The attached vidoe is a very short and simple clip about how teach firefighters to low profile. As we tell firefighters in our classes, removing your SCBA should be a last resort, but a skill that you must be proficient at. Being prepared is as much about mastering the basics as it is about being able to perform in the event that conditions dictate survival skills must be used. (more…)
This past Fall we were doing a Survival class and one of the drills we do is the “following the coupling” drill. It is one of the most basic of drills and is well known throughout the fire service. We have posted on this drill before on using a cut piece of hose to hand to your firefighters and have them tell you which way would be back to the truck.
We get comment about how basic this drill this and some like to try and shrug it off. Well, as we all know, we must master the basics. Like in athletics, we building the fundamentals and gradually move to more advance skills that expand on those fundamental skills. On the surface these skills are very basic but look a little harder; we can make these advanced drills easily that will incorporate the basic skill and more advanced techniques.
This is true for any drills, start with the most basic and when mastery is achieved, add to the drill and make it more advanced. Do this in steps and before you know it you have an expanded drill that will challenge the most seasoned firefighter.
So, for this example of drill progression we will use the “follow the coupling” drill. We start wtih one firefighter on a charged hose line. Black them out or in a smoked room, put them on the line somewhere in the middle. Have them find the coupling and make their way out. Easy enough.
Now, we want to build in the parameters for calling a Mayday, so we have them call the Mayday using LUNAR and they must communicate with command as they find their way out by “following the coupling.” Now they have to think about more than just following the coupling but the basic skill is still being used.
You get the idea. Here is how this drill can progress:
-One firefighter lost off of the line, one on the line. The one on the line verbally leads the lost firefighter to the line and they follow the coupling out.
-One firefighter has an air issue, they can buddy breath on the way out following the coupling.
-A downed firefighter on the line and his crew packages, fixes the air and removes him following the coupling out.
So, you can see that we can expand on this drill. Your only limited by your imagination and creativeness. Use caution not to make so unrealistic that it frustrates your firefighters though. It doesn’t take much to make a drill challenging; keep it simple.
Have a Blessed and Safe New Year and thanks for all of the support this year.
This is a great drill from a great Brother and friend, Lance Peeples of the Webster Groves Fire Department in St. Louis County. Look for more great material from Lance in the future.
Daily Drill 1: Standpipe Operations
“The Daily Drill” is designed to spark discussion about operational issues in YOUR fire department. To do this we use photographs or videos depicting fire operations in other fire departments. We do not know the exact circumstances in which our Brothers in these fire departments are operating. Photos or videos are not intended to embarrass our BROTHERS and SISTERS but rather are intended to provide US with learning opportunities relevant to OUR specific operational framework. DON’TFOCUSONWHAT THEY’RE DOING…FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WOULD DO! Stay safe!
Watch the video below and answer the following questions:
1. Using the National Fire Academy Fire Flow Formula, what gpm would be required to extinguish a completely involved 500 square foot apartment fire?
How large of an undivided floor area is often found in high rise office buildings and what fire flow would be required there?
2. Under previous editions of NFPA 14 what was the minimum psi required to flow 500 gpm at the most remote riser?
3. What is the target gpm you are attempting to flow from your standpipe hose and nozzle combination? What psi must be available at the standpipe operation to supply that hose and nozzle combination in order to flow your desired attack flow?
4. The operation depicted showed using 4” supply line into the fire department connection. What is the working pressure limit of LDH used in your department? What is the elevation head pressure in a 30 story building? Are standpipe operations usually high flow or high pressure operations? Is using large diameter hose in FD standpipe connections a good idea?
5. What is the diameter of hose used in your standpipe pack? Is it an automatic/constant flow fog/smooth bore tip? What nozzle psi is required for its designed flow?
6. Will rust, scale, and other debris commonly found in standpipe systems pass through an automatic fog nozzle? Will rust, scale and other debris usually pass through an 1 1/8” smooth bore tip?
7. Can fire department pumpers ALWAYS be used to increase available pressure on the fire floor? What about damaged or missing FD connections? Pressure reducing and restricting valves? Missing piping or excessive head pressures?
