You don’t have to look far for good discussion regarding fire command, control, accountability and especially…..fire behavior. As a matter of fact, the mere discussion of “modern” fire behavior can change rational human behavior.
Try it and see.
There have been several well done fire operational studies (by fire service veterans) in the last few years on that subject. How the fire will or won’t behave based upon pre-existing conditions, what’s inside, what’s the building made of-and how its made, weather, what the occupants may do when a fire is discovered (open doors etc) and of course, what we do when we get to the scene and go to work….are all part of it.
You know that. There is no shortage of videos (or real life been there proof) showing fires getting better-and fires getting worse, based upon the actions-or lack of actions by the fire department.
As you may have observed, when it comes to the studies and the recommendations for some potential change, some members of the family have gone off the deep end-in both supporting the changes-and not supporting the changes. Real Hatfield and McCoy stuff.
I am not a fan of change. If you look at me, I continue to represent the 70′s in my style, attitude and appearance. I am confident my living fashion statements will come back around very soon.
When it’s suggested that I dress differently or overly trim my mustache, I often suffer a very tiny mini-stroke. Just a little one. Even my sub consciousness fights change.
I also have not been supporter of some changes in our business. I miss roof-less open cab rigs-in the summer. I miss tailboard riding-when we didn’t fall off. Some things that have changed, absolutely suck. For example, bring back the staffing of the 50′s-you know, 10 firefighters on each rig. Now that was staffing.
On the other hand, I try to remember that when change is brought up, there are two groups we are responsible for. The people having the emergency and the Firefighters responding to that emergency. Change isn’t all about what we may personally like or not like.
So when the changes related to modern fire behavior were introduced, we paid attention. We looked. Listened and trained on it. Over and over and over. And then after listening to the results of these studies and demos, I started to think back….
This stuff actually isn’t new-McAniff, Clark, Fried, Layman (google’em) and many others taught that in the 50′s and 60′s-it is not new-some old timers call it “reseting” the fire (in some fire situations, hitting it hard and then making entry-based upon conditions). Not new. Neither is controlling the flow path-not new at all. Some old school, time tested firefighting tactics: to be considered.
It seems when the subject of MODERN fire behavior is brought up, some fire folks want ONE way to do it all…ONE WAY to fight the fire (not new either) …but it doesn’t work that way…
…and the information being shared through the studies is not meant to be taken that way. Some folks read that stuff and say to themselves-or their troops: “OK, now THIS is what we will do from now on”. Wrong.
DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR OLD “TOOLS.”
The info from NIST, UL, ISFSI, IAFC (www.ULFirefighterSafety.com ) and others is another tool, options, for your fireground. We need to apply it as needed – based upon our size up. Don’t throw your other tools (tactics, procedures etc) away-add this updated information to do what’s best for the people having the fire and the members fighting the fire. If we can end up less hurt or killed-(them and us) – that’s a good thing-but fire operations are risky-and sometimes we must take risks to take care of people. Worthy risks. Not predictable, stupid “playground” risks.
Try this. Size up the fire….and then identify what’s best to make the problem go away. Heavy fire conditions? Force a door, find the fire, protect the victims (water and vent control), get water on it? Yep.
Heavy fire conditions blowing out? Hit it first to buy time for your victims and your crew…and then force a door, find the fire, protect the victims (water and vent control), get water on it? Yep.
It depends on your size-up….it shouldn’t be that tough.
But it’s all about understanding the expected consequences (both positive and negative) of our actions and focusing on what’s best for the people having the fire.
MODERN FIRE BEHAVIOR.
We want to pass onto to you the website: www.ModernFireBehavior.com . It was an idea created last year idea between the fire folks at Underwriters Laboratories Fire Safety Research Institute and FFCC. It’s meant to serve as a basic firefighting source of news and training information related to responding and operating at fires. No ads. No commercial stuff. Just fire tactics and operational stuff.
If you have any questions, please contact our Webmaster Brian Kazmierzak, veteran Division Chief and fire instructor. You can also submit articles of ALL opinions to Brian as well. His email address is:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take time to check out www.ModernFireBehavior.com. It’s another “tool” for you to add to your “stuff” when training and operating.