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Where's the Cavalry?

Thu, 1 May 2014|

This training program address the problems of volunteer and combination departments that, of necessity, often have skeleton crews initially responding to fires.



[BLANK_AUDIO] [silence] Is your department a volunteer combination fire department? Do you normally respond with one or two firefighters to a structure fire incident? If so, this course is for you. According to the NFPA 2011 survey of fire departments, over 85% of the nation's fire departments are volunteer or mostly volunteer organizations. Typically in a volunteer combination setting there's only a few personnel arriving on the scene in a fire truck or in a personal vehicle. This means that five, ten, fifteen minutes later help is showing up. So, initially some things need to be done that are critical to mitigating the incident. Depending on the complexity of the incident. Critical decisions must be made by the initial arriving officer. This includes whether or not you have a rescue situation, the location of the fire, type and location of water supply, and what are you gonna do with the incoming units as they arrive on the scene? Training and experience affect the initial decisions made. On a structure fire incident. You cannot expect your recruit fire fighter to be, to be able to make the same decisions as your most experienced fire fighter. I mentioned earlier that some volunteer fire fighters respond to an incident in their personal vehicle. This happens in some areas where. The fire department allows the firefighters to carry gear in their vehicle and respond to an incident. It may not be always possible for a firefighter to respond to the fire station and pick up equipment. This is true especially in settings where the departments rely on their firefighters to respond. From their place of employment to an incident. The fact that the firefighter's showing up in a personal vehicle can hamper their abilities to initially manage a structure fire incident. However, there are a couple of things that we're gonna talk about in this class that the fire fighter showing up in their POV can do until equipment arrives on the scene. Job, family, other personal commitments, affect the volunteers ability to respond or answer that. And today's economic climate, were finding that firefighters are being layed off, of their hiring freeze is taking place, which affects,. The number of personnel arriving on an incident. Because of this, firefighters are arriving on the scene quicker, with lower manpower initially. In this course we're going to talk about firefighting tactics in low manpower situations. OSHA's two in-two out rule. And other things that can keep you safe and effectively manage a structure fire incident while the cavalry is on the way. It's crucial for you to understand that I am not advocating that you fight structure fire incidents with limited manpower. It's important that you have the proper resources and manpower on the way. To help you manage a structure fire incident depending on the complexity of the incident. However, what we are going to be focused on today is those initial few moments that you arrive on the scene while that help is on the way. How many fire fighters are responding on your first [UNKNOWN]. In a large jurisdictions only one or two people now are responding on the initial apparatus on a structure fire incident. Obviously this is not enough to effectively manage an incident. They rely on the personal vehicles to respond to the incident to form that company. Does the time of day effect the number of volunteers that are responding with your department? If it's during the day, a lot of volunteers work and are unable to respond from their place of employment to an incident. Therefor, it's important that you have the proper resources on the way. This may mean that you have to call for additional units to respond to assist you. Prior to response, it's important for the responder to understand the standard that affect the fire service industry. The two main standards that we're gonna talk about today is OSHA and NFPA. OSHA 1910.134 is the respiratory protection standard. In the NFPA 1500 chapter eight addresses two in and two out. Applications of the OSHA standard and the NFPA standard is going to vary from state to state and department to department. It is important for every agency to understand how those standards apply to their department. Is important to understand that in some jurisdictions these standards are enforceable by law. However in other jurisdictions the department may be exempt from these standards. It is strongly urged that the department incorporate these standards into their operation. First we're gonna talk about OSHA 1910.134. The respiratory protection standard. This standard talks about two or more firefighters that must be in contact with one another, either by visual or voice contact, at all times. While these two firefighters are operating inside an IDLH atmosphere, there should be two firefighters outside standing by to facilitate a rescue, in the event those two fire fighters in the IDLH atmosphere are in trouble. But remember, the two in, two out regulation does not take effect until the firefighters begin to perform interior structural firefighting activities. While the fire is in the insipiate stage, which is determined by the incident commander. Or when emergency rescue operations. Or required. Before the entire team is assembled, the standard does not require the two member teams inside and the two member teams outside the structure. An example could be a fire confined to a small trashcan in a bedroom. [INAUDIBLE] the commander could deem that an incipient stage fire therefore not requiring two in, two out. This brings up the question, what happens if the initial arriving fighter fighter is your newest rookie? If it's the chief or a captain they'll naturally assume the role of incident commander and make those decisions. Or whether to enter or not to enter. But what about that recruit firefighter? The newest firefighter. Do they make the decision? This is where training and experience play an important role in making those decisions. This further emphasizes the point that training is key, especially for that recruit firefighter. You don't want a personnel arriving on the scene, initially, that could potentially make a decision that can