aging apparatus, increased response volume and no pay increase comes the opportunity for individuals to become very negative and even disgruntled. I am sure this was the case with some but the majority always kept that competing edge of a positive attitude even when they were faced with issues. The Attitude is Everything series will embark on a journey looking into the components of just how Attitude impacts organizations and especially leaders. TheCompanyOfficer.com will explore further the concept of Attitude is Everything especially in servant leadership. Stay tuned to as we embark on a journey at one of the paramount times in the year for the fire service as we come together next week in Indianapolis for the 2013 FDIC Conference. I would like to invite you to come to my program Training Today’s Fire Service Wednesday afternoon April 24, 2013 at 3:30 in the Walbash 2 Room at the convention center. I hope to see you there!
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Do you know what the inherent characteristics and risks are for each system and occupancy condition?
Service attention, training and rigor.
- What type of Collapse Management Zones (CMZ) can be expected both interior and perimeter?
- What would the expected fire flow requirements be with heavy fire involvement and extension?
- What are other operational risks to operational companies and personnel?
- How and when would Collapse Management Zones (CMZ) be established?
- Who would manage them and how?
- Is there a problem controlling Collapse Zones?
- And the obvious question: How does the buildings’s assumed condition:Vacant, unoccupied, abandoned and derelict buildings affect your Incident Action Plan, Strategies and Tactics? Or is it not a factor…..How do you determine when and how to commit to interior operations?
For incident deployments to a report of a structure fire, the single most important attribute that defines all phases of subsequent operations and incident management; is that of understanding the building.
An officer or commander’s skill set, comprehension and intellect in their ability to read a building is paramount towards identifying risks, conducting fluid assessment, probability, predictability and recognizing intrinsic characteristics of the building and its expected performance under fire conditions, which are essential toward development of an integrated and adaptive fire management model and flexible incident action plan.
If you don’t know and understand the building, how can you identify and select appropriate strategies and tactics and have an integrate IAP suitable for the building and occupancy risks and predictability of performance?
It’s much more than just arriving on location, identifying a single family wood frame residential, a three story brick or a five story fireproof or single URM commercial and stretching in and going to work.
NIOSH: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters using Risk Management Principles at Structure Fires HERE
Tactical Fireground successes are measured by the abilities, determination and fortitude of the Company and the leadership of the Company Officer to interface with the evolving fire conditions within the Compartment and Envelope of the Building.If the Company understands and knows the buildings and occupancy risks of its first-due; can efficiently assess the building and corresponding fire conditions and can
recognize hazards, risks and operational vulnerabilities; align tactical priorities and execute tasks with precision and proficiencies, then there is a high degree of confidence strategic objectives can be achieved and the incident mitigated with limited adverse collateral.
How effective are you as an officer?
- How about the other officers?
- What about the company?
- Capable, skilled, proficient?
- Does your officer and company take time to look over the building (interior/ exterior) once an incident, alarm or run is done?
Are you “looking” at key issues that affect the Building? Start reexamining the compartment and your company: risk and capabilities, it’s that important.
Taking it to the Streets: “All Companies Stand-By”: Transmitting the Box for….Your Street on this DayNo comments
The fact that at times, our surroundings do become a blur and fade into the background does occur and should be recognized as a gap and corrected.
- Checkout other interactions on Buildingsonfire on Facebook HERE and don’t forget to to LIKE and pass the link along
At times, our surroundings become a blur and fade into the fabric that defines our response district, our first-due, our neighborhood, community, city or town. We tend to focus on thos…e areas that have an immediacy or frequency that defines day-to –day operations, shifts or alarm dispatches and transmission of “those” box alarms. You know; the ones that have a particular address that always grab our attention.
Company and Command Officers MUST be intensely aware of your area’s fabric, its state and condition, the subtle changes as well as those that a times result in what seems like major changes, renovations or construction that pops up literally overnight or in a matter of weeks. Individually, you should be running scenario through your head as to the “what ifs” for a particular building, structure or occupancy. Share these insights and option plays with your company, station, battalion or group…Invest in the opportunity to game plan and know your world; before the alarms go off and the bell hits and you’re in the street….
Understand how your buildings co-exist with each other, what defines their characteristics, features, profile, hazards and challenges…
This is Part One of a Two Part Post….”All units standby: transmitting the box for….”
- Checkout other interactions on Buildingsonfire on Facebook HERE and don’t forget to to LIKE and pass the link along
At first glance it looks like one BIG building. However, closer scrutiny reveals there are three (3) building occupancies sharing common party walls.
What gives you the first appearance that this may be one building versus three structures? There are a couple of immediate features that can take you down the wrong path if you’re not familiar with the building type, the inherent features as well as the apparent alterations that are now influencing it.
Reading the Building requires skill sets to keeping looking further beyond what is immediately obvious; that successive layers of observations upon arrival and fluid assessment expose other pertinent, Building, Structure, System, Occupancy and Operational Risks, hazards and Considerations in the development of the incident action plan and determination of strategic, tactical and task objectives and assignments.
Here are our Buildingsonfire Street Questions:
- Identify the Building Type(s)
- Can you differentiate the structural system present?
- How many buildings are there and why?
- What if inherent with the Building and Features?
- What is obvious from the Alpha Street Side?
- There are observable features that will be mission-critical related to Building Performance, can you identify?
- What is the expected Predictability of Performance of the buildings and occupancy areas?
- Occupancy Risk is projected to be what?
- Looking at the alleyway on the Delta Division, what can you identify that would be of importance to the IAP and company operations, both interior and exterior.
- What is the expected of the Perimeter Walls (PW)?
- Fire Travel and Propagation: Do you know what to project, anticipate and plan for?
- Operational risk might be what given moderate fire with extension on an upper floor?
- Give yourself some added considerations based on either: Engine Co., Truck/Ladder Co., Rescue/Squad Co., Commander (IC) or RIT/FAST role responsibilities;
- What questions would you seek to identify and answer or assume on the first-due as you read the building?
That’s plenty to keep you going…
Checkout the comments and interactions on Buildingsonfire on Facebook HERE and don’t forget to to LIKE and pass the link along
Here’s a PDF that you can download and share with the company, at the station or use of a quick in-service drill; HERE StreetsSidebySide
- What does the building envelope look like.
- What type of structural systems might be present?
- What would the least favorable system be?
- Projected occupancy load: Operational concerns for a major floor fire?
- Fire Extension probability?
- Occupancy Type?
- Occupancy Risks?
- First-Due Company or Command Officer critical operational considerations?
- Predictability of Building Performance: Lots more here than meets the eye on the first glance….
- What are the projected operational risks?
- Here’s the direct link to this discussion: HERE
- Don’t forget to LIKE Buildingsonfire on FaceBook and CommandSafety on Twitter
- We post frequent interactive sessions on Buildingsonfire on Facebook.
- Look for Ten Minutes in the Street returning to TheCompanyOfficer.com in March…..coming soon with new interactive and expanded content
Central Ohio FOOLS presents
Adaptive Fireground Management for the Company and Command Officer
This program presents insights into emerging concepts and methodologies related to the unique challenges during combat structural fire engagement that require refined strategic, tactical and operational modeling due to extreme fire behavior, building construction and occupancy risk. The principles of Adaptive Fire Ground Management (AFM) will be presented along with integrated discussions on:
- Predictive Risk Management, Command Resiliency, Tactical Patience & integration of Five-Star CommandTM model will be presented with discussion on key Building Construction Systems and Occupancy Risk factors for company effectiveness, operational excellence and firefighter safety
- The program will integrate key case studies, lessons from the fireground, insights into emerging fire ground tactical theory with a focus of understanding occupancy risk with today’s Buildings on fire.
- This is an interactive and thought provoking program that challenges conventional fire service paradigms and explores leading edge theories and fire service discussion points from across the American Fire Service profession.
- This program is for ALL levels of rank and experience, not just officers.
Friday March 8th, 2013 • 0900-1600 hrs. $50.00 per Student
Registration Opens at 8am Columbus FF Union Hall
Station 67, 379 Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215
CEU: 6 hrs. Provided by Columbus State Community College | Meet & Greet Immediately Following
Point of Contact: Jason Kay (614) 65-FOOLS, firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration: www.centralohiofools.com via PayPal
Occupancy Risk and Operational Concerns
- Suggested Building Construction Type,
- Suggested Occupancy Type,
- Construction System,
- Operational Risks and Hazards,
- Fireground concerns if there was a fire in this Compartment/Building
- What is Obvious?
- What needs to be further assessed or identified?
- What Inherent Building Profile and Performance Concerns area there?
- What does the Company Officer need to know abouth this Building | Occupancy | Construction System | Compartment?
- Are there unique tactical operational concerns for Engine |Ladder/Truck | Rescue |Support?
- What about Command operational concerns?
Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety
Know your World
Follow Buildingsonfire on Facebook
A rapid and fast moving early morning fire in downtown Trenton, Ontario Canada resulted in the subsequent collapse of a three story mixed use commerical and apartment occupancy structure. Published media reports indicated the building was over 130 years of age and was in operation as an adult entertainment establishment on the lower level with multiple occupancy use apartments on the upper floors. The fire displaced 12 residents. The commercial portion of the building on the number one floor was not operating at the time of the alarm.
For a complete overview of the general fire, refer to the links below for the media links.
Two firefighters were nearly trapped while engaged in primary search and rescue operations as the fire conditions deteriorated and compromise and collapse conditions began to collapse the wood frame structure.
Pre-incident images clearly depict the typical building profile of a heritage type structure of the late 1880′s vintage with it’s sloping roof profile and window treatments that are evident on both the bravo and delta divisions (many with window mounted air conditioning units that constitute a collapse risk to operating companies on the ground perimeter) . As with many buildings in urban areas, the exterior envelope has been renovated in a manner that added an exterior metal clad panel system that is typically mechanically fastened directly to the facade or to a sub-assembly fastening system. This in effect covers the buildings originating facade, building materials and structural and cosmetic conditions.
