Fire attack: Multiple single-family structures

When more than one structure is burning water supply and water management become critical components of the fire attack


Editor’s Note:

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.

Few fire incidents present the tactical firefighting challenges as when the first-arriving crews encounter a fully involved wood-framed, single-family dwelling with fire extension into the exterior exposures on Sides B and D.

The simultaneous implementation of tactical operations in three critical areas on the fire scene will tax the abilities of any department, regardless of size, if the initial incident commander does not give proper attention to the three Cs of command: Communicate, Coordinate and Control.

Available water supply was apparently a factor in this scenario. Water supply is the actions required to obtain the required water and get it to the scene. Water management, along with fire stream management by individual hose operators, is the strategy employed by the incident commander to make the most effective and efficient use of the available water.

This video provides an excellent opportunity for a multi-company drill involving fire companies that regularly run together on structure fire assignments. It provides an equally applicable drill for a volunteer fire company that relies on mutual aid from adjoining fire companies to augment their structure-fire response.

Discussion questions:

  • What do you see upon arrival and what is the significance of those observations?
  • How would you prioritize the implementation of your tactical operations?
  • What information and tactical assignments would you communicate to your other responding resources?
  • What would be your strategy for water management in this scenario?
  • What is your evaluation of the tactical operations that you see taking place? 
  • What adjustments, if any, would you make if you were assuming command of this incident?
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  2. Fire Attack
  3. Education and Training
  4. Volunteer
  5. Incident Command
  6. Water supply
  7. Senior officer
  8. Junior officer
  9. Fire Chief

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