I'm using the term of Keyboard Officer because of responses to fire we had in New Castle County. There was a 3 alarm fire in Claymont that received alot of coverage on Statter911. Now if you haven't seen the video it shows a fully involved townhome and car WHEN the neighbors come out of thier homes. The first engine was onscene within 4 mins and had supply line laid and attack lines pulled within 2 1/2 mminutes.

The first Keyboard Officer said "Wagon Pipe..." Then others jumped in questioning why a wagon pipe, Stang gun and many other deravations of a Deck Gun wasn't used. It didn't matter that they contained the fire to the orginal fire unit. It didn't matter that no lives were lost, It didn't matter that a volunteer company during the day made the respoind in under 5 minutes with the 2nd unit within 7 mins and GREAT unit placement leaving room for special service units (remember when they were called ladders and resuces). None of that mattered to these Keyboard Officers.

So, I'm, asking the church, How often do you use a deck gun in a year? My old station has a Squrt, We didn't use it for four years, then it was utilized twice in a week. Another year went by before the boom was used again. In ten years I can count on 2 hands how many times we used the boom for working alarms. As far as using a deck gun in 30 plus year I think we used it twice, 5 times if you count keeping kids cool during civic events....

But once again, how many times has your company, station, department used a deck gun during the year on average?  

Oh Merry Christmas

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Craig,  I have seen the video and all the comments on statter and I like your term of keyboard officers.

  We are a volly dept. 90% area of no hydrants.  Both engines have 1000 gallon tanks w/1500gpm pump and I can only remember using the deck gun twice in 15 years,  now this was only done on the first pull up of engine however once water supply is established then we have used it.

  Mutual aid company has a ladder and when it pulls up to a scene you better have water supplied well established otherwise that thing will suck water down big time. 

   I hate to critique a scene that you can't see everything and know everything that went down.  Did the incident go down perfect?, probably not but what incident does,  did they do a good job with what they had pulling up to the scene?  my humble opinion is they did,  can they learn and improve on the next job? sure. 

  My biggest pet peeve of the videos was the comments made by THAT LADY on the phone to 911 complaining about how long it was taking for the fire dept. to get there (did you catch the comment made by the one guy about how the fire dept. was going to get sued for the response) and the "anguish" being displayed by the other bystanders of how there is people in the other houses that should get out(THEN GO KNOCK ON DOORS).  To me that was the biggest problem with the video, THE BYSTANDERS.       

First of all I LOVE your term of "Keyboard Officer". It very aptly describes a number of commenters on this site as well as others. There are a lot of people out there who would be excellent FGC's if the world was run from a computer simulator, instead of real life.

As far as the fire video goes, all in all it was a nice hit. Bottom line is the fire got contained and knocked out and nobody got hurt. Be proud.

Now on the deck gun issue, I love them. We are a middle sized urban community that has been cut to the bone. We went from 13 Engines and 4 Trucks to 6 & 2. Staffing is 4 at best on some rigs but norm is a crew of 3. We use our deck guns often. It is amazing how much fire you can knock down with a 500 gallon booster tank while guys are hooking up a supply line. We have a huge amount of vacant/abandons that are usually going really good upon arrival. The deck gun usually darkens it down enough to make a decision whether or not to get inside and finish it or remain in a defensive operation.

The deck gun is just another tool. This is not a perfect occupation in a perfect world. Don't be afraid to get creative and consider all your alternatives. There are a lot of armchair quarterbacks out there that don't see any more fire than you do. Learn your job and pride yourself in making good tactical decisions, that's what it is all about.

The answer is "Whenever we need them".


We've had times when we didn't use a master stream device for months except in training, then used them two or three times in a couple of weeks on fires that were well-involved on arrival. 



Last time we used one???   11/18/11  Here is the story and pics.  It worked very well


If you view the video at the bottom of the page, you will see the conditions upon our arrival.





Merry Christmas to all, Is there a link to this video so that I could get a look at the operations prior to commenting.

Craig I also found your term "keyboard officer" to be very eloquent, but then again that's what I've come to expect from you. Hope you don't mind if I steal it and use it when the need arises. 

