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Transitional Attack and Flow Path Control

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  • Transitional Attack and Flow Path Control

    I posted this on facebook and thought I would see what people had to say here about it.


    Why are so many firefighters terrified by the NIST/UL/FDNY studies and findings involving transitional attack and flow path control? Neither one is mandated by anyone. They are additional tools to add to your tactical toolbox. They are not an always or every time tactic.

    Further trying to say that use of a transitional attack means cowardice or an unwillingness to enter for aggressive fire attack simply proves that you have no idea what a transitional attack is. Educate yourself on what it is, and when to use it, so you don't sound so foolish.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  • #2
    Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
    I posted this on facebook and thought I would see what people had to say here about it.


    Why are so many firefighters terrified by the NIST/UL/FDNY studies and findings involving transitional attack and flow path control? Neither one is mandated by anyone. They are additional tools to add to your tactical toolbox. They are not an always or every time tactic.

    Further trying to say that use of a transitional attack means cowardice or an unwillingness to enter for aggressive fire attack simply proves that you have no idea what a transitional attack is. Educate yourself on what it is, and when to use it, so you don't sound so foolish.
    REAL firefighters don't engage in transitional attack. Here is what they do:

    Charge right into the building until they are entirely engulfed by flame.

    They then open the line up.

    They then post on buff sites about that fire they went to last night that "melted their Bourkes"!

    That last one might have to wait until after they get out of the burn unit.

    Comment


    • #3
      Just needed to have some fun there.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by captnjak View Post
        REAL firefighters don't engage in transitional attack. Here is what they do:

        Charge right into the building until they are entirely engulfed by flame.

        They then open the line up.

        They then post on buff sites about that fire they went to last night that "melted their Bourkes"!

        That last one might have to wait until after they get out of the burn unit.
        For better or worse < learned to get as close as you could stand before opening the nozzle. My first 5 years of fighting structure fires were with a 300 gallon brush truck ( class 9 skid unit) with the closest hydrant 20 minutes away. Many times we darkened one down and let it get away when we ran out of water and another 25 gallons could have finished it. And I understand your post was tongue in cheek. And in todays day and age no reason to ruin gear. Just pointing out , in some cases one mans meat etc.
        ?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by captnjak View Post
          REAL firefighters don't engage in transitional attack. Here is what they do:

          Charge right into the building until they are entirely engulfed by flame.

          They then open the line up.

          They then post on buff sites about that fire they went to last night that "melted their Bourkes"!

          That last one might have to wait until after they get out of the burn unit.
          Awesome Brother! The sad part is some will read what you posted and shake their heads in total agreement.
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow! I thought there would be more interest in this topic.
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
              Wow! I thought there would be more interest in this topic.
              Hopefully because they have nothing to say to the contrary. I suspect those that do, know their wrong and are not ready to be taken to the woodshed. That said, it was too many years ago many of us shook our heads at some of our Brothers from England and Europe and now much of the same lessons are being proven here. I'm not ready to fight fires with booster lines again, but we tend to think of everything we do in in the US is the leading way to do it, could be that's not always the case.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RFDACM02 View Post
                Hopefully because they have nothing to say to the contrary. I suspect those that do, know their wrong and are not ready to be taken to the woodshed. That said, it was too many years ago many of us shook our heads at some of our Brothers from England and Europe and now much of the same lessons are being proven here. I'm not ready to fight fires with booster lines again, but we tend to think of everything we do in in the US is the leading way to do it, could be that's not always the case.
                Could be, but you will never convince that booster lines, whether ultra high pressure, high pressure, or standard pressure, have any place in modern interior structural firefighting.

                Honestly, I couldn't begin to care less where a good idea comes from. If it is proven to work I will give it a try.
                Crazy, but that's how it goes
                Millions of people living as foes
                Maybe it's not too late
                To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                Comment


                • #9
                  That is an excellent video. I use it teaching ventilation and fire attack. I also use it teaching officer classes for coordinated fire attack.

                  By the way, I agree with you that experienced officers and firefighters can recognize flow path and changes caused by wrong ventilation methods.
                  Last edited by FyredUp; 08-10-2015, 10:13 AM.
                  Crazy, but that's how it goes
                  Millions of people living as foes
                  Maybe it's not too late
                  To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EastKyFF
                    It's hard to believe that it even takes putting a name on something for experienced people to believe that it exists. Haven't we all observed the change in flow paths from altered ventilation long before anybody ever said "flow path"? We have all seen how amateur ventilation--either by inexperienced people or even bystanders--can completely change the dynamics of the fire.

                    If you haven't seen this, it's excellent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZzQibzeWtY
                    I agree. The term might be new but the concept is not. It IS good though to have it really proven beyond a reasonable doubt and have it put together for us to simplify teaching of the concept.

                    We've been talking about "controlled" ventilation for over 20 years. Nothing new here. It really started with the emergence of energy efficient windows. Prior to that the windows often failed from heat and the flow path was out of our hands. Of course the contents had a different make-up also.

