An early morning multiple-family dwelling fire on Wednesday, March, 31st, 2021 at the Summit Lake Apartments in Hartland Wisconsin was punched in the throat, CFT Gallons Per Second style. The first engine on the scene in the video below began FLOWING enough water to truly overwhelm the BTUs, seeing a RAPID change in conditions.
Weapon selection makes a difference when taking on the enemy. Learn more about choosing the right weapon for your next fire from Chief Isakson at the bottom of this article in Brass Tacks & Hard Facts Episode #1.
The influence of historical fires on modern fire operations allows firefighters an opportunity to learn from the past. A triple Line of Duty Death (LODD) fire event on March 28th, 1994, now known as “The Watts Street Fire” created several lessons learned opportunities that still apply to present-day fires. From their deaths, it is our obligation to learn from history, to prevent a recurrence of the past. After Watts Street, the FDNY made a significant operational update and overcame politics holding back necessary equipment. The fire reinforces the need for all firefighters to be combat-ready when going above the fire to perform any fire ground activities, recognize the warning signs of hostile or extreme fire events, and how actions taken in ventilation limited fires affect the whole fireground. Utilize the lessons learned by brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice to do your best to return home to your family.
Upon taking the windows the fire began overtaking the first floor, filling the stairwell, and Ladder 5 transmitted an “URGENT”. Engine 55 began attacking the fire and the intensity had increased tremendously. The fire was filling the entire stairwell from the first-floor apartment to 10 to 15 feet above the roofline from the scuttle and skylight. Moments later Engine 55 and the Ladder 5’s tillerman discovered Ladder 5’s three-person inside team badly burned with one fatality. This hostile fire event occurred within the first 10 minutes on the scene. Firefighter James Young died on the day of the fire. Firefighter Chris Siedenburg died one day after the fire. Captain John Drennan died 40 days later from his third and fourth-degree burn injuries covering over 60% of his body.
This event pushed lagging departments nationwide to move into Turnout Gear from long coat & hip boot configurations.
Going green, and energy efficiency building initiatives are not going away. Tighter homes will continue to increase the potential to produce hostile/extreme fire events in ventilation limited fires.
When operating above a fire, notify the Engine and Truck companies below where you are going. If time allows, establish an area of refuge prior to the companies operating under you opening up the fire apartment.
Know the location of other companies operating on the fireground, and understand the greater impact your tactical actions can have on other firefighters operating within a fire building.
Be prepared to protect the interior stairs in a single or multiple-family dwelling.
Have all your bunker gear on and buttoned up, SCBA on, and flowing air. Anticipate rapid changes in conditions when the fire apartment door is opened up, and with modern combustibles.
All firefighters need to understand fire behavior and reading smoke. Drivers are critical to keeping watch curbside even if an incident commander is present. If smoke conditions are not improving, hostile conditions may be imminent.
Fireground Commanders must be ready to deploy a rapid intervention team when crews are operating within the IDLH atmosphere and have an immediate plan if the first due unit is making an immediate rescue.
A coordinated fire attack is essential in our modern fire environment where fires are burning hotter and faster than ever with our synthetic home furnishings. Civilian lives are depending on the synchronized actions of firefighters to remove heat and improve their oxygen-deficient atmosphere. Together the fire conditions and civilian lives present tremendous challenges for the incident commander and the nozzle firefighter that at times will require you to listen to that voice inside called gut instinct.
County Fire Tactics asks you to take a moment of pause while reading this article to remember the loss of Firefighter Oscar Armstrong II 18 years ago today, March 21st, 2003. In March 2003, Firefighter Armstrong was assigned to the nozzle position when his life suddenly ended in a flashover during a residential fire at 1131 Laidlaw Avenue in the Bond Hill section of Cincinnati Ohio. At the time of his death, he was 25 years old and left behind two children, and a fiance expecting the birth of another child.
When the incident commander arrives on the scene, regardless of rank or vehicle style, the framework for the overall success of the fire begins with the scene size-up, selection of the tactics that will put out the fire based on manpower available, and the tempo at which the tactics are carried out. The photo shows smoke coming from a one-story wood frame with a central hallway leading from the front to the rear. This older home is sealed up tight, boarded up windows, and a damaged roof tarped with furring strips.A gut instinct by the IC drove a slightly slower tempo in recognizing the potential for extreme fire conditions upon opening up this oxygen or ventilation limited fire.
257 Elm Street Atlanta Georgia
This fire occurred less than six months after Firefighter Steven Solomon lost his life in a fire that occurred on November 23rd, 2006 at 257 Elm Street in Atlanta Georgia. Chief Isakson attended Firefighter Solomon’s funeral and received a first-hand account from an Atlanta Fire Chief regarding the initial conditions and operations where Steven lost his life. Isakson’s gut instinct to slow the tempo and open up before letting his firefighters advance was based on the fire behavior similarities that the two fires presented.