Common to original building construction and layouts, the alpha division shows the manner in which the first floor wall has been modified with no indication of window locations and conditions in the upper floors. Common to this renovation technique is the placement of the metal facade directly over existing window openings and framing systems, resulting in either boarded and elimination of the window or the fames and glass still present within the interior room compartments compounding search and rescue assignments.
The metal exterior cladding masks the ability for arriving companies to identify if the structure is wood frame Type V, ordinary Type III or Brace Frame construction. The profile and charactoristics of this building profile suggests a buidling of Type III Ordinary construction ( Brick and jost) with load bearing masony construction. This is not the case in this structure as fireground photos further depicted. The various fireground photos suggest that this was a wood frame structure with wood exterior sheathing with some brick masonry features applied to the alpha division. The building envelope is encased in a sheet metal panel cladding system attached the perimeter facade.
Image above shows the degree of interior fire involvement and smoke density. The sheet metal cladding that was applied to the surface facade masks the ability to monitor wall degradation and compromise, retains heat within the building envelope and has independent collapse considerations based upon the manner it is atached to the outer facade further compounding the structural integrity of the buildings wall envelope. Photo by Step Crosier.
In incidents taht have building profiles such as this, conservative risk management, establishment of primary and secondary collapse perimeters along the various divisions is imperative for firefighter safety and apparatus operabilty.
The image above shows the extent of collapse. Look at the various construction features consisting of the original wood plank sheathing, brick facade work, wood framing system and the retrofitted metal paneling facade.
- How would you Read the Building based upon the pre incident photos shown at the being of this post?
- Would you assume the building was a type III or IV structure or a wood frame or brace frame structure?
- Does each building system have a different bearing on fireground operations, strategies, tactics and operational integrity and company and personnal safety?
- How much operatoinal time do you have for a primary search and rescue assignment or for deployment and effective location of a fire seat and application of hose streams before you developing compromising conditions with the interior compartments?
Remembrance, One of Many Stories: One of the 343…
On September 11, 2001, Captain Patrick Brown and eleven men from FDNY Ladder 3 responded to the attacks at the World Trade Center. His firehouse, Ladder 3, is located in very close proximity to the Twin Towers so his was one of the first fire companies on the scene. Along with so many other rescue workers, the men of Ladder 3 participated in perhaps the most successful rescue effort in U.S. history. These rescue workers, at their own peril, managed to safely evacuate over 25,000 people from those burning towers. It is believed that Paddy and his men were on the 40th floor of the North Tower with 30 or 40 severely burned people when that tower fell.
He was an extraordinary officer and firefighter; Captain Patrick Brown was passionate, intense, complicated, humble, and an inspiration to both those who knew him and those who are just now finding out about this incredible man. He’ll be remembered as a devoted friend, a dedicated firefighter, a warrior, and someone who made a difference.
One of the many stories of extraordinary Company Officers, Firefighters, Commanders and Chief Officers… of the FDNY 343….
Ladder 3 Last Dispatch 1 Hour Before The North Tower Collapse HERE
Following an unplanned hiatus; TheCompanyOfficer.com is back, reloaded, revitalized and inspired with innovative visions and refreshing perspectives to support the daily mission of the company and command officer with leadership, knowledge and training for the first-due.
Expect some exciting things to come your way in the weeks and months ahead this fall with some reformatted programs such as Ten Minutes in the Street Scenarios and training aids as well as more interactive resources, downloads and timely postings, links and reference support.
Strive to achieve personal and operational excellence
Regardless of your rank, or time in grade, the length of time in your organization, the size and structure of your department or your daily demands and challenges; leadership, mentoring, contributing, setting the example, being at your very best individually or collectively as part of a team, a company or a department is essential and pivotal-
Think about it…..
- Find your Energy
- Explore your Strengths
- Discover you Passion
- Expand your Perspective
- Understand your Beliefs
- Choose your Attitude
- Align your Behaviors
- Challenge your Perception
- Define your Success
- Live your Value
- State your Mission
- Proclaim your Purpose
LEADING YOUR LIFE WITH MORE PURPOSE AND INTENTION
Take some time to review this exceptional video lecture from TEDxDirigo – and present byDavid McLain. Think about it and apply the insights….
Across the world I bet if you sat around the table on the tailboard of an apparatus or at any conference you would hear some folks that are talking about how “Boogered up” their department is. So what do you do when your department is “Boogered up”? The important component is to look in the mirror first and see if you are part of the problem. That’s right; I put the blame on you. Why? Well you are part of the department and most often we have a contribution to everything that occurs in the department at some level. So are you contributing to the “Boogering up” of the department? Well let’s look and see if you are part of the problem or part of the solution.
Let the Department Clarify Our Motive
Let each individual in the department examine themselves thoroughly and know their hearts. With that we mean are we following the mission of the department or are we working to meet your personal mission. Remember there is no “I” in team, so if you are more focused on your own mission than the department’s, then you are making a major contribution to the “Boogering up” of the department. With this we also need to look at this from both sides especially if you are an officer. I question you folks to look and see if you are servicing both customers; the public and the troops. Often you will see individuals who make the officer level forget where they came from. It is important that you serve both sets of customers. So bottom line is if we get in tune with what the mission of the department and the strategic plan of the Fire Chief then everyone will have ample opportunity to most often meet both the mission of the department and their own mission. This is possible because most times these have many similar aspirations if you just really look at them.
Purify Our Thinking
In getting focused on the mission of the department you will see that the “Boogering” will just blow away. To do this the department needs to have pure thinking for the department and not the individuals in the department. By focusing on the good of the community we will again go back to focus on the mission. This is something that leaders must do every day. As we talk the talk we must also walk the walk. The troops can see past the transparent membranes we try to hide behind as officers. If we focus on being pure of heart we will see the focus from the troops will come in line. Community relations are a big job, too big for a single person to handle. It will require the efforts of every member of your team to make this a successful venture. Of course it starts with you as the leader. As the leader you must sell this concept to the group of people who deal with the community on a daily basis, the emergency responders. During their work delivering emergency services they must execute the plan. I know you are asking what plan. The plan is what you want to accomplish in gaining community support. One of the more common theories that I heard recently at a conference made perfect sense. As an emergency services department you must make yourself so desirable that it would be political suicide for the governing agency not to give you what you want because the community would be upset. For this concept to work each individual of the department must buy into this concept of community support.
To think correctly as an officer you have to have to be honest with yourself and everyone else involved.
Reveal the Department’s Problems
I have always heard that everything in the department is g-14 classified and if administration told you they would have to kill you. Well where that anomaly came from…I don’t know. I have been in administration for several years now and it seem to me that if you want to know something you need to go to the troops as they seem to have some major inside connection that tells them everything…even some things that really never could be possible or true. As a leader you need to be open and up front with your folks. I have a hard time seeing where anything we do other than personnel issues and business deals is such a big secret. Here are some ideas:
1. Make your budget proposal available for your personnel to see.
2. Have input from others on the budget.
3. Have a web site section or a book for department communications.
4. Strategic plans should be shared and reviewed by others.
5. Conduct a Post Incident Analysis on responses
6. Have personnel situations where there is tension have to address the issue head to head.
These are just a few ideas that can open up the department’s ability to identify issues and make improvements with buy in from all levels.
Replace Old Thoughts with Modern Truths
I know everyone has heard or said the following statement, “That is the way we have always done it.” If you are not in one of these categories you have either just got into the fire service about 10 minutes ago of you are in complete denial. These words have been spoken more times than we care to think. The problem is we never seem to move on from what we have always done.
As times change so do the situations that we are confronted with. Responses are much different than they were 20 years ago. Firefighters whom have entered the fire service over the last 7-10 years have strong computer and technology skills. Fires are fueled with different materials. Building construction has drastically changed. However we are still in some cases deploying the same old tactics that were taught 20+ years ago. The two do not match up. The contents of our homes and businesses emit gases more quickly during fires and laden the smoke with more volatility than did the smoke witnessed by experienced fire officers from previous decades. To make matters worse, we are responding to fewer fires which significantly decreases our experience. As a result, we are seeing an increase in the number of firefighter injuries and deaths from flashover and other hostile fire events. It is time to take the no changes mentality off the back-burner and update it to the challenges of today.
We are finding that current research shows what we have done for years is not the best tactics. If you are not reviewing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Underwrites Laboratories (UL) research you need to begin. The information presented is astounding and will make you begin really analyzing what you do every day on the job.
Help Each Individuals Identify Their Own Short Comings
A skills gap analysis is undertaken to identify the skills that an employee needs, but may not have, to carry out his or her job or to perform certain tasks effectively. The skills gap concept is used in areas such as businesses and educational institutes. The fire service falls under both of these areas. The first step in performing an analysis is to identify all the skills required by an individual to carry out his or her work. It should then be possible to identify the critical and noncritical skills that are needed to carry out a role effectively.
A critical skill is one that is required to complete a task successfully. Noncritical skills enable a task to be completed more quickly or efficiently, or at less cost than would otherwise be the case. There is a relatively simple method for determining whether a skill is critical or noncritical. Quite simply, if an employee lacks a skill but completes a task satisfactorily, the skill is noncritical. Conversely, if a person completes a task but the outcome is unsatisfactory, the missing skill is critical.
By applying skills gap analysis across fire companies it is possible to find out which skill and knowledge shortfalls there are in an organization. It is then possible to target training resources on those necessary skills that require the most attention. This should result in the optimal use of resources in terms of improving the overall performance of the individuals thus impacting the organizational performance. For individuals, skills gap analysis can be used to produce personal development and training plans. It can also be used to bolster morale by showing how they have progressed over time.
For a department, skills gap analysis can be used to identify which staff members have most knowledge of particular aspects of the profession as well as those with skill gaps. Furthermore, it can aid recruitment by identifying the candidate whose skills best match those needed to function effectively in leadership roles. For example, in an application of skills gap analysis to the role of a firefighter, the essential skills considered were: critical thinking, oral communication, and the ability to work with others. Analysis also allows benchmarking and encourages tutoring and mentoring within teams.
