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Door Entry Techniques

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Friday, 09 October 2015
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Door Entry Techniques – Many variations

If you ask 5 firefighters about exactly how to perform door entry technique you will probably get about half a dozen different opinions. Many of these are very rigid and involve a set number of pulses with a specified cone angle.

I tend to take an outcome based approach. What are we trying to achieve?

Firstly we need to cool the gases and linings around us so that the smoke or flame that exits the door meets cool gases and moist surfaces. After reading the fire behaviour indicators we need to cautiously open the door and introduce water fog into the upper zone to cool those gases. The risk assessment conducted may indicate the entry is not possible. Or it may be necessary to repeat the process several times. How many pulses, their duration and angle will be largely dependent on the geometry of the compartment and the stage of fire development. High ceilings will require a narrower cone angle. I still believe in hitting the ceiling with a jet to dislodge any loose debris. This can also assist in cooling the gases particularly in the case of high ceilings.

Large spaces with a well developed fire will need to have medium to long pulsations to have any meaningful cooling effect.

Don’t forget that if you open the door and you can see the fire base it is ok to put water on it!!!! After all the purpose of gas cooling is to help us get to a point where we can put water on the fire. Some people forget that it is only a control technique suitable for small compartments.

If we teach firefighters WHAT needs to be achieved and WHY, they will be able to work out HOW.

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4 – 8 – 12 A Sliding Scale Approach to Optimal Flow Rates

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 07 September 2013
in Industry Insights · 2 Comments

There are a number of fire ground formula that are designed to assist fire officers in determining the flow rate required to gain effective control of a fire.

Most of these come back to floor area or volume and don’t take into account the stage of development or strategic objectives. I believe that the sliding scale model provides a more practical guide that considers the mode of attack as part of the guide for initial attack flow.

At the lower end of the offensive mode of attack, a flow rate of 4 lpm/m2 (similar to the recommendations from the Iowa formula) should be considered the minimal tactical flow rate. As we approach the marginal mode of attack, we should be looking at a minimum of 8 lpm/m2.

As we move toward the upper end of the defensive mode of attack, we should be looking at flow rates of 12 to 13 lpm/m2 (similar to the NFA formula).

To successfully apply the sliding scale approach, firefighters need to have sufficient knowledge and skill to conduct an accurate size up to determine the most applicable mode of attack.  Some may consider this an “advanced skill” and argue that the “safest approach” is to deploy hose lines capable of the maximum flow.

I advocate that size up is an “essential skill” or “core skill” and that realistic training must be utilised to develop these skills.

“Dumbing down” our approach to fire attack to the lowest common denominator (and the highest flow rate) does not achieve a greater level of safety and will never be a substitute for quality training.

Struggling with very large hose lines reduces mobility and increases physical strain. Over application of water can destroy the thermal balance which further reduces the chances of safely locating the seat of fire or occupants.

Gross over application is as inappropriate as trying to attack a well-developed fire with a small hose line.

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Why dont you use straps?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 29 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

"Why don't you just use straps?"

Is a question we sometimes get!

The best way to appreciate the bigger picture is to consider the value of a firefighter's helmet. I personally have worn my helmet for 12 years and for the first time only 3 months ago did it actually do its job and protect my head from a falling garage door while operating in an underground car park fire- absolutely saving my life.

For 11 or so years prior to this nothing fell on my head but the one time it did the total cost of the few helmets I've had paid for themselves with my life.

So yes, you can just use a set of straps and generally they will hold the hose...

But what if?

  • You trip and drop the load and it looses its form?
  • You want to throw the whole load across a gap to a boat or building and the exposed hose gets snagged?
  • You want to only deploy half the hose, not the whole hose, causing the remaining half to loose its form?
  • You want to be able to open the the locker on the pumper and know the load will definitely be good-to-go?
  • You need to deploy hose in poor visibility?
  • You arrive at a big job with people you've not worked with before and want to be tasked based on the pack you have - not a long discussion?
  • You want to feed the neatly packed hose through a gap or under/over a fence?
  • You're working with a crew you don't know and they have a different way of strapping the hose?
  • You just want to become really efficient with a dedicated piece equipment that's been tried and tested and designed for one task...

In these very possible scenarios straps just don't cut it.

In my last article I discussed the The Cleveland Hose Load and specifically why it's great as well as its inherent shortcomings-

If you add the use of straps there's a whole lot more to consider with the Cleveland Hose Load, most importantly:

  • The thumb knot or Overhand Knot.

The Attack Pack deliberately isolates the two hose ends from the main body of the hose, this prevents the catastrophic failure caused when one hose end pops under one or more coils forming a simple but show-stopping thumb knot.

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