Tactical Fire Problem – Bed and Breakfast

This week a fire in a bed and breakfast. Is it “just a house fire” or something more?

1.) Do you even know where the bed and breakfast establishments are in your community? Are the licensed and/or inspected?

2.) When you fight a residential fire people are familiar with their residence. How might human behavior in this situation?

3.) In this scenario we have a 1 1/2 or two story with an attic space. What are your tactics for this daytime fire?

4.) Are there any exterior factors that will have an effect on operating around the exterior!

5.) What length attack line will you need to make that room?

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

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 skill.

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 have often used the transitional attack to change conditions before entry and 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? Have you trained and timed it?

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. (Sort of like 1710 has already laid out for us)

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.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

The Firefighter Training Podcast – Portable extinguisher use for the fire service

This week we look at an underutilized tool in the fire service, the portable fire extinguisher.

We talk a little bit about the”can”, pressurized water, using CO2 in the right circumstances, and using dry chemical by itself or with water.

We briefly chat about class K extinguishers found in commercial kitchen areas and also the specialized class D flammable metals extinguishers.

A bunch of announcements and updates as well as the Toledo and Arkansas LODD.


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Fire in Commercial Stores

This week, fire in commercial occupancy.

1.) Does your department have an sop that indicates a larger attack line in commercial occupancies?

2.) Estimate the length of the hose stretch needed for this attack. What do you use as a rule of thumb for figuring that out?

3.) How much air does it take to advance an attack line up a flight of stairs and then extend at least one full length? Might be a good drill idea, eh?

4.) Depending upon the contents and storage methods of the occupancy, what are the weight loads, what are the weight loads after water absorption, what are our escape routes?

5.) What is the layout of apartments located above stores and is there a common interior stairway?

If you would like to see a building simulation from your area, just send pics of four sides of the building (or just one side if you want). I will post it (with or without your name or department, you decide) and you can just use the website for your drill. Send the pictures to pete@petelamb.com

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

SWOT analysis


This week I am talking about something that has been around in the fire service and business world for a very long time. I am of course going to put my own little take on it, as most of you would expect nothing less. We are going to talk about a SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym and a planning tool that can be used at many levels and folks should be considering using this when doing long range planning. SWOT can be used to evaluate a department, a group or shift, a planned event or anything that an officer or member truly wants to evaluate.

SWOT is an acronym that means:


What are the strengths of the current situation, problem, event etc.?

What Weaknesses are there in this process, situation, event?

With all changes there will be opportunities, what are those and identify all of them.

What are the threats that could lead us to fail? What could happen under Murphy’s Law?

After that the principle is pretty simple……..

Take advantage and maximize all of your existing strengths.

Take steps to make any weakness into a strength and minimize weaknesses.

Evaluate all opportunities positive or negative and maximize and take advantage of ones that will be successful.

Minimize or eliminate all threats to success.

After that is done you stand to gain good success!

Now my purpose for today’s column is to have each and every one of you do a SWOT analysis on yourself and your fire service situation wherever you are. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into four quadrants and sit down and evaluate your personal and professional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities in front of you and threats to you professionally or personally.

When you have completed that sheet share it with a mentor who knows you, and or a family member to see if you have thought of all of those items you need to consider.

Now that you have conducted this personal evaluation of yourself, will you have the fortitude to actually affect and impact the changes to make the weaknesses into strengths, maximize opportunities, and so forth.

It is a tool that can really help you if you take it seriously and share the information with a trusted friend so that you can become the best you can be.

Or you could not even be motivated enough to even try it, which speaks for itself. For those folks that I know well, I would be happy to share some thoughts if you chose to email me confidentially.

Hey even if you don’t Like SWOT, I have my very own acronym which achieves the same thing but is much easier for me to remember…

Limitations Abilities Maybes & Might Be (s) Barriers and Boundaries

A personal evaluation tool called LAMB, now if that doesn’t SCARE you into action nothing will!

Have a good week, stay in touch and stay safe.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighting Today – Weekly Roundtable Discussion – Tips & Tricks

Join us Sunday night February 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM EST for our weekly Roundtable discussion. This week we are talking about tips and tricks that might be passed on from the senior folks, retired folks, or senior chiefs you may have had in your career.

Watch the episode live on YouTube.

Or you can watch us at the google + events page HERE.

Also take a minute to check Firefighting Today our new site for all of our video work but especially all of the Roundtable discussions. Click the link in the left hand menu for past episodes.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013