Skills gap analysis can be undertaken using paper-based assessments, evaluations, assessments and supporting interviews. However, if an analysis is to be performed across a large number of employees, it can create a huge management and administrative burden. Many departments therefore use skill management software.
Analysis can be applied on a continuing basis or as a one-off exercise. Specialized software can generate a skills gap analysis report with a few clicks of the mouse. Paper-based reports take somewhat longer, depending on how many questions there are to answer.
• A skills gap analysis can provide a critical overview of a company, allowing management to determine if staff has the necessary skills to meet department objectives or achieve a change in strategy.
• It provides an analysis of skill gaps in an organization, department, or individual role.
• Analysis helps departments to prioritize their training plans and resources.
• Analysis can help with recruitment and training, and it gives management a basis for deciding which staff should be retained and which are expendable.
• Conducting a skills gap analysis can be costly in terms of the required investment in paper-based assessments or software, as well as the time required from staff to participate and for management to evaluate the results.
• It may be simpler and more cost-effective to ask company officers to identify skill gaps in their fire companies, or simply to ask staff in which areas they need additional training.
• The assessment can be subjective and open to distortion if staff do not answer questions correctly or do true assessments.
Dos and Don’ts
• Consider the potential impact of a skills gap analysis on morale. Assessing an employee’s capabilities can create fear and suspicion unless the reason for the analysis is understood and communicated effectively or done without the employee knowing it.
• Don’t assume that you need to create a bespoke (in-house) framework to perform a skills gap analysis. Off-the-shelf frameworks can be suitable when adapted to your department’s needs.
• Don’t focus only on training needs. Skills gap analysis can be used to plan recruitment and redundancy programs, support organizational restructures, build effective teams, and manage business change.
Don’t go around saying something is OK when it isn’t.
I am sure you have been around people who like to bury their heads in the sand. You know the ones who avoid confrontation and have rose colored glasses. It is important to recognize and identify when situations are not OK.
Now that we know that it is not healthy for any organization, group or individual to go around saying it is OK when it isn’t, how do we fix the problem?
• Admit there is /are issue(s).
• Identify what the issue(s) is /are.
• Search for solutions to correct the issue(s).
• Develop a strategy of solution implementation and evaluation.
• Follow through with your efforts.
The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them. Don’t let leadership get “Boogered Up” in your organization.
Here’s a promo for the program; “Adaptive Fireground Management for Company and Command Officers”: that will be presented at the Fire Department Instructors Conference- FDIC on Thursday April 19, 2012 10:30 am in Wabash 2. If you’re attending FDIC this year, plan to mark this program down as one of your stops. I look forward to meeting “youz guys”.
This class presents new insights into emerging concepts and methodologies related to the challenges that arise while fighting today’s structural fires today. Extreme fire behavior, building construction, and occupancy risk mandate new strategic, tactical, and operational modeling. Students will be introduced to a new integrated model that represents new methodologies for predictive risk management, command compression and resiliency, tactical patience, and five-star command theories. This program has direct relevancy to all operational levels and ranks with specific focus toward company- and command-level responsibilities. INTERMEDIATE
I’ll be posting some of my picks for must see FDIC programs later along wth some highlights of other programs that should be on your radar screen.
Here are five (5) NIOSH Firefighter LODD Event report summaries for incidents that occurred in the March 4th through the 8th time frame in the years 1998, 2001, 2002, 2008.
Take the time to look over the event summaries, discuss and comment on the factors that lead to the events and the recommendations formulated from the subsequent investigations.
Take the opportunity to identify the common themes and apparent causes that were identified and discuss with your company, team or station, relevant considerations that may have a direct or indirect relationship to your organization, past incident calls or district risk profile.
What are your capabilities?
What are your gaps?
How can you prevent a similar situation from occurring?
Promote questions and dialog related to operational issues such as these;
- Coordinated multi-company operations; how “coordinated” is your incident scene?
- Do rapidly changing incident conditions get identified promptly and communicated to Command in rapid succession for actions?
- How effective is the base line knowledge and skill set of company and command officers in “reading the building”?
- What is the adequacy of your training for conducting operations above the fire floor?
- When was the last time you “tested” the effectiveness of your RIT/FAST Team? Can they truly perform under the most demanding of incident conditions?
- When was the last time you trained or drilled on Fire Behavior or on Building Construction?
- Are you training on calling the mayday and personal survival techniques?
- Have you implemented and trained on procedures for rapid and efficient transition in operational modes on the fireground?
- Do you implement a 360 when applicable and delegate when needed?
- What parameters are you operating under when assuming risk on the fireground?
- What drives your incident operations: Are they Tactically Drive or Risk Managed?
Down load the complete NIOSH Reports and expand on the lessons learners and their applicably to your organization and capabilities.
Floor Collapse and Fire Conditions:
On March 7, 2002, a 28-year-old male volunteer fire fighter and a 41-year-old male career fire fighter died after becoming trapped in the basement. One firefighter manned the nozzle while second firefighter provided backup on the handline as they entered the house. After entering the structure, the floor collapsed, trapping both victims in the basement.
A career fire fighter captain joining the fire fighters near the time of the collapse was injured trying to rescue one of the fire fighters. Crew members responded immediately and attempted to rescue the victims; however, the heat and flames overcame both victims and eliminated any rescue efforts from the garage entrance.
NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should;
- Ensure that the Incident Commander is clearly identified as the only individual responsible for the overall coordination and direction of all activities at an incident
- Ensure that the Incident Commander conveys strategic decisions to all suppression crews on the fireground and continually reevaluates the fire condition
- Ensure that Incident Command conducts an initial size-up of the incident before initiating fire fighting efforts and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident
- Ensure that fire fighters from the ventilation crew and the attack crew coordinate their efforts
- Ensure that fire fighters report conditions and hazards encountered to their team leader or Incident Commander
- Ensure fire fighters are trained to recognize the danger of operating above a fire
NIOSH REPORT: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200206.html
Wall Collapse and Fire Conditions
On March 7, 2008, two male career fire fighters, aged 40 and 19 were killed when they were trapped by rapidly deteriorating fire conditions inside a millwork facility in North Carolina. The captain of the hose line crew was also injured, receiving serious burn injuries.
The victims were members of a crew of four fire fighters operating a hose line protecting a firewall in an attempt to contain the fire to the burning office area and keep it from spreading into the production and warehouse areas. The captain attempted to radio for assistance as the conditions deteriorated but fire fighters on the outside did not initially hear his Mayday. Once it was realized that the crew was in trouble, multiple rescue attempts were made into the burning warehouse in an effort to reach the trapped crew as conditions deteriorated further.
Three members of a rapid intervention team (RIT) were hurt rescuing the injured captain. One firefighter was located and removed during the fifth rescue attempt. The second firefighter could not be reached until the fire was brought under control.
The fourth crew member had safely exited the burning warehouse prior to the deteriorating conditions that trapped his fellow crew members. Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include radio communication problems (unintelligible transmissions in and out of the fire structure that may have led to misunderstanding of operational fireground communications), inadequate size up and incomplete pre-plan information, a deep-seated fire burning within the floor of the office area that was able to spread into the production and warehouse facility, the procedures used in which operational modes were repeatedly changed from offensive to defensive, lack of crew integrity at a critical moment in the event, and weather which restricted fireground visibility.
NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should:
- Ensure that detailed pre-incident plan information is collected and available when needed, especially in high risk structures
- Limit interior offensive operations in well-involved structures that are not equipped with sprinkler systems and where there are no known civilians in need of rescue
- Develop, implement, and enforce clear procedures for operational modes. Changes in modes must be coordinated between the Incident Command, the command staff and fire fighters
- Ensure that Rapid Intervention Crews (RIC) / Rapid Intervention Teams (RIT) have at least one charged hose line in place before entering hazardous environments for rescue operations
- Ensure that the incident commander establishes the incident command post in an area that provides a good visual view of the fire building and enhances overall fireground communication
- Ensure that crew integrity is maintained during fire suppression operations
- Encourage local building code authorities to adopt code requirements for automatic protection (sprinkler) systems in buildings with heavy fire loads.
On March 4, 2002, a 22-year-old male career fire fighter was injured and subsequently died and a 25-year-old male Captain was injured when the floor collapsed while they were fighting a residential fire.
The Captain was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where he was admitted overnight for first- and second-degree burns. The victim was conscious and was transported by medical helicopter to a State medical center where he died 2 days later.
NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should;
- Ensure that each Incident Commander conducts a size-up of the incident before initiating fire-fighting efforts, after command is transferred, and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident
- Ensure fire fighters are trained to recognize the dangers of searching above a fire
- Ensure that an Incident Safety Officer, independent from the Incident Commander, is appointed
- Ensure that ventilation is closely coordinated with fire attack
- Ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team is established and in position immediately upon arrival
- Ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to operate safely and effectively
On March 8, 2001, a 38-year-old male career fire fighter fell through the floor while fighting a structure fire, and died 12 days later from his injuries. At 1231 hours, Central Dispatch notified the career department of a structure fire with reports of the occupants still inside. The Assistant Chief arrived on the scene along with Engine 70 and assumed Incident Command (IC).
The IC immediately called for the second alarm, began conducting the initial size-up of the structure, and confirmed heavy fire in the left front section. At that time, the neighbors approached the IC and informed him that the occupants were trapped inside. The IC ordered the fire fighters on scene to commence search and rescue efforts, and then verified the stability of the structure through radio and face-to-face communications.
Engine 68 arrived on the scene at approximately 1250 hours with an Assistant Chief and the victim. The Assistant Chief provided tactical command of the fire ground, and along with the victim, conducted search and rescue operations. Other crews conducted searches with a thermal imaging camera of the first floor and basement level of the residence with no sign of any occupants. During these searches the stability of the structure was diminishing due to the intense fire that was now venting through the roof.
