Default Aggressive Saves 29 Year Old, Escambia County Fire Ladder 12, “GRABS Podcast 57” Brothers in Battle

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.


The podcast falls right in line with the update we posted yesterday on the academic research by Chief Brian Brush’s Firefighter Rescue Survey. Grant’s interview with the crew of Ladder 12 and Battalion Chief Curt Isakson, provides a deeper look into what it took for LT Daniel Mills, FF Jeff Fangman to get it done.

CF Tactics gives thanks to Brothers in Battle for inviting the members of Ladder 12 to tell their story linked near the bottom of this post. Podcast host Grant Schwalbe has fifty-six (56) other great stories of firefighters putting the citizen first, in their own words. Much can be learned from these first-hand interviews.

The Escambia County Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 4131 provided a glimpse into the mindset of the firefighters they represent with this statement. Though there was no report of anyone trapped, our “Default Aggressive” mindset from our culture dictates we still search until WE say the building is clear. Their quick actions, aggressive mindset, and years of training paid off with the saving of a 29-year-old male.


Below you will find two links to listen to this podcast right here in this post by clicking play.

Grabs 57: Escambia County, FL (Jan 28, 2021)


Listen to Grabs 57 on Apple Podcasts

Aggressive Firefighting Saves Lives!!

I will not make excuses for supporting Aggressive Interior Firefighting. I have supported Direct Water Application since the 90s and have been teaching it for nearly 15 years. I supported going through the front door even with fire venting through that same door way before some test burns proved that we don’t PUSH FIRE with straight and SOLID streams. Urban Firefighters have been teaching Direct Water Application/Entry through the front door most of the time regardless of fire location. They taught this based on hundreds of FIRES they had been apart of extinguishing, at all times of the day and night. Fires that were not in a controlled environment in the middle of the day. These fires were in all types of structures with different fuel packages and different tactics. There was a time that the Urban/Fireground Experienced Firefighter was valued. Their time fighting REAL FIRES under emergency conditions were valued as a positive and not as a negative. It seems that some feel just reading books and spending time on social media certifies them to tell others how its done. I realize not all firefighters have the opportunity to get fight fires frequently and that’s ok. I respect the firefighter that continues to read and train so when the do have a fire, they are that much more prepared for BATTLE. Battle is what fighting fires is and always will be. You can not completely replace or reach the same level without the experiences. Its like our USA Women’s Soccer Team. They won not only from skill but the experience of playing in BIG MATCHES. Experience Matters! Take classes, Train in a drill tower, Get Acquired Structures, do whatever you can to prepare yourself for BATTLE. But at the end of the day you cant fully replace time compressed decision making under emergency conditions. The Fireground is a unique place and so many can do a certain tactic on the drill field, but fail to be able at 2am when fire is blowing out multiple windows. Time teaches us all that experience matters in so many parts of life. Kids thin their smarting than mom and dad until they get older. Life teaches us lessons. I wish more were looking to study the Urban Firefighter and working towards making the most with their staffing instead of making up excuses. Time Delayed Tactics is part of limited staffing. Figure out what needs to be done and then prioritize. You may need to delay some tactics until more staffing arises. Stop Making Excuses and figure out how to do the best you can, with what’s provided to you. I realize some do not have the staffing to vertically ventilate. But just because you do not have the staffing does not mean its not needed, just that you can’t do it based on staffing levels. We haven’t been doing it wrong. We have been very successful in the fire service at saving civilian lives and property. We continue to save lives everyday. We must continue to look for the best way in and sometimes/most of the time that’s the FRONT DOOR.

If we do not slow down on this push for exterior fire attack at fires, Civilians Lives will be lost in larger numbers. I have studied a large number of civilian rescues/grabs. The Grabs/Rescues were done on firegrounds were AGGRESSIVE INTERIOR TACTICS were used from the start. Civilians are mostly dying from smoke inhalation and not thermal burns. You can FLOW WATER from the yard all day and COOL the environment. But if FIREFIGHTERS are not getting inside rapidly to locate and remove the trapped civilians, they will die regardless of how COLD your HARD FROM  THE YARD is. This is not a HOT and COLD topic. Its a LIFE and DEATH topic.

