|Misc.: Rescuers Concerned About New Auto Technology
|Engine101 writes " Air bags and combined electric and gas systems in hybrid cars make extrication a daunting task for firefighters.
By Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
As smoke curled from the dashboard of a BMW in Inglewood, a firefighter reached to turn off the ignition. He didn't know the fire was shorting out wires to the air bag.
The bag punched him in the face at 200 mph, giving him a concussion, bruises and cuts.
|Misc.: Ventilating Fires Aboard Ships
FIRES ABOARD SHIPS
(originally published in Safety at
Sea International, May 1994.)
New ship designs including atriums on cruise liners need to take account
of ventilation should a fire break out.
John Abell, Senior Lecturer at Southampton Institute's
Maritime and Offshore Safety Section explains:
After the development of polyurethane foam by a German scientist in 1937, its
use in furniture design and manufacture, especially from the mid 1960s, has
meant that traditionally held concepts of fire development in places where this
is located have radically changed. Prior to the use of foam in ship's Class
A materials, wood, paper etc would still quickly smoke log large areas unless
the fire was soon extinguished. The visibility in engine rooms has always reduced
dramatically when oil has caught alight.
A series of large fires ashore in the 1950s and 1960s demonstrated that fires
could not be successfully brought under control until ventilation had taken
place. Tragically 48 people died in the Stardust Disco fire in Dublin in 1981,
but the scientists were in no doubt that the outcome would have been far worse
if the fire had not self-ventilated at an early stage allowing the irrespirable
gases to convect away. Had the ceiling remained intact there would have been
insufficient oxygen after 30 seconds of the initial flame up to sustain life.
The traditional Merchant Navy response is to batten down a fire, switch off
the ventilation, cool the boundaries with water sprays and remove combustible
material which is adjacent to the six sides of the box. In reality the problem
may be compounded by casualties in the space, or passengers and crew who have
delayed their escape by either not responding to the alarm bells or being unaware
of the emergency. A fire broke out on the North Sea ferry TOR SANDINAVIA in
1989, below a loudspeaker. This was soon damaged which then caused two other
loudspeakers not to function. Two passengers died from smoke poisoning. Reports
of incidents indicate that some passengers and sometimes crew members will not
respond to alarm bells ringing, whereas clear concise announcements are essential
in order to describe the urgency required. Experimental work has shown that
after the initial incubation period the heat release rates grows approximately
as the square of the time which is accompanied by the development of large volumes
In the early ambiguous stages of the fire growth people do not recognize the
danger signs and carry on regardless until a very dangerous situation has occurred.
The rapid decrease in visibility often leads to disorientation and, coupled
with the ingestion of toxic gases, escape time can be very limited.
A large vessel was retrofitted with a generator prior to temporary lay-up.
The sight glass on its diesel tank broke and was replaced by clear plastic hose.
When the tank was being topped up it overflowed and the turbo blower on the
generator ignited the diesel. The ensuing fire melted the plastic sight glass
which caused the tank to empty. Three engineers went in to fight the fire wearing
breathing apparatus although everyone had been accounted for and there was no
risk to life. However, they made several entries, breaking the golden rule of
"change the man not the air cylinder on his back." The shoreside fire
brigade arrived and immediately opened a funnel flap to release the smoke and
steam. Low pressure warning whistles had already been heard from inside the
engine room. The visibility improved very quickly but the engineers were found
dead, and totally separated in a space with which they were very familiar. Heat
exhaustion had taken its toll. (See Fig. 1.)
Ship's design requires automatic closing of various systems: except perhaps
for the sprinklers nothing will open automatically. However, the amended International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 which came into force on January
1, 1994 states that "where ships are built after this date, public spaces
spanning three or more open decks and which contain varying combustibles, the
spaces must be equipped with a smoke extraction system." This is the first
time that a purpose built smoke ventilation system has been required in ship
design and will basically only apply to new passenger ship construction, although
such systems have been commonplace ashore for many years.
One of the most difficult decisions to get right during fire-fighting is when
to ventilate. Mariners immediately respond that the extra air induced will feed
the fire which will consequently burn more violently. The Master of the SCANDINAVIAN
STAR, during the fire-fighting by the shore authorities, intimated that he had
been taught to box in a fire and yet the firefighters had been working through
his ship opening doors everywhere.
The difficulties of fighting fires inside ships have few worse comparisons
so that the benefits of correct ventilation are considerable.
- Crew and passengers can survive longer. Rescue teams can work far more effectively.
- The increased visibility enables the fire-fighters to locate the seat of
the fire quickly, less water is used and the reduced steam that is created
(water expands 1700 times to steam) is ventilated away.
- Heat and humidity rapidly saps the strength of a fire-fighter and the effective
working duration of the breathing apparatus wearers can easily be halved.
The fire load or amount of combustible materials is very high in the accommodation
but the fire risk in engine rooms is considerable. More efficient modern machinery
is run at higher operating temperatures with a tendency to use heavier, cheaper
fuels which have a lower self-ignition temperature. When these land on hot exhausts,
large volumes of smoke are rapidly produced. The smoke is allowed to spread
unhindered through a large and invariably undivided space. If extraction fans
are left on to allow escape or during the initial fire-fighting attempt, the
increased visibility and lowering of heat and humidity levels will be considerably
advantageous to the fire-fighters.
The general philosophy in fighting fire in machinery spaces is to have one
good attempt with portable equipment, after the alarm has been raised, or by
a fast response by a breathing apparatus wearing emergency team. If the situation
deteriorates then there is no question that there must be an immediate withdrawal,
a muster, closing of ventilation flaps and release of the fixed installations.
All of this appears to be straightforward but the muster is often difficult
to complete especially when personnel evacuate by different exits and do not
report to their muster point.
The temptation when a decision seems likely to be in favour of
releasing the fixed installations is to switch off extraction from the space.
If the muster is incomplete it may well lead to fatalities. The regulations
require the ventilation to be stopped by mechanical means; this is often achieved
by an electrical switch that is activated when the door to the release mechanism
is opened. The alarm will immediately sound and on some vessels other systems
will be stopped but once again Is everyone out? There are many examples
of over enthusiastic Customs Officers tripping out a miscellany of machinery
when rummaging, without prior notice, in the fixed installation release cabinet.
This causes much delight to the engineers who must evacuate when the alarm sounds
but then have to re-enter to reset the trips!
An old withdrawn "M" Notice (Notice to Mariners) tells us that once
the carbon dioxide has been released the engine room must be left battened down
for at least 36 hours. However, the thoughts at that time were that the fixed
installation was the very last resort and the release was delayed. During fires,
mariners have been reticent to release the fixed installations. Experiments
carried out by the Americans have shown that carbon dioxide must be released
within 15 minutes to completely extinguish a fire and limit the fire damage.
The Master may need his engine power back as soon as possible because of the
potentially dangerous position the ship is in, so providing that boundaries
are sufficiently cool, an entry should be made as low down as possible. In cargo
ships and some other vessels access from the propellor shaft is ideal. (See
Communications are essential from the entry control officer to the ventilating
team in the funnel area to open a flap as the fire team enters. Visibility will
rapidly improve, the extinguishing medium will be used more effectively and
the duration of the breathing apparatus sets will be longer as the heat and
humidity decreases. Very hot superheated gases will be vented from the funnel
and this area may need to be cooled but water should never be directed into
the engine room when people are inside. Tankers do pose greater problems because
entry at a lower level is rarely possible. (See Fig. 3)
Providing the conditions permit entry by cooling followed by careful
door-opening, the fire fighters must get to a position below or adjacent to
the fire if entry is essential and only then can the funnel flap be
opened when the attack is ready.
The fire load is high in accommodations even though a considerable amount of
material is fire-retardant. Air-conditioning systems on ships will vary considerably
but it may be on partial recirculation where a certain percentage, say 70 per
cent, is supplied from fresh air and the other 30 per cent continues to circulate.
Unless this AC system is switched off immediately the smoke in one area will
quickly spread to other areas.
As 153 out of the 158 deaths aboard the SCANDINAVIAN STAR were attributed to
smoke inhalation, the investigating committee spent some time looking at the
ventilation system. Smoke spread was so rapid that many of the passengers died
in less than five minutes. Although the precise time the ventilation was stopped
could not be ascertained, it appeared to be beneficial to some escaping passengers.
The overpressure in the cabins prevented smoke from seeping in from the corridor;
however, this showed that the cabins were tenable for longer until the high
volumes of smoke in the corridors eventually smoke logged the cabins. The corridor,
which was the escape route, could not now be used without respiratory protection.
This was a very unusual fire because it was deliberately set in a corridor where
normally there should be very little to burn. The alarm was raised from decks
above the fire and so no smoke doors were closed near the fire seat.
Because there is no dedicated smoke extraction system aboard ships, apart from
the forthcoming regulations for Atria, all vessels for years to come will have
to use the ductings and other openings which are already part of the ship's
structure, to ventilate hot gases away. There can unfortunately be no blueprint
that can apply to the diversity of designs but ideas can be offered which will
help the Master and his Senior Officers to use their existing systems to the
The preservation and the safety of life is unquestionably the priority at sea.
In accommodations the major risk of smoke spreading from a cabin to the corridor
and then to the staircases can have a major effect on escape and evacuation
procedures. Crew and passengers, who may not be in the fire zone may also have
difficulty in reaching their muster station. The mass of hot smoky gases which
are given off in a fire depends almost entirely on the air entrained into the
hot phase before it reaches the smoke layer. The amount of smoke increases with
height but it becomes cooler and more dilute at the same time. Once it has left
the centre of the fire even small differences between the smoke and the surrounding
air greatly speeds up smoke movement. When the smoke reaches the ceiling/deckhead
it spreads laterally, often at rather high velocities, continuing until a vertical
path is available or the smoke cools enough for it to sink and mix with ambient
It is therefore essential that when a fire starts in a cabin the door remains
closed otherwise the escape routes will become smoke logged. (See Fig. 4).
