Trying to keep up with the flood of industry news that is Statter911 can be daunting and I missed this story not once, but twice.
On October 7th DC Fire & EMS put on a demonstration of the effectiveness of fire sprinklers. It also ended up showing the ineffectiveness of modern firefighting.
One of our brothers was hurt in this exercise and I hope he makes a full recovery. I’ve been hurt at fires and I’ve been burned, neither experience do I wish to repeat. Our thoughts are with our injured brother.
This is not a Monday Morning Quarterbacking of the event, but instead some great video that will show you what happens when you are unfamiliar with how to use your equipment to its full potential.
This first video is from farther back than the second and is a better opportunity to read the smoke and see possible flashes. As you watch it, imagine you are in the hallway of a dorm approaching this room. Heavy smoke in the hallway, intense heat and that flame dancing out of the top of the prop will be spreading in all directions along the hallway ceiling. Now, as it flashes, imagine where you will place your team and where you will shoot first.
This is another video from head on that better shows the incipient, free burning and flash periods of this particular fire, as well as our brothers placing their line. I can’t help but notice the fog nozzle.
A smooth bore at 60 psi could have knocked the seat of this fire from the imagined hallway in my earlier example, even banking it off the wall if the heat was too much. Many news outlets talk about the lack of a backup line. Huh? Don’t need one. Smooth bore from 20 feet makes short work of this fire without even having to go on air.
Putting ourselves in a dangerous situation in public only makes me wonder what we’re doing in the dark hallways at working fires. Let’s use our equipment to our advantage. Take that fog nozzle and put it in your pocket, get smooth bore nozzles on your pre-connects so you can put the fires out. HMHQ is a firm believer in the power of water applied from a safe distance in order to make a safer environment for extinguishment.
Another quick word on the Culture of Extinguishment. Lt McCormack, in his “controversial” remarks before the FDIC in April 2009, fought for the idea that “If you put out the fire, safety is accomplished for everyone on the fireground.” I agree with that 100%. Unfortunately, I don’t think Lt McCormack’s message is getting to firefighters as intended. The Lt wants you to safely put out the fire, not go running in without using your tools and training to your advantage.
I speak with many firefighters in my service who heard about the speech, but never read excerpts. They make it into a call for safety to be thrown out the window when there is a fire or a rescue. Not at all, friends, not at all.
WAKE UP! Pay less attention to which Chief or Union Leader blames who and look at what gets our people hurt and don’t do that. Don’t go somewhere your water can go instead.
Placing a hoseline is not a simple task and I, on the nozzle, have been dragged by my airpack to a different location by my officer who had a better view of the situation. Each and every time I have them walk me through where I was, where they moved me to and why. Then I apply that next time.
Are we all perfect first try? No. But this first try got someone hurt.