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Reality Training
by Reality Training

Fire attack: Protecting exposures

Incidents with exposed structures close to the burning structure require different attack strategies and tactics

By Robert Avsec

This feature is intended to spark the sharing of ideas, information and techniques to make firefighters safer and more effective. The following video and discussion points must not be used to berate, belittle or criticize those firefighters. Rather, in the spirit of near-miss reporting, please use this feature as another teaching tool to help you better do your job. Please leave your comments below and use this material in your own department. I hope you find this Reality Training valuable; stay safe and keep learning.

Structure fires in tight places present many tactical challenges to firefighters and officers. When wood-frame structures in particular are arranged in close proximity to one another, prompt size-up of the incident by the first-arriving officer is the critical first step to keeping the fire contained to the building of origin.

Though this video is less than 2 minutes long, it contains several good examples of those tactical challenges for your review.

Discussion questions

  • What tactical challenges are presented to the first-alarm personnel on the scene?
  • What would be your size-up of the incident? 
  • What information would you communicate with your size-up radio report to your other responding resources?
  • What would be your Incident Action Plan for this incident?
  • What is your evaluation of the tactical operations that you see taking place in the video? 
  • What adjustments, if any, would you make if you were assuming command of this incident?

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Lowell Burdell Lowell Burdell Wednesday, January 08, 2014 3:57:04 PM Much like many other videos I've seen, it seems to take an inordinate amount of time to get attack lines charged and flowing water after they are deployed. Getting water on the fire quickly is important, but seems to be a secondary priority in way too many cases. In my department, the lines are generally charged and ready when the firefighters get in position to use the line. Knocking down the fire and cooling the exposures especially go hand in hand and usually are done by knocking down the fire as soon as possible.
Chris Solimine Chris Solimine Friday, January 10, 2014 4:24:15 AM having the right tools at the front door makes it a lot easier!!!!
David Dusee David Dusee Saturday, January 11, 2014 11:18:15 AM First concern schuld be protecting the house on the right by building a watefront between the fire and the house on the right. In Holland we call that strategy preventing the faire to expand
Todd Mehl Todd Mehl Saturday, January 11, 2014 11:47:24 AM Of course this is Monday morning quarterbacking- More focus should have been put on protecting the secondary exposure; the first house is a loss already. Slow to get water on the fire. A hand line isn't enough volume to handle that much fire in the back. If you are getting your collective butts kicked trying beat down the front door, take out a window instead and then unlock it from the inside.
Dave Littlefield Dave Littlefield Saturday, January 11, 2014 11:48:05 AM someone crash the window and use a ladder
Bob Bialobreski Bob Bialobreski Saturday, January 11, 2014 1:18:36 PM How bout a little urgency and it never reaches the exposure!!
Hooman Ghazanfari Hooman Ghazanfari Saturday, January 11, 2014 1:18:37 PM I agree with Todd Mehl. They needed a larger line and focus primarily on the Delta side exposure.
Brandon Scott Hinkle Brandon Scott Hinkle Saturday, January 11, 2014 1:31:18 PM If it seriously takes that long to break open that door, just grab a chainsaw. I also noticed that that team didn't have a hose line to protect them once they open that door.
Lou DeGeorge Lou DeGeorge Saturday, January 11, 2014 2:48:04 PM look at the axe . It looks like a pick axe . It's hard to strike the haligan . We no longer carry pick axes .
Heath Humble Heath Humble Sunday, January 12, 2014 3:14:10 AM That is one hell of a Front door Lock !
Jeff Liner Jeff Liner Sunday, January 12, 2014 3:55:58 AM Water suppy should have been established asap and a blitz attack on the delta side of the structure should have been executed until at least a 2 1/2" preconnected hose was secondary to the buildings. Exposures should have the water applied directly on them.
Bonita S. Pursel Bonita S. Pursel Friday, January 17, 2014 7:25:37 PM I am not a firefighter but I'd like to know why they just didn't break out a window to obtain entry to the house. And where is the foam for the vehicle? They took way to long to get even water on this fire. My son's department in Dundee Oregon would have had this knocked down in no time. A firefighters Mom
Rosa Gumansag Rosa Gumansag Sunday, March 09, 2014 10:51:48 PM hellow lowell how are you,i try to sen this message,i dont know if read,,

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