Fire fighter #3 and the victim were at the front entrance conducting a defensive attack as the third emergency evacuation signal was sounded. The neighbors were still insisting to the IC and fire fighters that the occupants were trapped inside, and one of the occupants was handicapped. The victim and one other fire fighter conducted another search of the structure.
The heat and flames were now extending from the basement level to the first floor when the fire fighter’s low air alarm sounded. The victim and the fire fighter were backing out of the structure when the floor beneath the victim gave way, causing him to fall through the floor and become trapped in the basement.
Attempts were made from the first floor to rescue the victim by utilizing a handline and an attic ladder, but they were unsuccessful due to the intense heat and flames. Two Rapid Intervention Teams (RIT #1 & RIT #2) were deployed simultaneously from separate entrances into the basement to perform a search and rescue operation for the downed fire fighter. The RITs were able to locate and remove the victim on their initial entry. He sustained third degree burns to over half of his body and died 12 days later.
NIOSH investigators concluded that to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should;
- Ensure that Incident Command continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident
- Ensure that a separate Incident Safety Officer independent from the Incident Commander is appointed
- Ensure that fire fighters are trained in the tactics of defensive search
- Ensure that fire fighters performing fire fighting operations under or above trusses are evacuated as soon as it is determined that the trusses are exposed to fire
- Ensure consistent use of Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices at all incidents and consider providing fire fighters with a PASS integrated into their Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus which provides for automatic operation
- Ensure that personnel equipped with a radio, position the radio to receive and respond to radio transmissions
NIOSH REPORT: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200116.html
Roof Collapse and Fire Conditions
On March 8, 1998, one male fire fighter, the Captain on Engine 57, died while trying to exit a commercial structure after his egress was cut off by the wooden trussed roof that collapsed. Task Force 66 was the first on scene and reported light smoke showing from a one-story commercial building. A ventilation team from Truck 66 proceeded to the roof of the building and commenced roof ventilation. Forcible entry into the building required about 7 ½ to 9 ½ minutes from arrival on scene to force open the two metal security doors in the front. While fire companies waited for the security doors to be opened, fire conditions changed dramatically on the roof.
Fire was coming from the ventilation holes opened by the ventilation crew. As soon as the security doors were opened, three engine crews (Engine 66, Engine 57, and Engine 46) advanced hand lines through the front door in an attempt to determine the origin of the fire. Approximately 15 feet inside the front door, the fire fighters encountered heavy smoke with near zero visibility conditions. The engine crews advanced their hose lines approximately 30 to 40 feet inside the building.
As conditions continued to deteriorate inside the building, the members from the four engine companies involved in the fire attack began to withdraw. During this time the victim became separated from his crew and remained in the building. The victim was subsequently located by the Rapid Intervention Team and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed immediately and en-route to the hospital, where the victim was pronounced dead.
NIOSH investigators conclude that, to prevent similar occurrences, fire departments should:
- Ensure that incident command conducts an initial size up of the incident before initiating fire fighting efforts, and continually evaluate the risk versus gain during operation at an incident
- Ensure that incident command always maintains close accountability for all personnel at the fire scene
- Ensure communications are established between the interior and exterior attack crews, e.g., the ventilation crew and the interior fire attack crew should communicate conditions among themselves and back to incident command
- Ensure that Rapid Intervention Teams are in place before conditions become unsafe
- Ensure that some type of tone or alert that is recognized by all fire fighters be transmitted immediately when conditions become unsafe for fire fighters
- Ensure sufficient personnel are available and properly functioning communications equipment are available to adequately support the volume of radio traffic at multiple-responder fire scenes
- Consider placing a bright, narrow-beamed light at the entry portal to a structure to assist lost or disoriented fire fighters in emergency egress.
NIOSH REPORT: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face9807.html
Taking it to the StreetsTM
Download the program from March 16th, 2011 Program
Featured a two part program on Near Miss Firefighter Reporting with Lt. Steve Mormino, FDNY (ret) and Capt. CJ Haberkorn, Denver (CO) Fire Department and special guest, Captain Michael Long, who provided a personal Near-Miss Event account you won’t want to miss.
- Download the program from March 16th, 2011 Program on Firefighternetcast.com HERE
- Taking it to the Streets Radio Programs, HERE and HERE
Taking it to the StreetsTM is a monthly radio show featured on BlogTalk Radio and is hosted by Christopher Naum and is a Buildingsonfire.com Series and FireFighternetcast.com Production, © 2010-2012 All Rights Reserved
The Fireground; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
It will always still be about…..
- The Brotherhood
We have assumed that the routiness or successes of past operations and incident responses equates with predictability and diminished risk to our firefighting personnel
- Our current generation of buildings, construction and occupancies are not as predictable as past conventional construction,
- therefore risk assessment, strategies and tactics must change to address these new rules of combat structural fire engagement.
CJ Naum (2011)
Hose Streams and Fire Suppression Research from the NIST
Little, if any, fire suppression research has been conducted on the effectiveness of fire streams from manual hose lines during the past 50 years. Determining the effectiveness of a range of water application methods could have impact on the tactical decisions, equipment choices and water supply requirements that affect fire departments across the country.
Preliminary experiments examining the distribution of different hose streams.
This project examines a variety of fire fighting hose stream characteristics related to flow, distribution and thermal impact from both solid and fog stream nozzles. A series of real scale, laboratory based experiments have been started to look specifically at the water discharge and distribution characteristics, the impact of hose streams on a hot gas layer in a compartment, the impact of hose streams on gas flows through multi-compartment structures, and the suppression effectiveness on burning piles of wooden pallets. Based on data collected from these experiments, empirical FDS input sets for a solid stream and a narrow fog will be developed in order to re-create the results of the experiments. The final phase of the project will be to conduct a set of real scale validation fire experiments.
The spray measurements and data obtained from the previous full scale fire test series have been used to create a first-order hose stream model for implementation in FDS. The model is currently being refined with data from the following experiments:
Preliminary experiments examining the impact of different
hose streams on a pallet fire.
Characterize the hose streams in terms of nozzle pressure, flow rate, area of influence and water distribution.
Measure the ability of the hose streams to reduce the heat release rate of wood pallet fires burning in the open with no “compartmentation effects”.
Measure the ability of the hose streams to reduce the temperature of a hot gas layer in a compartment.
Measure the ability of the hose streams to reduce the heat release rate of the wood pallet fires burning in a compartment.
Measure the ability of the hose streams to impact ventilation and movement of fire gases in a multi-compartment structure.
Once the data from the above experiments is integrated into the hose stream models, the ability of FDS to predict the impacts of the water delivered by hose streams on the full fire environment will be examined in order to determine the capabilities and limitations of the hose stream models.
The final result from this research will provide a “manual hose line” suppression capability in FDS enabling the results to be used as a portion of a computer based training tool for firefighters. In addition, engineering predictions can be developed for hose streams and other manual water application techniques to provide guidance in the design and use of these fire fighting tools.
For more information, view the full Hose Stream Characterization and Effectiveness Modeling Project underway at NIST.
These videos are two examples of the preliminary tests performed on the effects of different types of fire attack strategies.
FROM NIST: http://www.nist.gov/fire/hose_streams.cfm
2012 Les Lukert Conference Information
February 10-12, 2012
NEW FOR 2012
Based on student feedback from previous years, the 2012 Les Lukert Winter Conference will offer new opportunities to attend multiple courses.
Traditional 12-hour courses will be offered, but several four hour courses will repeat three times, giving students the opportunity to hear and network with a larger number of students and instructors. If you can’t get there first thing on Saturday, one 8-hour course will start at noon Saturday and finish at noon Sunday!
Mix and match as your schedule permits, but pay particular attention to this as you sign up. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! The NSFSI Education Committee hopes this new format makes the Conference even more useful to students and we look forward to your continued attendance and feedback as we plan future conferences!
Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center
110 Second Avenue, Kearney, NE 68847
855.444.5769 (toll free)
Conference Web Site: http://www.nsfsi.com/leslukertconference.asp
Here is our Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/190362184363286/
Please invite any of your contacts who you think may want to attend.
Here is our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NeFireInstructors
Click on the class link below or scroll down to see a description of the classes being offered at the 2012 Les Lukert Conference.
Ten Traits of a Positive Fire Service Instructor (pre-conference instructor developement course)
Pride and Ownership: The Love for the Job
Avoiding Human Error on the Fireground
Lead With A Vision, Not a Tradition
Functional Fireground Accountability
Thriving on the Fireground
Adaptive Fireground Management for Command & Company Officer
Firefighter Rehab and Medical Monitoring
Fire Instructor I
The Company Officer- Leading, Learning and Laying In
Ten Traits of a Positive Fire Service Instructor
(**Pre-conference Instructor Development Course)
Friday February 10, 0900 – 1700
As an Instructor, it is essential to promote a positive and safe fire ground environment, and the preparation begins on the training ground. However, in some jurisdictions, the training ground has become anything but an environment that promotes positive and safe attitudes.
A number of fire service personnel will become instructors without any idea of how to teach a class. They are told that they have to be an instructor for promotion. They are thrown into the mix and told that they have to pull a rotation at the training academy. These are not the type of instructors that our future fire service leaders need. Face it; some people are just not built to teach. Our instructors are doomed from the beginning. They teach the minimum, and are closed to the change.
Look back over your career. Can you recall a fire instructor who influenced you positively? Negatively? What were the major differences between these instructors? Several attitudes, practices, and attributes distinguish the positive instructor from the negative one.
Pride and Ownership: The Love for the Job
Ignite Your Love for the Job. Pride and Ownership holds no punches. Chief Rick Lasky takes a hard look at the fire service and finds it short on the only element that makes it effective: passion. Chief Lasky gives an upfront and honest criticism about the need to reignite the love of the job on every level, from chiefs on down. Do you have what it takes? Not everyone is cut out for the fire service. It takes only the best to serve the public when people need help most. Pride and Ownership calls for men and women with honor and integrity to measure up to the task. There’s nothing else in the world like being a firefighter. Every day Chief Lasky remembers why his job is the best in the world and he brings that passion to Pride and Ownership. Chief Lasky revisits the proud history and tradition of the fire service and reflects on the family values and brotherhood that have made firefighting a truly family oriented vocation.