Lets get back to putting the CIVILIAN FIRST!!

I am VERY proud to tell my family and neighbors that they come first when I am on-duty ready to SERVE. I am ready to serve them like the Soldier is serving all of us to provide FREEDOM. We are/become so SAFETY CONCIOUS were almost hang cuffing ourselves. Safety is Great until it cost more Lives than its saving.

Let me say that again….. SAFETY is GREAT, Until it Cost More Lives than its SAVING!!

Aggressive Firefighting Saves Lives and Property.

If you want to save firefighter lives than push for better diets, more time getting physically fit, better annual physicals, less stress in the firehouse, and WEARING SEATBELTS..

Wish I had more time to RANT.

I support Transitional Attack when staffing or the Fire Dictates. But I do not respond looking to do that as my first option. I hope that staffing and fire conditions allow an Offensive Interior Attack, utilizing the front door.

Have a Great Day!

Thanks-Curt Isakson

Smoothbore or Fog?


SB or FOG? My 2$$
It’s time to but this debate to bed. I say BOTH. There certainly is a place for both and if you find yourself only taking a stand on one of the two nozzles, chances are you are uninformed. SB and Fog a lot of times are dependent on the demographics they serve. Where I work in suburban America, BOTH nozzles are needed and are beneficial. The biggest problem I see when debating these nozzles is that many firefighters are just simply uninformed or under educated on the advantages and disadvantages of BOTH nozzles and even at times, don’t know how to operate the nozzle properly so that it is an effective weapon. The lack of knowledge prevents progress. Staying in your own “bubble” (not getting out of your own department to see how the rest of the world does business) prevents progress. Close minded firemen…”We have always done it this way…and no one got hurt….or just put the damn fire out” mentality, prevents progress. I will take it one step further, it not only prevents progress, but it makes OUR job that more dangerous. That’s right, not just your job, but ALL OF US. This is not an opinion, it is an evidence based FACT. Here are some quick points to ponder that are FACT. Fog nozzles DO NOT provide ANY type of protection with interior firefighting. It is a myth that has absolutely no merit. Watch the video and see what type of “protection” it provides. When operated on a fog pattern, you can move almost as much air as a PPV, essentially creating a wind fueled fire. Again, see the video when the fog pattern is opened twice. Observe how “violent” the conditions get. Drastically changes conditions and heat conditions increase significantly. The ironic thing is, this is what I was taught in 1989 in rookie school. “We don’t know what we don’t know, until we know we don’t know.” I now know it was wrong and dangerous. I’ve learned this through training, education, and experience of being steamed burned (multiple times). Moral of this point, NEVER operate any type of fog pattern, no matter how narrow the fog pattern, when combating interior fires (when fire suppression, not to be confused with mop up). Don’t think so?? Just google the history of the fog nozzle and pattern and how they were originally designed to be used or read up on Lt. Andy Fredrick’s, then come back and finish reading my boring rant. Always use a straight stream. Again, watch video and it clearly demonstrates why we should not be using fog patterns. With that being said, fog nozzles on a straight stream are extremely effective and are excellent weapons. In addition, it does provide the firefighter with a little more versatility to use during overhaul and hydraulic ventilation if needed. Best Fog nozzle weapons are the 50 psi nozzle pressure nozzles. To keep it brief, it equates to high volume of H2o (150+) with low nozzle reaction. The greater the nozzle pressure, the greater the nozzle reaction which equates to gating down the flow. Automatic Nozzles are dangerous, period. Don’t use them with interior firefighting. If you don’t agree or understand, go flow test one and you will see. Don’t use 100 psi fog nozzles. These were big in the 80s and 90s, but fortunately are phasing out of interior firefighting. SB nozzles are extremely effective interior weapons and have been since the inception of the American Fire Service. They have low nozzle pressure (50 psi), typically open orifices the pass debris (essential for stand pipe operations) and solid packed streams that will penetrate objects such as dry wall much better than their fog counterparts. They typically have the same reach as the newer designed fog nozzles, but more volume of the stream goes further distance. SB also are typically small, light, basic, and compact, unlike their fog brothers from another mother. This design makes it ideal for combat firefighting. Light and small equates to aggressive movement of the nozzle….no big fog bails weighing it down. Simple in design….less that will go wrong, and that IS a big deal when the shit hits the fan. And, they are just plain durable and an effective weapon. The biggest mistake I have seen in my career for those who have not been exposed to SB nozzle operations (and that’s a lot of departments in suburban America), is the lack of understanding on how to operate this weapon in an effective mode. It should be moved aggressively all over the room, hitting the floor, sweeping the upper atmosphere, using the ceiling and walls to break up the stream into small droplets. The droplets will not be as fine as a fog stream, thus working to our advantage to not completely jack up the thermal balance like the fog pattern does. Many firefighters loose site of a simplistic concept they teach us in rookie school. GPM extinguishes BTUs. If we allow firefighters to use a SB line when they have never used one before but we don’t train them on how to use it, then we shouldn’t get pissed if they have a negative experience and decide it is not a viable option. So, the point of this rant…..BOTH ARE AWESOME WEAPONS THAT SHOULD BE USED. I believe in having versatility on an engine and by having both options, only make sense. Don’t take mine or anyone else’s word on this, go find out for yourself by training, reading books, studies, and journals about this (that’s right…we do actually learn from reading others materials and can apply what we learn), and challenging the status quo. If you have formulated an opinion on this but it is not based on your own research, training, experience, and education, I would encourage you to re-evaluate your position on this subject. Be the courageous follower in your department and challenges all perspectives to find out what works best for your demographics. “Challenge the Status Quo!”
Be Aggressive-
8 5 0 F I R E M E N

