In a recent post I stated and advocated that fire suppression tactics must be adjusted for the rapidly changing methods and materials impacting all forms of building construction, occupancies and structures. The need to redefine the art and science of firefighting is emerging as a common theme as well as the theme that I advocate on Occupancy Risk not Occupancy Type. HERE and HERE

A common theme has been evident here at FRI in Dallas related towards the continued identified need for the fire service to begin what I call a Tactical Renaissance. I discussed what defines and identifies the attributes and suggested what needs to be instituted earlier in the week at FRI.

One thing is not only clearly self-evident throughout common themes this past week, but also resonates through direct discussions with various Executive Chief Officers, Field Operations Commanding Officers and Training Officers. They all agree that the fire service needs to do something-and soon in redefining our strategies, tactics and way we are doing business in the streets. "The times they are a changin...."

What do you think?

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Chris...perhaps I missed it, but the Meadowood Court (Loudon County) report doesn't state what the actual or perceived water flow was on the attack hoseline. Page 99 only talks about the hose and nozzle combination (and flow capability of the line). Do you know whether or not the attack crew was using the fog tip or the smooth bore tip? It appears to me that this report (in my short perusal) talks a lot about staffing, NIMS, radios, etc. but doesn't address what I think is missing from a lot of these close call reports: actual water flow and whether or not appropriate and timely ventilation tactics were utilized. This is a great topic...I look forward to learning more!
Tim, good question, but I think that the volume being applied is more important than the tip choice.
I've fought a few wind-driven fires, and even 2-1/2 smooth bore streams weren't always enough to do the job.

Some days you eat the bear...
I agree, Ben...that's what I was wondering. The report only talks about the range of volumes that could be reached from the tip, not the actual flow. Many times, I think we miss the forest for the trees and don't address flows/volumes of water. One of my departments recently flow tested our hoses and nozzles and found that we were living in a dream world in regard to the actual volume being pumped. I'm embarrassed to say, but I think that many departments would find this to be true.

Slide image from my recent FRI presentation

The issues both of you discussed with the tip size are right on the mark...
In the case of the Loundon Meadowood incident water flow was not the operative issues, as the fire was located on the number one floor, which was not recognized upon entry due to the interior layout. The company proceeded to the number two floor, which allowed the fire to propagate and spread resulting in the subsequent flashover, collapse and simultaneous trapping of the fire personnel on the upper elevation. The flashover and mayday occurred 7.20 minutes after arrival on-scene.

We know our flows, because we just ran a department-wide test after standardizing our engines and nozzles. We have every company run the tests. As long as we're flowing one of our three 1-3/4 preconnects or one of the two 2-1/2 preconnects, we know the flow, because we just look at the flow meter on the pump panel and it tells us. We also re-calculated our 1-3/4 hose coefficients, and found that we're getting a C of 8.65 instead of the 15.5 in the IFSTA pump ops manual. We also use 50 PSI break-apart nozzles, so flow calculations are much simpler than a year ago with the old pumpers and nozzles.

Remember, the theoretical flows we learned in old-school hydraulics class prior to flow meters are just that - a theory. As you stated, lots of departments would likely be surprised at just how low their flows actually are.

In our case, we also figured out our new rule of thumb and provided each engine with a laminated sheet with the FL per 100 feet provided for every hose diameter we carry. It has made our operations a lot better and a lot more consistent. We know if we hit the preset on the governor, we'll get at least 150 GPM for every 1-3/4 line and at least 250 GPM for each 2-1/2.
Without re-reading the entire report, Chris, did they look for the fire with a TIC?
We just finished equipping every front-line engine and truck with a TIC, plus a spare in the battalion chief rig...and have a SOG that requires that every company carry their TIC for every interior assignment or if they're assigned to IRIT or RIT.