The Company Officer
Our Two Families
Sweating the Small Stuff
Changing Shirts-The Promotion
What September 11th Did To Us and For Us
Ceremonies That Stoke the Flames of Tradition
Marketing Your Fire Department
Making It All Happen and Taking Care of Number 1
Have You Forgotten?
Rick Lasky, a 30-year veteran of the fire service, is chief (ret.) of the Lewisville (TX) Fire Department. Rick began his career as a firefighter in the suburbs on the southwest side of Chicago and while in Illinois received the 1996 International Society of Fire Service Instructors “Innovator of the Year” award for his part in developing the “Saving Our Own” program. He served as the co-lead instructor for the H.O.T. Firefighter Survival program at FDIC for over 10 years, is an editorial advisory board member of Fire Engineering Magazine and also serves on the FDIC advisory board. Rick contributes monthly to Fire Engineering’s Roundtable column, is the author of both the “Pride and Ownership-A Firefighter’s Love of the Job” leadership series featured in Fire Engineering Magazine and the best-selling book published by PennWell Books, as well as the host for the radio show “Pride and Ownership” heard on Fire Engineering Radio.
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Avoiding Human Error on the Fireground
The Fire Service has recognized many of the fireground injuries and related LODD’s are directly related to poor decision making by personnel on the fireground. Findings show how a fatal chain of errors made by personnel, from the Incident Commander to the rookie firefighter, promulgate the problem in the American Fire Service. This course is designed to identify those specific factors associated with the error chain and establish corrective action models to reverse this dangerous trend.
Case reviews of LODD’s will be used to understand how this occurs and students will discuss the need for a heighten awareness for command and incident specific goals and objectives to reduce similar occurrences. This program is designed to open the “Minds Eye” and change the firefighter’s perspective and paradigm on routine fires. 3/6/14 are all you need to know to increase your rate of survival and decrease your chances of being injured to a point of retirement from the fire service.
Ed Hadfieldis a Division Chief with the City of Coronado Fire Department in San Diego, California. In his 25 years of professional experience, he has been recognized as a leader in Fireground Command Operations, Command Officer Succession Development, Truck Company Functions, and Fire Service Leadership. He holds a Bachelors’ Degree from Azusa Pacific University in Organizational Leadership, and is currently completing his Masters Degree in Leadership Studies at Azusa Pacific University and the EFO program through the National Fire Academy. He is a frequent speaker at fire service conferences and training programs nationwide, and provides leadership training to multiple corporate agencies as well.
Lead With A Vision, Not a Tradition
Looking to the future of the American Fire Service, we must have leadership in all aspects of the emergency services that are visionaries, with goals for their department and the Fire Officers and Firefighters. Plus be responsible to teach our next generation the Pride and Traditions of our culture.
K. Doc Patterson, Chief Creative Officer, K. J. Patterson Doc started his career as a volunteer firefighter to career Fire Officer in Monmouth, Illinois. Doc served as the Director of Education & Media Affairs in the Chicago area. Doc has over 37 years in the fire service. Doc has taught many aspects of the fire service, from basic firefighter skills, instructor and fire officer development and firefighter safety. His specialty includes Honor Guard Development, American Fire Service History and Emergency Team Motivation. Doc Patterson is known for his contagious excitement and enthusiasm. His interactive experience will ignite your Phoenix inside! If you help people grow…You will rise to a new level in you life. The key is to move with determination, sense of faith, achievement and self-respect.
Doc has made three national television appearances, worked with the Professional Athletes, and is a nationally known speaker across this great nation. The Heart and Mind of a champion is in every one of us! Go for the gold in all aspects of your life! “May Your Spirit Rise… like a Phoenix from the Ashes!” Doc Patterson has a Degree in Fire Science; serves with the Illinois Fire Service Institute and his own consulting firm K.J. Patterson, specializing in personal & professional development for teams and officers in all aspects of Emergency Services.
Functional Fireground Accountability
Fireground non-cardiac line of duty deaths that involve some level of accountability failure are in the majority. We can, and must do better. This course will utilize case studies to identify the issue of fireground accountability as an important contributing factor in many line of duty deaths and offer realistic solutions to fire departments, volunteer, combination and career on how they can begin to address this issue within their own fireground operations. Establishing and maintaining effective and functional fireground accountability with a strong command and control system, establishment of identifiable and cohesive crews and good communications is well within the grasp of every department regardless of size or make-up.
|An injured Los Angeles firefighter is taken for treatment following a house fire in July. His injuries were not life threatening. Photo courtesy firerescue1.com|
Identifying firefighters in distress, and verifying their identity when located, is absolutely critical to functional accountability. Finding a down firefighter does not mean that you found the one who called the mayday. Case studies will show how failure to identify the firefighter(s) in distress, and then verify who was found, has led to tragedy. Many fire departments are considering the purchase of socalled wireless accountability systems built into their SCBA or PASS devices. These are great tools for some things, however, they cannot replace heads-up attention to who is doing what, and where, on the fireground. We will explain the difference between these systems and functional accountability. We will show you limitations of these hightech tools in hands-on scenarios, and show you how you can use them to your advantage.
Tracking personnel can be difficult, especially when mutual aid is involved, or personally-owned-vehicles respond to the scene. Who is keeping track of you when you answer the call? We will discuss the challenges that you face, especially issues associated with keeping track of personnel from several different agencies and response styles, and leave you with tools to simplify this challenging process. Lastly, we will discuss personal responsibility. Each of us has a responsibility to let someone know where we are and what we are doing. We will explore how you and your crew can stay accountable while you work, no matter how big or small your department is, incorporating proven practices into your on-scene work habits.
Chris Langlois, Midwest Fire Training Group, has 23 years of volunteer and career fire service experience. Presently he serves as a Training Officer with the Omaha Fire Department. His national certifications include Firefighter I & II, Instructor I & II, Fire Officer I & II, Driver/Operator and Incident Safety Officer, as well as being a NREMT-Paramedic. He holds degrees in Public Fire Administration and Executive Fire Service Leadership.
Captain Dan Millerhas over 30 years of volunteer and career experience. He is a Training Officer with the Omaha Fire Department and an adjunct instructor with Metro Community College. He is NFPA Instructor-II certified. Dan is an instructor with Midwest Fire Training Group.
Thriving on the Fireground
Are you Combat Ready?
Are you prepared to THRIVE on the fireground?
The Ready Position is a condition where the capacity and capabilities of the Fire Service Warrior are in an ideal state of potential energy. Whether you are sitting in the firehouse at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee at hand, or in the recliner at home with the pager sitting on the table next to you, hopefully you are ready to spring into action if the alarm comes in. If you are in the Ready Position you have mastered the physical and mental skills of the Fire Service Warrior, you are able to be 100% present when called to battle, you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to thrive on the fireground, and you have prepared for the unfortunate in case your next alarm is your last one.
Chris Brennan is a 14 year fire service veteran who has taught and consulted for local, state, federal, and international responders. His articles have appeared in numerous publications including Fire Engineering and Fire Chief. Christopher Brennan is the author of The Combat Position: Achieving Firefighter Readiness and the website www.fireservicewarrior.com.
Adaptive Fireground Management for Command & Company Officer
This highly interactive program will present insights into emerging concepts and methodologies related to the unique challenges during combat structural fire engagement that require new strategic, tactical and operational modeling due to extreme fire behavior, building construction and occupancy risk. Predictive Risk Management, Command Compression, Tactical Patience and Five-Star Command™ theories will be presented though interactive scenarios and group activities. This program will address operational considerations for command and company officers and will focus on various department sizes and organizational profiles.
Christopher Naum is a 36-year fire service veteran and a highly regarded author, lecturer, national author and fire officer; he is a distinguished authority on building construction issues affecting the fire and emergency services. He is a nationally recognized authority on command and operational excellence and firefighter safety. An Adjunct Instructor with the National Fire Academy, he served on the Board of Directors, IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section and is the second vice president of the ISFSI. A former architect and fire protection engineer, he was the 1987 ISFSI George D. Post National Fire Instructor of the Year, is a technical reviewer to the NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program and is the Chief of Training for the Command Institute, a Washington, DC based emergency management & training organization. He is the executive producer of Buildingsonfire.com
Firefighter Rehab and Medical Monitoring
Using the IAFC “Rehab and Medical Monitoring: An Intro to NFPA 1584” program, this presentation provides a realistic look at implementing rehab that increases available manpower, allows firefighters to work harder and longer with less injuries. Practical pointers for medical monitoring with examples of effective rehab programs will be provided.
Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN, is the EMS Coordinator for Saratoga County, New York and EMS Director on the Board of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. He is a Professor Emeritus in Critical Care Medicine at Albany Medical College in New York and continues to practice as a clinical nurse specialist in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery. Mike is a paramedic for Clifton Park-Halfmoon Ambulance, chief medical officer and firefighter/paramedic for West Crescent Fire Department. He is the FireEMS editor for Fire Engineering magazine, a widely published autheor and popular speaker at Fire, EMS, and medical conferences worldwide. In his free time, Mike is an avid hiker and winter mountain climber.
Things Every Firefighter & Officer Should Understand About Fireground Dynamics
This course will give an understanding of how fire effects both new and old style building construction and how it differs with the use of new and old building materials. The firegound personnel will have a better understanding what they are seeing in the fire environment. It wil be useful for the interior attack personnel, support personnel and Incident Commander regardless of their fireground experience.
Earl Rudolph has been providing EMS and fire service for 38 years. He began his career as a volunteer in Papillion in 1972 and retired as Training Officer for Fremont Fire Dept in 2010. He continues as a volunteer for Springfield Fire Department and part-time instructor for the State Fire Marshal Training Division. Earl became an EMS Instructor in 1975, opened his private EMS Training Agency in 1977 and has provided EMS and Fire training to many people throughout the years. Earl has been married for 36 years to his wonderful wife, Rita.
