We're having a discussion in the area bout a recent house fire. After dispatch fire board upgraded to a working alarm. Now this is were it gets complicated. There were reports that everyone was out fo the house. A fire police went onscene with a house "fully involved" and the responding Chief told FB this would be a defensive operation.


The first reponding unit was a rescue with no water. They said they were told by nieghbors that a lady was seen going in "earlier" They attempted to enter the dwellingwith a hose line and ended getting a little burnt.


There is the question should they have attempted the rescue without a hoseline and even if they did with the fire load would it have been smart to enter the house.


My feeling is that while we are the people who are supposed to keep the public safe there is only so much we can do. I love my kids and really like my wife and want to go home to them. When do we as responders say a rescue attempt is unsafe?

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You cannot answer this...you weren't there...If the situation were that if someone was in there and was rescuable then I would try...but thats a big IF....There might be a situation that you know someone is inside...but there is fire blowing out the windows and the roof....now...do you try and go in....? Think....is there any chance that that person could be alive...? Don't let emotions cloud your thoughts..... Am I going to get someone hurt or killed in the process...? Remember...RISK vs REWARD.....Risk a lot to SAVE a lot....risk little to save little and sometimes it is unfortunate but....RISK NOTHING to SAVE NOTHING.....That's the call that Officers have to make sometimes...and the orders that we have to follow....sometimes being IC isn't all that it is cut up to be....there are always tough calls to make......Stay safe...Keep the Faith......Paul
To me, fully involved means the heat and oxygen conditions are incompatible with life. So will it be incompatible with 1 life, or possibly 4 lives?
Heres the deal. True Rescue Companies work everyday without the protection of a hoseline. Officer size-up of the scene, the hazards and the rescue profile is critical, Risk verse Gain must be assessed before the Rescue Officer determines his company's IAP.

Many people here on FFN will have no clue what a Rescue Company does at a working fire because probably 97% of the US Fire Service do not operate daily as a true, no water, no hoseline Rescue Company.
I must say stay out until you have water, I'm not the most qualified person to make the go in/stay out call but here is how I feel. Anytime we run a call where fire is a possability, no member should enter that hazordous or potentially hazordous situation without a line. charged and ready to flow. That being said I would also like to say that while yes we are supposed to be the people of last resort in that situation...... we are doing nobody any good if we ourselves become a victim. Stay out and wait for the first due E comapany, plain and simple.
I have to say that you are correct about my dept. in paticular, we do not run a dedicated rescue company. Also our truck company is a single man unit 99% of the time, therefore my dept has a first due engine saves lives and everybody after that hits the fire mentality, Thanks for pointing out that fact about most of the departments. Cut and dry there are only a handful of FD's in Tennessee that even run a rescue company 24/7 that do not use the term "Rescue" in place of EMS or "Medic" or some other derivitive.
This is a high volitile situation and hard to say without being there for the size up and with almost every place having it's own set of S.O.P's.I was going to say that some places in big cities have a rew that will go into buildings without a hose line for search and rescue wasn't sure if this was the case.
Our dept.will not go in without water and I have been in a place where it was fully engulfed on the first floor and starting to breach the second and have saved a life by going in so your size up and people knowing or having some sort of idea who lives there and if there is a possibility of them being there at that time of day.
Adreniline can get the best of people and it really depends on the I.C. to keep things safe.Without being there we can only speculate
You see this is where the rubber meets the road. A primary search while using a hoseline is not a true primary search. The fire service has reverted to this tactic because of lack of manpower. Primary search is designed to be a rescue company or search / rescue group, who's only task is to search the area quickly and efficiently.

Searches from above the fire are done from either: internally, rescue company goes upstairs or the truck company goes in through an exterior window which is called VES. Again, searching without the use of a protected hoseline. VES discussion yield, some saying we do it in our department to why didn't they take a line with them....

Combined Operations with, Search and Rescue, Fire Attack and Ventilation is unrealistic in most of the US Fire Service today. The lack of manpower has forced fire departments to stretch the first line, make entry, vent as you go and search from the line which is no where the same as a Rescue Company, freely moving without the delay in moving a charged line.
They attempted to enter the dwellingwith a hose line and ended getting a little burnt
they have a hose line what was it hooked to
if they dont cary water then what good is it to carry a hose line if you dont have water
and next 3 live is not worth 1 life the chief said go defence on it then their is a reason not to go in
now it is hard to say with out being their to see the fire and how it was burning they could have 5 min before the roof comes down or 3 sec
be smart and be safe if you get hurt then you are no help
I love my wife and kids and my life, too, Just Plain Craig. Don't ever feel guilty for not having a perfect outcome. Like you said, you do what you can with the knowledge and tools you have. Like everyone else we can't judge what happened because we weren't there. Look at the fire conditions from a purely sclentific point of view. Were smoke and heat conditions incapable of sustaining life?
It would depend on how log the fire was going with her inside before any one got there.... If it was more then 10 - 15 minutes it would no longer be a rescue, it would be a recovery. At that point I would wait until over hall....
In my humble opinion, we in the Fire Service have to understand the difference between abandoned, vacant, and unoccupied. Also, I was always taught and I live by the theory that only we can determine if everyone is out. We all know people who call things other than humans "babies" including pets, photo albums, computers, etc...

P.S. If I remember correctly, you're an Engine Boss at a pretty busy Volunteer FD in NJ, correct? I have always respected your answers, questions, and suggestions in the posts. I would love to learn more about your Department and your house. Do you have a website?

As far as when to go in and when to stay out, it differs from scenario to scenario to call to call to department to department to Firefighter to Firefighter. There as many different opinions on this as their are members in the service. In saying this, it comes down to Departmental SOP/SOG's and Officer discretion.

There are so many factors to consider including fire load, building condition and construction, time of day, resources, manpower, etc...In your case brother, I was not there and I do not kow the entire situation, but at my Department with my Company we go in before the hoseline and VES for life and/or fire. We have no problem with this as a tactic, but again situation dictates actions.

P.S. If I remember correctly, you're an Engine Co Boss at a pretty busy Volunteer FD in Delaware, correct? I have always respected your questions, answers, comments, and opinions in the different posts and i would love to learn more about your house, apparatus, and department. do you have a website?
good answer Lindsay agreed 100% !!

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