1 ¾ for Commercial Attack……Why Not?

By: Battalion Chief Shannon Stone

City of Fort Walton Beach Fire Dept. Fla.

Now that I have your attention, take a moment to read this and provide feedback.

Couple of disclaimers; I’m not a writer so please be kind and I’m not advocating the use of 1 ¾ for commercial fires, but rather reaching out to those who are knowledgeable in this area and asking for feedback.

Recently during flow testing apparatus in my department, an engine company approached me and asked me a question. “What do you think about flowing and operating a 1 ¾ line flowing 260 GPM in place of  2 ½ line flowing 260 GPM?” You can imagine my response….”No way, we don’t use 1 ¾ for high flow GPM and we certainly wouldn’t use it to replace a 2 ½ line on a commercial job.” As you can imagine this started a debate which led to much testing and this article for County Fire Tactics. I will make this as brief as possible.


All flows were flow tested with a flow meter at the intake, nozzle reactions calculated multiple times, and tested advancing lines in full PPE simulating fatigue factors (not live fire). An “apples for apples” comparison was done with two identical tests. Both evolutions were performed with a four man company, the same firefighters in the same positions every evolution. They advanced the hose lines into a drill tower room 1, flowing to the left, shut down moved to the right and flowed, advance to the next room and flowed, advanced to the 2nd floor and flowed, advanced to the 3rd floor and flowed. Each time the nozzle was opened it was operated at full capacity for 30-60 seconds. Here are the details:


Evolution #1 – 2 ½ inch Ponn Conquest hose, 200 ft, solid bore nozzle with 1 1/8 tip

  • Engine pressure of 80 PSI equaling 265 GPM
  • As everyone knows, 2 ½ hose advancement is labor intensive and even with four well trained firefighters, the fatigue factor was still a concern
  • Firefighters had to work extra hard to manage the kinks in the line. They were never successful in removing all the kinks and this was performed in a drill tower where the obstacles are far less than an actual building.
  • Proper techniques were used by all especially by the nozzle man and back up firefighter
  • General assessment of the evolution is that it was very tiring and all firefighters were winded, but of course they said what all firefighters say “But we got it!”

