Man; I remember when the big fight was over fog vs. straight stream.


It's about "hitting it hard from the yard" (HIHFTY) before search and rescue is initiated.

Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) is completing a three year study with the final report due this year.

Retired FDNY BC John Salka has made it very clear that he is not ready to embrace transition tactics, because he believes that it puts firefighters before civilians-self preservation.

Milwaukee FD's BC Erich Roden has expressed optimism with the UL findings.

Check it out here.

Maybe, you'll want to talk about it.

Oh yeah; I thought about dropping this under Firefighter Tactics, but traffic seems to be light in that category.

And please be respectful of opposing views.

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Chief Salka seems to think that transitional attack somehow prevents a search from taking place. At worst it only delays search and only by a very short time frame. At least that is my understanding of the tactic. A raging fire that has not been cooled down even though it could quickly and easily have been does civilians no good either. It will certainly slow down a search. 

Stressing firefighter safety to the point that we are tactically crippled is a mistake. But when we can provide a margin of safety with little or no downside I believe we should do it. 2 1/2 line takes longer to stretch but sometimes we do it. Bunker gear can slow us down as compared to the old coat and boots but we still wear it. 

Like Chief Salka, I am FDNY, so transitional attack is not high on our list of preferred tactics. Mostly because of the buildings we respond to and the resources we have at our disposal. Not because it is a bad tactic. Other departments would find it much more useful and effective.

Video is also on FFN with related training content from UL

UL Fire Attack Tests Draw Criticism over Victim Rescue


Obviously, Salka believes in the New York way.

I don't see how applying water from the outside of the building will delay rescue. Often times, fire prevents rescue, so applying water is practical.

And it make sense for firefighters to do their tasks safely, because if they don't, THEY become the victim.

It's not putting themselves above the citizens or about self-preservation. It is about good decision-making and execution.

I'm all for the old cats (Salka) speaking their mind when it comes to "new" techniques but how can he be so misinformed? If taking the fire conditions that a transitional attack is proposed for into consideration (a vent limited fire with access from the exterior to the fire room).. Who's going to be alive in the areas that are effected by exterior applications of water? Or whats so different about cooling the gasses from within the structure? Either way the super heated fuel needs to be cooled to reduce the risk of oxygen induced flashover!

If that atmosphere can be cooled from the outside before entry it seems to me that everyone within the survivable areas of the structure would benefit greatly. The notion that fire can be pushed by streams is based on our personal accounts from what we've encountered in the past, most often witnessing the incorrect application of water from the exterior while we are inside. The science behind the transitional attack is the only fresh aspect of applying water from outside, it shows that a very limited amount of water (30 seconds of flowing) directed at the ceiling, straight stream, and not moving it, preserves the natural flow path that the failed window created, allowing the heat and most the steam to flow out the top of the plane. If too much steam is introduced either by doing the "water wiggle" with a straight stream or by using a fog pattern. Then yes, the heat and steam will be pushed back in the room.     

I can understand that not all situation will require a transitional approach, access being one of the biggest factors. I cannot understand why anyone would openly trash talk a potentially safer way (for us and victims) to do something.  

There is no Transitional Attack versus Aggressive Interior Attack.  Anyone who truly understands the Transitional Attack knows it MUST be followed up by an Aggressive Interior Attack.  All the exterior application of water does is break the back of the fire cooling the interior and making it more survivable for victims and safer for entering firefighters. 

We had a save in January where water was flowed through the exterior window (with the deck gun) and the victim (a child) was removed with in minutes of being on scene (all with only 4 on the first due engine). Now I realize that hitting it with the big gun isn't the same a pulling a line, then repositioning it for an interior attack, but conditions improved drastically inside once water got on the fire. Not only did we almost put the fire out with the initial blast but the victim was able to be removed right past the fire origin room. I'm not saying it works like that every time, but putting water through the window saved the life of a little girl that day. 

I'm not sure i'm 100% convinced on this tactic. It has not been seriously discussed or practiced enough to preform the task as a first due engine co. yet in my department. I do believe these are the "type" of studies we need to be seeing though. I believe I did see a "Study" of the "study" by someone from the FDNY criticizing the UL Study as being not accurate. I will have to try to find it.

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