DICERS-VO for Extinguishment

By Ray McCormack

DICERS is a fire extinguishment model utilizing interior tactics to extinguish fires.


D – Detect – Detect the location of the fire
I –  Isolate – Isolation of the fire area
C – Confine – Confinement of the fire.
E – Extinguish – Extinguishment of the fire.
R – Rescue – Rescue of those effected by the fire and smoke.
S – Search – Search of the fire area and adjoining spaces.

V – Ventilation – Ventilation coordinated from within and as needed.
O – Overhaul – Overhaul of the fire area for hidden extension.

DICERS lays out the fireground with task components that are directed at operations within the interior of the fire building based on best practices and recent fire research findings from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). They are the principle practices used by the fire service to stabilize a fire scene and save lives.

The tactical and strategic components of DICERS should be accomplished in an order that allows for the greatest success of the remaining parts. The six primary action components–Detect, Isolate, Confine, Extinguish, Rescue, and Search–are implemented in conjunction with a fundamental understanding of the importance of an ongoing scene size-up to accomplish our strategic goals.

Your actions based upon the fire’s extent and location within the structure, using ventilation discipline and entry air management, all impact our ability to obtain complete extinguishment and save lives.

The first step on any fire scene is to detect the locate the fire. Hoselines can not be placed correctly if we haven’t located the fire. Once that is accomplished using verbal and visual informational cues we can move on to the next step.

To isolate the fire area is to define it and set it apart from other areas not involved in fire. This comes from the ongoing and multiple perspective size-up. Where is the fire and where will it extend? This is where our resources need to be placed.

Confinement of a fire may take place utilizing objects within the fire area such as doors or tools such as curtains. The confinement of a fire allows for additional actions to take place along with limiting air flows to the fire. Water can also be utilized to confine the fire and fire spread and to reduce high heat levels.

Extinguishment on the inside of the fire area is typically obtained using handlines. High-flow rates are critical to maximize stream reach and penetration and to cool any area with extreme temperatures. Interior hoseline extinguishment techniques must be understood along with proper hoseline management, coordinated ventilation, and air control techniques. Complete interior fire extinguishment allows for the establishment of additional operational staging areas for expanded search and rescue operations and provides rapid event stabilization.

Rescue is a function of firefighting that can often place firefighters in positions without direct hoseline protection. Under those types of conditions, firefighters must plan their entry and exit as they move about. Rescuers and searching firefighters must be cognizant of methods that can assist them with completing that mission such as isolation, along with entry air control. These practices provides additional safeguards for rescue in the form of shielding and additional time.

Search is conducted utilizing both primary and secondary postures. These search benchmarks may or may not be attainable at all fires as quickly as we would like, however search is a core fireground function and must be carried out when structural stability allows. The primary search is often done concurrent with extinguishment or just after and may at times be delayed. Secondary search is preformed post fire extinguishment so only building stability or some other encompassing hazard would interfere with completion of the secondary search.

Ventilation of the fire area must be coordinated with extinguishment and or rescue and search; it must be communicated with interior teams. Ventilation may be horizontal or vertical or a combination of both. Improper ventilation, however, can cause unwanted fire growth. Anti-ventilation may also be utilized initially, until knockdown or during windy conditions.

Overhaul must be preformed at all fires. Open up along side, above, or below any fire you believe may have extended. Firefighters must be through when we overhaul, while minimizing unnecessary damage. Good overhaul allows the fire department to leave the scene stabilized and confident that the fire is out.

DICERS completes the fireground mission as it relates to searching for victims, rescuing fire victims and those trapped, and complete extinguishment of the fire within the structure. Not all fires will be fought the same way, however these components are the foundational concepts of firefighting operations inside a structure. Use both sound firefighting tactics and scientific findings for complete extinguishment.

The following is taken from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) Web site.

Door Control: The process of ensuring the entrance door providing access to the fire area is controlled and closed as much as possible after teams enter the structure. Steps must be taken to prevent the door from locking behind the entering members. By controlling the door, we are controlling the flow path of fire conditions from the high pressure of the fire area towards the low pressure area on the other side of the door. Door control also limits fire development by controlling the flow path of fresh air at the lower level of the open door towards the seat of the fire.

SLICERS: A Fire Attack Mode tactic used to reduce temperatures inside a building prior to entry by firefighting personnel for extinguishment or rescue.

Now you have DICERS and SLICERS.

Keep Fire in Your Life


RAY McCORMACK is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine. For more on Urban Firefighter, visit http://www.fireengineering.com/urbanfirefighter.html.



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