As a retired battalion chief of the fire service, I gained insight in how my fire experiences taught me how to fight fires in my personal life. Fire terminology applied to fighting fires off duty. My strategy in the fire service didn’t always work, so I found strategies that did work. Decisions on duty couldn’t be driven by emotion to succeed in the fire service. I would however need a strategy to navigate safely through my fire career.
Fire flashed on and over my crew inside a large commercial structure during our fire recruit academy. A flashover occurs when burning materials during the burning process put off gas that ignites upon reaching its ignition temperature. The result is a violent, sudden all-encompassing ignition of this gas. It’s hard if not impossible to escape the effects of the intense heat.
There was loud crackling and popping, and the sounds of a heavily involved roaring fire inside. Our crew was in trouble and needed help and should have called a Mayday. We hadn’t sized up our situation correctly or used the correct strategy.
I hesitated to retreat because of concern for my crew and because of fear of failure in the fire recruit academy.
A size-up in the fire service is conducted on every emergency incident. It starts with the initial call for service. A size-up is important to ensure firefighter safety.
Strategy in the fire service is how you orchestrate tactics to achieve fire control, extinguishment, and rescue fire victims. Everyone experiences dangerous situations and needs help.
Fire size-ups and strategies can help navigate through any dangerous situation.