Category Archives: TACTICAL PROBLEM

Tactical Fire Problem – Box Truck Fire

This week an exterior truck fire near a building.

1.) A modern truck will have a number of fiberglass body parts and pretty good fire load within the cab.

2.) It appears by smoke from the roof of the box truck that there has been extension into the box. The side indicates it may be from a lumber company. Besides lumber what else might be carried in the truck?

3.) By knowing the businesses in the area you would know if the trucks are generally loaded from the night before, ready for morning delivery, or are they stored empty?

4.) If this truck becomes fully involved what additional problems exist in this scenario?

5.) What problems could exist in a truck fire that might be different then a standard automobile fire? Hydraulics, tires, rims, piston sizes etc.?

When you are out looking around your response area, don’t just focus on the buildings and access but look for other things like vehicle storage or outside material storage. The building fire you respond to my have started from the outside in!

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Attic Fire Ranch House

I am hoping that this week’s problem is an easy one, but we should still review it to see if it can be a refresher. This is an attic fire in a ranch house.

1,) Daytime fire, relatively low square footage dwelling, good open space with limited exposure problem. How many people do you respond with during the daytime, and what tasks need to be done here? (NFA fire flow formula) (NFPA STD – 17 personnel)

2.) The fire is directly under the roof deck so roof ventilation might be in order. The question is, in your department, can you get a ground ladder, a roof ladder, a two man crew and get there before burn through? Have you even considered the time it takes and use your limited manpower to do something else when you know there will be a vent? This is radical thinking! The fire will always vent at the highest point directly above itself. In this photo, how much time before we begin to have a burn through?

3.) In a small ranch house what is the access to the attic space? Small scuttle opening 2 x 2? A pull or drop down stairway? How substantial are those pull down stairs for 1 or 2 firefighters and a handline?

4.) What decision making process do you use before you have firefighters enter the attic area? (Read, confined space, IDLH, flammable toxic environment, with a restrictive single exit)…,…or do we just go, because that is what we always do?

5.) Other attic fire considerations…..does the attic floor have plywood down, or is it joists and insulation? What is the storage situation like? Is the attic space a narrow space surrounded by “stuff” packed right to the eaves? How does that affect overhaul?

Think about this, stay safe, and stay thinking!

Feedback and discussion welcome at pete@petelamb.com

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Hotel

This week we are taking an interior view. This simulation is broken into three logical parts and I encourage you to watch about 20 seconds, pause the video and make some decisions.
You are a four person crew and have just walked up from 2 flights below to get to this floor to investigate an odor of smoke, reported by someone from a room on that floor.
Take a look.


1.) The type of call here is strange because you are receiving a call before the detection system has sounded. Does this mean the caller could be in the room of origin or an immediate adjacent room. Think rescue!
2.) Is the building sprinklered and what impact will that have on your operation, and smoke spread.
3.) What suppression equipment do you take with you when investigating alarms of this type. Do you always carry a “can”?
4.) How will you handle taking the window in the fire room? Does the interior crew take it or can you properly direct a ladder company from the outside? Or a combination of both attempts at the same time?
5.) It is a four person crew operating in a well constructed modern building. When a member goes to low air, what do you do? Does everybody leave? Does the member leave by themself because of the construction of the building and possible safe areas of refuge? Do two members leave and two members make the push and knockdown into the room? Send you thoughts to Pete@petelamb.com
Stay safe! Stay thinking!
Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Apartment Fire floor 2

This week the tactical problem is a second floor apartment in a congested area. Take a look.

1.) Did you even notice the smoke hanging low under the balcony porch area before it broke out? Rewind and play it again. This is the reason that when you are approaching a scene you should be traveling slowly and observing on approach. (There are a bunch of YouTube videos out there that show apparatus arriving on scenes and going 30 MPH on approach, I will discuss that in a separate post later on)

2.) Look at the building features particularly on side D (Side 4 for my NY folks!). How are those windows for entry and/ or rescue?

3.) How about working room in the street for ground ladders apparatus and other foreground operations ?

4.) Can the incident commander get a wide enough vantage point to see what is going on? (More on that one in a separate post as well)

5.) think about the three basic question, What have I got?, Where is it going?, what do I need to control it?

Thanks and stay safe!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Furniture Store

This week the tactical problem involves an extremely significant fire problem. This is an older building, taxpayer style, with a furniture store on floor 1. Lets take a look.

1.) It is always a great size up feature when the age of the building is right on the front! Lets look at the height of the building above the second story window tops. What does that indicate?

2.) What types of problems do the two vehicles create for the stretch? What is your pre-connect length and how will that be affected by pulling up “on the curb”?

3.) Fire showing floor 1 on the A/B corner and the storefront window has blown. Based upon previous fire history and study, with a load of modern furnishings and this increase in air at a low level, how much time do you have to make a stretch with a big line?