harm them or further exasperate the incident. It's important that that responder have training such as firefighter one and two training or state firefighter training. Prior to being able to respond, so when do arrive, they can make some initial decisions. Again you need to learn how OSHA applies to your organization. Application to volunteer personnel in a volun, in, in a volunteer fire department, a municipal or county department, or non profit fire department. Depends on the department and how they treat their volunteers. Something such as a stipend pay, pay on call, paying for trainings could constitute an employee / employer relationship. Therefore, the OSHA standard would apply to those particular responders. It's important for the department to seek advice from the state Department of Labor. Or even legal counsel to provide some direction on whether or not OSHA applies to that particular organization. NFPA 1500, chapter eight addresses emergency scene operations. Like OSHA, NFPA says operating crews of two or more in IDLH atmospheres. NPA adds that one member is permitted to engage in another activity such as the instant commander or apparatus operator if they're in a stand-by crew, provided communications is maintained with that interior crew. It's important to understand that if you do assign a task. To anyone in the standby crew that that task should not jeopardize any firefighter on the scene. This means that if the task, when abandoned, could potentially affect any of the firefighters on the scene, then it should not be assigned. The relevance to all of this is that in the initial moments of an incident. Especially a chaotic incident. We may have the temptation to over-stretch ourselves. We need to resist that if it's gonna jeopardize the safety of our personnel. NFPA standards can be adopted by the authority having jurisdiction. This could be the state. Or your city or county. If adopted by the ASJ then they are enforceable by law. It's also important to understand that NFPA standards are industry standards and if there's an issue of criminal or civil liability or negligence. Then these standard maybe referred to, to answer the questions who is right and who is wrong. These two standards can limit the initial actions a fire fighter can take. However there are some useful things that a fire fighter can perform that we are going to discuss in this program. We talked about, the standards that affect, the volunteers response to a structured fire incident. Let's talk a little about the fire behavior, and, how fire behavior today, has changed over the years. Underwriters Laboratories has performed extensive testing in fire behavior. Especially in newer construction, newer constructed homes, homes with newer furnishings. And what UL has determined is fires today are burning a lot hotter and a lot faster. What this means is by the time sufficient personnel arrive on the scene, structural collapse could be imminent. Even more the reason not to ignore the two in two out rule. So let's talk about thoughts that you should have while responding to an incident. While en route to an incident, some things that should be going through your mind are the location of the incident, are there some accessibility issues to the incident. Could there be a gate or long driveway to the structure that may hamper access by traditional fire apparatus? What about water supply? Is it a rural water supply? Do you need additional resources for drafting operations or are hydrants readily available to use? For an example, if you know that you have an issue with accessibility, then you wanna make sure that you get the appropriate equipment on the way. This may mean radioin' in to communications requesting a brush truck or other unit that can respond into the scene. Also, if you know there might be an issue with water supply. Then you want to make sure that you have the proper resources on the way, for that as well. This may mean calling for additional apparatus to go to a drafting site, to draft from a static water source, or call for additional tankers to facilitate a tanker show. Because volunteers work and live in the communities. That they volunteer in. They commonly know lots of information, that other responders may not. For an example, let's say that you're responding to a reported barn fire down the road from your residence. It may be a neighbor that you know, Fred Smith. And you know that Fred Smith stores. Some type of flammable materials in his bar. That's critical information that needs to be conveyed to the responders. I mentioned about water supply and accessibility issues, and making sure you have enough resources on the way to address those potential issues. But what about the time of day? And how does that play in to your departments response, and I'll give you an example, it's Sunday morning, 11 o'clock. Where are most of the volunteers in your department? probably in church. So if an incident comes in during that time. How many personnel are gonna be available to respond to that incident? You need to consider the time of the day, what's going on, and, make a decision. Do I need to call for additional resources? Do I need to call for more manpower, to respond, to mitigate the incident? Let's now talk about. What you do when you arrive on the scene. The first thing that you need to do is provide a good size up to responding units. You need to paint a picture as to what is going on when you arrive on the scene. A good thing to use to paint that picture is an acronym called IDEAL. Let's talk about that. So you arrive on the scene and you need to give your size up. Let's start with I in IDEAL. I stands for identify. If you're on a truck it could be engine one. If you're responding in your personal vehicle. It could be your unit number. D in ideal, it stands for describe. Describe what you see. While you don't want to be too descriptive, you still need to provide a short report as to exactly what you have and what is going on. For an example. Two-story residence, smoke showing from the second floor. Describing what you see when you arrive on the scene initially, is one of the most valuable things that, that you can do for other responding units. This helps paint a picture as to exactly what they're responding to and what the conditions are. E in IDEAL is to explain what you're gonna do. Once you arrive on the scene. For example, are you going to pull