Category Archives: TACTICAL PROBLEM

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

Tactical fire problem – Passenger Bus

Lets take a look at a significant fire on a passenger coach bus. This really could be any variation of bus including a school bus, or a transit authority bus.
Lets look at this scenario.

Some considerations:
1.) How many people are threatened? It could just be a few if it is a light day, 60 on a school bus or 40 +/ – on a charter or more. Most departments today do not have enough manpower under normal circumstances to make a rescue of 3-4 never mind 40. What about the smoke toxicity and the people trying to self evacuate? What about the traffic hazard of operating in the middle of the street? (Yes I know traffic will be controlled but I would bet you would have some gawkers in a hurry trying o pass the flaming bus)
2.) How familiar are you with getting into the bus and dealing with emergency exit windows, air bag suspensions, and the operations of the doors?
3.) What is the fuel source for the bus, gasoline, propane, CNG?
Speaking of CNG, take a look at this VIDEO CLIP for the results of a CNG bus fire.
Would you be ready? If you ever have the opportunity to train with the local charter bus company or transit authority please do so. Ask them when they are getting rid of busses for scrap if your department can get one or training, but then make sure you are training Inge safely when you get it.
Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem 2012-03 – Storefront

This problem is a typical one found in an older city. There can be a number of solutions to this one and I want you to think it through for your own department and resources.
Remember you can use the video player controls to pause it between the periods of fire growth which are highly compressed in these short clips.


Some considerations…
1.) It appears the 1st floor storefronts are vacant? What does that say about conditions inside…abandoned stock still there, a set fire to get rid of the building, squatters or homeless,
2.) Second floor apartments above. Life hazard?
3.) Look at the windows on the second floor and think about approximate ceiling height? What do extremely high ceilings mean in terms of heat buildup etc.?
4.) Space between the top of the ceiling and roofline. Cockloft?
5.) What type of roof would you expect and what ventilation challenges might be expected?

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

Tactical Fire Problem 2012-02 – Residential garage with extension

Here is the problem and some thoughts for this week. Our situation is a residential garage with extension. (I have included the still photo as well as the video because I got reports some folks could not get the video working.)

1.) This appears to be a daytime situation, no cars in the driveway, what are you thinking? Empty? Stay at home mom with babysitting service in basement area? Elderly couple home alone? Hoarding?

2.) What is the fire load in a residential garage? Does your department have an SOP for a mandatory “big line” or 2 1/2″ line for attack in this situation?

3.) In your department where does the first line go?

4.) Estimate how long you will be on scene, and how much manpower this fire will take? Then do it by benchmarks…..how long for primary search and how many personnel needed? How long until knockdown and how many personnel? How long until loss stopped and overhaul and how many personnel needed?

5.) based upon the little you can see and the photo…..is the “real” or lightweight construction?

These questions are just designed to get you thinking a little. Come up with your own and drill your crew at the coffee table!

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

Tactical Fire Problem 2012-01

For the folks that remember we would do a tactical you make the call problem each week. I am going to change the format a little bit and offer some questions to prompt the reader.

These are designed, just to little quick hits to get you thinking and talking. They are clearly not meant to be a complete training exercise and their value will be dependent upon the training and experience of the reader.

Obviously the time frame is extremely compressed for these short hits, but consider whatever time you like in the development of the fire.

Most if not all of these will be.mov QuickTime movies. The player is a free download if you do not already have it installed.

This week let’s look at this scenario.

1.) The mom and pop “taxpayer” store. Small convenience store at the bottom, living area or multiple living areas above.

2.) Where are the store owners children? Where do they play after school, where are they now?

3.) I see the side door just like you do. Is there an interior stairway from inside the store to at least 1 of the apartments above? Does it reach a small center hall that connects two units?

4.) What is the fire load on each of the floors?

5.) if you have any of these in your first due, go out and take a look in daylight with no fire condition. Better to see it then, then right now!

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