The unedited house fire video below shows in real-time how the nozzle firefighter is challenged more than ever to read smoke, understand fire behavior, and prevent rapidly changing fire conditions through the proper application of water with a gallons per second mindset. Gallons Per Second is a firefighter’s primary weapon to level the playing field and defeats the enemy by controlling and reducing the heat, also known as the third leg of the fire triangle. The video also captures the actions of both firefighters and the driver operator confirming proper stretch of the attack lines, proper operational pump discharge pressure, and adequate fire flow to get water on the fire in the right gallons per second.
The time-delayed tactics employed during the operation included utilizing the booster backup concept from the second due unit, and utilizing the third due unit for a sustained water supply. The fire was controlled with only about 1,500 gallons of tank water from the first two engines on scene. Employing actions like these place people before water in support of incident priorities on the modern fire ground.
During the initial fire attack, the ongoing size up revealed a separate one-bedroom apartment only accessible from the Charlie side of the structure. The line going down the Bravo side continued the interior fire attack in this section of the converted single-family home. Direct water application through interior fire attack allows firefighters to rapidly remove heat, and replace it with oxygen through our fire ground tactics. Water creates and maintains survivable space giving trapped civilians the highest probability of survival.View a related article titled “Gallons Per Second, Creates Survivable Space, 2.50″ Smooth Bore Attack, Water On The Fire”.
As referenced above, from the Nozzle Firefighter to the Fireground Commander, knowledge and understanding of fire behavior and fire dynamics is more important than ever before. By studying ALL of the UL studies we can continue to operate as an aggressive fire service utilizing scientific facts to occupy interior space and improve incident outcomes for civilians and firefighters. Part of this knowledge must include the opportunity for more than one flashover event.
While the first room may flash in as little as three minutes and twenty seconds (00:03:20), other compartments within the structure will continue to heat and await additional oxygen as seen in this ventilation limited fire. UL has conducted tremendous fire behavior research in real structures over the past decade. UL’s scientific research indicates the first flashover in a structure occurs between 00:03:20 and 00:04:50 during four experiments under similar conditions from 2009 to 2020. View the newly produced UL fire video.
Fire conditions rapidly evolve and as professionals, we must continue to educate our peers, and superiors on the need for training, proper fire flows, and nozzles capable of punching the fire in the throat. Train and mentor your brother and sister firefighters.This article is written in memory of Maurice Bartholomew, Steven Solomon, Oscar Armstrong, and all firefighters who have died on the nozzle.
“Water on The Fire” with the mindset of “Gallons Per Second” is a tactic that creates and maintains survivable space for fire victims. Regardless of rank, we must evolve our fireground mindset from Gallons Per Minute, and Punch the Fire right in the Throat!
If you are FLOWING enough water to truly overwhelm the BTUs, then in only SECONDS you will see a RAPID change in conditions. Gallons Per Second will provide the best chance of survival for THEM. Utilizing a 2.50″ Smooth Bore Nozzle at the right pressure on advanced fire conditions makes a difference for the citizens in only seconds, lots of gallons per second.
The video below shows a mobile home well involved with fire and a back bedroom that had a fully survivable space for occupants. The 2.50″ hose and 1 1/8″ tip in the video punches this fire in the throat. Even though the fire rapidly self-vented from the front windows, the temperature in the rear bedroom never surpassed 100 degrees because the bedroom door was closed, and only had light smoke infiltration.
Tip Size and Water Delivery in Gallons Per Second on 2.50″ hose.
1 1/8 at 40psi = 3.95 GPS
1 1/8 at 50psi = 4.42 GPS
55 Gallons in 13 seconds
1 1/8 at 60psi = 4.85 GPS
1 3/16 at 40psi = 4.40 GPS
1 3/16 at 50psi = 4.93 GPS
55 Gallons in 11 seconds
1 3/16 at 60psi = 5.40 GPS
Modern fires must be “Hit Hard, Hit Fast, and Backed Up”. Not all citizens have the benefit of an Engine and Truck Company rolling out of the same station to their home when it is on fire. While a number of initial fire ground tactics are necessary, fire ground incident commanders and initial company officers must choose how to make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
This can be seen as an example of “Time Delayed Tactics”. A number of tactics must be accomplished by the initial arriving companies at the scene of any incident. But implementing the ones that will make the biggest impact first is graduating beyond minimum standards and the “Check-In The Box” style of incident command.
