Fire tactics, in the most rudimentary form, are driven by incident priorities via pre-arrival assignments or through a command structure. They are simplistic in nature; we park the apparatus, force entry, stretch lines, search, vent, throw ladders, and perform salvage and overhaul. While functional concepts appear basic, tactical execution that is timely and efficient is not. Our ability to manage the fire ground with calculated proficiency lies in the “extras”. These are the nuggets that ensure our apparatus are set up for Combat Readiness, tricks for offensive and defensive positioning of the rigs, forcible entry techniques that ensure access, an approach to line management that facilitates a rapid advance and knockdown, search considerations and methods that can be adapted to the numerous situations encountered, horizontal and vertical ventilation tips to control the environment, manipulating mechanical advantage for deploying ladders, and meaningful tool modifications. Additionally, we will look at equipment pitfalls and training best practices that are often taken for granted but have the potential to hinder operations. The “extras” go beyond the academy with tried and true techniques that will enhance aggressive fire-tactics through decisive actions.
Samuel Hittle is a Captain with Wichita Fire assigned to Rescue 2. He is an FDIC, Traditions Training, and Wichita HoT Instructor, FDIC Lecturer, contributing author for Fire Engineering, Urban Firefighter, and Fire Rescue, former contributor to Fire Nuggets, and FiRescue Interactive publications, a Fire Engineering Google Hangout Panel Member, is a two-time Firehouse Magazine Heroism Award recipient (2012 and 2015), Kansas State Fire Marshal Tom McGaughey Award Recipient, Wichita Fire Department Firefighter of the Year, Wichita Fire Truck Company Coordinator, served on the Interior Attack Technical Panel for UL, and a member of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) Executive Advisory Board.