Fire attack: Well-involved older construction home

What can we learn from this fire about the importance of following well-detailed SOGs and executing a coordinated 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.

The vast majority of fires that most fire departments respond to involve fires in residential properties. Progressive fire departments take these "routine" fires and develop Standard Operating Guidelines for their tactical approach to more safely, effectively and efficiently gain control of the situation and extinguish the fire.

Those SOGs typically will contain guidance and direction for officers and firefighters on the first-alarm on the proper tactical actions required based upon a structure's construction type and occupancy.

Departments develop those SOGs so that officers and firefighters have a consistent expectation of the necessary tasks that will need to be completed and what resources will be assigned to those tasks. For a wood-frame, single-family dwelling an SOG might address:

  • First arriving unit: establish command, establish a water supply, and stretch the initial attack hose line.
  • Second arriving unit: reinforce water supply by laying a supply line if needed, supplement staffing for initial hose line, and stretch a second attack line.
  • Third arriving unit: establish RIT.
  • Fourth arriving unit: provide truck functions such as ventilation, lighting, forcible entry, ladders, etc.

Having a SOG in place frees up the initial incident commander to conduct an initial size-up and focus more closely on what's happening in a particular structure and occupancy and develop the initial incident action plan.

Discussion questions

  • What should an SOG contain for the dwelling type in the video?
  • How would you use such a SOG to manage this fire?
  • What do you notice about the command officers setting the safety example for firefighters on scene?
  • Are there issues with ventilation in coordination with the fire attack?
  • What do you believe is the public perception of the fireground activity?

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