All posts by plamb

Tactical Fire Problem – Church Fire

This week the problem is common to every community…..Holy Smoke! It’s a church fire. You might have several within your response district. Take a look.

1.) What is your initial report given, and your attack plan?

2.) This happens to be a wood frame building many churches are some form of masonry construction with heavy wooden timbers. Or they can be ultra modern large open structures. Get out there and pre plan these large occupancy structures.

3.) What is your salvage plan? As fire attack is moving forward and if it is safe enough to do so, are there any additional salvage efforts that can be taken for artifacts that may be irreplaceable?

4.) Have you trained to advance a deck gun or ground monitor into a building over one hundred feet and get it aimed into the overhead? Think about this as a possibility and try it during a training exercise in an open parking lot, without any stairs or obstructions.

5.) In the scenario given what is the estimated dimensions of the collapse zone? Try to estimate actual numbers it is good practice.

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Some Thoughts on Fireground Communication

Communication is a whole lot more than radios and whether or not they work.

Think about the communication that occurs in your department and then think about the following statement: Will what I am about to say into the radio cause anyone to do anything? We give reports, we do an awful lot of chatter, but are we saying anything? Let’s look at a couple of reports and then let’s try to make them better.

Engine 2 is on the scene, 2 story wood frame, smoke showing.

OK, that is pretty good and a lot better than what we used to do, but what did it do for me?

Engine 2 is on the scene, 2 story wood, smoke showing, I am advancing an 1 3/4 line into the C side door.

I now have the same information but I know the crew is around the back and advancing the line. I now have some idea about the size of the attack and where my people are and I have used about 1 more second of air time! How much air time gets wasted now?

Five minutes later that crew of engine 2 reports back…

Portable engine 2, (or engine 200) we have a lot of smoke but no heat, still checking.

Not bad, I know the crew is OK, and they have not found the source of the fire yet.

How about this?

Basement division to command, lots of smoke but no heat still checking.

I now know that the crew that went into the back door has found the basement stairs and has changed levels. This entire incident could be a furnace incident.

Just by thinking if what you say is going to make someone do something, we can do wonders to improve how we communicate on the emergency scene.

Having a company use the terminology of where they are located in the building aids in our ability to both track where they are and where I may need to send a FAST team (or RIT) to get them if they are in trouble. The problem is that we know that firefighters move throughout the building and they rarely report when they change locations. We
continue to traditionally use portable numbers or identifiers rather than location designations. This has an effect on firefighter, safety, accountability and operations in general.

Spend some time modifying what you say and the way you say it…you might just save somebody’s life by doing it!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem -School Bus Crash & Fire

This week a combination problem. Take a look.

1.) How many patients should you expect on a fully loaded school bus?

2.) How many ambulances should be called for initially? Just a random rule of thumb might indicate an initial call for 1 ambulance for each 5 patients. This indicates some will be minor and not need it and some may not need transport at all. ( black tag) It is not a certainty but it gives you a starting point.

3.) When was the last time you trained on school bus stabilization and extrication techniques?

4.) How much does a school bus weigh? How much weight are you trying to move / lift?

5.) Review some of the factors that complicate fire suppression during rescue attempts.

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Voice, Visual, Touch

This week we will look at Lack of use or failure of accountability.

For review I have listed the five common factors in LODD factors below:

Five major common factors among line of duty deaths are:

Lack of use or participation in Incident Command

Lack of proper risk assessment.

Inadequate communication.

Lack or failure of SOPS

Lack of accountability.

Firefighters must stay within Voice, Visual, or Touch Contact.

This week I was told that radio counts as voice contact. I am a ham radio operator. Last week my “partner” was in Lithuania. I was in voice contact with him. I am not sure I could have helped rescue him, and I am not sure of exactly where he was if I had to rescue him, but I guess we were in voice contact, so I must have met the standard.

I show this absurdity because the actual intent is to maintain crew integrity and be able to help if someone is in trouble. Does radio count….sure it does if you are able to immediately come to the aid of someone in trouble. If you will immediately react when they don’t answer. If you are in a position to help.

If we are in a medium to large sized room and in actual voice contact, and you yell hey Pete are you OK through your SCBA facepiece and I do not respond within one or two calls you are going to react. If I am on the C side of a building and you call me on the radio and I don’t answer, you will try a couple times, curse your radio, check with fire alarm or command, and then maybe walk around the back. I submit it is a little too late.

On a ranch house, this might be fine. A supermarket or warehouse? I think not.

The conditions of voice visual or touch should become more enforced as conditions that you are operating in change.

Alarm investigation, little or no smoke or food on the stove, = voice or visual contact.

Moderate smoke condition, no heat = voice contact visual not available. Not by radio!

Heavy smoke, high heat = Touch contact or able to reach to solve an emergency.

Firefighters must use the system in place in their department.

Officers must enforce and require discipline and mandate participation.

Chiefs must research and provide an adequate system.

On scene duties:

Firefighters must stay as a crew and know where your partners are at all times. You must be in a position that allows to you to immediately assist your partner and correct any life saving issue. Know who you are reporting to.

Officers must know where their crews are operating, that they are in fact intact. Officers must check crew integrity every 15 minutes by some mechanism. Officers should know who they are accountable for and to.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013