Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Remedial Training: Permission to Start Water Flow from Outside

Issue 7 and Volume 171.

By MARK J. COTTER Water is the natural, ­available, and effective remedy for uncontrolled fire, but we in the fire service have complicated its use through an incomplete appreciation of its actions; well-meaning, but incorrect advice; and force of habit. Recent fire dynamics research has demonstrated that we can greatly simplify our method of initial water application at structure fires by directing it into whichever building openings provide the fastest route into the involved compartment, thereby effecting immediate improvements to interior conditions. We need be no nearer to the fire than the reach of our hose streams and do not have to be inside the structure to realize these benefits. Despite the increased ease, safety, and speed of this approach, many in the fire service are skeptical about such “shortcuts.” Notions regarding the potential for harm from exterior streams and the reportedly unique qualities of interior-placed hoselines have been drilled…

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