Adapting Residential Firefighting Tactics to New Technologies

Duffy, Norwood Tuesday Workshops Tues. 8-12 and 1:30-5:30

Norwood, Duffy Guide Students in Adapting Residential Firefighting Tactics to New Technologies

Students attending the Pre-Conference workshops on Tuesday had the opportunity to take the back-to-back sessions “Tactical and Strategic Perspectives of Residential Fires: Command and Fire Attack” and “Tactical and Strategic Perspectives of Residential Fires: Search and Ventilation” The workshops were led by Battalion Chief/Shift Commander Jim Duffy, Wallingford (CT) Fire Department; and Deputy Chief/Training Officer P.J. Norwood, East Haven (CT) Fire Department, and were complementary in that, together, they covered the four tactics of command, fire attack, search, and ventilation for the residential fire.

Norwood and Duffy both stressed to their students that recent research findings have underscored that all fireground tactics must be coordinated and that they can quickly and adversely affect firefighter safety on the fireground.

Norwood, lead instructor for the “Command and Fire Attack” session, looked at command and fire attack from a global perspective and how they relate to search and ventilation. Norwood emphasized three points:

• No other function on the fireground matters more, or saves more lives, than getting the first line of flowing water.

• Transitional attack is not a defensive mode.

• During the Underwriters Laboratories studies, it was proven time and time again that once ventilation takes place, the conditions change rapidly!

Duffy, leader of the Search and Ventilation session, demonstrated to students why “the attack and extinguishment of a residential structure fire may be the most complex, interdependent, time-sensitive set of tasks found in any job.” He emphasized that the most critical elements of every residential fire are fire attack and ventilation and cited the following as crucial facts students should remember:

· All fireground tactics must be coordinated.

· Firefighters must understand that part of the fire attack is ventilating the building and that all ventilation points must be controlled.

· We must evaluate and control not only the outlet but also the inlets. Lack of awareness of the flow path has been implicated in firefighter injuries and has contributed to line-of-duty deaths. The fire service must adapt fireground tactics to the new knowledge and technological data that have become available.

· Failure to coordinate all the tasks on the fireground creates more empty lots and leads to more fireground injuries.

Students in both classes left with the message: “We must continue to train on SCBA emergencies, Maydays and self-rescue, rapid intervention, bailouts, and wall breaching. But, if we coordinate search, ventilation, fire attack, and command, there will be less of a chance of needing them.”

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