Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Above the Fire Floor: Hazards and Precautions

Issue 3 and Volume 167.

BY DANNY STRATTON Firefighters working above the fire floor are in the most dangerous location at a structure fire. The convective energy, fire, smoke, heat, and steam from the fire streams tend to move in a vertical direction, making operating above the fire a challenge. The fire can eat away at the load-bearing structural supports, weakening the structure’s load-carrying capability. The interior firefighter must be able to identify hazards and know how to execute precautions to prevent death and injury when operating in such a vulnerable position (photo 1). (1) A fire on a lower floor with its tendency to spread upward, not to include other influences, poses a threat to firefighters operating on floors above. (Photos by author unless otherwise noted.) AWARENESS FROM PREVIOUS FIRES We must make every effort to improve the way we operate by applying what we learned from past incidents so we can operate aggressively…

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