Reality Training: Commanding the first 5 minutes

Would your fire attack tactics be any different, especially in the first five minutes?

By Robert Avsec

Would your fire attack tactics be any different, especially in the first five minutes?

Incidents involving heavy fire involvement of single-family dwellings, constructed of lightweight building materials present several significant fire suppression and fireground safety issues to arriving companies. The first arriving incident commander must conduct a 360-degree size-up of the situation as the first step in developing a safe, effective and efficient incident action plan.

Incident commanders and firefighters must be especially cognizant when hostile fire has significantly attacked the building’s attic area and roof support assembly.

  • Describe the building construction of the fire building.
  • Based on the observed fire conditions, what would be your projection for fire travel within the structure?
  • Based on the conditions observed as the arriving commander, what should be your initial mode of operations: offensive, marginal or defensive?
  • There are three key functions for the incident commander: communication, control and coordination. How would you assess the commanders’ performance of these three key functions? What did they do well and what would you improve upon?
  • What are your thoughts regarding the amount of time that the fire was allowed to free burn while initial tactical operations were being set up on Side A of the structure?
  • What changes, if any, would you have made in the first five minutes of the scenario if you were the incident commander?
  • The interior fire attack was conducted using Class A foam as the extinguishing agent. What is your understanding of the advantages of Class A foam or Compressed Air Foam as an extinguishing agent compared to plain water?

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