The “Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires” report is now available online at https://ulfirefightersafety.org/posts/fsri-and-isfsi-release-basement-fire-report.html. The International Society of Fire Service Instructors and UL FSRI have conducted this research to better understand why basement fires present such a high risk to firefighters and what they can do to avoid injury. This study goes beyond past research by increasing the size of the basement, and incorporating three different access conditions to the basement. This project is supported with a US Department of Homeland Security and FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant. To find an 8-hour class in your region, visit http://www.isfsi.org/p/cl/et/cid=1056.
While not meaning to sound arrogant, I have always felt that the opinion on how command and the related tactics should be lead on the fireground is up to those who own the incident-the chief fire officers.
Actually, I didn’t always feel that way. As a Lieutenant, for example, I definitely didn’t think that way. What the he11 do those chiefs know anyway….
But then in 1982, I became a brand spanking new assistant fire chief and eventually realized that I “owned” all that stuff going on-on the fireground. As an old chief of mine once sternly told me: “no matter what-it’s your fireground-good or bad”..
Kind of like who decides how a football game is lead-the coach. While quarterbacks and other players carry out the mission-and certainly have to make instant decisions based on conditions, the overall responsibility falls to the coach-or in our case, the chief officer / incident commander. Between football players and Firefighters, while the incident is owned by the coach or the fire commanders, we can also never forget to solicit the input of those on the field, or in that house…or operating in the basement. It’s a balance-but always with the final decisions laying at the feet of the fire incident commander. That’s who owns it.
BASEMENT FIRES-WHO KNOWS?
There is a new study out related to basement fires that I wanted to share. Specifically, the project involved chief fire officers who experienced LODD’s…in basement fires.
ISFSI ONCE AGAIN-DOES IT RIGHT.
The panel that was put together consisted of leadership from several agencies that suffered a basement fire LODD. Been there. Done that. Suffered from it.
Chief Officers from Colerain Township (Ohio), Philadelphia, San Francisco and the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy joined other fire service training and research experts to share their experiences, review LODD reports, NIOSH reports and other research and training materials related to these LODD’s and basement fires in general.
Specific to the Line of Duty deaths that happened during initial fire attack, they have one commonality and that was that the fire was in the basement.
Hamilton OH, Philadelphia PA, San Francisco’s, Wilmington DE, Colerain OH all suffered line of duty deaths during initial fire attack or fire attack training operations in basements. In all, 9 Firefighters lost their lives in just that specific measured recent period of LODD’s. Additionally Don Abbott’s Mayday Project identified that 22% of all Mayday were falls/collapses into basements.
WHAT DID THEY DO?
After 2 years of research, more than 30 burns and dozens of meetings and reviews, the final report was sent off to several subject matter experts including John Norman, FDNY Deputy Chief (Ret) for review and edits. Now , the work has been completed and the ISFSI/UL
Basement fire project is complete.
The following links take you to video and related information on the Basement Fire Research study recently completed by ISFSI and UL.
Did they use props?
Are they different than real fires in the field?
==yep…as different as all fires are and will be.
But the combination of the tests, the reports, the actual LODD incident interviews, scene investigations, discussions with Firefighters and Chief Officers and subject matter experts – this is as good as it gets to help us understand BASEMENT FIRES …more so than we have available to us so far.
Full-Scale Fire Attack Experiments:
The Actual Report (Download):
Full Details On The ISFSI Basement Fire Project:
Please take time to use this information for not only your department-to make sure that your training and related operational policies match what the data shows, but that your MUTUAL AID FIRE DEPARTMENTS also have policies and expectations that match yours.
It’s a BIG deal considering so many departments run mutual box alarms/auto mutual aid these days but yet don’t train together-and have differing training and related polices.