The following is a description of what FDIC attendees will have the opportunity to learn in more detail from Chief Isakson.
Water On The Fire (Workshop Description)
The fire service continues to rely on water as our primary means of extinguishment. Even though we have made tremendous advances in apparatus, bunker gear, and thermal imaging technology, WATER is still the most widely used and the most effective extinguishing agent at the majority of structure fires.
With these advances, we must not forget the longtime mainstays of the fire service: 2½-inch hose combined with low pressure nozzles are still highly effective and needed to move/deliver water to its final destination … the burning solid fuels.
This workshop will examine how to maximize hydrant flows, booster tank efficiency, and final delivery through both 1¾-inch and 2½-inch hose. We will cover when to use large-diameter hose vs. 2½-inch or three-inch hose as your supply/feeder lines.
Learn the pros and cons of all size fire hose in relation to moving water and using all types of master stream devices; master stream tip size, flow, and variables; and defensive and offensive modes of attack for the best overall fire extinguishment possibilities.
These most efficient fire extinguishment possibilities can only be effective if you have a complete understanding of how to get WATER on the FIRE!
Water is the equalizer in destroying the Fire Triangle. Understanding the Fire Triangle is necessary for successful extinguishment and survival on the fireground. Water application increases survivability for civilians and firefighters alike.
Water eliminates the heat before the entry of oxygen, creates and maintains survivable space for civilians first and firefighters second, and aids in property conservation. Homes can dry out, but it is difficult for them to be unburned.
Current building and remodeling practices hinge on energy efficiency creating a significant opportunity for more oxygen-limited fires. When arriving on the scene of a fire presenting with these conditions, we must never forget that water is the equalizer.
When placing people before water, fireground commanders must understand the importance of rapid attack or fast water from the water supply we bring to the fire in our booster tank and following it up by utilizing the booster backup.
While the booster backup tactic will not completely extinguish all fires utilizing two booster tanks, the forward advance of the enemy will slow down while awaiting reinforcements. When in this situation, firefighters must have tactics reinforced through training to establish a sustained water supply.
Options for the water supply include a forward lay, reverse lay, or hand stretching within a reasonable distance based on your supply hose. You will find videos of these tactical options below. As a fire ground commander, I prefer the reverse lay option to the hydrant. This tactic can provide an additional advantage against the enemy, maximizing the gallons per minute sent back to the fire scene with an engine pumping from the hydrant.
Water provides firefighters the most significant opportunity to win the war against the fire, the products of combustion, and the ongoing demolition of structural building components. Water is the equalizer in leveling and destroying the enemy on the field of battle.
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.
“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 will deliver a one-day seminar featuring two programs, “Gallons Per Second”, and “It’s Worth the Risk”. The seminar venue will be the Edcouch-Elsa Fine Arts Center Auditorium This very passionate and in-your-face presentation is about recapturing the primary mission of the fire service.
The host has indicated the cost of your attendance at this seminar can be reimbursed through HB 2604 if you meet specific eligibility requirements. HB2604 is also known as the Texas Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Programs.
Contact Assistant Chief Joseph Martinez of the Elsa Fire Department utilizing the information on the seminar flyer for additional details. Click here to register and attend CF Tactics programs, Gallons Per Second, and It’s Worth the Risk.
Our Next Generation of LODDs from Live Fire Training
Kevin Story Captain
Who are they: They are all around you and they are graduating from academy’s every day. What are they: They are our next generation and the future of the fire service. If you are a Company Officer, they are riding behind you. If you are a Chief, they are the Troops you had coffee with this morning. Why are they going to be LODDs: Because what live fire training is today, is ill preparing them for what they will face once they are riding on the apparatus. But we have NFPA 1403: Which is part of the problem, as it has watered down fire training (pun intended) to something unrealistic, to the real world of rapidly growing fire conditions we now face. There was a definitive need for NFPA 1403: that was plainly seen by some of the training events which left you saying that favorite three letter acronym that also works for, Well Trained Firefighters. Training evolutions that were not thought out all the way through no doubt. They were not planned with intent to do bodily harm but had tragic results. But these same departments go to real world fires without killing their Troops. There is often a more lax command and accountability at a live burn event because, “It’s just a training burn”. As if the fire and smoke are training fire cooler or smoke training toxic level. That apathetic attitude will most definitely get someone hurt or worse. So to combat this we have tamed our burns down but our fires in the streets are doing the complete opposite. Basically like training and equipping the Troops to fight in the desert and shipping them to the North Pole to fight and hoping for a good outcome. Today our fire attack is more enhanced than ever before. We have more technical and laboratory information produced than ever before. With all this what we are teaching sometimes does not match our enhancements and the information we have gained. Now it has been awhile since I was on the military training grounds but, even back then we were not taught, go till you feel bullets hitting you and then start shooting. Still we have firefighters that think you need to feel your ears burn so you do not get to deep. But this is a myth because every time you burn your ears and they heal up they lose feeling. So the next time you will be deeper yet, because you are deadening them every time you burn them. The “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes” has long since went away. But we teach exactly that by saying do not open the nozzle till you see fire. The smoke we are passing through to get to that glow is a bullet just waiting for the right conditions to cap the primer. The intensity which it lights will also light fuel behind us there by causing more problems. Better gear and thermal imaging now enables us to literally fly to the seat of the fire compared to the days of inching forward blindly by brail and feeling that heat at a slower pace. As Newton said “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”. So here is ours, you fly to the seat of the fire and the reaction is it burns your gear off or melts