Page 10 - UFRA Straight Tip Fall 2022 - Volume 23 Issue 4
P. 10

 Water Application
 FIRE TACTICS
 One of the funniest comedy routines I’ve seen is the Fire SUV. In this act, the comedian pokes fun at firefighters by asking what the purpose
of the Fire SUV is. After all, our job is pretty simple: if you see fire, “you want to put water on it till there is no more fire!” Why do we need some- one in an SUV to tell us this?
This routine is funny not only because it oversimplifies what we do but because when it comes to water application, he is spot on! The fact is, putting water on the fire is a very basic task in our suppression objective, but it is also an area we can struggle with. Why? Because there are many factors that must be dealt with to “put the wet stuff on the red stuff,” including our race against time.
Time to Water Application
No one will argue that the faster and more efficiently we put water on the fire, the better. The issue for us is the myriad of issues facing us in our battle against time. There is time to notice and notify, dispatch process- ing, turn-out time, response time, the fire itself, and then our effective- ness and efficiency on arrival. Some of these factors we have little to no control over, while others we do.
Regarding the fire, we have all seen videos comparing time to flashover for legacy vs. modern fuels. All these videos show a very short time to flash for synthetic (modern) and a long time for natural (legacy, which may not flash at all). However, these comparisons have become irrelevant as synthetic has replaced natural fuels. Why do we still show these videos? To send home the message that synthetic fuels off-gas and flash quickly—and our window of time for water applica- tion has shrunk. So, what can we control? Let’s focus on turnout time and on-scene proficiency.
Turnout Time
NFPA 1700 (Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations...) tells us that besides rapid dispatch center processing times, our goal for turnout should be “60 seconds for EMS responses and 80 seconds for fire responses.” It goes on to tell us we should arrive on scene rapidly (four minutes for first company and six minutes for second), but we all know this may or may not be something we can accomplish. However, we can realistically all strive to achieve the first set of times. Bottom line here: HUSTLE! (In the words of Billy Goldfeder, “Act like you care!”) We cannot begin sup- pression without first getting there (safely).
On-Scene Proficiency
Several years ago, we command instructors were privileged to spend a day with L.A. City Battalion Chief (ret.) John Mittendorf. Here he dis- cussed studies in L.A. on time from brake set to water application. For most L.A. companies at the time, it was three minutes. Since then, I have found that this time is still consistent. The basic first arrival dynamics, though, have got to be indelibly pressed into our psyches so that arriving quickly, proper size-up, rapid hose deployment, masking, and finally wa- ter application can take place with a minimum of wasted effort. For this reason, company officers should practice this frequently and repetitively (I recommend at least once a set doing some form of hose lay).
Another solution to achieving on-scene proficiency is minimum com- pany standards. Departments should set standards that (a) orchestrate
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