Remember your 4 steps at the door for an interior attack fire building? Were talking nozzleman duties now not Truck duties or otherwise forcible entry duties, we will cover them later.
1.The hose load comes off the truck. Which hose? The fire load and building will decide along with involvement and accessibility. As Chief Brunacini said “big fire- big water”. We can break this down much finer and even use a couple of tricks to choose our line to advance but remember in the Volunteer setting the overriding fact is usually manpower. Large diameter attack lines require lots of muscle and water. Both of these take manpower. Look at it in simple terms. If you have the people consider a 2.5 if there are 3 rooms or more involved, Commercial structure, or you really don’t know how much is burning. We’ll leave it at that for now.
So #1 is Flank the line. Get out all the kinks, walk the line, it is everyone’s job.
2. Check your stream! Remember, try and get away from “bleed the nozzle” it doesn’t really cover what action we are trying to achieve. Bleeding the line is important but it isn’t half as important as ensuring you have a good consistent water flow for interior attack. So “check the stream” will require you to leave the nozzle open for around 5 to 10 seconds, as long as you can stand it without having to shut down and go inside. I know this is hard when you are in a rush to put out the fire but it is essential you maintain a good pressure and flow for fire extinguishment. Remember GPM put out fire and you need the pressure to hit the seat of the fire. In addition to checking for good flow, check that you are on straight stream. Or if available you need to drop to a smooth bore nozzle or slug. WFD doesn’t have these yet but we may in the future.
#2 is Check your stream.
3. Check your Buddy. Are you ready and is your partner ready. This is not basic fire PPE class, you don’ t have to physically inspect each others gear. If they or you cannot get it on themselves then you really need to question weather or not you should be going in to a burning building with this individual. The idea is to quickly ask if they are ready for entry and wait for a definite response. This way you do not leave them at the door, or get left at the door. If it happens don’t be overly concerned as we will only go in a couple of scoots. Right? When you say your ready to go you need to be “ready to go”. Air on and breathing through your pak, gloves on, Hoods up, irons or tools of choice in hand, and the door ready to be propped open. Don’t forget to set a flashlight at the door if you can.
#3 Check your buddy.
4. Look low let it blow. Open the door and watch the smoke conditions- did they change or not? Rise up or stay low. Now is the time to call for ventilation, unless you have laminar smoke and are in an investigative mode on a small structure with little potential for hidden fire. But on the working fires, call for ventilation! You should see results within seconds. If you do not then there is likely a block between you and the vent opening. In this case call for ventilation from a different location and wait for it. Remember the big four- volume, velocity, density and color. What is going on with the smoke, it will tell you some things that are indicators of what and where the fire is. More on that later. Take a Thermal Imager with you. They are no longer a luxury, they are like cell phones you gotta have em. Go in a couple of scoots, is it high heat or low heat. Get low, look around the floor plan. It’s a great time to find a victim in the first room. You may even see the seat of the fire. Now use your thermal and perform a 3 side (floor,mid,ceiling)or 6 sided view search of the room. If you don’t know what that is then we need TIC training. Nozzleman this is for you, look low and let it blow, check the layout and if necessary sweep the floor with the stream to clear a path and cool the floor. (may indicate a basement fire if the floor is hot). Put your helmet on the floor(with your head in it silly) when you look low, you are trying to get below the smoke line to see what is in the room etc. The reason we are going in just a scoot or two is to let your eyes and the TIC get acclimated to the darker environment. Your going to need a little time to adjust to the dark atmosphere. It will also give your ears and neck time to tell you if the fire is too hot overhead in the smoke. If it feels hot on the floor than it is really hot on the ceiling! Flashover is defiantly a possibility and will need to be dealt with before proceeding any further. Hit the ceiling with a smooth or straight stream of water. A lot of water. Cool the solid surface down so you can move in safely. Have a helper pull down some ceiling for you to see if the structure is on fire. If it is, put it out and consider not making entry as the structural members may collapse. This is a judgment call of Company Commanders and the Incident Commander. Risk vs. Benefit guys, it is a constant for size up throughout the incident. But that is another e-mail too. In intense smoke conditions (this goes for taking the rear door also) hook your foot around the door frame and lay on the floor, sweeping it with a tool you can check for victims inside the room.
#4 Look low and let it blow.