your mask. This is probably not what we are hoping to accomplish. But we routinely drag our underlings in right up to the fire and open up. This works great in a concrete room, with pallets or hay, but not in room full of hydrocarbon based products with a means for the fire to travel. I have not been to too many residential fires where I found a stack of pallets or hay burning in the middle of the living room or bedroom, excluding acquired structures. What I have found is overly stuffed BTU producing rooms that produce extreme fire conditions when the conditions are right. There is a ton of articles with huge amounts of BTU production rates and Heat Rise Rates. All this data is extremely informative and relevant but it boils down to these few things. Attack with as much water as you can be effective with and you have trained with. If you do not train with 2 ½ inch line you are probably not going to have great results pulling 2 ½ on a large volume of fire. Eventually your experience/training might catch up but you will lose a few buildings before you get there and maybe a firefighter or two. I remember reading a report chastising the use of 2 ½ at a residential fire. The reason stated you couldn’t move 2 ½ and be effective. Really, whoever wrote this has not seen some of the firefighters that I have seen move a 2 ½. But I have seen those that cannot advance a 1 ½ either. When our armed forces are faced with a target a little bigger than they want to deal with up close with a small force, they prep the target from a distance. We can do exactly that, it is called reach of stream! The problem evolving from how we are training in burn building is, flowing water while advancing the line is becoming a lost art form instead of a basic skill. Awhile back some of my Mentors where blamed for why bad events where taking place. So I went back and looked at videos of those “horrible guys”. I did not see them going in without water or wading in till they just could not stand it anymore and jerking the bail open and hoping the fire went out. These guys worked in busy houses their whole career and never retired until they went to the house the last time. They fought fire aggressively and they were the solution not the problem. They all went home too, because many are all enjoying retirement. Their mentored firefighters are not killing people off at an alarming rate now either. There is too much “Let’s run in and get some of that” mentality instead of “Let’s push aggressively and get all of it”. Engine companies have to be changing the conditions to better, not just sitting inside and letting conditions simply get worse around them. From the Incident Commanders position, if crews are in the building and conditions are worsening, the I.C. has no choice but to pull the crews out. Put yourself in the I.C boots, they have 2-3 lines capable of 200 G.P.M. each inside a burning structure and conditions are getting worse, you have to wonder. If an Incident Commander or Division officer that can actually see the fire calls me for a progress report at a single family structure, I take that as a clue we are not moving or being effective. The progress of an attacking hose line should be visible from the outside in most structures. So where is the problem? Better gear, Thermal Imagers, radios in every firefighters coat and people are still getting in trouble and the fires are not going out. The problem is one of the smaller pieces of equipment on the fire ground, the nozzle handle. It is not being opened and the line is not being advanced while flowing. Reach of the stream is not being used. We teach sounding the floor with tools during search. Why not teach structural stability with the stream? A 1 ¾ hand line producing 200 G.P.M. is a 1666 pound a minute hammer. Use the stream and look for kill you structure damage when the stream hits. Think past the moment of the fire going out. When things are heated they expand, when cooled the contract. A heavily involved room has a lot of expanding going on that when you apply a sufficient G.P.M. fire stream you should be causing an immediate switch to things cooling and now contracting in an instant. This is not breaking news to you, I am sure, but when we have trained our Firefighters to always be right up and personal with the burning material in the burn building. So in the streets they get in the room before causing the reversal. The fire is producing more BTUs than ever before so bigger flow hand lines are being carried by almost every department so what gives. All that flow is worthless if Firefighters do not react according to the situation they face. But how can you expect a firefighter to operate accordingly during an extreme fire event if they have never seen a extreme fire event or applied water during an extreme event. Now given the faster temperature rise of our hotter fires you certainly cannot expect a good outcome if they are scared to death because they have never felt significant heat beyond their own body heat in gear. Does every live fire training need to be flashover hot, absolutely not. Do we need to put trainees into flashover chambers to operate no, that would get really expensive in gear and S.C.B.A. But a firefighter’s first encounter with Walmart heat should not be at a Walmart fire. It should be in a controlled environment. A Walmart fire is not referring to a fire in a Walmart store. This is a fire that makes you question why you did not go to work at Walmart instead of the hot, black nasty one; I think we may die environment you are currently in. Firefighters need to be trained in this environment enough to know that they can survive. How bad would the U.S. Navy Seals performance be if they trained at the neighborhood heated pool? Long durations are not needed either. A little goes a long ways because when you encounter that heat you basically have 3 options. Flow water, ventilate if not already done, get out, or combination of the three. Trainees need that seasoned Instructor to say, “Okay when it feels like this, here are your options and if you do not exercise one of these, it will get much worse.” Will trainees get their needed experience at the Academy, no but they should be well trained enough that the Company Officer does not have to tackle them or kneel on them to maintain crew integrity. Let No Man Say his training let him down. This is a very often repeated statement which is on many Fire Academy walls and in training material. So why when live fire instructors can routinely be heard to tell students, “This is not like the real thing” are we allowing their training to let them down? We often jump on the newest thing, because it is new it has got to be better. Did we try it under those real conditions or close to real? Probably not or that whole left for life and driving all that heat down on us and pity on anyone near but not under the might fog might not have been such a great savior. Attacking the gas is not the root of the problem No one is going to the fires they used, not exactly breaking news. So where is the experience going to come, realistic training not make believe almost like a fire training. Many will scream where the safety is if we burn hot. Where is the ability to keep the trainee safe from crawling into the fire and just burning their untrained selves up?