IMAG2617 IMAG2614

Kink management was difficult at best with the 2 ½ advancement. The hose team was never successful in managing all the kinks in the line. Keep in mind there were numerous pivot points for this advancement.

Evolutions #2 – 1 ¾ inch Ponn Conquest hose, 200 ft, solid bore nozzle with 1 1/8 tip


  • Engine pressure of 140 PSI equaling 260 GPM
  • Half the weight allowed the firefighters to move the line very easily, much quicker, and more efficient than the 2 ½.
  • There was only 1 kink during the entire evolution which was easily corrected by a firefighter.
  • Proper techniques were used by all especially the nozzle man and back up firefighter. This is a 1 ¾ line but absolutely has to be operated and staffed like a 2 ½ line when flowing 260 GPM.
  • General assessment of the evolution is it was much easier to advance and the firefighters said they felt way less fatigued. They described it as no different than advancing any other 1 ¾ attack line. The nozzle man also stated that due to the smaller diameter of the 1 ¾ hose, he felt it was easier to hold and control the nozzle position.
Bleeding the line checking the stream preparing to advance the 1 ¾.

Bleeding the line checking the stream preparing to advance the 1 ¾.

Although hard to tell by looking at pictures but the kink factor was decreased significantly. Notice the nice stiff bends in the hose in comparison to the pictures of the 2 ½ hose.

Although hard to tell by looking at pictures but the kink factor was decreased significantly. Notice the nice stiff bends in the hose in comparison to the pictures of the 2 ½ hose.


Wrapping the wall, stairwell, and rooms are essential with minimal staffed fire departments. The 1 ¾ worked very well due to the high pump pressure. It never kinked when utilizing these advancement methods. However, 2 ½ would kink immediately rendering this technique less effective resulting in numerous kinks.

Wrapping the wall, stairwell, and rooms are essential with minimal staffed fire departments. The 1 ¾ worked very well due to the high pump pressure. It never kinked when utilizing these advancement methods. However, 2 ½ would kink immediately rendering this technique less effective resulting in numerous kinks.


Here are additional facts:


  • Nozzle reaction for both the 1 ¾ and 2 ½ are virtually identical since the GPM and diameter of the nozzle are the same.
  • Kink flow testing revealed that on average a kink in the 2 ½ hose would result in the flow decreasing from 265 GPM to 240 GPM.
  • Kink flow testing revealed that on average a kink in the 1 ¾ hose would result in the flow decreasing from 260 GPM to 210 GPM. The significant decrease is obviously due to the amount of water flowing through a smaller diameter hose.
  • 2 ½ hose was guaranteed to kink, 4 firefighters could not manage all the kinks resulting in a decrease average flow of GPM.
  • 1 ¾ hose was extremely difficult to kink due to the high pump pressure. Only one kink that was corrected easily and quickly. The average GPM was around 250-260.
  • Low friction loss hose was used (Ponn Conquest). Anyone who is a student of the fire service understands the actual diameter of this hose is slightly larger that standard hose (or slightly larger than what the manufactures actually advertises it as); however, manageability of the low friction loss hose vs the standard hose is identical.
  • High pump pressure had no negative bearing on advancement or operation of hose
  • The nozzle man has the same range of motion with the 1 ¾ line as the 2 ½ line
  • Reach, penetration of the fire stream of each was identical


Advantages of the 1 ¾ option


  • Literally ½ weight in comparison to 2 ½
  • Nozzle controllability was the same if not better with the 1 ¾
  • Line advances easier, faster, and more efficient
  • Fatigue factor was much less that 2 ½
  • Average GPM was greater than the 2 ½ (kink factor)


Disadvantages and limitations to the 1 ¾ high flow set up

  • It is likely that anything over 200 ft of 1 ¾ set up will not work due to high friction loss factors.
  • This should not be considered in high rise fires due to high friction loss factors. This would include most if not all standpipe operations.
  • If the 1 ¾ nozzle is operated too far out in front of the nozzle man, a serious “whipping or snapping” action of nozzle can occur. This is easily controlled by proper nozzle control and operation.