a hose and do an offensive attack inside the structure? Or is it gonna be a defensive attack? Or it could be a transitional attack? These are things that you need to let other responders know, so they know when they arrive on the scene,. What is going to take place on the incident. A in ideal stands for assume command. The question here is, what type of command? Is it formal command or combative command? What I mean by this is are you gonna assume a command role. Where you're not going to, be committed to any other type, of task. Or, depending on the incident. Are you going have to assume a combative role where you are going to be carrying out a task and, commanding the incident? Why is relaying this information important? Well, for an example. I assume a combative command role. This lets personnel know that I'm not going to be standing in outside in the front yard, talking on the radio. That I'm actually gonna be inside the structure conducting operations. Therefore it could be I'm in a air pack, my communications could be muffled, it could be hard to understand me. So they understand what I'm doing on the incident while they're responding. Once they arrive on the scene, it's important for me to either step back and take a more formal command role or pass that on to arriving units. L in IDEAL stands for Let incoming units. Know what they're going to be doing. For an example, if you need an engine to lay a line to your engine, that needs to be relayed over the radio. It's important that you let other units know what you want them to do. If you don't, I can guarantee you they're going to find something to do. Okay, let's set this up. I'm responding with another firefighter on engine one and we're responding to a residential structure fire. We arrive on the scene. I'm the officer. This would be in a sample report that I would give. Engine one is on the scene. I have a two-story residential structure with smoke showing from the second floor. Engine one will be assuming combative command. Assign attack channel. Engine two upon arrival will lay a line to engine one for water supply and send your personal to engine one for assignment. But what if you arrive on the scene and you're not on an engine or you don't have a radio to provide a size up? What are some things that you can do? Let's start off with talking about witnesses and occupants. A lot of times these folks are often overlooked on an incident. Kind of like the moth and the light syndrome. We see a burning structure, we want to rush to that structure. And begin performing some type of activity. You need to stop and talk with these people. They can provide you valuable information, such as, are there any, is there anybody in the structure? Is everyone out of the structure? Where's the location of the fire? This is all important information that can help make those initial decisions. Something else that you can do is a 360 degree look at the structure. You want to stay outside the collapse zone when you do this, mind you. But you want to walk around the structure and look for different things. During your walk-around theres some thing that you can do that can help mitigate the incident. For an example, when you do your walk-around, do you see a power shutoff? Can you cut the power off safely? If so, then do it. What about gas service to the structure? Propane, natural gas, or these things that you can shut off safely as well. If so, you want to take care of those prior to entry of the structure. If you can't control the utility safely during your walk around, make note of the location of the utilities and pass this information along. So appropriate personnel can control the utilities at the appropriate time. On your walk around you want to make note of anything that's visible that might indicate there's a rescue situation. For an example, when you go around the structure and you look through a window, do you see a TV on? Do you hear anything? These are things that you need to make sure that you pay attention to during your walk around. Because if there's a rescue situation, that will necessitate action right away. During your walk around, you want to try to confirm the location of the fire. For example,. When you arrive on the scene from the front of the structure it may appear that the first floor is on fire, when actually when you do your walk around you, you determine that the fire is located in the basement area of the structure. Therefore you want to make sure that you. Stretch your hose lines to the basement verses to the first floor. Building construction affects the way a fire behaves. As the initial arriving responder, it's important to take note the type of building construction that you have and watch how the fire's behaving. The progression of the fire, the smoke coming from the fire, these are things that you, as the initial responder, should take note of and pass on to arriving units. Let's talk now about when the fire truck arrives on the scene. Here's some things that you can do. If you're determined that you do have a rescue situation. Then you could possibly do event enter and search. This is risky with limited manpower, however, may be feasible depending on the incident. Even in situations where there's the possibility of a rescue, tough decisions have to be made whether or not you're going to commit. Your resources, the limited resources that you have on scene to a rescue operation. You want to make sure that, before you do that, that you understand how much of the structure is involved in fire. The stability of the structure, how the fire is progressing. These are tough decisions that have to be answered. And a very chaotic situation. However you have to understand the risk versus the gain. And because you have to make these tough decisions. You want to make sure that your, all responding personnel are well trained. You want to make sure that once the apparatus arrives on the scene that you deploy the appropriate handline. For the incident. You also wanna make sure that it's stretched to the appropriate location. We talked about earlier about the 360 walk-around. And determining the fire location. That's why that is important to when you do stretch your hose line you stretch it to the exact location that it needs to be. Now we'll talk about a term that's relatively new to the service. And that's called transitional attack. And it's currently being debated by many in