Wednesday, October 14

Hoseline Placement or How Not to Impress the Public

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.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow,it's obvious that you are not from an aggressive east coast fire department that routinely puts out fires from the inside. Some plastic melted and fell down. Big woop! Maybe your next blog should be, "News flash, firemen encounter fire!" We do things differently here pal, so stick to what you know.

The Happy Medic said...

Wow Anonymous 1 and anonymous 2, way to step out there and support your brothers. Nice emphasis with the caps lock key there #1.

#2, I am not on the east coast but am in a Department that aggressively fights fires from the inside. The inside of type 5 construction often well involved on first arrival. Some of my brothers are still recovering from injuries sustained in these kinds of fires.

I will stick to what I know #2, and that is that if that team had fought the fire differently, it would have gone out and no one would be hurt.

Some plastic melted and fell down, yes it did and someone getting hurt at a sprinkler prop while is a big woop.

#1, I don't care if you think I'm "out there doin it" or not, but you never mentioned in your well thought out comment whether the hose line was placed well or not. Well?

Anonymous said...

Happymedic, you'll have to excuse my fellow posters. They obviously don't take well to a person named happymedic telling them how to fight fires. I believe there was nothing wrong with the line placement, it was maybe just the inexperience of the lineman not to flow more water at the ceiling or possibly the inability to see the plastic after it lit off because it was up above them. If this was a normal house fire it would obviously be no big deal. However, a training burn is a different story. You must realise that here we train our recruits and firemen to hold off from flowing water until they've reached the seat of the fire. This will protect the search and the possible victims inside. Steaming the squad and victims from 30 feet back is not going to help the problem. I'm sure you'll recieve some other lovely comments on here now that you've posted your thoughts on statter.

The Fire Critic said...

Anon #1,

Your tone, caps lock, and cussing is unbecoming. You don't have to agree with him, but at least act like a gentleman.

Ignorance is should really make sure you know about who you are talking about before jumping to conclusions.

I don't have to stand up for the Happy Medic, he is well equipped to do it himself.

The humorous thing here is that he actually works in a city larger than yours....if indeed you work for DCFD. And last time I checked he was assigned to an Engine.

And for both Anon 1 and 2...

The truth hurts. It was a training fire put on as a public education event. The event didn't go off as planned and guys were burned which was not necessary. It was unfortunate.

We learn from our mistakes and we don't make them again.

Dylan said...

Anon #1 is a fireMAN and firemen get burned. He is the type you read about doing stupid things that get's him hurt, why? "because we have always done it this way".
It's 2009 there is NO reason to burn a firefighter in a public display.
Getting hurt in training is pretty bad but in a public display, that is just negligent.

Fire Daily said...

Another example of a larynx larger than a cerebellum. Don't lump yourself in with the good jakes on the east coast, "pal". They've already grown their set and are able to stand behind what they have to say without hiding behind an anonymous comment. Brave. Classy,


brendan said...

I didn't think you were allowed to say the word "smoothbore" on the Left Coast, Happy. ;-)

We do things differently here pal

Yeah, we can see that.

"Can we please extinguish the firefighter" are words that should not be necessary at a fire prevention demonstration. Call me a crazy EAST Coaster, but damn.

Fire Daily said...

Anonymous said.... was the target of my last comment.

Welcome to the Middle of Nowhere said...

Anon #1 and Anon #2 (but especially Anon #1), I, as a member of the general public, think HM has done a fabulous job representing both of his professions through this blog, even amongst those within the professions with whom he disagrees. That is much more than I can say for you, my fellow East Coasters. (Hope you are not in my area!)

Perhaps you can read his through his many blog posts and get a clue how to do so as well, or perhaps, you'll learn how to play well with others after you make it past first grade. Primary school is a bitch, isn't it?

idaho home security said...

A perfect example even for newbies like me.