Fire attack: Attic fire

Robert Avsec

The completion of a good size-up of the involved structure and any external exposures by the first arriving fire officer is a critical component for successful fire suppression operations.

While conducting her size-up, the fire officer must be cognizant of how easy it is to develop tunnel vision. This can include becoming focused solely on visible smoke or fire to the exclusion of other key observations about the fire's location, how it's extending, and what affect it's having on the structures stability.

Discussion questions

  • The first arriving officer in the video communicates via radio that he has a working attic fire. As he begins his 360-degree assessment, what do you observe about the wall on Side B as the camera pans the structure?
  • What is the significance of this observation as it relates to the fire in the attic?
  • How would you characterize the smoke conditions as the video progresses?
  • What assumptions can you make about fire extension based on your observations?
  • What tactical direction would you give to your fire attack team as they advance into the structure?
  • In the video, the radio traffic indicates that the incident command doesn't assign resources to the RIT until the 4:30 minute mark, several minutes after crews are already operating inside the building (and the IC has already communicated that there are no civilians inside the structure). What is the appropriate time to establish the RIT in the incident arrival sequence?
  • What is your department's SOG for the establishment of RIT?

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