First Due Friday; Surf’s Up! We Need More Than the Surfboard On This One!

Share your strategies, tactics and experience!  Every Friday we’ll post a picture or video and want to get your take on the situation.

THE SCENARIO:  Check out this video.  Heavy fire from the top floor.  Pre-arrival and post arrival footage.  What would you do?  What do you of their tactics?  Give us the report and your RECEO VS considerations.  Surf’s up!

  • REMEMBER… We want to critique this video, however First Due Friday is a CONSTRUCTIVE tool!  Mudslinging comments WILL NOT be posted.  Thanks and enjoy!
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 NOTE:  This week’s video was recommended by Bill Carey of  Thanks Bill!


  • DW says:

    Seems like they did well with the numbers they had. Must have had some sort of water issue because there seemed to be a delay in getting water moving. The only thing I might have changed would be to get a quick primary done on the first floor. Man power might have prevented this, but that was about the only issue I saw.

    • @DW, I was curious about the time it took to get water in the line also. It was hard to tell from the video what the layout/access of the building was. They had a 2nd floor fire, but the 1st engine stayed outside on the first floor and the only crew I saw on the 2nd floor took a ladder. Where were the stairs?

      Identifying the location and type of stairs, I feel, is an under-rated and under used responsibility for the first engine officer. The location and type/style of the stairs can change the whole mentality of the hose stretch.

      I am also becoming a big fan of the high shoulder carry for ladders. It’s amazing how much easier it can be to throw a ladder by yourself (flat or beam raise) using that technique.

      Also, it looked like the 1st engine officer did a complete 360 of the building. However, it looked like from their direction of travel and by pulling past, he had already see 3-sides. QUESTION… with that, does he NEED to walk all the way around the building or can he just check out the C side via and come straight back? What would you do?

      Thanks for the comments,

  • I wonder what the water issue was. Once they got the line charged it didn’t take much to put a knock on the fire.

    I would have liked a primary done on the first floor, but maybe that wasn’t high on the list right away. I couldn’t tell for sure if the truck company was doing a primary on the second floor exposure.

    Throwing ladders is definitely a learned trade. I am also a fan of pulling it off the rig right onto my shoulder for quick deployment like seen in the video.

    This response and staffing is pretty similar to my department. It takes people to do all the tasks simultaneously, which we often don’t have.

  • T. Lyons says:

    After viewing the video a few times, I googled the location and checked out arial and street views of the scene. The first due pumper passed up a hydrant on the same side of the street, less then 100 feet from fire building. I would think that with that much fire showing from the direction the engine was coming from, they would at least droped a water supply line coming into the scene. Watching the firefighter pull the hose off the rig back to the hydrant was a waste of valuable manpower.

    The firefighter on the ground handline did a good job from his position dispite waiting for water from the tank.

    Good to see the front of the building open for the truck company to arrive.

    Stay safe.

  • Jon Lockwood says:

    I would have liked to have seen a line come off the first due and go up to the second floor for fire attack and protection of the search Company. Tank water would have been plenty on this one. When we get water on the fire, the problem goes away. Engine Co. priority # one… Start a line! Water supply could have been laid in by the second due Engine. In my opinion, the arriving Truck Co. should have gone to the unit adjacent to the fire unit for forcible entry and a solid primary search. ( If we are going to make any assumptions on the fire ground, let’s assume it is occupied ). It’s not all clear until we clear it. Start your work from the area of greatest life threat and work away from there. Ventilation would not be one of my first priorities on this one because it had a good vent on its own. Overall… Good job!
    The fire is out. I know it is easy sitting at this computer and saying could have… should have… Every fire ground has it’s problems. The key is that we make sure we learn from them. Training is King ! Stay safe Brothers!

    • Thanks for the feedback. Though we don’t know what THEY had to deal with, I agree that tank water could’ve gotten them started and final extinguishment will be difficult from the floor below. I assumed that, after the video stopped, the couple brothers who were on the second floor got a line. Access to the second floor also appeared to be a problem. All things to consider during the size up.

      Thanks again and be safe,

  • G. Prater says:

    I work for this department, I do not not know the particulars of this fire but to answer a few of the questions as to the water supply and the delay. As a rule if the hydrant is within 150 ft. of the fire the engineer will do a race for water in this case the next in completed the 3 ” supply before the engineer completed it. Sounds like the pump was giving him grief. This was a brand new engine and if you listen to it idling up and shutting down sounds like he had to reboot the system cause it was not going into pump.Sometimes, especially with these new La Frances with the Detroit Fire Commander, the trans will not shift into the right gear. The initial 2 1/2 ” line was probably only intended to knock down the main body of fire so the 1 3/4 ” line up to the second floor could complete a knock down and facilitate a search of the adjacent occupancy keeping in mind the fire occupancy is already totally involved. This company also has Ocean rescue responsibilities thus the Surf Board.There are three different departments on scene looks like it was seamless. Good job all around minus the water delay.

    • Hey Brother, thanks for sharing some “inside info” on your FD’s operations. It always helps. About the supply/pump issue, I can sympathize. My old engine had an auto pressure governor which worked great, unless IT decided there was a problem. Technology can be great or a burden, still looks like they did a nice job (especially if 3 different FD’s responded to it).

      Thanks and be safe,

  • C. Lamb says:

    After reading the other posts, I understand the delay in the water delivery. New electronic pump controls seem to be notorious for problems. That being said, if all pump issues were resolved, here are my thoughts. Minimal manpower with heavy fire conditions (somewhat contained, as it appeared to be fairly well ventilated, and these type structures likely have two seperate apartments on the second floor)would warrant the quick use of a deluge gun. A quick attack with the deluge gun, accomplished by either the engineer or officer, would have allowed personnel to get in position to aggressively search the adjacent apartment (much higher priority than the first floor apartment), while also buying time for a possible extended hoseline deployment to the fire apartment. Unsure of the booster tank size, though a quick application of 250 gallons or so would have worked wonders on this fire, without causing further harm to any possible trapped occupants. I also agree with, and am a fan of using the first engine to secure water supply if it is close and in direct route. But this department has their own policies, and Im sure it works well for them. All in all, it seemed once the pump issues were resolved, things went fairly well.

    • Nice observation about the pump system (I’ve experienced similar problems). I also feel that a “blitz” attack is an underutilized tactic, especially by understaffed crews or FD’s. Thanks for the comment and be safe.

      Matt McDowell
      Safe Firefighter

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