By using the principle known as "opposed airflow" a minimum velocity
of air at the opening flows from the adjacent room into the fire room, e.g.
corridor with cabin where there is fire. The extraction system will not be able
to remove a significant amount of the smoke produced, however a detector will
allow early escape and, providing that cabin doors are self-closing, the fire
is contained. The escape routes will remain clear for a sufficient amount of
time to allow evacuation. As the cabin supply is stopped the extract will not
work so efficiently, however when smoke doors are opened at the ends of the
corridor there will be a tendency for fresh air to be drawn into the affected
corridor; this should prevent smoke from flowing into the stairs. (See Fig.
To summarize the requirements for this system to work:
- Cabin extraction is maintained
- Supply of air to the cabin is stopped
- Maintain air supplies to stairways
- Doors to be self-closing
A breathing apparatus team will be able to enter with jet spray nozzles into
an area with better visibility than would have been if the extraction had been
Even with the best housekeeping standards, dust will accumulate in trunkings
and there is no question that secondary fires may start but, during these early
stages, the crew and passengers will have evacuated to a safe area. The bridge
team will be able to consult their ventilation plans, establish patrols, and
direct fire teams to the areas where fires may lie undetected.
In larger areas such as cinemas, lounges, restaurants and reception areas the
same principle may be adopted by leaving the extraction on but stopping the
supply. Extraction rates may be larger in these areas but if they are not the
space will be tenable for those extra precious minutes, which will allow people
to escape, before the smoke flows to other rooms via the doorways and other
openings. Once evacuation is complete the fire doors can be closed.
A considerable amount of research work is being undertaken by various ventilation
companies to develop dedicated smoke extraction facilities. ABB Fl?kt Marine
AB of Sweden has carried out extensive full scale experiments on large passenger
ferries. High volume supply and exhaust fans, which far exceed the capacities
of the normal systems fitted, can remove a considerable amount of smoke which
keeps the escape routes clear.
These developments are directed to passenger vessels where the life risk is
very high compared to the cargo carriers. Passenger vessels which are in service
now, some over 30 years old, will most likely be with us for many years to come.
All ships will have to use the systems already fitted to the best advantage
to remove smoke. Early detection is essential so that the fire can be contained
and the steps taken in these first few minutes are crucial. The fact remains
that if a fire team enters a smoke-logged area their progress will be painfully
slow if they are unable to exhaust at least some of the smoke and steam.
|Posted by adminfire on Saturday, March 08, 2003 @ 22:11:01 PST (2480 reads)(Misc. | Score: 3) |
Organophosphate Pesticide Exposures
By Rob Schnepp
You arrive on scene to find a 38-year-old
female with a complaint of mild abdominal pain.?She states
that she has vomited several times, 45 minutes after eating a
cheeseburger at a local restaurant. She appears to be very
anxious, a little sweaty and obviously uncomfortable; and she
graphically describes numerous episodes of watery diarrhea. Her
heart rate is 130 beats per minute and her blood pressure is 118/80.
She has a runny nose, her pupils are about 2mm in diameter, and
she is oriented but slow to respond to your questions. You listen
to her lungs and find them to be ?wet? sounding with a
respiratory rate of 32.
Any thoughts on what might be wrong? If
the title of this piece had been ?Toxic Cheeseburgers: 10
Reasons Why You Should Never Eat Fast Food,? it?s
entirely possible that you started thinking about food poisoning.
While the signs and symptoms listed above may have lead you down
that path, there were other things that should have seemed out of
place. Would a patient suffering from food poisoning have
pinpoint pupils and wet sounding lungs? Probably not.
I would not expect you to immediately
determine an organophosphate exposure, but the point is that a
patient of this type may present with mild signs and symptoms. It
would then be up to you to make a differential diagnosis and
provide the appropriate care. The reality is that this patient
may be in serious trouble, and you could be standing at the rare
moment when you can intervene at just the right time and truly
make a difference.
Since this piece is not about toxic
cheeseburgers, let?s get on with the discussion of
organophosphates and the concept of proper recognition and the
ultimate treatment of an acute exposure. It?s my goal to
keep the reading light, informative, and easy to remember.
Hopefully, you?ll log off with a better understanding of
this group of chemicals, and you can apply it to your own neck of
At some point in your career, you?ve
probably heard about the dreaded class of pesticides called
organophosphates. It was most likely from some haz mat guy who
said that you could be in real trouble if you were ever exposed
to any and that you should take care to protect yourself at all
costs. What didn?t get covered, probably, was what to do if
you encounter somebody else who?d been exposed.
Somebody like the poor guy who works in a bean field somewhere or
the farmer who gets exposed to something in his barn that makes
him feel all jittery and sick to his stomach. All of a sudden,
you find yourself in a position where you wish you?d
listened to that haz mat guy a few years ago.
Well, the good news is that you?ve
got a second chance! We?ll cover some basics about this
group of pesticides and provide you with a few nuggets to file
away in case you ever run into this interesting group of
chemicals. This is not an article about the chemical makeup of
organophosphates per se; it?s more geared at
providing medical treatment for the victim of an acute chemical
With that in mind, let?s look at
organophosphates from a broad perspective, specifically their
mission in the chemical world. The EPA, for example, looks at
pesticides from this perspective: ?A pesticide is any
substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing,
destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.? This concept
alone should let you know that an unintentional exposure could
turn out to be a very bad thing. The suffix -cide, in fact,
literally means, ?to kill.? Pesticides, for example,
are designed to kill pests, while rodenticides kill rodents,
fungicides kill fungus, and so on and so forth ? you get the
idea. The thing to keep in mind here is this; pesticides are
designed ?to kill? pests, but they can be just as
effective on humans. That?s what makes this group of
chemicals so important: the profound health effects they will
have on you or me, or the guy down the street.
Some common organophosphates you may have
heard about, or even run into, are malathion, methyl-parathion,
diazinon and a host of commercial compounds like Lorsban and
Dursban. It?s interesting to note that the chemical nerve
agents Sarin, Soman and Tabun are also classified as
organophosphates; that should give you an idea of how nasty they
So why are organophosphates so dangerous?
First, as stated earlier, they are fairly common, especially in
the farming industry, and very effective at doing their job
? killing things.
Second, most pesticides are toxic by all
routes of entry into the body and have systemic effects. This
means that an external exposure to the skin or eyes may cause
damage to large-scale body systems like the cardiovascular system
or the central nervous system. Damage to these critical body
systems, specifically due to organophosphates, could include
pinpoint pupils, vomiting, tachycardia and/or bradycardia,
seizure-like tremors and respiratory arrest. These substances
primarily act on the central nervous system, specifically as a
What this means in laymen?s terms is
that an exposure may impair the way our nerves conduct an impulse
throughout the body. Imagine for a moment that your body is wired
like your house. The brain serves as the main service panel, and
the nerves branch out through the body like runs of wiring.
?Some go to the kitchen, while others go to the living room
and den. When everything works right, the lights go on and off
when you flick the switch and all the appliances work like they
are supposed to. But what if the wiring arcs, shorts out or
becomes compromised? Maybe the lights came on like you expected,
maybe they didn?t. Perhaps they stayed on and couldn?t
be turned off no matter what you did. Basically, this is what an
organophosphate does. It interferes with the uptake of a chemical
compound called cholinesterase that turns off some of the
chemical ?switches? in your body. In short, a chemical
called acetylcholine is secreted by a nerve and travels across a
tiny gap to another nerve or an organ that is to be stimulated.
Once acetylcholine has completed its mission, the cholinesterase
is supposed to break it down and stop the stimulation. This
happens a zillion times a day without a problem in a normal,
healthy adult; and the whole cycle is completed in a nanosecond.
If a person becomes exposed to an organophosphate, however,
things change. What happens now is that the acetylcholine does it
job, but the specific organophosphate, methyl-parathion, for
example, bonds to the cholinesterase and holds it hostage ?
the cholinesterase can no longer break down the acetylcholine
like it?s supposed to. The stimulated cells then go into a
sort of hyperdrive and essentially burn themselves up. The
manifestations of that excessive stimulation results in a group
of symptoms called SLUDGE, which is an acronym for:
- Lachrymation (teary eyes)
- Gastric disturbance
The patient may also appear anxious, have
muscle tremors, diarrhea, bradycardia or even tachycardia,
hypotension and pinpoint pupils. There may also be huge amounts
of saliva in the mouth and upper airway, which could ultimately
lead to airway compromise. All in all, he is in BIG trouble and
the drugs you administer may not even save him. It stands to
reason, then, that an acute exposure requires immediate and
aggressive therapy; and even then, you may lose the patient.
How do you determine if your patient has
been exposed to an organophosphate? A good scene survey perhaps,
but more than likely it will the patient presentation and
obtaining a good patient history. The part of the story omitted
from the beginning of the article was this: The patient just
started a new job with a lawn-care service and had spent the
entire day applying some ?bug killer? that her boss
told her to use. She ate the cheeseburger in the car on the way
home. Would that have been a good piece of the puzzle to know
earlier? Absolutely! But remember, it?s up to you
to be the historian in most cases. If you?ve been running
EMS calls for any length of time, you know full well that you
literally need to drag information out of your patients. Usually,
if you don?t ask, they don?t tell!
