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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only remember using the deck gun offensively once- first in engine had fully involved structure on arrival with extension into exposure on side "D". 3 man crew on the engine with one member showing up from home. home responder hit the hydrant, 2 man crew stretched handline to position between side "B" and main fire and engineer operated deck gun at the exposure knocking the fire down until crew from the ladder were able to enter exposure D and put fire out. 

Watching the video's you guys did great job

Had 3 step guns running last night.....barn fire

I was informed that Dave Stattler of Stattler911 blog was the first to use the term "Keyboard Incident Commander". So I wasn't the first, He beat me by a day

Ok some of y'all on here have 2 to 4 times the experience I have but here is my 2 cents worth.  In the 10 years that i have been a firefighter i have seen a deck gun used 3 times and in all 3 times that i have seen it used it was at a garbage dump.  that 3 times was over a 5 year period at another department i was with.  i guess the deck gun has it's uses but most of the time that i have seen stretching hands and attacking the fire is the best route of attack. 

Another justification for company officers actually spending time working their way up the ranks. Any decent apparatus operator understands that the minimal amount of water carried on an engine, when used with a deck gun / master stream appliance will drain yor tank in minutes. Unless you tap a hydrant or have a water tender/tanker tethered, one just does not factor in using the deck gun.

Gee...I guess I should have spent more time working my way up the ranks. I guess 35 years wasn't enough.   It goes without saying that a master stream requirea a water supply. My engineers are smart enough  ("decent" enough ) to know this.   

I have only seen a deck gun used once in three years and that was for a commerical fire in town. 

Same here.  If it's a fully involved commercial building and we switch to heavy duty operations then it can be used.  Other than that, never.

Agree 100%.  Unless it's a small volunteer department that shows up to a fully involved building every time due to the slow response times, I don't see much reason for it to be used often.

Blitz Attack:  Using the deck gun to knock down a well involved fire.  If done properly, roughly half of the tank water will be used to do this.  In the mean time a wate supply MUST be established whether it is a hydant line, dump tank operation, or a nurse operation with another pumpe pumping directly to the attack engine fom its booster tank.


I have personally knocked down a well involved barn fire using approximately 500 gallons from a 1000 gallon booster tank on the first due engine.  By that time tankes had arrived, a water supply was established and mop up was done with handlines.


Is this a tactic for evey fire?  Of course not, but like everything else we learn and train on over the years, it is another tool in the tool box.  Smart officers and firefighters keep their options open and use the proper tactic when it is called for.


Heck, one of the POC FDs I run with has pre-connected deluge guns on the back step with 200 feet of 3 inch attached to an Elkhart Stinger.  We have pulled that off put it right where we need it, surgically applied a master stream to knock down a large body of fire.  In addition to that our engines have deck guns mounted midship for a quick hit if needed.  Do they get used at every fire?  Of course not, but it is nice to know that when you roll up you can be doing 1000 gpm almost instantly if you need it, with minimum staffing.

That still all really depends on the department.  We don't have barns in the city.  So when we pull up on a house it changes things.  I don't want to start pouring water inside if there may be people trapped.  Even if they aren't trapped, I still don't want to just pour unneeded water in and create even more damage if it's avoidable at all.  Of course if it's fully involved then that's different.  I'll try to find the video but it shows a department right across the city lines here(PG County) attacking a fire in a well involved house with just two 1 1/2" hand lines.  A lot can be done with those if used right.

Found it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JzpFBdUGE0

It's situational, cap.  If you have 500 gallons, that's a minute of a 500 GPM stream.  Even without a water supply, that is enough to knock down a lot of fire, stop a lot of fire spread, and prevent flashover where it has not yet occurred.


Compare that to a 100 GPM 1.5 inc line - would you rather slam the fire with enough BTU absorption power to extinguish the main body or would you rather play with it fo rthe 5 minutes that one small hand line gives you?



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