Time to revise basement fire tactics?

Issue 8 and Volume 165.

Captain Danny Stratton’s “Fires Below the Residential First Floor” (March 2012) was timely to a project underway by the Safety, Health and Survival Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. In the article, Stratton describes the risks and difficulties experienced in fighting fires below grade in basements and cellars. Any firefighter who has fought a basement fire can attest to the extraordinarily high risk firefighters face when fighting this type of fire. The Safety, Health and Survival Section is concerned about the continuing trend of firefighter fatalities related to basement fires. While firefighter fatalities have declined over the past decade, the rate of basement-related fatalities has remained unchanged. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) data for the period of 2000-2011 reflect that at least 30 firefighters have died in basement-related fires at 21 individual incidents. The latest fatalities include two firefighters caught in a stairwell above a…

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