One of the most dangerous mistakes that firefighters can make is to employ aggressive residential “fast attack” tactics at fires in non-residential occupancies. This four hour classroom session will examine why a disproportionate number of firefighters are injured and killed fighting fires in commercial and industrial buildings considering that residential fires far outnumber fires in non-residential occupancies. The class will examine how the size, construction, fuel load and lack of egress, common in non-residential buildings, demand a high level of situational awareness, crew accountability, air management and higher GPM flows than fires in compartmented residential buildings. It will examine factors of an on-going size up that continuously evaluates the risk to civilians and firefighters against the benefits of their intended actions. Additionally, the class will focus on the following topics:
- Why “fast food” equals “fast collapse”.
- Why there is a huge difference between “fire resistive” and “non-combustible” construction.
- Why sprinklers do not guarantee that a building won’t be destroyed by fire.
- Why attacking a fire in a commercial building from the uninvolved side can put firefighters at an unreasonable level of risk.
- Why parapet walls, mansards, cornices and other “overhangs” endanger firefighters operating at the front of commercial buildings.
- Why search and rescue operations at fires in commercial and assembly occupancies must be conducted differently than at fires in in residential occupancies.
- Why a size up from inside a fire building and from its exterior must be in agreement or somebody’s got it wrong.
Students will learn strategies and tactics for fires in “big box” stores, “strip” shopping centers and warehouses, restaurants, modern office buildings as well as vacant and abandoned buildings. Additionally, they will learn why recent research in fire dynamics can make operations at fires in non-residential buildings safer for firefighters.
Instructed by: Bill Gustin
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