8. At the One Merdian fire in Philladelphia on February 23, 1991 what was the length, diameter, and nozzle type (including psi/flow requirements) of the standpipe kits used by the fire department? Did this setup work? Why or why not?
9. What were the names of the Brothers that died at One Merdian that tragic day?
This photo shows a way to make an SCBA face piece for your RIT bag/kit glove friendly. You can use a garden hose or any kind of rubber tubing or hose that would be easy to grab with a gloved hand. We used a small bungee cord and ran it through the bonnet and attached both ends to the hose. This allows for easy feeling and grabbing the back of the mask with gloved hands.
We also attached large key rings to the pull tabs for the face piece bonnet to pull it tight. These rings can be any size you want, but make sure they are easily accessed and grabbed with glove hands.
These two methods have worked very well for us and during training evolutions has stood up to the pulling and tugging.
Let us know if you have other methods that work well for your department.
Thanks and keep training hard.
Options. On the fireground, the more the better. When talking Firefighter Survival, presenting viable options will lead to success. Over the last few years, many great methods of self-rescuing have been taught to the Fire Service. The most important, is staying out of situations that lead to needing them, which is quality performance of the basics. However, after you still did everything right, it can still go bad. Having several techniques to self-rescue is critical to ensure success.
One such technique is what I call the Drywall Ladder. This method is performed by kicking and punching holes into the drywall to create a ladder. You would perform this to escape out of high window.
The standard residential window is 18”- 44” off the floor, if it meets fire code for escape. Windows higher than 44” are not for egress and are used for lighting and ventilation. To use these windows for self-rescue you have an option or two. The first option if you just need a little “boost”, use your hand-tool to create a step. Halligans work great for this task. Once you are over and out, just make sure to reach back in and grab your tool. If the window is too high, this option may not be feasible.
Another option, create a ladder in the drywall. The first step is to determine where the window goes and if refuge can be made. Next, kick a hole into the drywall about 8 inches off the ground then another about knee high. Make sure you create these holes approximately the same width apart as your legs. After the first two holes are created, punch two more holes several inches above the first two with your gloved hand. Think about the distance between two rungs on a ladder. Please use caution when using your body as a tool, consider where the studs are. Can you see the pattern? This method is a distance relative of rock climbing. Be sure to keep your weight on your feet to decrease effort.
- Call the mayday first and get help coming.
- Where is the window relative to fire conditions?
- Will you and your partner physically fit through the window?
- What type of glass/construction is the window?
- Will taking the window draw fire towards you?
Next time you are performing self-rescue maneuvers in training consider trying this method. The more options you have and can quickly utilize one in a self-rescue the better.
When we started offering classes and offering hands on training, the one thing we wanted to make sure of was that the training was as realistic as possible. We had all attended hands on training drills and classes and we know what we liked as a student and what we didn’t. So, when we run our drills we want the student to have as realistic of an experience as possible in a safe setting.
One of the props we use in multiple drills is an entanglement prop. The purpose is used in many ways:
–identifying the hazard during normal firefighting operations and avoiding the area
–identifying one of the parameters for calling the mayday
–being able to self extricate or untangle yourself when debris falls on you
All of the above are important and crucial for firefighters and officers to have a strong mastery of. The portion we are going to address today is the use of wire cutters to cut entanglements that may have you trapped. In many cases, a firefighter who is calm, aware and who has the right tools, cutting a few wires may create an easy escape.
The first rule here is to stay calm and don’t barrel your way through the wires. This will expend needed energy and air that you may need later or for an extended wait for help. Additionally, trying to use brute strength, in most cases, will only tighten your entanglement making locating and cutting the source of entanglement harder.
In past classes we have taken, and provided, we would hook a firefighter, have them verbalize the mayday, find the entanglement and then unhook them. What we found after a couple of classes is that we were teaching them to just identify the problem and not really solve it. So, we began making the firefighters in the prop cut or remove their entanglement on their own. This was a real eye opener.