Eric Rasmussen began his volunteer fire service in 1968. He has served as Firefighter, Fire Chief, Training Officer and Board member for Southeast Rural Fire District. He is Firefighter II and Fire Instructor I certified. Eric worked for 32 years as the Training Specialist for the Nebraska Forest Service. In the mid 1970’s, he participated in the development of the Red Card certification system. Although he’s retired, Eric remains active at Southeast Rural, is on the Greenwood Rural Board and is active with NSVFA, Nebraska Fire Chief’s Ass’n and NSFSI. He’s also an advisor to the Southeast Community College Fire Protection program and is a part-time instructor for the SFMTD.
Russ Daly has been involved in the fire service since 1963, when he joined Ralston Volunteer Fire and Rescue. During his time at Ralston, he served as a fire fighter before becoming the Rescue Capt and later Fire Chief. In 1981, he began teaching with the Nebraska State Fire Service as a Full Time Instructor, and in 1986 became Director. He held this position until 1992. Russ is currently Board President of the Murray Rural Fire Protection District and serves as Fire Instructor for the Murray Fire and Rescue Department.
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Fire Instructor I
This course is designed to give the student the knowledge and ability to teach from prepared, predominately skills oriented, materials. Areas covered include: communication, learning concepts, human relations in the teaching-learning environment, teaching methods, organizing the learning environment, records and reports, testing and responsibilities, teaching techniques, and use of instructional materials. An additional weekend of class (March 2, 3 & 4, 2012) is required to complete Instructor I certification. The second weekend will be hosted at the Kearney Fire Department Training Center. The required textbook for this course, IFSTA Fire and Emergency Services Instructor (7th Edition), will be available for purchase at check-in. Class Limit – 26
Bill Pfeiferis a Training Specialist for the SFMTD serving the Northeast region. He has been a full time instructor since 2001 teaching classes in Extrication, Haz-mat and Fire and Emergency Services Instructor.
Rick Grauerholz has been an instructor with the SFMTD since 1984. He is a 27 year member of NSFSI and has taught numerous times at the Winter Conference. Rick has been a member of Ashland Fire Department since 1972.
Michael Lloyd began his fire service career in 1980, serving with a variety of career and volunteer departments. He is currently a Station Chief with Offutt AFB providing structural and aircraft fire suppression in addition to EMS, HAZMAT and technical rescue. Mike has been a part-time instructor with the SFMTD since 1997 teaching Incident Command, Building Construction and Fire Instructor courses.
Dennis Baber (not Pictured) is a Training Specialist with the SFMTD.
Brent Doring (not pictured) is a parttime instructor with the SFMTD.
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The Company Officer, Leading, Learning and Laying In
Leading, learning and laying in presents the three priorities of the company officer: leadership, training and critical decision making, using a “day in the life” format that can be applied the next day in the front seat of the rig and in life at the station.
This presentation is designed for both new company officers and the veteran looking for a recharge. The goal of this class is to distill these massive topics down and bring them together for immediate application. The result is a fast paced presentation of nuggets, plans and thought processes critical to success for motivating, training and working at the company level. The points shared were found both the hard way and given by those who inspire me. The program will be essentially divided into sub sections.
Leading – The first component of the class is leadership. When you step into the role of company officer your actions, words and associations are constantly being observed. If you are unaware, this will kill you. If you recognize this it will catapult you. I will show how to set the example by getting out of bed early to hit the gym to handling personnel issues with honesty and straight talk.
Learning- This section will provide training programs, lists of online and print resources, drill and lesson plans that are easy to plug into day to day operations. With the demands on today’s company officer it is difficult to do things right because so many administrative duties demand our attention right away. Training cannot suffer from this. This will save officers time by showing them ready made material for immediate use.
Laying In – There is too great of a focus on scene size up for the company officer and the lack of attention in scene set up. At some point you have to stop accumulating information and get to work. I present my scene set up thought process that “focuses on the firsts” First line, first search and first vent.
Lieutenant Brian Brush of Lakewood Colorado has 15 years experience in the fire service. Brian received his Fire Officer Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2010. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Fire and Emergency Services and an Associate’s Degree in Paramedicine. He has written for Fire Engineering, presented at FDIC, and is a contributor for www.fireservicewarrior.com
Is your team prepared to be first on the scene to handle an ice emergency?
Dive Rescue International’s Ice Rescue certification course teaches:
How to avoid becoming a victim
How to recognize ice hazards
How to evaluate ice strength
This program allows you to practice multiple ice rescues with victims who have fallen through the ice.
Other program topics include:
Ice conditions and ice formation
Hypothermia & cold-water near-drowning
Equipment selection and rigging techniques
Operational planning and scene evaluation
Prerequisites – Member of a public safety agency and at least 18 years old. This program is designed for personnel who are physically fit. Participants are encouraged to participate after successfully completing the IADRS Watermanship Test or testing to a fitness level of 13 MET (Metabolic Equivalents) or greater. Participants with aerobic fitness questions or concerns should consult their physician prior to in-water training. Participants who have poor aerobic fitness may attend this program as surface support personnel with the approval of the instructor.
Ice Rescue requires the purchase of a student manual ($15). It may be purchased with your registration. Limited numbers will be available at the Conference. Also note, class is limited to 30 students. The class will be split in half for hands on work (Sat PM/Sun AM) to allow more hands on time. When you register, please select Ice Rescue AND a 4-hour class for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Brad Thavenet is an 11 year veteran of Lincoln Fire Rescue. Currently Captain Thavenet is Water Rescue Commander for the department, member of NEFT-1, and an international instructor and author for Dive Rescue International. Captain Thavenet has presented at international conferences and has instructed classes to FDNY, Los Angeles City Fire, Canadian Fire Depts and many others.
Joe Vandenack has been a member of the Yutan Volunteer Fire Department for 13 years. During that time he has also been on the Emergency Response Dive Teams at Boystown, Ralston and Yutan, Nebraska. Joe has been teaching Dive Rescue International’s Ice Rescue Course since 2003.
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New Sensor System Tracks Firefighters Where GPS Fails
Firefighter Ray Hodgson hits the talk button on his walkie-talkie: “I have fire showing, possibility of a rescue on the third floor. Engine 35, initiate a rescue group. Also back him up with a hose line.”
A fire has been set in a three story building at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, where firefighters hone their skills and test equipment. In this case they’re testing a device they hope will save firefighters’ lives. Everyone taking part in the drill knows how difficult and dangerous it is to locate a missing firefighter in a smoky inferno.
“When you go into a burning building, you don’t really see anything. You can’t see your hand in front of your face; you’re going on instincts. It’s almost a surreal experience,” says Matt Leonard, a firefighter in the District of Columbia and a deputy chief in Prince George’s County, Md.
“We’ve had instances where we’ve lost firefighters in a building and had a hard time finding them. It’s very frustrating,” says Hodgeson, a firefighter for 44 years. He knows firsthand the sinking feeling of hearing the dreaded words that one of his colleagues is missing. That’s why this team of experienced firefighters is taking time to test out a new type of sensor that can track their whereabouts deep inside buildings, where standard GPS units often don’t work.
“This has been a need for a long time,” says Carol Politi, CEO of TRX Systems, the company developing the sensor. “Sept. 11 was widely publicized and there was not even an understanding of whether certain firefighters were actually in the buildings at the time of that tragedy.”
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), electrical engineer Politi and her team at TRX Systems are developing a portable device called the Sentrix Tracking Unit. It straps on like a belt and consists of a suite of sensors. “The sensors include accelerometers and gyroscopes. Those are sensors similar to what you have in your Wii for example–pressure sensors ranging sensors. It allows us to create a picture of what a user has done,” says Politi.
“The sensors monitor the movement of the user,” explains Ben Funk, vice president of Engineering at TRX. “So when the user moves forward or backwards, left or right, it determines how far a person moved in each direction.”
During the fire drill the sensors create a map of the building as the firefighters move through the smoke.
“Twenty-eight-nineteen, we have a mayday on the third floor from the rescue group,” Hodgson relays. “Initiate a search.”
During the demonstration, Hodgson assumes the role as incident commander as the others move through the burning building in teams of two. One of the firefighters, outfitted with a sensor, crawls through the smoke and purposely gets lost. The Sentrix Tracking Unit maps his location at every twist and turn, sending the data to a nearby base station–in this case, the incident commander’s laptop. The system can transmit via a variety of different radio-waves to accommodate different receivers.
“The tracker advises they’re on the back Delta Charlie quadrant in the back bedroom,” says Hodgson into his walkie-talkie.
In minutes the firefighter is located by a member of his team.
For the Full Article From the National Science Foundation Web Site, HERE All rights reserved
Credit: Brett Warneke, Kris S.J. Pister, Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center, University of California, Berkeley
Operational Considerations at Garden Apartment Complex and Residencies
Fire ground operations at Garden Apartment Complex and Multiple Occupancy Residencies require due diligence and well-coordinated multiple company operations that have well established operating protocols, clearly defined ( but flexible) company and response duties and an effective and well-practiced and experienced cadre of company and command officers.
Due to the likely demands and complexities of evolving and expanding incident conditions at fire involving Garden Apartment type buildings and complexes, couple with the civilian life safety concerns due to occupancy density and numbers, immediate and timely resources are necessary to conduct multiple and concurrent functional assignments that demand effectiveness, efficiency and trained company compositions.
Strategy and Tactics at Garden Apartment Complex and Residencies required special instructions, insights and knowledge that goes well beyond the practices and methodologies typically deployed at single family residential fire incidents.
Multiple occupancy dwelling units, occupancy loads, multiple floors, building construction, structural systems and assemblies, construction and material, methods of construction and building and occupancy layouts and configurations results in fast spreading and extreme fire conditions, common avenues for internal and exterior fire travel, congested travel paths and access/egress points, multiple hose line deployment strategies with adequate fire flows, effective building laddering, forcible entry support and concurrent, mobile and skilled search and rescue capabilities.