Organophosphate exposures create a unique
group of symptoms, and you will need to fit the puzzle together
properly in order to see them. Pinpoint pupils are a big clue, so
make sure your secondary survey includes a pupil check. The
patient may also be wheezing, with no history of asthma or other
respiratory disease. Keep in mind that, in cases of mild
overexposure, it may be the subtle things that tip you off.
So now you have determined that you have
an organophosphate poisoning ? what next? The treatment is
largely aimed at breaking the hold on cholinesterase. This is not
an easy proposition and has to be done with drug therapy. Here
again, thorough and safe decontamination must be completed to
assure your own safety. Assuming the scene is safe and you have
done a good job of decontamination, here are some guidelines:
- Protect yourself first!
- Make every attempt to identify the source of the exposure.
- Do a good primary and secondary survey.
- Administer high-flow oxygen. The airway may also
require lots of suctioning. Death due to
organophosphate exposures is usually from hypoxia or
respiratory failure secondary to neuromuscular failure.
- Obtain a full set of vital signs.
- Determine a baseline respiratory effort and rate and
closely monitor for changes.
- Obtain a baseline mental status and monitor for changes.
- Put the patient in a position of comfort ? supine
may not be the best.
- Rapid Transport ? don?t play doctor on the
scene. Once you recognize the situation, get on the road!
ALS Actions (including all the above)
- Use pulse oximetry if within your scope. Any readings
below 93% should indicate respiratory compromise.
- ECG: Monitor for tachycardia or bradycardia but remember
treat the patient, not the monitor. Don?t
immediately jump on cardiac treatment unless it?s
hemodynamically significant. Changes in the heart rate
may not respond to traditional cardiotonic drugs. In the
case of an organophosphate, successful treatment of the
underlying problem may correct cardiac disturbances.
- Large bore IV if applicable. You may be pushing huge
amounts of IV fluids and drugs so make sure the line is
patent. Take care to use aseptic techniques and ensure
that the patient has been fully decontaminated prior to
poking holes in his skin.
- Track respirations with a bag valve mask or intubate if
necessary. Watch out for your own lungs when intubating
or ventilating a patient with significant inhalation
exposures. There may be swelling in the upper airway so
intubate early if it is indicated.
- Administer 2-5 mg?s of atropine IV push or down the
ET tube every 2-5 minutes. Your therapy is directed at
drying up the secretions. Dilated pupils are an indicator
of effectiveness as well as the restoration of an
effective heart rate and the diminished effects of the
SLUDGE. If administering the atropine via the
endotracheal tube, double the IV dose or use high dose
atropine diluted in 10 cc?s of saline. This keeps
from adding a bunch of fluid to what may already be there.
Atropine has no contraindications in this setting.
Although it?s not in the scope of practice for most
paramedics, the administration of pralidoxime (2-PAM) has
been shown to be tremendously effective at treating
organophosphate exposures. In regards to the nerve agents
(Sarin, Soman, Tabun, etc.), pralidoxime is part of the
standard drug therapy to be administered. It can be
administered as an infusion at 1 gram over 30 minutes or
as a 1 gram bolus. Other studies have shown that an IV
infusion of pralidoxime at a rate of 500mg per hour may
be effective. This is largely a treatment given in the
hospital, but one you should be aware of. The therapeutic
goal of either of these drugs is to dry the respiratory
secretions and improve the oxygenation of the patient. It?s
not unreasonable for a patient to receive more than 500mg?s
of atropine in a 24-hour period. This may seem extreme,
as we are accustomed to administering atropine in 0.5 and
1 mg doses, but should illustrate the benefit of
sustained and aggressive treatment.
- The patient may also be seizing. If this occurs, treat
for seizures per your local protocols.
- In the event of cardiac arrest, treat it like any other
non-chemically induced code.
Other important components to treatment
include things not traditionally associated with pre-hospital
medicine. In the case of an acute exposure where you suspect
organophosphates, make every attempt to identify the offending
substance. It?s not as critical if you can?t make a
positive ID in the first few minutes, but, down the road, should
the patient become stable, it would be helpful to know. It?s
also important to understand the need for thorough
decontamination and personal protective equipment. The intent of
this article is not to discuss the pros and cons of technical
decon, but any responder should put this action at the top of the
priority list when dealing with chemical exposures. It?s so
important, in fact, that no treatment should begin until you are
reasonably sure that you won?t become a patient yourself.
Additionally, many organophosphate
pesticides are mixed in a hydrocarbon media prior to application.
This means that if the pesticide is in a liquid form, some sort
of flammable liquid could very well be present. It?s not the
flammability that should concern you so much, although you should
consider the danger, but it?s the effect that most solvents
have on latex rubber. Many of us in the EMS field use the
standard latex rubber gloves for medical calls, but the problem
with latex rubber and many hydrocarbons is this: they break down
the latex like gasoline in a Styrofoam cup. That?s an
extreme example, but your thinking should revolve around making
sure you don?t wear any old gloves and assume you?ll be
protected. Each particular substance may have unique
incompatibilities with your gloves, so make sure that they will
work before putting your hands on an exposed patient. It?s
bad form to show up as a rescuer and end up in the hospital!
Under the best circumstances, chemical
exposures are difficult to deal with. We become accustomed to
dealing with heart attacks and trauma, but may feel a whole lot
less comfortable with the kind of patient described at the
beginning of this piece. The keys to being successful in this
setting are to remember these 5 basic points:
- Provide for your own safety first!
- Try to ID the source of the exposure
- Decontaminate the patient if it?s your
- Provide the appropriate BLS or ALS measures
- Package the patient and transport
The final comment is directed at the single
most important governing principle when dealing with chemical
Everything you do should be geared at
moving the patient toward the hospital.
This is where the definitive care takes
place. Don?t delay in getting the patient to the most
appropriate facility in the shortest amount of time!
|Misc.: Forcible Entry Size-up & Tools
Forcible Entry Size-up & Tools
By Mike Lombardo
Size-up of the door and occupancy will help us select tools
and give us an idea of what we will encounter inside the door. The direction
a door swings and hinge locations are some of our size-up factors. The vast
majority of residential buildings will have inward-swinging doors. This will
also mean the hinges are on the inside of the door. An outward-swinging door
in an occupancy of this type usually indicates a closet or basement entrance.
An inward-opening door will generally signal a bedroom or bathroom. The threshold
in a bathroom doorway is also a good size-up factor and can be a great guide
during a search. In multiple dwellings, an outward-swinging door can be a danger
sign. Utility closets will have outward-swinging doors that may contain haz-mats
with which to contend. In public-housing-project buildings, we may find an elevator
door that swings out. If this door has an inoperable interlock device, it may
open to a shaft without an elevator at that floor. When dealing with outward-opening
doors it must be remembered that the hinges will not always be visible, they
may be recessed into the door.
The construction of the door, the frame, and
wall, are also important to us. The type of door construction
? steel, wood, solid core, or hallow core ? will
determine how we will place our prying tool. Some of our best
indicators when looking at a door are the lock faces and keyways.?
If we find a door with a faceplate and no keyway, for instance,
we may want to consider an alternative entry point. It probably
is not the primary door the occupants use and may be a very
difficult door to force. When looking at a door, determine if
there are bolt heads coming through that could indicate a drop
bar is behind it. These bars may be simple 2 x 4?s dropped
into an angle iron frame or elaborate mechanical bars that recess
into a wall at the doorframe. Are there any keyways that are not
at the edge of the door? If you find a keyway in the center or
off-center you may be dealing with a lock that has a buttress to
the floor. This could also indicate a lock with rods encased into
the door that slide into the frame and wall in two or four
directions. The doorframe construction will often determine what
tools we use. For instance, a weak stop will prevent using
hydraulic tools, such as the Rabbit Tool, a lightweight, hand-carried
spreading device, because the stop will fail before the lock does.
Or with a very strong door and frame set in a drywall partition
wall, it will be easier to breach the wall rather than forcing
The type of occupancy is also important.
Doors at ?Sandy?s Muffins and Buns? will probably
not be as tough a problem as a door on ?Christa?s Rare
Jewels and Gold.? Occupancy can also be a factor when
determining how much of a forcible entry problem we face. A fire
in a large multiple dwelling, or worse, in a single room
cause a lot of stress for an IC when he has one truck at a fire
on a lower floor of one of these. One idea is to send a team with
a hydraulic tool (rabbit) to the floor above and force every door
possible. This will allow other teams to move in and search
without being spent from forcing each door.
There are three basic types of forcible
entry operations: conventional, through-the-lock, and special
operations (cutting, breaching, etc). Conventional forcible
entry involves two methods: mechanical, which involves the
use of hydraulic tools, and manual. Through-the-lock
forcible entry involves removing part of a lock, then using a
?key? tool to duplicate the action of the key.?Special
operations will involve using cutting tools and other equipment
to force gates, roll-up doors and other types of high-security
devices that would not be easily forced using conventional
methods. Some boarded-up applications on vacant buildings may
require special tools or operations.
The first operation we will talk about is manual
forcible entry. The tools of choice are a Halligan tool and
a striking tool, such as a flat-head axe, sledge, or splitting
maul. The type of Halligan tool is important. Pinned or cast
tools can fail. Forged tools are better. A tool with a bevel in
the fork and slight bevel in the adz is preferred because it
imparts more leverage than a straight fork or adz.? The fork
must be narrow enough to allow it to be forced between the door
and jam. Many Halligans on the market today are manufactured with
a fork that is entirely too large, preventing it from getting
into the jam. A pike axe is not a very good choice for forcible
entry because it makes a poor striking tool. The consequence is
that we end up chopping at a door, creating what I like to call
?fireman frustration marks.? A flat-head ax or maul is
a much better choice. Heavier, rather than lighter, will help too.
