As previously mentioned in an article, we explained in detail how important it is to select the right hose line to meet numerous fireground challenges. Now we are focusing on how the attack line employment techniques should be properly applied, as a team process, to extinguish the fire — the art of extinguishment.
Nozzle selection and water stream application practically hold the key to successful extinguishment. Therefore, knowing the capability of a solid stream or fog nozzle and when which should be utilized is the top priority.
Many idealistic trainers falsely believe that it is possible to use a single nozzle that fits all the situations on the fireground. In fact, such a questionable assumption tends to raise safety issues for the crew who are making a forcible entry into a structure.
Knowing what type of nozzle as the right tool to choose for the job is a better approach than others. Conventional wisdom like doing things the way they have always been done is not the basis on which any professional firefighters should make their decisions.
How to produce effective stream is the first thing every firefighter should learn, which means you, as a trainee, need to know how much stream production the nozzle you choose will produce to properly extinguish the fire, particularly when people are close to the seat of the fire.
Among these vital considerations are how much stream and what type of stream (a solid stream or fog nozzle) you should select to rescue the victims without wasting or reducing steam production. As a rule of thumb, the first thing you do, when the attack line is ready for operation, is bleed the air by opening the nozzle and check its pattern.
Make sure you flow the nozzle as long period of time as necessary, providing the engineer with enough time to regulate desired pump pressure. Once you are inside a building, it will be more difficult to do anything about the woefully low nozzle pressure than to ensure you and your crew work in synch as a team.
There are certain rules of thumb to stick to as well, which include:
1. Attack line crew should be positioned on the same side of the hose.
2. Make sure the doors in the structure are not overheated before opening them. Prevent yourself from dangerous heat and smoke blasting out of the door by staying to the side of the inward-opening doors.
3. A short piece of rope or webbing can be used, if necessary, by initial attack crew to close the door quickly.
4. Stay behind the outward-opening door for cover until you can enter safely with the door open.
As soon as the door is opened, locate victims, if any, by doing a quick search of the threshold and make sure the structure is secure and firm enough to support the whole team by sounding the floor strongly.
When smoke is found to the floor, stay low and estimate the shortest time the team must spend on advancing the hose line, making sure the operation can be conducted safely by visualizing the area ahead quickly.
Touch or check nearby walls, floors, and the ceiling frequently for possible fire around your team when they move through the interior structure of a building.