Wet Stuff On the Red Stuff… The Nozzle Position


By: Danny Doyle

Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire

The infamous statement “The fire goes as the first line goes”  has either become a harsh reality to  you or something that you might have read in the latest fire service journals.  We are going to dig into that statement regarding the first line, one position at a time, starting at the tip!   It could be said that this topic has been beat to death, “you can put a monkey at the tip”, or even “this isn’t rocket science!”  Well…  The only way to have a crew with continuity is to know the game plan and know each other!   A “monkey” with a few good techniques, sure, “rocket science”  no.  Common Sense, YES! Continue reading


What is a “combat ready” engine company?

Tim Linke from Lincoln, NE sent me this basic but thought provoking inquiry.  We all talk about being “combat ready”.  Weather you use that particular term or not, if you’re reading this you’re probably interested in being your best, A+ performances all the time, etc…

So for those of us in an engine company – WHAT IS COMBAT READY?

dcfd  dsc02735

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“Fire Attack” Class in Conshohocken, PA: Another great success!

This weekend TT Instructors Nick Martin, Tony Kelleher, Dan Shaw, Doug Mitchell, and Danny Doyle headed to the Montgomery County Fire Academy in Conshohocken, PA for another weekend of training.  On Friday night we met for some drinks and good times with the guys from Erskine Lakes, NJ who traveled all the way from the northern New Jersey to attend.  Due to demand for the class, we ran two separate 8-hour sessions: one on Saturday and another on Sunday.  The class was entirely hands-on and we spent all day outside working.


Click for more & pics…

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Circle-Checks & Size-Up

Side A/B

Side A/B

The other day, while talking about basement checks, the idea of a “circle check” came up.  This may show us hazards & conditions we would not be aware of if we just rushed in the front door…  Quite bluntly – the time to do this is IMMEDIATELY.  If we don’t know the whole story, we may employ inappropriate tactics, or worse, hurt/kill one of our own.

At right is a fire in Burtonsville, MD that occurred on September 20.  Take a look and think about your initial size-up.

  • Building use.
  • Building construction.
  • Building size/height.
  • Fire conditions/location.

Then click below to see what this fire has to do with “circle checks” or “side-C size-ups.

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Basements Part 1: “The Basement Check”

Basement fires are the most dangerous fire you can go to.  Or at least its one of the most dangerous….  Throughout my career, some of the most hellacious fires I have been to started in the basement.  Unfortunately, a few of these have involved near-fatal firefighter injuries.  

Two of the most common issues at basement fires are the destruction of flooring members beneath crews operating on the 1st floor and difficulty in accessing the basement.  I’ll discuss these issues in an upcoming post.

There are a few reasons these fire are so hazardous:

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Estimating the Stretch

There isn’t a whole lot about engine company operations that matters if you can’t get water on the fire.  Unfortunately most of us have heard the “more line, more line!!” yells on more than one occasion.  Correctly estimating the stretch, the distance between the rig and the fire and the amount of hose needed to cover it, is an essential skill for any engine company officer.  Here are a few quick tips I’ve learned over the years:

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You mean the engine carries ladders?

Ok. I didn’t believe it either.  Height stricken nozzlenuts carry ladders too!  Most of the time they are under used and much lighter and less cumbersome.  Depending on the situation, the engine’s ladders can make a quick pick from a 2nd or 3rd floor.   The way the ladders are carried on the rig can make a huge difference!  Continue reading