Eight-pound axes and ten- or twelve-pound mauls do a great job.
We have talked about a hydraulic tool (Rabbit)
already. Other useful items are a rotary saw with a metal-cutting
blade, a torch, battering ram (the kind the SWAT teams have are
super), a K-tool, and some personal tools. I have carried, for
quite some time, a pair of water-pump pliers. I have ground the
ends down, and one end is heated and bent to create a short L.
This gives me the two key tools that are found in the K-tool kit.
Many lock cylinders, such as a pivoting deadbolt, can be pulled
off with these pliers, allowing manipulation of the lock with the
?keys.? We must keep a good reversible screwdriver in
our personal tool inventory. A shove knife is very handy also.
With floor locks, such as ?The Club for a Home,? a
shove knife will let us know if there is a lock at the floor
level by sliding the knife in and hitting the lock or barrier.
This is a look at size-up and tools for some
common forcible-entry problems you may encounter. There are many
other tools on the market today, their application limited only
by your imagination. Burglars keep the lock industry on their
toes, but, unfortunately, we often find ourselves one or two
steps behind the lock industry. It is imperative we continue to
pursue new techniques while at the same remembering the basics.
Size-up should consider door, frame, and
wall construction as well as locks present and door swing
direction. This photo is an obvious reason why we should
determine conditions behind a door before we try it.
Below left: Bolt
heads can signal a very difficult door! Below
right: The inside of the door shows bars
that slide more than two inches into the frame and wall.
Right: Not all
Halligans are the same. Notice the difference in forks of
the three tools. The tool at the top is the far superior
Above: When we don?t
have the correct tools we can end up with ?fireman
frustration marks? on the door.
tools for forcible entry situations. From left to right,
screwdriver, water-pump pliers (Channel Lock) with ends
ground and bent to create ?key? tools, Vise
Grips for securing padlocks during cutting operations and
pulling slats on roll-up doors, and webbing to control
doors while they are being forced. These are just a few
of the many uses.
|Posted by adminfire on Saturday, March 08, 2003 @ 13:09:29 PST (6882 reads)(Misc. | Score: 3.66) |
Garage Fire Considerations
Many articles have been written over the
years about various methods to initially attack an attached-garage
fire in dwellings. Because there are so many variations in
building construction, I have found the need to tailor my initial
attack depending on the results of the rapid size-up.
We must always remember to follow "RECEO"1
in our decision-making process. I believe that one action common to all firefighters
once the initial size-up has been conducted and any rescue ruled out
is the tactic of checking the interior and advancing a line inside. Once
inside, we must check the integrity of the interior door and check for fire
above or below. If fire is present in the attic, we can usually confine the
beast from underneath without opening the interior door; this action can minimize
damage. Once the interior position has been taken, exterior lines may be used.
This type of offensive requires ongoing communication between interior and outside
When we determine the fire has not spread to
the interior, fire attack from the exterior has proven to be a
very effective first option. Many dwellings have a side access
door. This location is my first choice, as access is easier and
streams are not apt to breach the firewall. However, in some
cases the side-access door may not exist. In this situation, the
attack can be initiated from the large garage-door opening. With
the interior company still in place and attic exposed, any
extension which might develop can be immediately confined.
A few considerations during this type of
offensive are as follows:
- Access from the large garage door may be difficult to
lift as springs or cables could have failed. Use care to
avoid back injuries.
- If the large door is easily opened or already open, you
must take safety precautions, which will include the need
to prop the door in the open position. An 8-foot pike
pole works well. Also, place a firefighter in charge of
the door to avoid accidental closure. I recall an
incident in San Francisco a couple of years back when a
garage door accidentally closed. This happened to be the
firefighters' only means of egress. The fire claimed the
life of a 25-year veteran lieutenant and critically
injured two others, one of whom was permanently disabled.
Remember, no fire is routine, and we must always plan
ahead to protect ourselves.
Note the garage side access door. If
a significant number of locks are present, forcing entry
may be time consuming. Consider punching a hole in the
door to apply a stream. With a fully involved garage,
going indirect may be the only option.
- Electric door openers and exterior locks will require
forcible entry. If this challenge is presented, you can
consider punching a hole in the door or use a garage
window if one exists, and apply an exterior line using
the indirect method. As we all may recall, Lloyd Layman
explained years ago that applying water in a confined
space would create a steam conversion ultimately
squelching the fire. Note: If you have the luxury of
arriving with an additional company which carries power
tools use those resources to cut holes for access.
- Metal or wood roll-up doors with throw bolts may be too
labor intensive for the initial company without forcible
entry capabilities. If you are confronted with this
complication and there is no side access door or window,
your attack should be made from the interior immediately.
||The window on the left leads directly into the
garage. If no side access door is present, consider using
garage windows to attack indirectly.
You might be asking yourself: "Since
some of these actions seem like too much work, why not attack
these fires the easy way, right from the interior door? Well,
this tactic is one that is used around the country. However, my
reasons for considering the alternate methods are as follows:
One of our responsibilities
is to reduce property loss! If no interior extension is present,
and we open the interior door to attempt extinguishment, all of
the products of combustion flow directly into the interior
causing unnecessary damage and reduction in visibility. I have
seen this many times. The natural tendency is to put the line
into operation from inside because "we were first in and
this is our fire." Then we say to ourselves, "We are
attacking this from the unburned, just like the book says."
This initial line placement may not end up being the most
glamorous assignment, but it will play an important role in the
operation and preserve property. The owners will be grateful for
our efforts to preserve their property, and with customer service
being so important these days, we can only benefit from the good
Garage fires pose some interesting
challenges, especially with regard to extension. Some examples
- Missing Firewall: Many occupants
recognize the abundance of storage space which exists in
the attic behind the garage firewall. Since access can be
a problem for them, the firewall is removed. If this
condition is present, our job is more difficult, as the
fire can quickly communicate directly into the living
quarters. This potential re-enforces the need to, on
arrival, advance a line into the interior and pull the
ceiling to check for extension.
- HVAC System: These systems are located
inside the attached garage of many dwellings and pose a
significant problem. The ductwork serves as a direct line
for fire travel throughout the fire building. In single-story
buildings, duct work runs under the dwelling and/or
through the attic space. In two-or-more-story dwellings,
it is common to find ductwork running through the
concealed joist space of the floors. In any event, we
must check for extension in these hidden spaces.
|Note the interior firewall of this garage is intact.
This may not always be the case. If the firewall is missing or has holes,
fire will spread to the interior of the house. A line should be led
to the interior of the house and positioned on the opposite side of
the door where walls and ceilings should be opened and checked for fire
extension. The door should remain closed to prevent steam,
| smoke, and other products of combustion
from entering the house. Note the ductwork from the heating, ventilating
and air conditioning system. A failure of the ductwork will provide
an avenue for fire and products of combustion to spread throughout the
house. Before you leave the scene, check the integrity of the ductwork
and ascertain that fire has not entered it.
I remember a fire a few years back in a wood-frame,
two-story, single-family dwelling, built in the late '70s. The
fire originated in the garage. Following extinguishment, and
during the investigation, we noticed a wisp of smoke, with the
exact location unknown. Further investigation revealed the fire
had traveled through the HVAC ductwork and started various
separate fires throughout the second floor. Besides being a total
surprise, this turned out to be an extremely labor-intensive fire
with an incredible amount of overhaul, the type you would expect
from a fire in a building with balloon construction. This house
looked like a war zone following our overhaul procedures.
Constantly evaluate the building throughout overhaul operations.
Should you have the luxury of thermal imaging capabilities, consider using this
tool. All of your efforts will pay off and reduce chances of a rekindle. Remember
that a rekindle will neutralize any support from the property owner you may
have gained earlier in the incident.
|Posted by adminfire on Saturday, March 08, 2003 @ 12:50:31 PST (5826 reads)(Misc. | Score: 3.85) |
By John Mittendorf
Of all the various types of tools and equipment utilized by the fire service,
the common hose coupling is arguably the most underrated and least appreciated
piece of equipment in use today.
Consider that high-tech apparatus, pumps,
hoses, water additives, nozzles, and personnel would be
ineffective in ?putting the wet stuff on the red stuff?
if hoses were unable to be attached to pumps and nozzles, and
that fire-attack personnel could not effectively follow a
hoseline out of a building (in an emergency) if sections of hose
were not able to be connected together.
With these thoughts in mind, let?s
consider how we can increase the effectiveness of most hose
couplings when applied to fireground operations.
Currently, most hose couplings are
manufactured in male or female configurations. The portion of a
coupling attached to a hose is referred to as a ?bowl.?
Interestingly, bowls are commonly
produced with a straight cut at the rear of a bowl (where
the hose enters a coupling). This results in a sharp edge that
can restrict the movement of the hose when being pulled around
corners in structures, and across concrete, asphalt, and other
similar surfaces. This is graphically demonstrated by observing
the abrasion marks on most couplings.
To minimize this condition, hose
couplings can be ordered with ?tapered bowls?
which eliminate the sharp edge at the end of the bowl, resulting
in hoses that are much easier to pull around corners and across
ground surfaces. (Notice the lack of abrasion marks on the
tapered bowl ends).
Additionally, a tapered bowl does
not have a tendency to ?hang-up? on a corner when being
advanced in the interior of a structure. Remember that some hose
manufacturers do not make hoses with a tapered bowl unless it is
specifically requested (normally at a minimal cost).