the fire service. Transitional attack is when you knock a fire down from the exterior of the structure, cooling the fire. Making the conditions more tenable for personnel to enter into the structure to mop up the fire. This type of action maybe controversial to some in the fire service because many may have been taught that when you direct a hose stream into a doorway, a window. Or other type of opening from the exterior. There's a possibility that you may push fire. During research performed by Underwriter's Laboratories, they determined that this is not true. That an exterior attack does not push fire like we have been traditionally taught. Therefore when you have limited manpower on the scene, more often than not. Initiating an exterior attack is useful to do. Then once additional personnel arrive on the scene, you can transition into an interior attack. And remember, even with limited manpower, you can throw a ladder to a second floor, and conduct an exterior attack. Let's take a look at the following video from Underwriters Laboratories regarding the research that they performed on exterior attack. At the conclusion of every experiment, a stream of water directed into a ventilation opening for ten seconds. The hoseline used was a one and three quarter inch with a combination nozzle. With approximately 100 pounds per square inch nozzle pressure. Two types of blow patterns were used during the experiments. Straight stream and fog. During straight stream application, the nozzle was adjusted to a straight stream pattern, and directed toward the ceiling, through the opening, at about a 30 to 45 degree angle. During the fog stream application, the nozzle was adjusted to create an approximate 30 degree fog pattern, and the stream, was directed at the ceiling, at an angle similar to the straight stream. The flow rate of the nozzle was 100 gallons per minute, which means that approximately 17 gallons of water were delivered through the opening into the house during the ten second flow. The purpose of this flow was not to extinguish the fire but to suppress the burning gases and to see if there was an impact to the surrounding rooms as it pertains to pushing fire. This would allow the potential fire attack crew to slow the fire down prior to making entry. Now that you've seen the video regarding exterior attack, let's talk about the streams that can be used for an exterior attack. You may be wondering, is fog stream the best stream to use? Or maybe a straight steam. Underwriters Laboratories researched this question take a look at the next videos. While temperatures were not impacted there was an impact on visibility or the disruption of the thermal layer when the fog stream was use in experiment 14 and 15. Two key factors for this were the air and trainment on the screen and the presence of a flow path. The flow from the nozzle caused steam flamation and that steam flowed through the flow path created by the open door and windows. This did not occur with the use of the straight stream water application, but the fog stream was more effective at cooling during these experiments. [BLANK_AUDIO] As the video shows, the fog screen cools the fire faster. However, reduces visibility. Application of the straight stream did not affect visibility. These are things that you're gonna have to take into consideration on your particular incident when attacking a fire from the exterior. A department's training program should include how to handle. Initially a structure fire incident with limited man power. So things that the department training program needs to focus on is one, how efficiently do you handle your equipment with limited man power? For an example, when you train to deploy a handline. Let's say an inch and three quarter hand line. How many personnel is it with? Is it with four, five personnel? Is that realistic? Initially, most departments like mine for an example, we only have two or three personnel there. So, as the police say, you need to train as you fight. It's important that when you train that you train with the amount of personnel that you may have initially on an incident. This could be two, this could be three, this could be more personnel. But you want to make sure that what you're arriving initially on the scene with, that you train. And are prepared to handle an incident. One of the benefits of training with limited personnel is learning what you can and cannot do. You might be surprised what you can do with limited personnel. When training with limited personnel, train to learn how to do things efficiently. This is one of things when you have limited personnel you're gonna see what your deficiencies are and, and the areas that you can improve. Learn from the waiter or waitress, learn to save steps. Take note of how a waiter or waitress waits on tables, usually in one trip they handle three or four tasks at one time, they take the order. At one table they filled a glass. And at another table they may deliver food at another table. All in one trip. By training with Limited Personnel you can learn how to be efficient in your operations. For example, you may learn that a particular hose load that you have on a truck. Is pact such way to where it's not [UNKNOWN] for one, two, three personnel to stretch, to pour that hose line. Through training with limited manpower you may learn a more efficient way of packing that hose on the truck. So when the truck arrives on the scene and there's only. One, two, three personnel. They can efficiently deploy the hose line. Do some training with two personnel. Maybe you can video it. Watch how efficient they operate. You may learn that there's some things that you can do to your trucks, position equipment. Where they can operate efficiently and their effort is not wasted on deploying hose lines, getting equipment off the truck and can be focused more on the incident. So what I hope you have learned in this training is that even though there may be a limit to manpower on a structure fire incident initiall.y. There are some, some useful things that you can do to make responders safer and to initiate an effective fireground operation. Remember, rushing in and fighting the fire is not always the best course of action, initially, especially in that limited manpower situation. There are other useful things that you can do while the cavalry is on the way.

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