Drill of the Week: Building Construction and Fire Behavior, Scenario 4

By Forest Reeder

Knowledge of building construction features and fire behavior allow suppression companies to safely identify the potential hazards that are present at incidents. Knowing the hazards and continually monitoring fire behavior can help firefighters predict building collapse; prevent hostile fire events like backdraft and flashover; and establish safe hazard zones to operate in. Review this scenario using similar structures in your town and determine the impact of fire behavior on the building construction as you develop your incident action plan.

This small occupancy presents itself as a bread-and-butter situation, but considering the building construction and avenues where fire may spread, you will quickly see that there is potential for a greater fire problem. Discuss the following:

1. Where are the next three places you would expect to see fire extend to if not confined by initial attack lines?
2. What stage(s) of fire are present?
3. What would you expect to find in terms of room layout and arrangement (number of bedrooms, living areas, and fuel potential)?
4. What fire behavior “wild cards” need to be considered?

Download this week’s firefighter training drill as a PDF HERE.


Forest Reeder began his fire service career in 1979. He currently serves as Battalion Chief / Director of Training & Safety with the Pleasantview (IL) Fire Protection District (www.plvw.org) and is the Director of Training for Southwest United Fire Districts (www.sufd.org). In these capacities, he is responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of in-service training activities as well as a full-service fire training academy program. Forest holds numerous Illinois fire service certifications and holds a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.

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