4.) Conditions on floor 2 are relatively clear but it looks like the cockloft is roaring. How big is your crew, how much help do you have, and get you react and operate on the floor above, with a significant void space fire?

5.) Preplan any of these buildings that you might have in your area. Also this might be the time to remember the old adage ” Go Big, or Go Home!”

Send feedback and answers to info@petelamb.com , and I will discuss your thoughts on this problem.

Stay Safe!

Pete Lamb

Tactical Fire Problem – Accident with Fire and Entrapment

This week we will look at a vehicle accident. There is 1 person pinned and trapped in the vehicle. This is an active roadway with traffic flowing.

1.) Based upon what you see here think about the manpower and resources you would need to call and list them on a sheet of paper with the tasks you would assign each company. (Think outside agencies also)

2.) What is in the truck? How could different potential cargo affect your decision making or resources?

3.) In most extrication scenarios we always have a charged line present. When was the last time you drilled while using the tool under a hand line protection (flowing water). (If you practice this use extreme caution due to reduced visibility and the tools being slippery)

4.) How familiar are you with the technique of using dry chemical extinguishers in conjunction with a hose stream for vehicle fires, tire fires etc? Try it and experiment with it when you have a live fire opportunity, you might be surprised.

5.) this case has no exposures. How would the scenario change if this were a “middle lane scenario” with vehicles on both sides?

Next time you are driving the highway, look around and play a little mental “what if” game. Hey at least I did not make it a tanker! (Well, not this week anyway)

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Gasoline Tanker Delivery

Lets take a look at this problem found in almost every community.

1.) When was the last training you had dealing with the gasoline tank truck? How is it piped, what are the safety features?

2.) Will the stations canopy extinguishing system be effective on this fire? What is the coverage area? Have you ever witnessed one going off?

3.) What is the life hazard? Where is the driver? Where are the civilians in and around the pumps or convenience store?

4.) Where is this fuel going? Storm drain?

5.) What is your department’s capability to handle this emergency? How much alcohol resistant foam do you have? When was your last foam training?

Think about this one this week, and as you drive by a gas station with a tanker making a delivery, look around at the area and the people and the surroundings….then ask yourself…..what if?

Thanks and stay safe!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Apartment Fire

This week we take a look at a fire in an apartment complex.

1.) Estimate what you believe to be the amount of interior involvement in this scenario. What do you determine by the black smoke along the eave line?

2.) This appears to be a daytime scenario. Do the old rules of maybe nobody home daytime apply? Many more people working from home, moms doing babysitting to raise additional money, people out of work?

3.) Looking at the layout, what room is that fire room most likely, and why?

4.) Does the construction of this building (and buildings like it) present any additional tactical considerations as related to fire spread and exposures?

5.) What is the definition of a “firewall”? Look up the definition, then check your building codes, then go out and actually take a look at 5/8 sheet rock on both sides that may or may not be staggered and properly taped, and that also has utility penetrations through it. Also consider the age of construction, is I full dimensional lumber on the roof or lightweight truss construction?

After using this scenario, go out and take a look in your response area and find a similar building and come up with a plan.

Stay safe!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Vacant Factory

This week we are talking about an abandoned run down industrial property that could be found anywhere in the country.

Lets take a look.


The questions this week are not so much about individual tactics but more about strategies, and bigger picture thoughts.

1.) What is your department response to this facility? How many personnel will be needed?

2.) How well have you determined or preplan need your water supply issues for this building and others? We often handle so many 1-2 line fires, what is the experience level of our pump operators when we really need to flow large amounts of water? Ask your crew when the last time they were the operator for 3-4 big lines or ladder pipe operations. Set up a drill.

3.) What is your department plan for rehab and crew rotations?

4.) What is your plan for flying embers and brands?

I know of some Nw England cities that would look at this scenario and yawn, because they have handled so many large mill building fires like this, but the scenario this week is really a test for the small suburban department across middle America that does not have these every year.

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Trailer Park Wind Driven Fire

This week we are adding a different type of scenario. We have a trailer park, with a 20 MPH wind coming from the top left and blowing toward the right and lower right. There has been some sort of explosion and you have multiple trailers damaged and on fire.

Take a look and give this one some thought.


1.) Under normal conditions, what is the average burn time like in these types of manufactured homes, or trailers?

2.) What is the water supply like in some of these trailer parks? Is it a private water system or a city maintained system, or will you rely on tankers? If you are using tankers what about the dump site and turning around in these congested areas?

3.) What size lines, and based upon the described weather, where would you place them?

4.) Fully involved trailers and bottled gas on each unit……how does that end?

5.) Take a ride through your mobile home parks if you have them. Can you maneuver apparatus and how will you decide if you are going to commit to a tightly congested area with these fire and wind conditions?

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com