DIRECTION OF TRAVEL
Occasionally, it is necessary for
fireground personnel to follow hoselines for the following
- An attack team suddenly needs to follow their attack line
out of a structure due to deteriorating conditions.
- It is suddenly determined an attack team needs to be
rescued due to a flashover, building collapse, etc.
Normally the most direct path to their probable location
is for a search team to initially follow and search along
the path of the attack line to the nozzle.
Although the concept of personnel
following a hoseline to reach a specific location may seem
simplistic, implementation can be difficult due to the following
- Often, the development of an interior hoseline will not
result in a straight hoseline between a nozzle and
entrance (or exit) opening, since hoselines are usually
looped and/or crossed by other hoselines.
- The need to determine which way to follow a hoseline may
arise suddenly. (Remember, one direction will lead to the
nozzle, and the other direction will lead to the exterior
of the structure).
Therefore, it is imperative that
personnel practice and become familiar with the concept of
following a hoseline with only their hands as a reference point.
Personnel can easily determine the
proper direction of travel along a hoseline if they are able to
feel a coupling with their gloved hands. Here's how:
Assume a nozzle is connected
to a male coupling. Following the hose behind male couplings
will lead towards the pump (outside the structure), and
following the hose behind female couplings will lead towards
the nozzle (into the structure).
With practice, it is easy to
distinguish between a male and female coupling by feel only. The
lug on a female coupling is one-third to one-half the length of a
lug on a male coupling. With this knowledge, any firefighter can
grasp a coupling on a hoseline and quickly determine which
direction will lead to a desired location as follows (assuming a
- To reach the exterior of a building, follow the hose
behind the male coupling.
- To reach the nozzle, follow the hose behind the female
Additionally, before entering a structure
for a search-and-rescue operation that will depend on a search
team following a hoseline, determine (from the appropriate pump
operator) the appropriate hoseline to follow into the structure,
how many feet of line are into the structure, and what is the
type of hose lay (forward or reverse). Remember that a 2?-inch
line can be forward or reverse and 1?-, 1?-, and 1-inch lines
are forward only. Every firefighter should be familiar with this
Of all the hose sizes that are
available to fireground personnel, what size of hose is most
commonly used to extinguish fire? Answer: 1?-inch. The reason is
simple: 1?-inch hoses can be implemented by one firefighter;
they are capable of 200 gpm; AND they are capable of
extinguishing most fires.
However, some fires require more
than 200 gpm in concert with the ability to deliver that water to
the seat of a large fire. Question: Why do a high percentage of
fireground pictures in fire service magazines depict 1?-inch
lines being used on large fires that require ?firepower??
Answer: When 1?-inch lines are commonly used for the ?day-to-day?
fires, they will also be used on larger fires.
Furthermore, have you also wondered
why spray nozzles are commonly used for defensive operations when
these types of fires often require depth and penetration of hose
streams? Answer: As the spray nozzle is the most flexible nozzle,
it is normally pre-connected to master stream appliances and
attack lines. Therefore, unless a company officer specifically
requests the use of a specific hose or appliance with the
appropriate nozzle that will effectively deliver
the appropriate amount of water to the necessary location,
fireground personnel will not be as effective as their equipment
is capable of making them.
|Posted by adminfire on Saturday, March 08, 2003 @ 12:43:48 PST (6218 reads)(Misc. | Score: 5) |
By Vincent Dunn
is the most dangerous time of a fire.?When the room bursts
into flame, flashover has occurred. The scientific definition of
flashover states it is caused by the radiation feedback of heat.
Heat from the growing fire is absorbed into the upper walls and
contents of the room, heating up the combustible gases and
furnishings to their auto-ignition temperature.?This build
up of heat in the room triggers flashover.
Flashover Time-Temperature Curve
Time of Fire
Flashover signals several major changes in
- It is the end of an effective search and rescue in a room;
it means the death of any person trapped in the blazing
room ? either civilians or firefighters.
- It signals the end of using a portable extinguisher to
extinguish the fire; an attack hoseline is required after
- It signals the end of the growth stage and that the fire
is in the second stage of combustion ? the fully
- Finally, flashover signals the change from contents to a
structure fire. This is the beginning of the collapse
danger. Structural collapse potential starts in the fully
developed stage and becomes the greatest in the decay
stage of a fire ? after the fire has been
Flashover does not occur at every fire.
Sometimes flashover does not take place. At some fires flashover
does not occur for a long period of time. However, flashover may
occur suddenly, without warning and just when firefighters arrive
on the scene. Firefighting is dangerous enough; we do not want a
surprise at a fire operation.
operating at a fire, chiefs and firefighters may want to delay
flashover inside a burning room. By delaying flashover, you can
"buy" several minutes which may be critical. For
example, you may want to delay flashover to make a search and
rescue of the burning room or allow a firefighter to go above a
fire to make a rescue of a trapped victim. Or, you may want to
delay flashover to gain several minutes when there is a delay in
the placement and operation of the first attack hoseline.
Ways to Prevent Flashover
- Venting: By venting doors and windows of
a burning room you release the build up of heat in the
room. This is most effective during the early part of the
growth stage when a room is filled with smoke and not too
much heat. This slows down flashover by releasing heat
from the room delaying the radiation feedback effect.
This venting also improves visibility for a search in a
- Not venting: At some fires, the exact
opposite may delay flashover. By not venting and, instead,
closing the doors or windows to the burning room, you may
delay flashover. This is most effective when the room is
full of smoke and large amounts of heat, and the fire is
at the end of the growth stage, shown in the above time
temperature curve, just before flashover is about to
occur. The logic behind the tactic of not venting is
flashover is delayed in a superheated room by starving
the fire of oxygen, which slows down the combustion rate,
which, in turn, slows down the build-up of heat in the
room. This slows down the radiation feedback effect. The
combustion rate a fire depends on many factors, but the
greatest effect on a fire is the amount of oxygen being
supplied to the blaze. An example of when you might close
a door and not vent a fire to delay flashover would be
when there is a delay in stretching a hoseline, all
persons are out of the burning room, and it is too hot to
enter for a search and rescue.
- Portable extinguisher: The discharge of
a portable extinguisher can cool the heat down in a
burning room temporarily and delay flashover.
To avoid getting
trapped by flashover, firefighters must know the warning signs of
Signs of Flashover
are two warning signs which may signal the danger of flashover: heat
mixed with smoke and "rollover."
- Heat: When heat mixes with smoke, it
forces a firefighter to crouch down on hands and knees to
enter a room to perform search and rescue. This must be
considered a warning sign that flashover may occur. Heat
buildup in a smoke-filled, burning room is a triggering
event for flashover. If the heat in the smoke-filled room
causes us to crouch down near the floor, we must consider
the danger of flashover. If there is little or no heat
mixed with smoke then the danger of flashover is less
- Rollover: Rollover is fire-department
jargon for the appearance of sporadic flashes of flame
mixed with smoke at ceiling level. It is usually seen
outside a burning room when the first attack-hose team
waits for water to be supplied to the hoseline. When the
door to the burning room is partially opened and smoke is
flowing out into the hallway, the smoke may ignite into
sporadic flame. Rollover is caused by heated combustible
gases in smoke, which ignites into flashes of flame when
mixed with oxygen in the air. Rollover precedes flashover.
Rollover is another warning sign of flashover, which may
be seen in the smoke coming out of the tops of doorways
or window openings of burning rooms before flashover
Whenever one of
these warning signs is seen and a flashover danger exists,
defensive search procedures must be used by firefighters.
Standard tactics and procedures must be curtailed and defensive
search-and-rescue procedures substituted when there is a danger
Defensive Search Procedures
There are two
defensive search procedures that can reduce the risk of death and
injury from flashover:
- At a doorway: A firefighter should check
behind the door for the victim, then enter the hallway or
room not more than five feet, sweep the floor, look for
unconscious persons, call out and listen for a response.
If no response is forthcoming, close the door and wait
for the hoseline. As the attack hoseline advances,
conduct a search and rescue behind the line, searching
room and space outward from the hoseline.
- At a window: When a window breaks from
either the heat of the fire or because it is opened by
the firefighters and superheated smoke and rollover are
seen in the smoke, preventing a firefighter from entering,
the firefighter should crouch down below the heat and
sweep the area below the windowsill with a tool. In some
instances a person may collapse at the window and fall
right below the sill. If a victim is found, a firefighter
might be able to crouch below the heated smoke and
flashes of flames coming out the window and pull the
victim out of the window to safety.
After a flashover occurs, the point of no
return is reached, a point beyond which a trapped firefighter
will not survive and will not reach the door or window he or she
entered. How far inside a burning room can a firefighter be and
still escape back out the door alive ? and not suffer
serious bums after a flashover occurs? The million-dollar
question is: how far into a superheated burning room that appears
about to flashover should a firefighter enter?
Beyond five feet
is the point of no return. We can figure this distance out by
putting together several facts. For example, tests conducted in
1960 in California discovered that fire temperatures of 280?-320?
F cause intense pain and damage to exposed skin. Also the average
temperature in a room that flashes over is 1000?-1500? F. And,
time and motion tests in the Handbook of Fire Protection reveal
that the average person moves 2? feet per second when walking.
Now, the question is: how long can a firefighter?s
protective clothing take 1000?-1500? temperatures before the
firefighter receives serious burns. If there is 1000? flame in a
burning room that has just flashed-over and a firefighter is five
feet inside the room, and crawls back to the doorway at 2? feet
per second, he will feel 1000?-1500? heat on exposed portions
of skin or through the fire gear for two seconds. The firefighter
may not receive any burns. If you say you can enter 10 feet into
a room about to flashover and it does, and you try to escape you
will experience 1000?-1500? for four seconds. Fifteen feet
inside a room that flashes-over, and you must crawl back to the
door for six seconds. Think about it.
should know the definition of flashover ? a room bursting
into flames. They should know the warning signs of flashover.
