Issue 12 and Volume 159.

BY HOWARD BLYTHE AND FRANK RICCI Fire departments across the country respond daily to emergencies and fires in basement areas. As we know, basement fires are among the toughest, most dangerous fires to extinguish. Knowing that the fastest way to remove the danger in a fire building is to get water on the fire and that the safest attack on any fire is with a clear and open means of egress and escape, proficiency at opening basement areas is crucial. Fire attack from the exterior basement hatchway door has many benefits: The other engine company can stretch a line on the first floor to protect the top of the interior basement stairs and control the door to the basement; this places the line between the victims and a likely path of fire travel. However, the attack team can descend the exterior basement stairs more quickly (most basement hatchway stairs have…

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