Direct Water Application “The Transitional Attack”

Direct Water Application Escambia

Why does this not push FIRE? Why is it ok that FIREFIGHTERS are inside? Is this an aggressive attack?

Crew is inside making the push.

This is the Back Up Line Assisting the Interior Crew make the push on FOUR ROOMS OF FIRE.

Firefighters are inside pulling and Flowing while they open the roof. Do you think the above picture is showing an aggressive TACTIC?

Transitional Attack Taking Place in a Large City! It worked. Great call by the Battalion Chief...

Fire Out! They HIT it HARD with Engine mounted Deck Gun while opening up and making access for interior attack lines. Transitional : passage from one state, place, stage, or subject to another : CHANGE!!! Photo by: Pat Grace

7 thoughts on “Direct Water Application “The Transitional Attack”

  1. Chief, I’m glad you are hitting this concept head on. It’s nice (no, it’s essential) to hear a fresh take on this idea.

    I was always taught NEVER to put water on a fire from outside for the same reasons you mentioned in the clip. And truth be told, it still is the cornerstone of how we do business in Fort Lauderdale – aggressive INTERIOR firefighting. For myself, justifying what you have been taught is key. You mentioned the concept of “pushing the fire”, and I can remember many a time where people have said to me that if the above-mentioned tactic was used, then the fire would be “pushed” throughout the home. I have been fortunate to have a decent number of fires under my belt, and I have never “pushed” fire around in any of them. (I mentioned this to you at the last OFC.)

    The Transitional Attack is a great tactic to have in your bag of options. If you are going to employ it, there needs to be a reason why – not just someone randomly putting water on the fire “just because”. As with any firegound tactic, communication is KEY with this. I know that if I were to use it, I better be able to justify why (because sure there’s gonna be a few chiefs on scene wondering what the hell I’m doing – but if they were keeping themselves up to date on strategy and tactics….)

    Chief, thanks for starting this thread. I am looking forward to hearing from others on their thoughts on this concept. Stay safe.

    Lt. Steve Shaw, FLFR
    Engine 46, “Sistrunk Express”

  2. If you honestly think about it we have been doing transitional attack for years. When crews just can’t get the fire to go out they transition outside knock it down and transition back in side.

    The problem comes when the transitional attack is not understood and becomes showing up and shoot through the windows.
    Just some random thoughts:
    Transitional flunks the mission of the first line in. Locate, Confine, Extingush. Stop the advance of the fire from occupants and the rest of the building.
    You have to fully understand unburned side attack to know if your transitioning correct.
    There are times when a burn side attack is warranted. If you are going to spend half a bottle trying to fight your way in off the unburned side, you have given the fire that much time to advance through voids, take over the attic and possibly get behind you.
    You HAD BETTER HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR FIREGROUND. On fireground that is being ran like the one with Chief Isakson in these pictures, I am pretty cool with it. He is obvisously taking control and being CRYSTAL CLEAR to the outside crew that there are crews in X and X location. One Chief parking a block away and not a strong Division Officer, this is probably going to become dueling lines. And if I am inside I know who is winning the duel, I am old and accurate LOL.
    Aggressive Interior Attack Is Not Wading In As Deep as You Can Go. Opening a Nozzle and Hoping the fire will go out. Hope is not a Fire Tactic.

  3. I like it Chief!!! I have had this very discussion with Capt. Bill Gustin for several years now and I couldn’t agree with you more. I know that some would frown on even discussing such a tactic in the past but as I see it, it is an option that must be considered under certain conditions. In all of my years in the fire service, I have NEVER seen fire be “pushed” through a structure by using a straight or smooth bore stream. With a strong Incident Commander, and a well planned and coordinated effort, a transitional attack will be yet another tool in the tool box in my rig…

  4. Thanks for a much needed civil discussion on the transitional fire attack!!
    Here is a video we recently shot during a training burn as we explored the effects of an aggressive transiitional fire attack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZn4xhunV20

    Here is the description of the burn as it is posted on our YouTube page:
    Attack as seen through an ISG Thermal Imager. The intent of the video is to allow the viewer to observe conditions using this type of fire attack. This fire attack was the first fire attack of the day.

    The window was broken to allow a point of attack for the nozzle. The nozzle was directed into the undercurrent side of the window and allowed to flow into the room until conditions visibly changed. The nozzle pattern was set on straight stream. Once conditions visibly changed the nozzle was rotated counterclockwise within the room for a short period. The attack line flowing in the window was an Akron 150 gpm/75 psi combination nozzle flowing .40% Novacool (wetting agent) solution.
    Once the fire was knocked down the thermal imager was moved from the initial point of attack to the front of the house. The entry door was opened and a gas powered Tempest blower was put into the entry door. The interior attack crew moved through the house to the fire room location. Conditions in the room were observed and the fire was extinguished. The interior fire attack line was an Akron 150 gpm/75psi combination nozzle flowing plain water.
    As seen from the interior, the fire attack window is to the immediate right of the thermal imager. As seen from the exterior, the interior doorway is on the left wall directly in front of the fire attack window.

    Please consider looking at the Kill The Flashover facebook page or http://www.joestarnes.com for information concerning our testing and documenting of the transitional fire attack.

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