We also don't bypass fire with the line. That's pretty much assigning yourself a suicide mission.
Ben...that's awesome. I applaud you and your department for going "beyond the book." I think that you are on the mark in regard to theory vs real-world....we often believe what an IFSTA book tells us without every really thinking for ourselves!

Speaking of TICs, what kind of cameras did you buy? We are in the process of equipping all of our engines with TICs and I'd be interested in seeing your process for purchase and selection.
' Remember, the theoretical flows we learned in old-school hydraulics class prior to flow meters are just that - a theory. As you stated, lots of departments would likely be surprised at just how low their flows actually are."

This is THE best quote I've heard in a while.....other people need to "get it"....
Very nice work.....
Tim, We chose MSA Evolutions for our TICs. We currently have them on 9 apparatus...7 front-line engines, a front-line truck, and a peak-hour coverage engine. We have an older Scott Eagle on the battalion usually gets used if we split the truck company into two teams, but we can also use it for hazmat (tank liquid levels, vapor leaks, liquid movement in piping) and USAR (heat signatures in structural collapse voids, confined space applications, checking for live electrical equipment).

We plan to continue purchasing a couple of the MSAs per year until our spare apparatus and special team units have them, and I'm working on funding one with a recording unit for our training center.

The RFP was developed from research we gave as an assessment center project to Lieutenant candidates a few years back. One of our line Captains chaired the committee and wrote the in-house training program when we got the first MSA. We now teach the TIC class as a 1st-year requirement to every firefighter recruit.
Chris, thanks for the comment.

We did the testing as a company homework assignment when we trained everyone on the 50 PSI nozzles earlier this year. One of the biggest issues was getting some of our stronger old-school apparatus operators to believe that it's actually as simple as watching a flow meter. It took some 'splainin' to show them that a direct-reading instrument, in proper calibration (flow meter) is more accurate than theoretical calculations that were a best guess at best and just plain wrong at worst. They all get it now. The other adaptive change was getting everyone to realize that the goal isn't to have the operators be able to remember theoretical calculations at 3 AM, it's getting them to pump the correct flow for the hose layout.

The nozzlemen have an easier job, too, even when we use 2-1/2.
My department purchased two new apparatus over the last few years and the Chief purchased MSA Evolution 5200 TICs for both. One on the First due Engine and on the Tower. The 2nd due Engine and Heavy Rescue have very old Bullard TICs. The MSA are night and day in terms of image and size (to be appected). The MSA is small enough to carry easily, but the handle in big enough to slip over your wrist if you need a free hand for something else. Just my thoughts.
I gotta question for Ya Ben.
I agree that many departments would indeed be surprised at what they are actually flowing, compared to what they think they are flowing with just using math theories.A number of factors need to be considered such as the individual discharges, hose manufacturer and actual model of hose, and other factors particular to apparatus and equipment.

However, and this is just a question, can you really get an acurate flow reading with flow meters that are measuring flow at the discharge? With the above factors in mind, and after some local testing, we have found more variations than we originally thought. Now I am ASSUMING you are reffering to discharge flow meters, and not those on the nozzle end. Perhpas I am wrong, and you've used both?

For a target flow of 180gpm through our preconnected 200' 1.75" hose w/ Akron 'Assault' 75psi nozzle, we had to calculate a loss of 45psi per 100' through 'Ponn Supreme' hose. That's without any elevation, etc. One line get's a 15/16" smooth bore as well. Side by side, and with all things being equal, the TFT's 'Midforce' were far inferior. But I am sure many will argue this point. That's not the REAL point though. The point is that increased GPM's need to be the goal with today's materials and btu production. Growing up in the 60's, I remember the local engines pretty much used the 'Navy' nozzles as standard on the 1.5" hoselines. We still carry them, and found a flow of about 90gpm produced.

Today, it consideration with reduced staffing is critical in many departments and the ability to hit hard and fast, as in flow and ease of advance are of primary importence.

I had already commented on this particular fire, using the video that was taken from the front.

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