The ability to deploy and operate multiple hand lines is mission critical at fires in these multiple occupancy dwellings. As are a number of other strategic and tactical functions; but again, If the fire is controlled and goes out- all the other escalating, concurrent and immediate demands, needs and requests along with highest risk factors for survivability to occupants and firefighter alike diminishes rapidly and can be managed.
Here are some discussion points to chat about around the kitchen table;
- Are your engine companies effectively set up and outfitted to stretch out and deploy extended lines, multiple lines on common floors or within various floor elevations?
- Have you and your company practiced coordinated multiple company search and rescue protocols for multiple occupancy floor areas?
- Have you considered the needs, impacts and operational deployment for a RIT on a common floor during extreme fire conditions that required interior common hallway access and extraction of a firefighter in distress or incapacitated?
- Do you have the capability to deploy and implement multiple companies for coordinated roof ventilation operations? IF so, have they training together in the past?
- How effective and knowledgably are you and your company in initiating and completing multiple trench, strip or louver roof ventilation cuts?
- Are you aware of the signs for potential or imminent collapse for the various types of garden apartment buildings in your response area? Did you know there are different considerations based on the vintage, age and construction systems and assemblies utilized?
- When was the last time you either pre-fire planned any of your garden apartment building or complexes? Or did a company walk-through?
- Which ones are protected by a fixed sprinkler system?
- Do you what the water fire flow capabilities are for the hydrants and system in any of these garden apartment building or complexes?
- Have you done any table top exercises considering a standard alarm assignment fire, or an escalating multiple alarms incident?
- Do you consider occupancy risk versus occupany type for the buildings you respond to?
- Are your considering the effects of extreme fire behavior and the potential for wind driven fire conditions in your IAPs?
- Are you considering the collapse and compromise potential for floor and roof assemblies in your assignments?
- Are you fully prepared for immediate or multiple RIT needs and deployments?
- Do you understand how these garden apartment buildings are constructed, configured and will impact your strategic and tactical assignments?
- Do you have the right skill set for performing safely and effectively in your assigned role and responsibilities? If not, what are you going to do about that gap?
Leadership, Purpose, Service and Reason
Here are two powerful videos that share important messages that apply to each and every firefighter, company officer and commanders: coming from very different perspectives and areas-But directly applicable, IF you listen to the messages, the themes and relate them to what we do each and every day.
The names and placed change; but the meaning and message behind these words resonate with the traditions, values and virtues of the Fire Service
Four-star General Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.
Direct Link to TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/eng//id/1112
General Mark A. Welsh III, USAFE CC, speaks to USAFA Direct Link HERE
NFPA releases 2010 “Fire Loss in the U.S.” report
New report shows lower number of fires but increased fire deaths
Public fire departments responded to 1,331,500 fires in the United States during 2010, a slight decrease from the previous year and the lowest number since 1977, according to a new report (759 KB) issued by the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA).
These fires caused an estimated 3,120 civilian fire deaths, a 4 percent increase from a year ago; an estimated 17,720 civilian fire injuries, also a 4 percent increase from the previous year; and more than $11.5 billion in property damage, a significant decrease from the year before.
Fire Loss in the U.S. analyzes 2010 figures for fires, civilian fire deaths, injuries, property damage, and intentionally set fires. Estimates are based on data collected from fire departments that responded to NFPA’s Annual National Fire Experience Survey.
There were an estimated 482,000 structure fires reported to fire departments in 2010, a very slight increase from a year ago. The number of structure fires was at their peak in 1977, the first year that NFPA implemented its current survey methodology, when 1,098,000 structure fires occurred.
“We have made tremendous progress in reducing the fire problem in the United States since we began looking at these numbers in the late 70’s,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Communications for NFPA. “But this report shows us that more must be done to bring the numbers down even further. We continue to see the vast majority of deaths occurring in homes, a place where people often feel safest. These survey results will be combined with data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) to determine how often specific fire circumstances occur and where we can most effectively focus our efforts.”
Other key findings from the report include:
- A fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds.
- 384,000 fires or 80 percent of all structure fires occurred in residential properties.
- About 85 percent of all fire deaths occurred in the home.
- 215,500 vehicle fires occurred in the U.S. during 2010, causing 310 civilian fire deaths, 1,590 civilian fire injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
- 634,000 outside and other fires occurred in the U.S. during 2010 causing $501 million in property damage.
Download the full report “Fire Loss in the United States during 2010”.
Overview of 2010 U.S. Fire Experience
Number of Fires
- 1,331,500 fires were attended by public fire departments, a slight decrease of 1.3% from the year before
- 482,000 fires occurred in structures, a very slight increase of 0.3%
- 384,000 fires or 80% of all structure fires occurred in residential properties
- 215,500 fires occurred in vehicles, a decrease of 1.6% from the year before
- 634,000 fires occurred in outside properties, a decrease of 2.3%
What do these fire frequencies above mean?
- Every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
- A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 65 seconds, and in particular a residential fire occurs every 82 seconds.
- Fires occur in vehicles at the rate of 1 every 146 seconds, and there’s a fire in an outside property every 50 seconds
Civilian Fire Deaths
- 3,120 civilian fire deaths occurred in 2010, an increase of 3.7%
- About 85% of all fire deaths occurred in the home
- 2,640 civilian fire deaths occurred in the home (1-and-2 family dwelling homes and apartments), an increase of 2.9%
- 285 civilians died in highway vehicle fires.
- 90 civilians died in nonresidential structure fires
- Nationwide, there was a civilian fire death every 169 minutes
Civilian Fire Injuries
- 17,720 civilian fire injuries occurred in 2010, an increase of 3.9%. This estimate for civilian injuries is on the low side, because many civilian injuries are not reported to the fire service
- 13,800 of all civilian injuries occurred in residential properties, while 1,620 occurred in nonresidential structure fires
- Nationwide, there was a civilian fire injury every 30 minutes.
- An estimated $11.6 billion in property damage occurred as a result of fire in 2010, a decrease of 7.5% from last year
- $9.7 billion of property damage occurred in structure fires.
- $7.1 billion of property loss occurred in residential properties.
Intentionally Set Fires
- An estimated 27,500 intentionally set structure fires occurred in 2010, an increase of 3.8%
- Intentionally set fires in structures resulted in 200 civilian deaths, an increase of 17.7%
- Intentionally set structure fires also resulted in $585,000,000 in property loss, a decrease of 14.5%
- 14,000 intentionally set vehicle fires occurred, a decrease of 6.7% from a year ago, and caused $89,000,000 in property damage, a decrease of 17.6% from a year ago.
A three-story apartment building that was under construction caught fire late this past week durinfgthe early evening in Carson, California (LA County). The fast moving fire rapidly extended through an apartment building complex under construction and spread to a nearby mobile home park damaging at least 10 homes and forcing evacuations, according to published reports. There were no reports of injuries.
Over 100 firefighters from 40 companies responded and worked the greater alarm fire, with rapid and effective fire control attained in short order in the early evening hours.
Construction sites, especially those with exposed phased wood framing pose significant operational challenges and demands.
First arriving response companies and command must quickly determine the size and magnitude of any rapidly advancing fire and efficiency determine an aggressive action plan that must be deployed rapidly while immediately considering the need for additional resources.
Normally, offensive strategic and tactical measures are highly ineffective due to the need to place operating companies in advance positions that may have high risk parameters subjecting companies to unacceptable safety risks.
The need for rapid and highly mobile hose line placement that must be sized appropriately with flow and delivery for the fire magnitude precludes hand line placement and results in the need to place portable monitors, deck monitors and elevated master streams into operation.
Safety and accountability are high priorities at multiple alarm incidents involving a construction site.
The blaze was rapidly progressing out of control when the first fire units arrived about three minutes after the incident was reported, officials said. The first-in company requested additional alarms due to the fast movement of the fire and its intensity.
The three-story structure had more than 100 units and was being framed. This open framing phase of construction is highly susceptible to fire exposure and ripid development and extension. The large volume of wood, coupled with the open spaces, allowed wind to blow through the structure and stoke the blaze, officials said. That radiated heat combined with wind gusts sent the fire into a nearby mobile home park. More than 139 mobile homes were evacuated. At least 10 homes in the park were damaged by flames.
The entire 139-unit mobile home park was evacuated after the fire and residents were not be allowed to return overnight. The other two senior living buildings on the property were also evacuated, but residents were being allowed back in late into the evening.
- Read more: http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/local/carson-construction-site-fire-20111027#ixzz1cC8ihwV0
The construction site which was part of a planned 150-unit luxury apartment building was set to open July 2012.
Firefighing operations at the Carson apartment building View all 30 photos
The cause of the fire was under investigations. See photos of firefighters battling the blaze in Carson.
- The Los Angeles Times, Reports HERE.
- KABC-TV has additional video and details HERE.
- Fireground photo gallery HERE.
Some Highlighted Operational Considerations (not inclusive)
- Pre-Fire Plan Large Construction Projects
- Understand the various Phases to a Construction Project and site and how they affect fire operations at the various stages; there is a difference
- Identify and train for non-conventional Strategic and Tactical operational actions
- Ensure predetermined multiple alarm resources are identified and greater alarms are established
- Train your Company and Command Officers to identify correct IAPs and Manage Construction site fires
- Maintain an appropriate risk profile balance with operational needs; with personnel safety being foremost
- Clearly establish multiple Safety Offices and establish geographical resources within the incident management system for reconnaissance, communications, oversight and focused safety monitoring
- Know you water supply and system capabilities and limitations
- Determine fire flow needs based upon construction phases, as these change over time as the building goes up. Match fire flow demands with resource availability (time of day gaps etc.)
