I've been hearing a lot of news lately of events that involve firefighters getting injured or killed on the fireground that involve basement fires.

The PA State Fire Academy (to my knowledge) does not have a fully established training program for such situations. Therefore, I have been spending the past few weeks designing and outlining a 2 day training course titled "Basement Firefighting" that I would eventually like to present to the fire academy for approval.

Just to throw it out there, I'd like to invite you to view the 48 slides that I've developed so far which will make up the bulk of the classroom lecture and discussion portion. Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions that you have.

My presentation is shared on iWork (link below) and if you would like to stay informed about updates to the program, simply leave me your email address. This should be considered a very important subject matter to all firefighters. I only ask that you respect my authorship and do not use the documents without my permission.

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Great start on a much needed subject. One minor critics\ism: The maker of basement doors and roof hatches is Bilco, NOT Bilko. Bilko was a sergeant in an old TV show!
What is a basement?
I don't know if Ben's question was serious or not, I will treat it as if it is. A basement is a part of a structure that is all or at least partly below grade. In many areas they are very common and may go several stories below grade in commercial buildings. In some parts of the country they are rare.
Traditions Training has alot of info on basement fires....and Nick Martin from DCFD is teaching a 4 hour workshop on basement fire tactics this year at FDIC....You should check both of those out
It's that smouldering hole in the ground that armchair critics (mostly "civilian") make jokes about us volunteers saving because they don't understand the lack of compliance with smoke alarm laws, the lack of residential sprinklers, the extended response times in rural areas, narrow rural driveways (made worse in winter with snow piles on either side of the road) that limit access to the scene with large pumpers, the often limited access to water sources in rural areas... etc, etc...

Mr. Odom has a less cynical and more mature response for you than mine.

Go with that one. =)
Looks like a great presentation!

I know of some friends in law enforcement that would be interested in that hidden basment access picture for tactical room-clearing training...

Good job so far Jon, keep it up!


I found it really informative and the exercises you incorporated into the presentation was great :)


I would love to stay informed with updates with this presentation.

My email is Benauger_10@hotmail.com

alwinter111@gmail.com .....i was unable to view your presentation on i work.

Great Presentation. Good points and exercises.
Hi John,

If you post that, maybe it's to ear "Nice", "Perfect", "Marvellous"... I'm not of that kind and as a flashover instructor for years and instructor of instructor, I must admit I rarely say "Good". :)
Pedadogy is a hard work. Very hard. So, see no offence on what I'll write:

- Number of slides. Too much. Powerpoint is a nice tool to help people sleeping. So avoid slideshow with more than 10 or 15 slides.

- Too much text to read. PPT must be used to underline key point. If I'm able to read the text, I don't need you. You must speak to me, you must awake me, and the PPT must be there to increase impact of what you say

- Slide 43. The common mistake. Strategie is the plan made to prepare, but at a high level. How many hydrants in town or from a militay point of view, how many planes or tank do we have to make. Tactic it the use of tools and human ressource you have, to perform action. Here you talk about tactics. No strategie. The main problem is to decide what action to perform, according to the situation and also according to the tools and human ressource you have.

- Slide 44. "Every fire is different". No. Read "Of the War" by Carl Von Clausewitz. Also, if all fires are all different, there is no need for instruction: you don't learn how to win a lotery as each time it's different. In fact, we say that all wars like all fires are the same, but are surrounded by a fog which hide them, letting us think they are different. The tactics you can explain can apply only to the identifical part of fires and let the chief-brain free to analysis the parts which are different.

Also, you make a common mistake concerning danger. As a flashover instructor, I've been in many countries and many fire services. We notice that, with the same course, some fire service see a quick impact on the fire scene, as other see... nothing.
After about 4 years of reseach we discover a very special point: when you are on the fire ground, your body create adrenaline which increase blood pressure and so on. But it also create an other product, named noadrenaline. The goal of adrenaline is to rise you power, like an animal. The goal of noadrenaline is to cut some brain-link. This is why, with stress, you are not able to remember and not able to think. Adrenaline makes you strong as an animal, while noadrenaline makes you as stupid as an animal.

The problem is that the stress don't came from the real situation, but from the way you think the situation is. And you think about the situation according to the first time you see the same situation or from the explanation you have had about this kind of situation. This is why an adult, who have had a bicycle accident when he was young, stay afraid of bicyle during all life.

If you speak of a situation as a dangerous one, when the guy will face such a situation, they will increase their stress level, produce noadrenaline and will be unable to remember what you've tell them.
In fact, from a pedagogical and psychological point of view, the first part of your presentation will have the effect of rising the fear, and in fact, will have the effect to avoid remembering the second part of the presentation. You are working against you!

What you must do is disminish the fear. Talking about accident, death and so on is not a good way. You must have people who are without fear, who believe they are able to manage such a fire.
Also, you must increase key point on the second part of the presentation, for example by giving small card to the guys, kind of check list they can use on the fireground.

Best regards
It looks like a good presentation. I agree with the previous reply that you need to cut down on the words on the slides. You should just have the high points listed. I think the number of slides you have though is fine. I have seen lots of ppts with more than what you have. I have a ppt on Basement and cellar fires if you want to use any of the info from it. It's one I got off the internet. I have over 800 ppts on various firefighting and TRT topics. If you wnat the basement ppt contact me at dubree.douglas@rigov.org

I don't know if you changed the link or just took it down but the one you posted isn't working. Is there another link I could check it out at?


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