                    One of the worst things I've seen is a well-meaning cop taking windows indiscriminately with a nightstick. It had no real ill effects at that particular fire. Just pure dumb luck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by captnjak View Post
                      I agree. The term might be new but the concept is not. It IS good though to have it really proven beyond a reasonable doubt and have it put together for us to simplify teaching of the concept.

                      We've been talking about "controlled" ventilation for over 20 years. Nothing new here. It really started with the emergence of energy efficient windows. Prior to that the windows often failed from heat and the flow path was out of our hands. Of course the contents had a different make-up also.

                      One of the worst things I've seen is a well-meaning cop taking windows indiscriminately with a nightstick. It had no real ill effects at that particular fire. Just pure dumb luck.
                      We've been working to put on a short class of our PD to ensure they understand how they could, with all the right intentions, negatively affect a fire. I know of one larger city in our state that has trained all of their PD on this topic. LEO's are going to try and make rescues, evacuate people, wake them, whatever, we just want them to be aware of the hazards and how they can minimize the negative impact. Telling a cop that closing the door behind him when he runs into the building is counter intuitive, thus the need for something with "proof". While we've understood controlled ventilation in the past, we have more proof than ever, and we've elevated flowpath management to a high priority in a short period of time. I can't think of another teaching point that was so well documented and adopted so quickly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Our firefighters are so scary looking that when they charge into the building the fire runs out of the back! I understand the principles of the transitional attack, we use them all the time when we don't have enough manpower to do anything meaningful (as far as offense goes). We learned how to spray a stream into a superheated environment along time ago too. I like how people think that because the stream is coming from outside its suddenly gonna be a wide fog pushing tons a steam.

                        I wouldn't expect everyone to embrace the tactic, or even the big cities to acknowledge it. Truth is, if we could have a FDNY response on our typical trailer shack fires, we would never have to use a transitional attack. "ladder truck to the roof were gonna open this shack up!"
                        Last edited by Leath3rhead ; 05-18-2016, 12:16 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Leath3rhead View Post
                          Our firefighters are so scary looking that when they charge into the building the fire runs out of the back! I understand the principles of the transitional attack, we use them all the time when we don't have enough manpower to do anything meaningful (as far as offense goes). We learned how to spray a stream into a superheated environment along time ago too. I like how people think that because the stream is coming from outside its suddenly gonna be a wide fog pushing tons a steam.

                          I wouldn't expect everyone to embrace the tactic, or even the big cities to acknowledge it. Truth is, if we could have a FDNY response on our typical trailer shack fires, we would never have to use a transitional attack. "ladder truck to the roof were gonna open this shack up!"
                          I think if you restrict transitional attack to the instances where you have insufficient staffing you are short changing the tactic. Plus, what you seem to be describing sounds like a defensive attack vs a transitional attack.

                          Welcome aboard. Hope you stick around. Kind of dead around here lately.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            By no means am I limiting the method to manpower shortages ! I just wanted to point out that very similar methods of attack have been used for years in small rural settings. IMO anytime water is applied directly to the fire building, a offensive attack is started. Defensive would be strictly to contain the fire and streams should be focused on exposures. By applying the stream directly a "transition" is started where as soon as crews can, they make entry and go on attack.

                            Another "transitional" method i have experienced is with a penetrating nozzle. We dubbed it the trailer shack pack!(tsp) 150' of 1 1/2 on a bumper mount. One man would deploy the TSP hit the fire room, while the other got a line to the door. After making a few stabs, the penetrating nozzle would be set aside, the attack line advanced while the pump operator changed the penetrator to a regular nozzle. It works flawlessly! One of the biggest issues is steam, since the fire is vent limited and the penetrator is fixed on a wide fog pattern. It can get stingy. We have better luck committing to inside and using ventilation properly.

                            Thanks for the welcome captn! I hope to stick around and drum up some conversation's

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Leath3rhead View Post
                              Our firefighters are so scary looking that when they charge into the building the fire runs out of the back! I understand the principles of the transitional attack, we use them all the time when we don't have enough manpower to do anything meaningful (as far as offense goes). We learned how to spray a stream into a superheated environment along time ago too. I like how people think that because the stream is coming from outside its suddenly gonna be a wide fog pushing tons a steam.

                              I wouldn't expect everyone to embrace the tactic, or even the big cities to acknowledge it. Truth is, if we could have a FDNY response on our typical trailer shack fires, we would never have to use a transitional attack. "ladder truck to the roof were gonna open this shack up!"
                              So why would you not cool the environment before making entry? Why would you not rest the fire and reduce the chance of a flashover while in the hallway advancing on the fire?

                              The fact is transitional fire attack is an offensive tactic and there is no reason why it should not be used as part of normal operations when applicable. And yes, that includes "trailer shack" fires. It cools the environment and makes operations safer for the members, regardless of staffing.

                              Just my opinion.
                              Last edited by LaFireEducator; 05-18-2016, 02:27 PM.
                              Train to fight the fires you fight.

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