- Identify exposures (Physical structures and Civilians) and ensure they are calculated into the incident action plan at the right time, before they become immediate identified needs or concerns
- Companies shall maintain a conservative safety posture; this is not the time for overly aggressive firefighting- it is the time for smart firefighting that can be highly efficient with appropriate tactics and company officer supervision
- Always consider collapse zones: partial or complete. Stay out of them! Be aware of your surroundings and maintain situational awareness
- Respect the wind; it’s not going to help you
- Consider current and projected weather conditions in your operational and tactical plans and assignments; plan ahead
- Did I already say: Pre-fire Planning?
- Be calculated in the placement of your apparatus, especially in larger scale incidents that are defined under greater geographical divisions; Think ahead
- The fire usually consumes the available fuel load rapidly; going from a Huge fire, to one that is sometimes much more manageable; watch and control your exposures and degree of fire extension. Don’t help to make the fire even bigger through ineffective and dysfunctional command and control
- Anticipate, Project, Plan and Engage
- Respect the Fire: it’s not going to play by the regular rules of combat fire suppression and engagment as you would expect to find in finished and enclosed structures and buildings.
How prepared are you to address a rapidly developing fire in a building or construction site; as the first-due Company Officer or as the Commanding Officer?
Is your company, battalion or department capably trained and skilled to address this type of demanding incident operation?
Do you have any training or operational gaps?
Do you have any construction sites working in your first-due or greater alarm or mutual aid areas? If so, then – Maybe you need to do any pre-fire planning…..?
Required Reading: Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential ConstructionNo comments
Another must read for all Company and Command Officers: Impact of ventilation on fire behavior in legacy and contemporary residential construction, by Steve Kerber (2011) UL Report. Take some time to increase your proficiencies and compentencies.
Under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to FirefighterGrant Program, Underwriters Laboratories examined fire service ventilation practices as well as the impact of changes in modern house geometries. There has been a steady change in the residential fire environment over the past several decades. These changes include larger homes, more open floor plans and volumes and increased synthetic fuel loads. This series of experiments examine this change in fire behavior and the impact on firefighter ventilation tactics.
This fire research project developed the empirical data that is needed to quantify the fire behavior associated with these scenarios and result in immediately developing the necessary firefighting ventilation practices to reduce firefighter death and injury.
Two houses were constructed in the large fire facility of Underwriters Laboratories inNorthbrook, IL. The first of two houses constructed was a one-story, 1200 ft2, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house with 8 total rooms. The second house was a two-story 3200 ft2, 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with 12 total rooms. The second house featured a modern open floor plan, two story great room and open foyer. Fifteen experiments were conducted varying the ventilation locations and the number of ventilation openings. Ventilation scenarios included ventilating the front door only, opening the front door and a window near and remote from the seat of the fire, opening a window only and ventilating a higher opening in the two-story house. One scenario in each house was conducted in triplicate to examine repeatability.
The results of these experiments provide knowledge for the fire service for them to examine their thought processes, standard operating procedures and training content. Several tactical considerations were developed utilizing the data from the experiments to provide specific examples of changes that can be adopted based on a departments current strategies and tactics.
The tactical considerations addressed include:
- Stages of fire development: The stages of fire development change when a fire becomes ventilation limited. It is common with today’s fire environment to have a decay period prior to flashover which emphasizes the importance of ventilation.
- Forcing the front door is ventilation: Forcing entry has to be thought of as ventilation as well. While forcing entry is necessary to fight the fire it must also trigger the thought that air is being fed to the fire and the clock is ticking before either the fire gets extinguished or it grows until an untenable condition exists jeopardizing the safety of everyone in the structure.
- No smoke showing: A common event during the experiments was that once the fire became ventilation limited the smoke being forced out of the gaps of the houses greatly diminished or stopped all together. No some showing during size-up should increase awareness of the potential conditions inside.
- Coordination: If you add air to the fire and don’t apply water in the appropriate time frame the fire gets larger and safety decreases. Examining the times to untenability gives the best case scenario of how coordinated the attack needs to be. Taking the average time for every experiment from the time of ventilation to the time of the onset of firefighter untenability conditions yields 100 seconds for the one-story house and 200 seconds for the two-story house. In many of the experiments from the onset of firefighter untenability until flashover was less than 10 seconds. These times should be treated as being very conservative. If a vent location already exists because the homeowner left a window or door open then the fire is going to respond faster to additional ventilation opening because the temperatures in the house are going to be higher. Coordination of fire attack crew is essential for a positive outcome in today’s fire environment.
- Smoke tunneling and rapid air movement through the front door: Once the front door is opened attention should be given to the flow through the front door. A rapid in rush of air or a tunneling effect could indicate a ventilation limited fire.
- Vent Enter Search (VES): During a VES operation, primary importance should be given to closing the door to the room. This eliminates the impact of the open vent and increases tenability for potential occupants and firefighters while the smoke ventilates from the now isolated room.
- Flow paths: Every new ventilation opening provides a new flow path to the fire and vice versa. This could create very dangerous conditions when there is a ventilation limited fire.
- Can you vent enough?: In the experiments where multiple ventilation locations were made it was not possible to create fuel limited fires. The fire responded to all the additional air provided. That means that even with a ventilation location open the fire is still ventilation limited and will respond just as fast or faster to any additional air. It is more likely that the fire will respond faster because the already open ventilation location is allowing the fire to maintain a higher temperature than if everything was closed. In these cases rapid fire progression if highly probable and coordination of fire attack with ventilation is paramount.
- Impact of shut door on occupant tenability and firefighter tenability: Conditions in every experiment for the closed bedroom remained tenable for temperature and oxygen concentration thresholds. This means that the act of closing a door between the occupant and the fire or a firefighter and the fire can increase the chance of survivability. During firefighter operations if a firefighter is searching ahead of a hose line or becomes separated from his crew and conditions deteriorate then a good choice of actions would be to get in a room with a closed door until the fire is knocked down or escape out of the room’s window with more time provided by the closed door.
- Potential impact of open vent already on flashover time: All of these experiments were designed to examine the first ventilation actions by an arriving crew when there are no ventilation openings. It is possible that the fire will fail a window prior to fire department arrival or that a door or window was left open by the occupant while exiting. It is important to understand that an already open ventilation location is providing air to the fire, allowing it to sustain or grow.
- Pushing fire: There were no temperature spikes in any of the rooms, especially the rooms adjacent to the fire room when water was applied from the outside. It appears that in most cases the fire was slowed down by the water application and that external water application had no negative impacts to occupant survivability. While the fog stream “pushed” steam along the flow path there was no fire “pushed”.
- No damage to surrounding rooms: Just as the fire triangle depicts, fire needs oxygen to burn. A condition that existed in every experiment was that the fire (living room or family room) grew until oxygen was reduced below levels to sustain it. This means that it decreased the oxygen in the entire house by lowering the oxygen in surrounding rooms and the more remote bedrooms until combustion was not possible. In most cases surrounding rooms such as the dining room and kitchen had no fire in them even when the fire room was fully involved in flames and was ventilating out of the structure.
- From CommandSafety.com (past post) Tactical Patience and the New Considerations of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction
How much thought and efforts do you place on looking beyond the suggested “routiness” of your response operations? You know, the redundancy, routiness and frequency of typical calls you run, the types of fire you engage in and the manner in which your company interfaces with the balance of the alarm response when working a job or multiple alarm operation. We talk about nothing being routine, yet we have a pace, a rhythm and regularity, a consistency that is predicatable yet, uncertain; expected but when presented; off-guard.
When things go wrong, they can go wrong at an escalating rate that may at times not be apparent. Think about the issues that affect Errors, Omissions, Unknown or Unrecognized Building Profile or Construction, Wrong Tactics, Lack of Resources, Dysfunctional Command, Inadequate skills, High Risk-No Value, Situational Awareness failure, Command Compression, Tactical Entertainment…
From a company level, what are your concerns related to the routiness or regularity of your operations?
How would you relate to the fact that: “It’s NOT always business as usual”.
The complexities of the modern and evolving fireground demand an understanding of the building-occupancy relationships and the integral functionals related to;
- construction and systems,
- predictive occupacny performance
- occupancy profile risk
- fire dynamics and fire behavior,
- risk respect
- firefighting capabilities
- safety consciousness
- situational awareness
- tactical patience
- fluid and adaptive incident command management,
- diligent company level supervision and
- task level company competencies,
- exceptional individual skills
Without the sum of these; You are derelict and negligent and “not “everyone may be going home”.
How much knowledge and formal training have you had as a Commanding Officer or Company Officer on Building Construction?
Have any clue on the performance of Engineered Structural Systems….?
Are your strategic plans and tactics aligned with Occupancy Risk and projected Building Performance, company capabilities and the fire dynamics?
There’s a lot that can be gleaned from your surroundings on any given day. We sometimes take for granted the subtle changes that are happening all around us as we take care of business on our rounds, runs and calls. We tend to focus in on the immediacy of the events that are happening in front of us that demand our attention but fail to take a look around to pick up on information, data and insights that can help us on that next run or down the road in the future.
Take a look at the construction that might be going up in your areas. I’m certain you’re paying close attention to what’s happening in your first-due, but what about that third-due area, that neighboring jurisdiction or the mutual-aid area that you occasionally run in to? When you’re on that next EMS run or an investigation of an odor or alarm bells service call, take a few extra minutes to walk through the occupancy. Conduct your own mini company level pre-plan.
Look at the layout, features, access and construction features. If you have a chance, verify the structural support systems employed by the building for the floor and roof systems. If you have time, take the company on a quick site visit to that building that’s under construction or the renovations that are again underway in that commercial or business occupancy around the corner from quarters.
These continuing challenging economic times places a great deal of influence on what’s being built, how it might be constructed, the manner in which a building may be operational one day, vacant the other and under renovation the next. Sometimes these transformations occur literally overnight.
Take a good look around, this is your town…your district, your response area. Know your buildings, understand their performance profiles, and assess the predictability of performance. Remember; Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.
If you think these factors are not important OR you dismiss them as being non-material-think again;
Do you know where you’re going? Have you checked your compass lately to see if you are still on the right track?
They are Mission Critical for firefighter safety and incident mitigation