Fire Extinguisher Training

We often think about fire extinguishers as something the civilians use as first aid fire fighting equipment. Extinguishers are very valuable tools and we should train with them more frequently.

Often we don’t train because of monetary reasons as agent and extinguisher maintenance is costly.

Let’s just look at some basics of what fire extinguisher training should be like.

* Briefly discuss fire behavior the fire triangle and tetrahedron.

* Discuss the five classes of fires.

A – Normal combustibles wood paper etc.

B – Flammable liquids and gases

C – Energized electrical equipment

D – Combustible metals

K – Commercial cooking equipment, and oils

(More on class K later on but check it out, not many folks know it and it is not in the Essentials manual but it is in the new Delmar publication on Essentials.)

* Review the different types of agents and their various properties.

CO 2 , water, dry chemical, foam, etc.

* Talk about inspection of extinguishers

* Talk about extinguisher ratings and how they are rated by square footage of area and the use of a trained operator. Explain the limitations of size and duration of agent discharge.

If you decide to conduct small pan fire evolutions using extinguishers please check the following:

* All students will wear full protective gear.

* All students will properly carry and handle the extinguisher.

* All students will test fire the extinguisher before approaching the fire.

* Students will approach fire from upwind.

* Students will approach but maintain a safe operating distance.

* Students will use the P A S S method of extinguisher operations.





* Students will complete;y sweep vigorously across the surface.

* Back away from the fire while facing forward.

* Insure the fire is extinguished from a distance.

If you have the chance, use dry chemical extinguishers in conjunction with a fog water stream. The fog stream can provide cooling and the dry chemical can be fired into the water pattern from behind the nozzle.

* Live fire training should be conducted by a qualified instructor.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Another Store with Apartments above

This week another commercial taxpayer type occupancy with heavy smoke and fire from the door.


1.) Indicate your first priority in this scenario.

2.) Can your first alarm assignment handle this, and if not what is the best use for the manpower you have?

3.) What do you anticipate for openings and access on the “charlie” side?

4.) What problems might be indicated that could hinder ground ladder use?

5.) How many total lines will you need for this incident and describe their placement.

Stay Safe and Stay Thinking!

Extending The Line

An easy but overlooked drill that we have talked about before will be discussed again this week. We will be talking about a couple of different tactics that should be practiced and trained and in fact utilized even more than they are.

The first is pretty straight forward and has a lot to do with my opinion. I believe we should be carrying and using the 2 1/2″ straight bore nozzle with either 1 1/8 or large tip on them.

This nozzle has a great potential for fire knockdown, penetration, exposure protection and the like. In addition most of these nozzles have the capability to accept a hoseline onto the threaded fitting on the end. Many departments have taken these nozzles off apparatus and replaced them with TFT or fog nozzles.

My techniques and purposes for this training should be modified to fit your own department’s needs, district, and operating conditions.

Here is a look at some of the ideas and training areas.

* Try to get this line as a 150′ preconnected line somewhere on your apparatus. If this is not possible leave it in your hosebed with the nozzle on the end, and train in pulling off as much hose as the officer calls for.

* For the start of the evolution, just have two members pull the line, make a large loop in the hose ( Chicago or hydraulic loop) and play the line off of a designated target. Have the pump operator get a water supply but initially feed the line with tank water.

* There are those that will say this is crazy because you will run out of water. If you do not have adequate water flow for knockdown, you are going to run out of building!

* Time the evolution, try it with different members see just how long tank water will last. See if your operator can have a hydrant supply hooked up before you run out.

* Then after this portion is mastered, have the members re-pull the line and actually move it forward into a designated area assuming they were knocking down heavy fire. Then shut the nozzle down and add 100 feet of 1 3/4″ line to the tip and advance further into the structure or up a stairway. Use this combined evolution any number of ways but practice deployment as much as you can even if you have an acquired structure you can use.

* If you have buildings with large areas, long alley ways behind buildings this technique is extremely valuable. It allows you to knock heavy fire down and then proceed from there to advance at least one attack hoseline.

* The second piece of equipment that you could work into this drill is a water thief. This device has quarter turn shut off’s, has a 2 1/2″ inlet and a 2 1/2 inch outlet as well as two 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 inch outlets.

* A water thief deployed on the end of a 2 1/2 inch line stretched down an alley or through a long building provides for a great method of fire attack, lower friction losses, and an increased margin of safety because it allows for a larger size backup line if needed.

* The straight bore nozzle mentioned above will also call for a lower nozzle pressure which can help out.

* Look at these techniques and look around your response district and see where these tactics could be deployed.

These tactics are really designed to improve your fire attack options, but they will do you know good if you have not trained and practiced with them to determine their obvious limitations as well.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013