By applying the right amount of water right away to offset the tremendous BTU’s makes a difference for the citizen. Gallons Per Second is like dropping a Five Gallon Bucket on a Cigarette. Damage to property occurs during a fire, however, “You Can Dry It Out, But You Can’t Unburn It, FLOW WATER”.
Water On The Fire makes everything better and on a 1.75″ hose the 7/8 tip is Chief Isakson’s personal choice. It’s is the original Select-O-Matic nozzle delivering solid water without fog.
Tip Size and Water Delivery in Gallons Per Second on 1.75″ hose.
Chief Isakson has released the agenda and for his upcoming two-day Command and Control class April 12th-13th, 2021, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Hilton Hotel on Pensacola Beach. This seminar-style event is limited to 48 professionals without only about 20 seats remaining. The program size promotes manageable classroom interaction and nightly networking opportunities.
This seminar will blend Chief Dunn’s book with what Chief Isakson’s mentors have taught him, and what he has learned in 17 years of commanding fires as Battalion Chief in a diverse countywide setting.
Fire Officers today are juggling an infinite number of job duties related to administration, budgets, political interaction, medical response, fire prevention, inspections, and more.
The class agenda will be focused on topics from Command & Control of Fires & Emergencies by Vincent Dunn, to bring the active fire officer back to their primary focus, Fighting fires and responding to emergencies.
In a recent webcast interview with Strike the Box Training LLC, Chief Isakson said this class will be different from his other programs in the fact that he will discuss the need to have eyes on the fire building, allowing the incident commander to see in mere seconds what is and is not working, and make an immediate tactical decision. Why? … Because Tactics Put Out Fires !!!
On March 3rd, 2021, LT Daniel Mills, FF Jeff Fangman, and BC Curt Isakson, from Escambia County Fire Rescue, Pensacola Florida, were invited to a virtual sit down with Brothers in Battle, GRABS Podcast host, Grant Schwalbe. Ladder 12’s arrival video is posted for you to see what they saw on arrival at this house fire with a civilian rescue on January 28th, 2021.
After two months of data collection, the results from the Firefighter Rescue Survey graduate research project continue to justify “It’s Worth The Risk”. Firefighters are rescuing significant numbers of civilians from fires in residential homes. We congratulate these Firefighters for putting the civilians first and providing them a chance to live another day.
Across the United States between January 1st, 2021, and February 28th, 2021, Firefighters rescued a total of 594 civilians. Chief Brush has coined these statistics as “Fire Service Wins”. This is the first time someone has academically tracked this type of data.
282 people rescued from Single Family and Mobile homes
312 people rescued from Multi-Family dwellings
10+ people rescued daily for the past eight weeks.
E-Mail Chief “Ike” at email@example.com to inquire about CF Tactics sponsoring your team.
On Friday, April 23rd, 2021, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Chief Isakson will ignite the weekend with his popular Engine Company Operations class known as Gallons Per Second. The course will take place at the Holiday Inn Resort and you will learn why it is necessary to think beyond GPM and engage in Gallons Per Second. The focus of the class is on exceeding fire flow needs and still managing water during the crucial initial hose line advancement in an interior offensive attack.
Registration is now open through the event sponsor. Columbia Southern University will offer attendees of the Gallons Per Second course 0.3 CEU’s. Course attendees who participate in the challenge and the class will enjoy a reduction in cost from $65.00 to $40.00.
Over the past 10-years, significant research has been conducted on firefighting operations, tactics, and service delivery. Studies on how we do business when the bell rings and we roll out of the fire station have been authored and published by NIST, UL FSRI, and the ATF. The results of these studies have driven significant changes in the fire service.
But until 2021, the fire service has been missing out on a huge data set that will be the next significant change in how we do business. NFIRS and other data collection programs focus purely on the negative, lost lives, property loss, firefighter deaths, etc. While we know that we have been saving civilian lives in residential fires all across the nation, Brian Brush is on a mission to prove it through academic research.
Welcome to the 2021 Fireground Civilian Rescue Research Project. Hold onto your seat, because the initial results are already astonishing. County Fire Tactics (CF Tactics, CFT) stands with and backs this initiative by Chief Brush. The final results are going to be HUGE, providing evidence to what we already know, that it’s worth the risk. Firefighter Rescue Survey is the first of its kind, focusing purely on saving lives, our primary mission focus.
CF Tactics extends a special thank you to The Best Western Beachside Resort, Innisfree Hotels, and The Hilton, Pensacola Beach for your continued support of our programs.
Furthermore, County Fire Tactics (CFT, CF Tactics) appreciates the investments made by our sponsors in the professional development and continuing education of firefighters from across the United States right here in Pensacola Beach, Florida. Their contribution to our programs makes a direct impact on the safety and survival of millions of people living in the United States.