The tools that we carry are not always adequate for what we want them to do. One common theme among many firefighters that attend our class is that they carry multi-tools like a Gerber or Leatherman believing that they will use that tool to cut their way out of an entanglement. Here are some problems that are seen with these tools:
–they are small and hard to find with gloved hands
–once they are found, they have to be opened and made ready to cut
–they have a very small surface area for cutting wires, very small
–they really are a two-handed tool, one to hold it and one to open the cutters/pliers
–many keep them on their duty belts and are unable to reach them
What we recommend is a pair of cutters that are fairly large in your pocket and are easy to feel and retrieve. They should also be able to cut at least an 8 gauge wire or the aluminum sheathed commercial romex. They should be sturdy and easy to operate with one hand. The reason we recommend longer handled cutters is that they provide a little more leverage by holding them lower on the handle if need be.
The photos show the multi-tool and a pair of wire cutters that we picked up and the local auto parts store for around $15. They aren’t real heavy and I personally have cut objects, flexible water line, that were 3/8 of an inch with no problems.
Just know your tools and what it’s capabilities are. If you have expectations for the tools in your pockets, practice with them. I have seen firefighters throw “tools”in there pockets that were absolutely useless when they finally trained with them.
Train hard and train with purpose and make drills as realistic as possible. Just a note, most HVAC companies will give you left over flex duct that you can use for entanglement drills. It’s realistic in regards to what we very likely could run into and they stretch out to allow multiple evolutions with one small section.
Take care and keep on training,
This is a video of a drill we do. It starts as a VES drill with the firefighter ascending the ladder and then clearing a window. The space is smoked up and the fierfighter enters, starting his search for the door. While he’s searching we throw a rug or piece of plywood ontop of them to demonstrate conditions deteriorating and making them exit fast to the window.
The intent is to force quick recognition to exit and to perform the ladder bail fast. We do this drill after evolutions of just ladder bail practice. This let’s them put their practice into real life type situations and to do it at full speed.
We have a new YouTube channel and we hope to start posting new videos.
This is a blog post by one of our instructors, Andrew Krato.
While in Indy at FDIC my first night on the town I was looking out of my hotel window and I came across this building. What I saw was just a reminder of how important it is to get out and do your building preplans in your district.
What I found was a multi story commercial brick building just like many of theothers in down town Indianapolis and so many other s in my district in Missouri.
Like many other building they all have fire escapes, this building was different because it was missing. This building is setup for the escape and if you look closer at the pictures you can see that at one time one was there. The holes from the mounts can still be seen in the brick and the rust marks from over the years of weather have left its impression on the building. Unfortunately, I was unable to make my way into the building and see what it looked like from the inside. What I can see from the outside is each level has a full size door that exits to the platform.
As in the pictures the platforms and stairs are gone but the doors remain there. From the outside nothing is labeled as do not enter, not an exit or is blocked off from the inside no bars or boards as such. I would hope that from the inside it is labeled or marked or at least secured shut.
As we all know in the smoke or dark a door feels like a door and whether or not it goes toanother room or outside and down 10 floors we need to make sure we have control of the doors, andwe sound before we enter into another room.
Thanks and be safe doing your preplans.
Take a look at the pictures and think about getting water on the fire to the upper floor and/or making rescues. This building is one that is old and not sprinklered. It sits off of the road and aerial access is extremely limited, almost ineffective.
When looking at this type of building we need to consider the construction type, occupancy, access and egress points and any special hazards. What are our initial resources and what should we have coming on the way?
This building is four stories and is a dormartory at a college. The corridor length is 225 from stairwell to stairwell. As you look at the building in the picture, the stairwell on the right is more remote from a parking surface than the one on the left. The elevation that you see in the picture from this side is the same on the opposite side.
There is a basement under this building with tunnels that lead to other campus buildings with limited access and egress where kids sneak away to do what kids sneak away to do. There is a great deal of combustible storage in these basements and tunnels.
Type 3 construction is the type of building we are dealing with and the interior has been altered over the years. There is an automatic alarm system but no standpipes. Water supply is limited; the closest hydrant is approximately 300 feet from where you would likely place first in companies and that hydrant, if laid from, would severely hinder access by other units because of only one access to the campus.
So, here we go……..what are your tactics and why? Watch the video and let everyone know what you would do and why. Use this for discussion purposes and relate it to buildings that you might have in your jurisdiction. Share your thoughts and ideas.
Train hard and we hope to see most of you at FDIC 2012 next week.