Also, firefighters must know how to delay it. And most
importantly for firefighters' safety and survival, they must know
defensive firefighting procedures ? how to search and stay
|Posted by adminfire on Saturday, March 08, 2003 @ 12:38:46 PST (4751 reads)(Misc. | Score: 4.66) |
|Strip Ventilation Tactics
by John W. Mittendorf
Your fire department receives an alarm at 1330 hours for a
structure fire. You are the officer in command of a truck company responding to the
alarm. On arrival you observe a 60' x 200', one story mini-mall with heavy smoke
showing from an occupancy at one end of the structure and you see dark smoke pushing from roof vents over two units adjacent to the involved store. You quickly conclude that the fire in the end unit has extended into the common attic space and will quickly expose the entire structure.
Your options are limited. You are the only truck company on the first-alarm
response--the second-due truck is a mutual-aid response. For the critical initial stages of the operation, it's only you, your driver and one firefighter. You direct the firefighter to force entry into several units ahead of the extending attic fire as you and your driver ladder the roof and prepare to ventilate the building.
In this scenario, the truck officer has correctly identified a potential
problem. The fire in the end unit has extended into the common attic space and will extend horizontally to the other end of the building unless it is stopped. When the officer and driver reach the roof, strategic objectives will be as important as tactical operations
if the truck officer is to be effective within minimal time and staffing constraints.
The strategy for roof ventilation operations will be offensive or defensive.
The primary focus of offensive roof ventilation is to create a ventilation opening over or as
close to a fire as possible, as safety permits. This type of ventilation is designed to do
If possible, offensive ventilation should be conducted before defensive ventilation
and can be accomplished using natural construction openings such as skylights,
scuttle covers, bulkhead doors, etc. or by cutting an opening over the fire area
with a power saw and/or an axe. It is important to ensure the proper location
of these openings in relation to the fire area; a misplaced vertical vent opening
will quickly pull heat, smoke and fire toward uninvolved areas.
- vertically channel a fire and its by-products
- limit horizontal extension in a structure
- remove heat and smoke from a structure
- minimize the potential for flashover and backdraft
- increase the safety of fireground operations
If offensive roof ventilation operations have been completed, if they cannot
be performed for safety reasons, or if fire already has self-vented through the roof, defensive
roof ventilation operations should be completed if necessary. The purpose of defensive
roof ventilation is to create an opening ahead of a horizontally extending fire to change
the horizontal direction and extension of fire, heat, and smoke to a vertical direction,
thereby reducing or eliminating the horizontal fire spread.
Defensive roof ventilation is usually accomplished by the strip (or trench) vent.
The strip vent is a long, narrow opening in the roof decking, generally from exterior wall to
exterior wall (or fire wall to fire wall) and approximately three feet wide, ahead of the
horizontally extending fire. This opening allows you to strategically channel and redirect the
fire, slowing horizontal extension and facilitating knockdown.
With a strip vent you are, in effect, "drawing your line in the sand"
against the fire. Usually, committing to a strip vent means that you have a well-advanced
structural fire that is moving horizontally over a large area at such a rate that you cannot
stop it with offensive venting tactics, given on-hand resources. (Editor's note: The
term "defensive" ventilation is convenient because it rightly differentiates between the
strip vent and other methods of roof ventilation. However, there is not connection between
defensive fireground strategy. The strip vent is only "defensive" from the aspect of
"letting the attic fire come to you." Venting of any kind is inherently an aggressive
operation. Likewise, effective strip venting requires aggressive, offensive tactics by
engine and truck crews operating from interior positions--for example, pulling ceilings
and knocking down fire in adjacent occupancies/exposures, etc.)
The strip vent has been used successfully as the primary vent opening
in a variety of fire situations in a variety of structure and roof types, but all these
successful operations shared common factors--the fire was such that offensive venting
either could not be accomplished or had limited effectiveness, fire was in control of a large
area of common attic or cockloft space, an aggressive interior attack still could be made
from unburned or partially involved portions of the structure, there was a significant attic area
over which the fire had to spread, the strip vent could be made in an effective and timely fashion,
and a strategic decision by the commanding officer was made to "sacrifice" the heavily
involved portion of the structure to save the rest.
Many factors influence the strategic decision to vent defensively.
These include building and roof construction, fire conditions, fire load, manpower,
building dimensions, firefighter experience and training, and so on. Time is critical.
The officer must ask himself, 'Given my resources, the extent of the fire, roof construction,
personnel safety, and so forth, can my personnel make a 30' or 50' or 70' long, 3' wide
opening in the roof in the time it will take the fire to reach that point? What is my
return on investment for this tactic? Will a sizable vertical vent (offensive) opening
as close as possible to the fire area delay fire spread significantly and, most
important, improve conditions such that personnel can operate effectively and safely in
interior positions?' The officer in command must weigh many factors. Communication with
fireground companies is essential to acquire the needed information on which sound decision
making is based.
General roof venting tactics
Prior to a roof-cutting operation perform/address these tactical and procedural
Ladder and approach from the uninvolved area. A minimum of two
ladders should be raised away from or opposite the location of a fire. This allows personnel
to start and return to the strongest portion of the building and their means of egress.
Ladder the strong areas of the building roof. Normally, the
strongest portions of the building are at the corners. Avoid placing ladders over
horizontal openings (that is, windows, doors, etc.). Other areas that offer strength
are hips, valleys, and ridges.
Raise the fly of an extension ladder/aerial above a parapet or roof
for visibility. If a ladder is a primary means of egress from a roof, make it easy to
locate. Therefore, do not limit the extension of a ladder above a roof/parapet to three or
Deploy properly equipped and adequate personnel. Roof ventilation operations are
simplified and safety and accountability increased when a minimum of two firefighters
are used. Consider the following equipment the basic minimum necessary to accomplish roof
General features that make a chain saw an effective roof ventilation
- complete turnout gear and SCBA
- portable radio
- pickhead axe (used for prying and as a backup for power saws)
- pike pole, trash hook, or other suitable tools for removing cut sections of
- power saws--Historically the rotary saw has been widely used as a viable roof
ventilation tool although size, weight and the "gyroscopic" effect of the blade often
detract from its effectiveness. In applications other than metal-deck roofs, the modern
chain saw has proven to be a superior roof ventilation tool because of its effectiveness and ease
of use--which often translates into firefighter safety.
Read the roof. Before leaving a ladder and walking across a
roof, personnel must take the time to observe the roof and any visible conditions. A few
- minimum four-cubic-inch engine size, adequate for multiple layers of
- 16" to 20" sprocket tip guide bar (cooler running chain and reach)
- large air cleaner (increased time in smoky conditions)
- muffler guard (usually a piece of aluminum on the front of the muffler,
which minimizes maintenance and cleanup operations)
- carbide-tipped chain (superior to standard chains). A new carbide chain
can successfully cut through 14-gauge steel without ruining the chain).
Determine the type of roof. This can be easily accomplished by prefire
planning or quickly removing a small piece of composition (or other material) from the roof
covering only. This is easily done with an axe or power saw and will reveal the type of roof
decking below the roof covering. For example:
- What is the fire's location and is fire showing through the roof?
- Is the roof stable? Is a portion of the roof sagging? Are there heat blisters?
- Does the roof have ventilators, vent pipes, or skylights, and are they issuing smoke?
- What are interior/attic conditions? Communicate with interior fire attack crews and
the incident commander.
Determine the location and extension of fire. Prior to any roof
ventilation, you must determine the location and/or extension of fire. With your knowledge of
the type of roof, you can quickly determine the feasibility of a strip ventilation operation
before leaving the route of egress (ladder). You can determine the location and extension of fire by:
- corrugated metal indicates a metal-deck built-up roof with open web bar joists
- 1" x 6" sheathing indicates a conventionally constructed roof
- plywood on a newer building is an excellent indicator of lightweight construction.
Consider the following four conditions showing from an inspection opening:
fire; black, hot, pressurized smoke; white, lazy smoke; or nothing. Always remember to consider
the smoke's pressure, colour, and temperature.
- visual size-up (what areas of the roof are issuing fire or smoke?)
- small inspection/indicator openings (kerf cut, etc.) which can be cut with an axe
or power saw in the roof decking and used to determine the location and extension of fire.
Sound the path of travel. Sounding with an axe, pike pole, trash hook,
or other suitable tool in front of your intended path of travel will help verify the roof's safety.
Remember, don't sound with your feet--they are connected to your body.
Work toward the ladder/means of egress. Ventilation cuts should be
designed to start in the weakest portion of a roof (toward the fire) and finish in the strongest
portion of roof (away from the fire).
Keep the wind at your back. When possible, ventilation cuts should be
planned to keep the wind at the back of personnel.
Cut only as deep as necessary. Unless otherwise necessary, ventilation
cuts should be cut through roof decking only. Cuts deeper than roof decking increase the possibility
of cutting through structural members.
Predetermine your path(s) of egress. Always know how to safely exit a
roof. Generally, exit a roof from the same area you used to walk onto it. Never get cut off by fire
from your means of egress.
Strip vent tactics
Consider the principle of distance for time. Strip ventilation can be a time-
and personnel-consuming operation. Therefore, if strip ventilation is necessary, place enough distance
between the extending fire and the strip operation to allow the strip to be completed before the fire can
travel pass the strip opening.
