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
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