- Training on Firefighting Tactics
- There are a lot of folks out there that are now refocusing and training on firefighting tactics.
I am one of them and I believe that we have all lost some focus on the very basic training
- There are certain basic principles that must be adhered to, but something is not being said in
the national fire service networks. Let's look at an example of what I am talking about.
- One form of a tactic....1st engine to the front of the building to perform fire attack, second
engine to perform back up line, 1st ladder company search and rescue and ventilation,
second ladder company assist ventilation, or something of a variety or form of this.
- Not a bad form of a coordinated fire attack, right? No not at all, but what happens in small
departments with less than 10 personnel on the first alarm, or when the on call or volunteer
personnel arrive haphazardly all at a different times.
- Can the same tactic be performed? Should we be training on a national level, these are
engine company tactics, and this set are ladder company tactics? These functions can often
be blurred and are in fact blurred everyday in middle America. With the exceptions of the
major cities, having dedicated company functions is almost impossible to achieve.
- Have we taught the options or given our personnel the chance to think of something else?
- Does the amount of personnel responding even enter our mind upon arrival when we decide
how far we will penetrate the building when we enter? Probably not if it is occupied we are
going in, whether or not there are any other personnel responding.
- We do not even consider some of the things we do on the fireground. Send 3 personnel in to a
fire attack in a supermarket.....how far can a three person crew safely operate in a
supermarket, Home Depot, warehouse as compared to a single family ranch.
- We say we know size-up, we profess to know tactical options, but on the scenes we just
spring into the automatic mode and do what we did yesterday.
- I do not, nor have I ever advocated shooting water through the windows from the outside but
I am now beginning to make clear distinctions on what risks can be safely undertaken by 4,
3, 2, and 1 person engine companies that are arriving to fires all across America.
- We need to stress the fireground priorities that must be addressed but we need to balance
those with the resources that we arrive with.
- How much area can a 2 person crew with airpacks effectively and safely search? Does it
matter if that area is residential or if it is commercial? I am not sure anyone has ever talked
about some of these issues?
- I know that for all of the time I have been both a student and an instructor of the fire service,
we have always been taught that engine companies stretch lines and do fire attack, and truck
companies do search and rescue, ventilation, and forcible entry.
- All I am suggesting is that maybe, just maybe as we speak to our new fire officers we teach
all of those functions and we begin to break them down and put them in order, and determine
how many personnel it takes to perform each of them.
- In addition, let us teach our personnel options and train them in using these tactics safely.
- The absolute limiting factors in many fireground difficult situations is limited personnel
performing tasks that are too numerous, or are way beyond their means.
- Let's not lump sum or tactical training, let us train our personnel to be decision makers not
just ladder and nozzle operators.