Consider timing in strip ventilation operations. Since strip ventilation operations
can be a time- and resource-intensive operation and an opening can accelerate the travel of fire toward
its location, conduct strip operations as two distinct operations. The first operation is to cut the strip;
the second is to open the strip.
Coordinate interior attack operations with strip ventilation operations.
To be successful, strip operations also require the ceiling under (or as close as possible to)
the strip opening be removed to allow access for a hose line into the attic to extinguish the attic
fire. This operation requires coordination and communication between roof and interior personnel.
Make sure the strip cut is made from wall to wall. If not, fire could
pass around the ends, destroying the vent's effectiveness.
The roof must be walkable. The strip vent operation is a power-saw operation.
While the strip cut originated in flat-roof applications, experience has shown that it can be used
successfully on pitched roofs, provided the pitch does not compromise firefighter safety.
Wood roofs--against the construction. Strip ventilation openings that are cut against
the construction will require additional cuts and time to complete compared with strip ventilation
openings cut with the construction. To cut against the construction:
Wood roofs--with the construction (centre rafter).
- Make two parallel cuts about three feet apart across the rafters and section of roof to
be ventilated. Depending on staffing and equipment, these cuts may be made singularly or simultaneously.
- Make cuts between the rafters every 16 or 24 inches, depending on the spacing of roof
members. This produces small sections nailed to single rafters. These panels are easily hinged in
the form of louvers or removed.
- Remove or hinge the panels. Pry up with a suitable hand tool to remove or hinge the
Wood roofs--with the construction (between the rafters).
- Make two parallel cuts on either side of a rafter. These cuts should be near the outside
- Make crosscuts between the parallel cuts about every four to six feet. This enhances removing plywood
and/or multiple layers of roofing materials.
- Remove the cut panels of decking. Each 4' to 6' panel is nailed to the centre rafter and is
easily removed or louvered.
In this operation, the cut section of decking will fall into the building or attic.
Although this method drops material into a building or attic, a strip is quickly completed (particularly when
time is a primary concern) without personnel having to manually remove cut sections of decking
material. If an attic is not encountered, ensure there are no personnel working below this operation.
- Make the first cut along the length of the rafter, as close as possible to the rafter
without cutting it.
- Mirror this cut along the second rafter, again as close to it as possible.
Metal-deck roofs. Although the methods necessary to strip ventilate metal-deck
roofs are similar to those of wood roofs, initiating a strip ventilation operation in a metal-deck roof
is enhanced by a two-step process that consists of removing the insulation or composition covering
and then removing the metal decking from the bar joists. This is due to the fact that metal cutting
blades are not effective in cutting through the insulation/composition covering. For example, a strip
opening cut against the construction can be accomplished as follows:
Each strip ventilation method has its advantages and disadvantages. Using a particular
method will depend on the type of incident and roof, staffing, individual preference,
and your ability--which is developed by training and experience.
- Using a chain saw or rotary saw with a wood-cutting blade, make two parallel cuts about
three feet apart. It is only necessary to cut through the layers of composition and insulation. Let the
teeth ride on top of the metal corrugations.
- Make crosscuts every four feet between the parallel cuts. This ensures that the cut sections
of composition/insulation are easily removed.
- If the metal decking under the cut sections is cold, strike the sections to be removed with
an axe or similar tool. This will loosen the tar or adhesive bond between the metal corrugations and the
layers of composition/insulation, facilitating removal. If the metal decking is warm, the cut sections
should be easily removed.
- Remove the cut sections and place on the roof away from the fire.
- Two parallel cuts are now made through the metal decking with a rotary saw and metal-cutting blade
similar to cuts made in the insulation/composition layers.
- Crosscuts are then made between the metal bar joists. This process ensures that each of the metal
sections is attached to a single bar-joist only and is easily louvered and removed with minimal effort.
- Although this task is easily accomplished, it is a time- and blade-consuming operation.
By Vincent Dunn
When two hose
lines are directed against each other from opposite direction firefighters may
be injured. This is especially true when one hose line is being advanced by
firefighters inside a burning building and the other hose line is directed from
outside the burning building through a flaming window. The pressure and
velocity of an outside water hose stream directed through a flaming window fire
and heat will be blow back superheated fire gases into the faces of the
advancing firefighters inside the structure. As a result steam or hot water may
seriously burn firefighters scalded; their helmets and facemasks of breathing
apparatus may be knocked dislodged. A powerful hose stream striking a
firefighter in the side of the head can cause an eardrum puncture. More
seriously fire driven back into the path of firefighters advancing an opposing
hose line may cause to drop a hose line and become disoriented and lost in a
burning building. The superheated entrained air, steam and hot water pushed
ahead by a hose stream from an opposing hand line are the cause of the
injuries. A large caliber master stream directed from an aerial platform or
deck pipe directed into a flaming window where firefighters are advancing a
smaller attack line is the most serious situation; but smaller diameter hand
lines operated by firefighters in to a window can be just as dangerous.
Years ago in the
fire service opposing hand lines were a common fireground problem. Without
portable radios to communicate and coordinate operations, firefighters often
unknowingly directing opposing hand lines against each other for long periods.
Each company thought the fire was preventing their advancement on the fire when
actually it was the superheated gases each hose line was pushing against each
other that prevented advancement and fire extinguishment.
Today there is no excuse for opposing hand lines
operating against each other. Fireground commanders each company officer and
some firefighters are equipped with a portable radio, so opposing hose lines should
not be fireground problem. At some fires it is good firefighting strategy to
position a hose line at the opposite side of a burning building.? It is not good firefighting strategy to
have both of them directed at each other, or to advance them into the burning
building from opposite directions.
. The first hose line often advances through the
front entrance and the second backs up the first line or goes above in a
multi-floor building. However sometimes the second or third hose line may be
sent around to the back of the building when there is a serious exposure
problem. This hose line positioned at the rear of the building does not attempt
to advance from an opposite direction to the first attack hose team. Instead it
may be used at the rear of the burning building to stop fire spreading to a
nearby building, or it may be used to stop flame from spreading up the surface
wall of a wood shingle frame dwelling, or it may be used to stop flame from
entering the attic space by burning through the cornice or eaves. This hose
line may also stop auto exposure by being directed against the spandrel wall
(the wall surface between the top of one window and the bottom of the window
directly above). However, this hose line is not directed into a flaming window
when the first hose line is advancing in from the opposite side and
extinguishing the main body of fire. This hose line stretched to the rear of a
burning building by firefighters is intended to prevent fire spread. It does
not advance in on the fire, unless directed by the incident commander. This may
happen but only in rare circumstances.
An example of a
rare circumstance would be when the first hose line is prevented from advancing
in on the fire from the front of the burning building. Then the hose line
positioned at the rear might be ordered by the fireground commander to advance
in and extinguish the fire. This is not a common strategy. Only in unusual
conditions will this happen. It is not good practice for a fireground commander
to constantly vary the avenue of hose line fire attack to extinguish routine
fires.? Routine every day room- and
content house fires are fought the same way by fire departments. Strategies may
vary from department to department, but within each fire department they do not
vary very much at routine fires. Fire departments often require several ladder
company firefighters to operate simultaneously with the fire hose attack team.
Firefighters in many fire departments take positions inside a burning building
as a team with a standard operating procedure. They have assignments to
accomplish and they must get to certain positions inside or around the building
they enter a burning building from many different directions. Even though the
first attack hose line is brought through the front door, other firefighters
enter the burning building through side windows, or rear doors, while others go
to the floor above the fire, and roof. These firefighters at different
locations, search, vent and force locks, and they expect the hose line attack
to come from a certain direction. When the direction of the hose line attack is
changed they are in jeopardy. Firefighters may become trapped or injured due to
the absence of the expected hose line attack or if the hose line attack comes
from another unexpected direction.
Ninety five percent of the structure fires in
America are extinguished by one attack hose line. Most of the time this attack
hose line is advanced through the front door. But in a small percent of the
times the firefighters cannot advance the first attack hose line. In some
instance a second hose line backs up the first line. Together they attempt
another advance on the fire. The second hose line may be a larger diameter,
which discharges more water. If the two lines fail to move in of the blaze and
extinguish it, then hose line may be ordered to advance on the fire from the
rear or from another direction.
Changing Strategy Steps
Changing strategy of attack hose lines is very
difficult. Advancing an initial attack hose line through several rooms of flame
and heat to extinguish a fire is a brutal punishing act. To accomplish this
feat, firefighters must drag several hundred pounds of hose, spewing a ton of
water at fifty pounds of pressure out of a nozzle. They must crawl ahead
blindly, over a hot bed of ashes, through several rooms of a scalding steam
with chunks of red-hot plaster and boiling hot water raining down upon them. To
ask these firefighters to stop everything, back out of the fire area, close the
door while another fire company approaches the fire from the opposite direction
is not easily accepted. But when it is obvious to the, inside sector,
fireground commander that the initial attack hose line is not going to be
successful and another approach will quickly extinguish the fire this strategy
change must be ordered. To accomplish this the following steps must be taken.
First using portable radio communications the interior sector notifies the
incident commander outside at the command post of this strategy change. Then by
portable radio a hose attack team is ordered in to position at the opposite
point of attack. When receiving the ?ready? communication from this alternate
hose team attack officer, next the interior sector commander orders the initial
attack hose team and all firefighters inside the fire area to back out of the
fire into the hallway with the initial attack hose line. This will take a
strong interior sector commander and a forceful order. The firefighters will
clearly not want to retreat, but a well trained, disciplined firefighting
company, with an effective officer in charge, will comply. Next, close the
front door to prevent the fire from spreading back into the hallway. Only, when
all of this is accomplished, is the order given over the portable radio to
advance the hose line from the opposite direction to extinguish the fire.