A quick special thanks to my guys that insisted I take a look at this. Fort Walton Beach Fire Department Engine Company 7– Acting Captain Justin Westmoreland, Engineer Mark Birchett, and Firefighter Brandon Waterhouse.


The testing we performed was much more comprehensive than what this article shows, but in an effort to make it brief and a quick read I stuck the meat and potatoes of the issue. In no way am I implying that we in the fire service move away from use of 2 ½ hose for large fire or commercial fire attack. However, the numbers and facts speak volumes that I believe are worthy of evaluating. If you think about it, this is no different from the evolution of 1 inch hose, to 1 ½ hose, to 1 ¾ hose, to low friction loss hose which now allows us to flow larger volumes of water under manageable conditions. I do buy into the concept of limiting your nozzle reaction and insuring you have a manageable line so the nozzle is ALWAYS operated properly during significant fire conditions-nozzle all the way open. This is why this 1 ¾ set up absolutely has to be operated as if it is a 2 ½ line insuring adequate staffing to insure correct deployment and operation.


So I beg the question….what are we missing here? What’s your thoughts and/or experiences with high flow, smaller diameter hose? Should this be a viable option for large fire attack?

Little Drops Of Water & Application of Water


So when is it a good idea to use a Fog Attack or a Combination Attack? When should we set our Fog Nozzle on a fog pattern? When Should we set our Fog/combination nozzle on straight stream? Do we push fire and if so; when? Does the setting of the nozzle effect te ability to push fire? Is there ever a time we would want to push fire? When is it ok to apply water from the outside? BE BRAVE and post your thoughts. Share your opinion for all to see. Check Out sign up for email notification of New Post at bottom of Home Page.

Standpipe Operations

What do you carry in addition to above photo? How do you justify using 1.75″ in standpipe operations? When can you hook up on the FIRE FLOOR? What door should you force other than the Fire Apartment? If you are over taken by a WIND DRIVEN FIRE; what direction should you evacuate? When should you take the Elevator? Why is an inline gauge so critical? Why do FDs that have 1.75″ as their Standpipe Attack System get away with it?

Standpipe Operations require proper training and equipment that will allow the standpipe system to offer the best results. Standpipe systems placed into service before 1993 only required 65 psi at the highest outlet. This requirement was built around a 50psi nozzle and 2.5″ hose that would have a 15psi friction loss from standpipe connection to nozzle “150 feet”. Standpipe systems placed in service after 1993 require 100 psi at the highest outlet. This gives the FD an additional 35 psi to work with. It is still highly recommended in all systems to use 2.5″ attack line with a 2.5″ smoothbore nozzle with no stream shaper. The stream shaper takes away one of the reasons for using a smoothbore and the ability to pass sediment/debris. In addition, understand what tips are on the end of this Attack Weapon. 1″ = 210 GPM, 1 1/8 = 265 GPM, 1.25″ = 325 GPM. The BIGGER tip is not always the answer. The GPM must also reach the desired point; the burning solid fuels. So pick the tip for reach that will also deliver the GPM required.

The ball valve is placed on SP connection before turning on; to allow control with a valve the FD brought with them. Some valves in very salty areas are very hard to operate and may cause additional problems without a ball valve. It is critical to place inline gauge on discaharge side of ball valve to control proper operating pressure.

Have you trained your crew, company, station, department on providing water to standpipe via first floor connection? What are some of the concerns?

Smooth-Bore vs Fog What do you prefer for the interior attack?

Does a Smooth-bore cause water damage? Does a FOG on a WIDE FOG push Fire?

WHY are so many FIREFIGHTERS totally against/closed minded towards the       SOLID STREAM?  I love BOTH!!  I like options!! I like to have the chose based on fire conditions and extinguishment needs.  SOLID STREAMS/SMOOTH-BORE nozzles have been proven to be very reliable and effective on the fire ground for longer than anyone still involved in fighting fires. So study history and have options!!!!!!!  SORRY there is no DEBATE.