It’s no longer just brute force and sheer physical determination that define structural fire suppression operations. Aggressive firefighting must be redefined and aligned to the built environment and associated with goal oriented tactical operations that are defined by risk assessed and analyzed tasks that are executed under battle plans that promote the best in safety practices and survivability within known hostile structural fire environments, while maintaining the values and traditions that defines the fire service.”- Christopher Naum
The lack of appreciation and the understanding of correlating principles involving fire behavior, fuel and rate of heat release and the growth stages of compartment fires within a structural occupancy are the defining paths from which the fire service must reexamine coordinated suppression operations in order to identify with; the predictability of occupancy performance during fire suppression operations, thus increasing suppression effectiveness and firefighter safety.
Our buildings have changed; the structural systems of support, the degree of Compartmentation, the characteristics of materials and the magnitude of fire loading. The structural anatomy, predictability of building performance under fire conditions, structural integrity and the extreme fire behavior; accelerated growth rate and intensively levels typically encountered in buildings of modern construction during initial and sustained fire suppression have given new meaning to the term combat fire engagement.
It begs to suggest that many of today’s incident commanders, company officers and firefighters lack the clarity of understanding and comprehension that correlate to the inherent characteristics of today’s buildings, construction and occupancies and the need for refined suppression operations within the modern building construction setting.
We assume that the routiness or successes of our operations and incident responses equates with predictability and diminished risk to our firefighting personnel. Does your company, your officers, your commanders, your department treat all things as equals when addressing the variables of structural combat fire operations? Is the equation of Occupancy Risk balanced with Occupancy Type? Are inherent structural stability and compromise conditions adequately identified and considered in the evolving progression of an incident action plan? Or do SOP and SOG’s drive the manner in which fire ground strategies and tactics are orchestrated and implemented at the company task level?
How does this fit into your “culture, values and philosophy as a firefighter, officer or commander?”