When we look at various buildings and occupancies, past operational experiences; those that were successful, and those that were not, give us experiences that define and determine how we access, react and expect similar structures and occupancies to perform at a given alarm in the future. Naturalistic (or recognition-primed) decision-making forms much of this basis. We predicate certain expectations that fire will travel in a defined (predictable) manner that fire will hold within a room and compartment for a predictable given duration of time; that the fire load and related fire flows required will be appropriate for an expected size and severity of fire encountered within a given building, occupancy, structural system; in addition to having an appropriately trained and skilled staff to perform the requisite evolutions.
Executing tactical plans based upon faulted or inaccurate strategic insights and indicators has proven to be a common apparent cause in numerous case studies, after action reports and LODD reports. Our years of predictable fireground experience have ultimately embedded and clouded our ability to predict, assess, plan and implement incident action plans and ultimately deploy our companies-based upon the predictable performance expected of modern construction and especially those with engineered structural systems.