Category Archives: TACTICAL PROBLEM

Tactical Fire Problem – UPS Truck Haz Mat

This week a Haz mat simulation based upon an incident I actually had, with exception of the location….it was “delivered” to the fire station ramp!

1.) We all know we will probably never see quantities large enough for placard inch, so we now have to rely on labels and package type.

2.) Do we really know what the package contents are even though there is a declaration of the contents?

3.) Bill of laden??? Electronic package information and data? How do we know if the driver is incapacitated?

4.) Handling a Haz mat if there is a liquid leak involves containment, in a powder or solid the situation is somewhat static, what challenges are brought by a vapor or air release?

5.) List the first 5 action items you would perform.

Thanks, stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Mill Building

This week a fire in a mill building. For those that do not have mill construction, think about a multi-story large area commercial building.

1.) What type of construction is this (NFPA Designation) and what are the characteristics of this type of construction?

2.) Have you pre planned the structure and is being used for the same occupancy loading as what it was built for?

3.) What is your strategy for this incident? Not tactical operations but strategy.

4.) What is the maximum flow rate that your department can flow to an upper floor of this type of building? Calculate this by using you apparatus and manpower assigned on a first alarm.

5.) How many aerial devices will be needed and what is the best placement for them?

If you would like feedback on your answers send an email to, or use the send voicemail tab on the right hand side of this page.

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Refrigeration Leak

Not really a fire problem this week, sort of a Haz mat or medical emergency.
You receive a medical call for your local supermarket for someone feeling weak and dizzy. While EMS is enroute you begin receiving additional calls.

1.) What are your initial actions?

2.) What are the additional resources you would call for?

3.) Do you know what refrigerant is used in these coolers, and what does the system schematic look like?

4.) Is the product toxic? Does it just displace oxygen? Is there any odor to the product? Is it a huge refrigeration system that uses ammonia?These are all things that you might be able to determine through pre planning ahead of time. We often pre plan the building but we should take a look at all systems that introduce products inside of a building through pipes, vents, conduits.

5.) On a crowded Saturday morning, how many people are actually exposed or contaminated, versus the folks that might have “sympathy” sickness from watching this incident. Triage will be a major consideration. Because this is a grocery store, are there any other considerations or agencies to be called after the incident is stabilized?

Stay Safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Rubbish Truck On A Crowded Street

This week something a little different, but still a challenge.

1.) This is a bad location. Are there any alternative solutions?

2.) In addition to the hazard of the mixed, unknown, compacted load, what are the truck related hazards?

3.) What is the appropriate extinguishing operation for this incident?

4.) How long will this incident last?

5.) List some firefighter hazards.

Send your responses via email to if you would like feedback and discussion, or just speak your responses into the send voicemail tab on the side and you will also get feedback if you wish.

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Downtown Storefront

This week a commercial old downtown building. Take a look.

1.) A building like this in your response area should be pre planned to the best of your ability.

2.) What is the approximate age of this building? What impact will that factor have on your strategy and tactics.

3.) Answer the standard NFA questions about this scenario. What have I got? Where is it going? What resources will I need to control it?

4.) In your department with your resources how long will it take to get the appropriate size line in position at the seat of the fire?

5.) What are the ventilation challenges?

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Camper RV Fire

This week a camper parked on a roadway.

1,) List some of the challenges that might be found in dealing with this situation.

2.) This fire should be treated as a minimum of a car fire, 2 residential rooms and a hallway, and a 35 foot fiberglass boat all wrapped up in one.

3.) Consideration should be given to 50-70 gallons of fuel for the vehicle and 30-40 gallons of LPG.

4.) Learn about these vehicles, go to a dealership or use the experiences of some of your members who have these units. Study the enemy before the incident happens.

5.) Shut this roadway as soon as possible, parts pieces and cylinders may fly off, fiberglass will produce thick black smoke obscuring visibility for crews operating and maintain a safety zone if propane is involved.

Thanks, stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Electrical Substation Fire

A fire at an electrical substation this week, which in some ways might be an easy one!

1.) Why is this an easy one? Simple, we do not belong beyond the fenced area until deemed safe multiple times by the power company. That was no mistake, I did say confirmed multiple times. The modern power grid will attempt to re-route power automatically in some cases when a fault is detected. What is de-energized now may not be in a minute. Get multiple confirmations from multiple levels and sources. Treat it almost like Haz mat identification of a chemical, multiple sources of information are needed.

2.) Consider the fact that extremely high voltage lines can drop and fall. Establish a safety zone for personnel and apparatus.

3.) Learn and pre plan these facilities in your area. Learn about arcing and safe distances. How close do you really have to be to a 60-70 thousand volt transmission line before there is a problem? Does thick black smoke have enough carbon in it to conduct electricity? (SPOILER….ANSWER IS YES!)

4.) As the fire department, what affect will this substation fire have on your community? Did you just lose all of the traffic signals, resulting in accidents, did the power go off to the nursing home, hospital, or supermarket refrigerators? Will home owners begin using candles, stoves inside for heat (carbon monoxide emergencies) will improperly wired generators begin to back feed the electrical distribution system?

The problem of the fire at this substation might actually be the least of your worries.

5.) When do you cut the lock on the gate to go inside and rescue the downed electrical worker in this scenario?

Please go and check out the substation in your communities. Call the power company and they will usually be more than happy to come out and train your folks.

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Vehicle Fire at Gas Station

This week a vehicle fire at a crowded gas station. Take a look.

1.) This is an extremely crowded station parking lot. Think of the impact of “moving exposures” and how it would relate to apparatus placement and stretching the attack line.

2.) What’s in the van?

3.) How familiar are you with activating the suppression systems at your local facilities? Would you ever activate it manually?

4.) What would you do as you arrive, if the suppression system discharged with the station island so crowded and congested?

5.) Where would you locate medical staging and triage for potential breathing and contamination issues?

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Large Residential

Large side tail style house, sort of a Victorian style. Lets take a look.

1.) Looking at the smoke from floor two and the window arrangement, where in the structure is that smoke coming from, what room or part?
2.) Based upon the age of the structure what should be anticipated during this fire?
3.) Does the age and type of the structure affect the need for manpower? Of so why?
Look around your response area for dwellings such as these.
If you would like to leave a comment or feedback please do so by emailing or use the send voicemail tab on the side of this page. If you want me to do a building in your response area send me a picture and I will simulate it so you can use it in your department’s training.
Stay safe, and stay thinking!
Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – House Fire

This week a relatively, uncomplicated residential fire. Take a look.

1.) Where is the fire located within the building?

2.) What does the black smoke along the eave line indicate?

3.) What does smoke color indicate?

4.) What size and how many hose lines are needed?

5.) What is the length of the stretch of the attack line? Take a look in your response district a buildings like this that are set back off the road or driveway. You might waste 1-2 lengths of hose just to make the front door. Look around your response area. Have a plan!

Take the above quiz online and receive feedback, or send comments or questions to Pete@petelamb.comor use the send voicemail tab on the side of the web page.

Thanks, stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013