Drill of the Week: Residential Structure Fires

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Firefighters are still dying to the tune of more than 100 per year. In 2004, half of the firefighters killed, died from traumatic injuries such as asphyxiation, burns, drowning, vehicle crashes, and other physical injuries. Many fatalities and injuries occur in single-family dwellings – our bread and butter operations. Structure fires simply aren’t the same as they used to be.

Changes in building construction, fire growth and spread, and manpower shortages all impact what firefighters can do to stop a fire where they find it. Lightweight truss construction and lower-density building materials mean that the span of time between initial report of a fire and failure of a building becomes shorter with each new construction technique.

Firefighters and fire officers must be able to identify reasons to commence an interior versus exterior attack to such structures. The choice between offensive and defensive operations may not always be clear. Everyone arriving on the fireground must weigh various factors to determine which mode of attack to employ. Such factors include time of day, potential rescues, and available resources.

This week’s drill includes discussion questions for line officers, pump operators and firefighters using the above image as a guide.

The complete drill can be found at FirefighterCloseCalls.com.

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