Reasons For Strategy Change
Heat is the
major reason why firefighters are unable to advance a hose line. Superheated
gases and steam in a dwelling space or store sometimes bank down to floor level
and engulf firefighters pushing a hose line forward. In this instance they may
be forced to back out of the fire area when intense heat descends down on them
from the ceiling. Venting windows, doors and skylights just before the hose
line is advancing on a fire can prevent this superheated build up in a fire
area. Until the fire is vented firefighters will be prevented from
extinguishing the blaze using an inside attack.
Wind is another problem that can prevent the advance of
the hose attack team. Even if the fire area is vented a strong wind blowing
through a fire area toward firefighters attempting to advance an attack hose
line will drive heat and flame into their path. A hose stream operated from an
entrance door cannot extinguish a fire burning several rooms back inside a fire
area. Only windblown fire gases mixing with air and turning to flame at the
entrance door will be reached by the hose stream, not the seat of the fire. To
extinguish any fire with water, it must be discharged directly on the burning
material, not on the convection currents. When wind blows at 15 to 30 miles per
hour or more, a fire chief should anticipate problems with advancing an attack
hose line due to wind. In this instance venting windows opposite the hose line
advance may not be as effective as venting side windows or roof skylights. Tall
buildings, buildings near open bodies of water, and burning buildings on the
sides of mountains are subject to strong winds.?
prevents advance on an interior attack hose line. Room partitions and stock
piled up to a ceiling in a store will block a hose stream. Some mentally
deranged people, over many years, save papers and rags in apartments and houses
that obstruct firefighters from advancing a hose line during a fire.? Stacked as high as the ceiling the
stored material leaves only small paths through several rooms. It is impossible
to advance an attack hose line to the seat of a fire in these dwellings and
stores.? Water from a 30 or 40-foot
hose stream will be prevented from hitting the fire. Firefighters are
justifiable fearful of advancing too deeply into such a cluttered fire area.
They will not move an attack line into a maze like area. If the piles of stored
papers or rags collapse or if a flashover occurs, the chance of escape is
small. Firefighters can easily become disoriented and lost in smoke filled
mazelike fire areas. They cannot find their way out even when following the
hose line that leads to the outside. Excess hose coiled up in several rooms
snaked in and out of the fire area, cannot be used as a guide to get back
High Rise Buildings
Considering all of the above the most common reason
to require a hose line to advance on the fire from the opposite direction to
the initial hose line advance is wind. Wind blowing into the fire area will
push flame and heat into the path of the firefighters advancing the first
attack hose line. When wind prevents the hose line advance the strategy must
change. After notifying the incident commander back out the initial line. Close
the door. And when all members are safely out of the apartment, advance a hose
line from the opposite direction. Firefighters pushing the alternate attack
hose line will be moving toward the fire with the wind currents at their back
making it less punishing.? In some
instance an opposing hose line is taken through a window or doorway to
extinguish a fire. At other fires in tall buildings the hose coming from; the
opposite direction may have to be stretched up a ladder or fire escape through
a window to advanced in on the fire from an opposite direction. At fires in
high-rise buildings wind blowing through a broken windows into the path of
firefighters also prevents advancing the initial attack hose line.
Unfortunately, when the fire is on an upper floor of a high rise, beyond the
reach of fire department ladder, and without fire escapes, a fireground
commander cannot order a hose team attack from the opposite direction. The
usual strategy is to withdraw firefighter to the relative safety of the enclosed
stairway and wait for the fire to burn itself out. This so called ?controlled
burning? can only be considered by the fire ground commander in a fire
resistive high rise building where the structure is designed to confined q fire
to one floor. If the high rise is not fire resistive design and fire spread to
the floor above, then occupants and firefighters will have to be withdrawn from
the entire building, and an outside firefighting strategy will be ordered. Some
fire departments are developing high-rise firefighting procedures to combat the
effects of wind on an initial firefighting attack team. For example: a small
asbestos curtain lowered by rope from the floor above, in front of a broken
window to prevent wind blowing in on the advancing firefighters is one
procedure Another is using a, World War II, ten or twelve foot, US Navy, low
pressure fog applicator. It is raised by firefighters from a window on floor
below, and the nozzle directed up into the broken window on the fire floor
through which the wind is blowing preventing the hose line advance. This fog
solution depends on the wind and expanding steam ?indirectly? extinguishing the
fire. This is done after interior firefighters have been withdrawn and the
interior door to the stair enclosure shut.
???????? Changing strategy by ordering an attack hose team to
advance on a fire from the opposite direction is a difficult, dangerous,
complex operation. It requires fireground commanders, inside and outside, to
have good control and coordination of firefighters on the scene. Firefighters
?freelancing? that mean those firefighters not operating in accordance with
their standard operating procedures or operating in a location not their
assigned position can be seriously injured when a hose line is advanced from
the opposite direction of the initial attack hose line. Only the incident
commander should order this strategy change. A fire officer in charge of a hose
attack team should never attempt to advance an attack hose line from the
opposite direction to the initial attack hose team without permission of the
|Misc.: Rapid Intervention: Time is Really the Enemy
Time is Really the Enemy
Washington, D.C. Fire/EMS Deputy Chief
We live in stress-filled times. For those who are parents it seems to be a
constant for us to be transporting someone somewhere. For those working two
jobs or going to school while also being members of the fire service it seems
that we are able to accomplish many things at once giving us that can do attitude.
Does this impact our performance on the fire ground?
On the fire ground how do fire fighters run out of air? Why do truss collapses
occur trapping or killing firefighters? Why do fire fighters get caught in flashover
conditions? Why do fire fighters get lost and then succumb to the fire conditions?
Why do Incident Commanders get caught short on requesting resources while their
people are battling conditions on the interior? How long will it take for a
Rapid Intervention Team, RIT, to rescue and extricate one or more fire fighters?
A colleague in Providence, Rhode Island, Lt. Greg Crawford, runs one of the
very best SCBA classes in the country, in my opinion. His approach is confrontational
to the participants but after taking the class no one will leave without understanding
and appreciating the connection between the life of the wearer and the equipment.
No one will ever again go into a hostile IDLH atmosphere without knowing how
long his or her SCBA will last under duress.
The truss collapse in Hackensack, New Jersey, occurred in 1978. Many thousands
of hours of presentations have been given to members of the fire service on
the dangers and limitations of truss construction. The building industry has
actually taken truss construction to new heights of danger with the advent of
TGI beams and increasing use of micro-lams. We continue to attempt to outlast
the collapse time frame with trusses when the simplest avenue is when trusses
are identified with a fire under them then all members get out and fight the
thing from the exterior.
Flashover occurs when the temperature within a room or space increases to
a level that ignites all of the materials within. But there is a definite time
line to this event. And there are telling cues upon arrival signaling that this
event is forthcoming. Rollover is a 90% valid cue that flashover is imminent.
We have encapsulated our fire fighters to such an extent that they have been
denied many of their natural thermometers such as ears.
Firefighters can get lost in a closet if they are inexperienced. Too many
however have gotten lost in areas where they should not have been. A commercial
structure with a confirmed fire within creates many thousands of square feet
of space, which can thwart the safety of fire fighters within. When units arrive
and they report little or no smoke visible everyone should become more aware
not more complacent. There needs to be someone or some company assigned to monitor
conditions in these structures. Yes, many 90 times out of a hundred the job
will not be anything but it's that ten times that make the difference. Furthermore
no company should enter these structures without safety lines and escape routes
or fall back positions. Also, we often don't use all of the tools at our disposal.
A 1 ? or 1 ? handline has about a 40 foot reach while a 2 ? handline has a 100
foot reach. Do the numbers or set up unmanned monitor streams.
Too many Incident Commanders piecemeal help requests. A wise old chief taught
me "you can always send them back if you don't need them, but you can't make
them appear when you don't have them". This seems simple enough. The size up
given is the first picture an IC has and they must act quickly if they are going
to get ahead of the fire curve. For those who rely on mutual aid you have to
know how long that help will take and limit your crew's involvement until the
help arrives. The worst scenario has to be when rescues are needed and your
are stretched to the absolute limit on manpower. There is no room for error
and if your people get into trouble you have absolutely no resources to assist
them. It's a question of risk versus gain where your personnel are the bet.
The question of RIT still perplexes many of us in the fire service. For some
it's the panacea for aggressive behavior with limited manpower. There are some
that post two fire fighters and refer to that a staging a RIT group. This is
so far from the reality of the situation. I have had the distinct to train with
the people in this country who are the absolute wizards of RIT. These are people
from FDNY, Philly, Jersey City, Pittsburgh, Worcester, Providence, and LA County.
We seem to learn something new each time we teach RIT HOT ops. A few common
experiences seem to hold constant:
- The first crew has the responsibility of finding the victim/s, getting
them on new air
- Assessing the situation for resource requirements
- Other units must provide handlines and equipment
- The first team will not be the team who brings you out
- You have 4 minutes to get the victim/s on fresh bottles
- The first crew should carry MINIMUM tools no more than lights, radios,
camera, rope/tag lines and a few forcible entry tools
All of your RIT drills must be conducted with blocked facepieces and gloves
on. Do real based drills and time them. If you get frustrated fine better at
the drill and not on the fire ground. Stay Safe!
|Posted by adminfire on Saturday, March 08, 2003 @ 11:56:44 PST (2750 reads)(Misc. | Score: 3.5) |
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