Firefighting Tactics for Noncombustible Buildings

Issue 5 and Volume 162.

BY PETER McBRIDE A challenge I regularly pose to firefighters is to ask them to explain the difference between preincident surveys and preplans. The responses I get are varied and generally evolve during the ensuing discussion to establish that preplans describe the agreed-on tactics needed to control the identified fire problems and hazards in the work. Over the course of my fire service career, I have attended fires in mercantile, industrial, and storage facilities that represented significant social and economic loss to my community (photo 1). Because of the generally infrequent nature of and operational experience with these fires, I began to evaluate the tactical approaches being applied in other jurisdictions and their degree of success. In meeting the challenges of this class of building, I have reviewed literature, post-incident analyses, and operational trials; this research has led me to offer guidance in alternative tactics that have been demonstrated to…

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