Firefighter Training Drill: The Fireground Playbook: Safety Considerations for Defensive Operations

By Forest Reeder

Defensive firefighting operations require careful control and coordination by all companies on the fireground. Master stream device safety, observance of collapse danger zones, and careful monitoring of crew activities are some of the responsibilities of officers. Pump operators must monitor water flow requirements vs. available water; consideration of traffic hazards; and apparatus placement to prevent damage from heat.

Firefighters must be aware of overhead collapse dangers, overhead wires, and other fire-spread conditions that could affect their safety. Some general safety rules include:

  • always have an escape route from your position;
  • do not lower portable master streams below manufacturer stop points for portable use;
  • and always consider the potential for collapse.

Night operations will require the use of lighting to observe building components and fire/smoke behavior. In this week’s fire training drill, discuss these operations and review department procedures for defensive/exterior operations.

Download this 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 ( and is the Director of Training for Southwest United Fire Districts ( 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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