Staffed back up lines in place where they will make a difference. Staffed by Firefighters who will say uncle and open them to make a difference.
Facilities constructed to produce the desired result of producing a fire to flow water onto with barriers to keep the student out.
Burn rooms that have light debris that actually fly’s around producing some of the effect a 200 GPM stream makes happen. Remember the first time you hit sheetrock ceiling with water and it fell. That wasn’t seen in training was it? Probably got your attention though. Eventually you got used to it would have been nice if it was not such a big surprise. Or the fact that when we drive those streams against a solid wall it comes back on you. You can no longer see just from your own water. But you will not learn that in a two or three second blast from a nozzle.
Someone on facebook asked about stress inoculation as it pertains to firefighter training. Here are my thoughts. Feel free to add yours, especially those of you that are fire instructors:
Radio Traffic Blaring, Smoke Detectors Alerting, Bells Ringing and being forced to THINK under Pressure… STRESS!!!!!!
Stress inoculation is extremely important to quality training. There are steps to reaching the point where outside stress is added to the evolution, though. Stress inoculation prevents the proper uptake of information if someone is learning or training at a beginner or less advanced level. Mastery of basics and advanced tactics and skills must be ensured prior to adding additional stressors to a scenario. For instance, you wouldn’t teach someone to drive by putting them behind the wheel of a stock car at the Daytona 500.
Stress inoculation is about making a scenario as real as possible within reasonable safety limitations. I say reasonable because we cannot safety ourselves out of training. We do a terribly unsafe job, and only through education and life like, realistic training can we make it safer. It just so happens that when we train, we get better. And getting better makes us safer.
So for stress inoculation to be effective, you have to make the scenario realistic. Our performance under stress is similar to the way an old card-style Rolodex works. We get hit with a stressful situation, and our brains start flipping through the memories until they hit one that seems similar to the situation at hand. The more of those we have, the better the odds are that we make the right call. If the brain doesn’t have a previous record of the situation, it can sometimes keep flipping for quite a while, making decisions at a slower pace than the situation requires, or just making a call at random just to make a call and stop flipping.
Stress inoculation also helps with off-the wall situations for which no Rolodex card could ever be made in training. Our brains are adaptive. Even if we don’t have a perfect situational example to reference, if our brains are used to making GOOD pressured decisions, they start to make stress itself into a memory. We begin to make better decisions under pressure.
What I have seen NOT work is trying to train proper decision making and tactics without the proper input necessary to really formulate a correct strategy or to correctly apply good tactics. You CAN train stress inoculation in this manner, but be very careful that you don’t confuse decision making under pressure with GOOD decision making under pressure.
-Don’t expect students to imagine anything that they would normally be able to see on scene. We are primarily influenced by what we see when making fireground decisions. Telling a student to imagine a downed power line, a victim, or any number of infinite possible problems is not going to teach them to look for those problems on scene. It only teaches them to go through the motions, and that someone will verbalize all the important stuff.
-Don’t make students practice critical skills out of context. Give them a reason to CHOOSE to use that skill in the scenario.
-Make scenarios challenging, but not unrealistic. Even if a problem is able to be overcome, if it is not reasonably possible to encounter such an issue on the fireground, it serves no purpose. Again, this goes back to context. When the Rolodex starts flipping, having a contextual reference makes finding the answer much easier for the brain.
-Stress should be individualized as necessary. Not always possible, but even at the same skill level, students are at different stress handling capabilities. Some beginners to a new skill or tactic are extremely good already at handling outside stress. As they master new things, they can handle more stress, and need more stress applied in training to see improvement in their ability to cope with challenges.