We just came back from an international flashover instructor meeting in Europe. Here is a PPT about the meeting, and also a video:


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Very interesting. Curious to know tactics and techniques performed in Europe as compared to North America.
Maybe the first step would be to know exactly what US FF are naming "tactic". Because after reading FF US tactical book, we discovered that, from a European and military point of view, none were talking about what we call "tactic" but all are talking on what we call "techniques" (ventilation has, for us, no link with tactic, nor nozzle, leaders and so on as they are just techniques). From a European point of view (and militay one), tactic is a pure mental concept.

Also, it seems USA is the only country in the world, with light-wooden house. In other countries, houses are of concrete or, if in wood, are very heavy. We don't know if it's really a difference, but each time we talk about our techniques with US FF, they claim we are stupid and that these would not work in the US. Is it true or is it only a good way to avoid lookiing at what other are doing, I really don't know.

What we see with this meeting, is that, today, guys from France (not so hot, no so cold), Belgium (cold), Poland (very cold), Portugal (hot), Italy (not so hot, no so cold), Brasil (very hot) are all using the techniques with a great efficiency.
I'm glad you brought that up with tactic and technique and the indifferences the American and European firefighters have.

I do agree that technique is the way we do things (ventilation, nozzle and hose work, etc.) but tactics to us would be how to apply it and how will it effect the outcome with the fire or emergency. I hope that clears that up. Because one of the unique features of the United States of America (USA) is that we're very diverse. Take New York City (which is 160 miles south of my hometown), they have diverse building construction that's mostly brownstone, steel, concrete structures that range in heights from 2 story to as high as 90 stories (minus the World Trade Center from September 11, 2001). But the outskirts of the city (suburban areas) does have light-weight wood frame houses. Same thing with my hometown and throughout the USA. So our strategy and tactics would always evolve on how we would fight fires in these various structures. Also building codes tend to not be 100% enforced in some of these buildings and can make the fire attack and search even more difficult. So firefighting does get very interesting in North America.

I always respected Europeans with the way they perform fire services to their communities. Myself and, I hope, many others view the fire servie as a business and that customer service is utmost important. Especially nowadays with layoffs and job security in today's economy. Europeans tend to be ten or twenty years ahead of us in the fire service but our tactics/techniques vary. Yes, Americans tend to be stubborn to change but, again, the country is very diverse and various areas in the USA have their own way of doing it with their fire department and community. So with FDIC (Fire Department Instructor Conference), Firehouse Expo, various state fire chief shows, and any other conferences that happen; make it possible for hundreds and thousands of firefighters get together and share their knowledge and training. "More tools for the tool box", I call it.

Unluck other people, I prefer to see it before judging it or creating my own opinion about it. I never seen nor experienced hands-on training with Europeans or on European tactics/techniques. All that I know was a comment that a Swedish officer made several years ago after observing American firefighting operations, which is classic but very true about us. I believe his exact words were, "American firemen are stupid." Which is true because we're one of the few countries in the world who kill our own firefigters (heart attacks, falls, vehicle accidents, interior fire attack at vacant structures and so on).

But I digress. I hope to continue our conversation tomorrow. Keep safe brother!
Hi Timothy,

In a few days the group will release a first article about tactic, explaining what is (from military and european point of view) tactic and strategy.

In the other hand, a brief look at the way US FF use to fight fire and the way non-US fight it, can be done also by comparing the houses.
In non-US country, house are made of concrete. Meaning the house are "strong" and collapsing risk is very low. At the same time, FF learn to enter slowly, carefully, in order to avoid ventilation. The goal is to avoid fire spreading. But even if the fire spread, as the house is of concrete, it will take a lot time for the fire to destroy the house. Concering nozzle method, we use (as you see on the video and PPT) very small burst of water, in order to cool gazes (avoiding fire spread thought smoke) and avoid touching the wall. We also use a very very small amount of water.
In fact, all the thinks we do are in the "spirit" of "Don't disturb the structure". It's amazing because we do everything to avoid to disturb a structure so strong that disturbing it, would be very hard. So, of course, the nunmber of non-US FF trapped in collasping house is near O.

On the other hand, US country has light-wooden house. US FF say they are "fragile". They are very sensive to heat. When we see the US Method, we see search and recue team, breaking windows so increasing air intake, so inscreasing fire spread in a structure were even the walls are fuel. The attack team use commonly solid bore, so a pattern which strike violently the thin walls, previously attacked by the smoke, very hot, that the solid bore is unable to cool. So the smoke start to destroy the thin wall and the FF strike the wall violently with the nozzle... Ooops! We see also a very important amount of water on the ground, of a light-wooden house which floor is not string enough to resist to this weight.

In fact, what we see is that you seems to work as if there were no risk of disturbing the structure but you face house which are very fragile. So, of course, the number of US FF trapped in collapsing house is important.

I don't know if this comparison is the key point, but it seems to be one point.

What would be very interesting would be to see if our method would work in your house. If it don't work, OK we would have to find an other way. But today, no one seem to have made such a test and each time we've made such a proposal, we've been fired. :)


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