I understand your problem with the armchair quarterbacks.  It is often that we find it easy to critique someone else when we were not there.  Why don't we all try to help each other improve by stating our opinions in a better way.  I have not seen the video and would like a link to it, but based on my experience, we do not use the deckgun very much in my volunteer dept.  At my career dept, it doesn't get used very much either.  I have used the deckgun twice in the last five years as an engine company captain.  The first house fire was fully involved and the roof was open enough that we could get the water on the fire.  We had a good knockdown with the booster tank of 750 gallons but still had an exposure to protect.  The mistake I made was that I should have laid a supply line in as I traveled the street.  I learned from this incident and we changed the supply lines on several of our trucks at my paid dept.  When you pull the supply line off, you have 10-12 feet of slack with a piece of webbing attached.  You drop the webbing over the hydrant, place the wrench on the plug and lay in.  The accordian fold on the supply line and the webbing give enough slack to finish your connection.  We used this at a house fire that had the roof intact and fire showing from every window and door opening.  We laid the supply line in from a hydrant and radioed the next engine to finish the connection.  We blitzed the fire with 500 gallons and then had two lines for exposure protection and mop up.  We were out of water for maybe 30 seconds.  The fire attack went very well. 

I think the greater lesson here is not about the use of the deckgun but about knowing your equipment and its capabilities.  Let's train on our equipment and know what gpm flow it will take to offset BTU's produced by the fire.  Pull the appropriate sized line or appliance and get to work. 

I somewhat agree with statements about "the fire going out and no one being injured, so it was a good day."  Let's look at it differently.  While it is a good day when the fire is out and no one was injured, we should all try to look at our performance and see if there are ways we can improve before the next one.  The last fire I was on, there were some forcible entry issues.  We will work on it.

Be safe and learn from your performance as well as others.


"The fire went out and nobody was hurt"

. God, I hate that phrase.  Just because the fire goes out and nobody gets hurt is no excuse for poor tactics. You could go to a fire, do everything wrong, look like the 3 stooges, and the fire will still go out, and maybe nobody gets hurt. Still not something to be proud of.

(Just for the record, I am NOT making reference to this or any other incident, nor am I accusing anyone of poor tactics. I'm just sayin' I don't like it when people use that phrase. ) 

I hope you took from my blog that I disagree with the statement as well.  We use that statement to make us feel better or look better after we made decisions that might not have been the best.  Thanks for your reply.  I hope we all try to improve ourselves after each fire.

"The fire went out and no one was hurt". Maybe I'll write something about that phrase. A long time ago someone told as long as the fire is out and no one is hurt you did a good job. I don't know if anyone watched the West Wing, well one episode they talked about 10 words, The canidate gives a 10 word answer and Martin Sheens character asked what the next 10 words, and the 10 words after that.

The fire went out and no one was hurt, what are the next "10" words, 'And no additional damage was done" add your own "10" words



1. Keyboard Officer is my new favorite term

2. I listened to this fire, it sounded well run and you guys did a hell of a job from the sounds of it, people will always complain about something, people have different ideas on how to do everything. But in the end of the day all that matters is that everyone went home and no lives were lost and no additional units war lost.

If a structure is fully involved, there's just no way you should be entering with a handline.  (other than say a garage)  GPM's put out fires, and deck gun's deliver a lot of GPM's.  Now most of us don't have fully involved structures much, but when you do, a deck gun is a great tool.  You can knock down large bodies of fire fast, and greatly slow fire progression.  Yes, you may exhaust your water supply until it can be re-established, but generally in that case you have either knocked down the fire enough that you've bought yourself some time to lay supply lines, or the fire is too big anyway and you're going to need multiple master streams.  The goal it to mitigate the emergency.  And if using the deck gun contains the fire, it was a good choice.

I am a captain on a volly department me and two other paid guys.  we live on an island in the middle of the bering sea we have no mutual aide. that being said we dont get alot of fires even though we have a population that fluctuates from 4500 people to 12,000.  on the note of deck guns they are great for the old suround and drown technique which does not work for all applications obviously for reasons of limiting damage to a home. "dont cause more damage than the fire you put out".  but we had a exterior fire in a fishing net storage yard where we had 8 large nylon trauler nets on fire.  for those who dont know commercial fishing they use tires and large hard platstic floats(which detonate in spectacular form).  and i digress anywho we rolled first due with our 2500 gallon pumper/tanker we use to back up the airports aarf.  we had three or four hand lines on the fire and all we were able to do was hold it from spreading untill we brought in our 65' telesquirt quint Truck 2 and put 1000 GPM and then it took roughly 2 min and she was done. so it is definatley an awesome tool that i love however it is not used as much for sake of not completly destroying a dwelling to put out a kitchen fire( obvious sarcasm please no one jump me for that)...... now that im done writing i would like to appologize for poor spelling and grammer i am not a keyboard officer.


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