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Street Smart Fire Behavior

As the fire service evolves, our skills and tactics are challenged to evolve and many times our education falls short. This video is one I review regularly to reiterate how fast things can change. I often arrive to see if many of the “new” fire ground tactics can be applied. One thing I believe is that we don’t do a great job sharing information about fire behavior. It’s far more than the 30 cartoon pictures associated with the IFSTA chapter. This is my attempt to share some fire behavior knowledge I have gained from some very solid fire officers and great firefighters.

This is a fire in an apartment in our home state. That is important because it shows that it can happen right here at HOME. This is a great fire behavior video to watch due to the rapid and violent changes in fire conditions. It not only happens once, but twice. That is one of the morals of this video. It all revolves around preparation and understanding fire behavior. Remember, a standard single family dwelling has graduated to almost 3000 square feet in the United States. With the increase in open floor plans across the US there is a greater allowance for increased heat release rates of modern fuels and this has to be acknowledged, but understood as well.

From the beginning of this video, it is evident there is fire throughout floor one. Plenty of ventilation had taken place prior to the video starting. This is your chance to watch a “flashover” happen without the chance of hurting one of our members. Remember, no matter how much ventilation you initiate, the compartment will and can still flashover. The first event is evident and you can follow the fuel igniting from the window on the Delta side. It rapidly leaves the room and ends up out the front door. This happens quickly and you have one

weapon to help combat this event. Flow GPM from the Alpha sid require you to push in the fire apartment after you have knocked t front porch. When the smoke becomes fuel and ignites, it is no longer survvae or a person wou PPE, but that does not mean someone can’t survive behind a closed door. When you encounter high heat and conditions such as these, half bailing the nozzle is not an option. One well placed 1.88” hose line can easily handle this, but it won’t come easy. Remember flow WATER! Cool the fuel and the chances of the hostile fire events begin to decrease.

IFSTA educates you early about fire behavior and many of the lessons learned in the book apply to this video. You watch this fire get knocked down very quickly. Then you see the conditions get better. Remember what heat and smoke do in normal conditions. Heat and smoke rise. If you have encountered a flashover, remember the fire has naturally shared massive amounts of heat (energy) and smoke (fuel) to the floors above, including the attic. This fire will easily generate another flashover on the fire floor or the floor above. There may be some arguments that it extended via voids. It is very possible, but one thing is certain, if a flashover happens on the first floor we must be ready for the same conditions on any floor above the fire. One last point about this video is the smoke conditions, in more than one place it is obvious something has changed. The smoke conditions will help you make the best decisions in some cases. It is a hint of what is coming and getting ready to happen. See if you can pick it out in the video.

Here is the link, copy and paste it in the address field. Hope it helps generate a coffee table conversation about fire behavior. The shipping container lays the ground work for fire behavior information, but solid education dictate how we react. I hope this will also generate a conversation in the duel houses about the risks associated with searching above a fire and the importance of correct and thorough water application. The search crew is depending on engine companies to flow water and separate the fire behavior from their primary search.

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