CWIFR Integrates FSRI Tactical Considerations
Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue (CWIFR) is a small combination staffed fire district in Washington. The District has a population of approximately 10,000 year round residents and serves an area of 50 square miles from three fire stations.
Chief Ed Hartin was a member of the Technical Panels for the UL Horizontal and Vertical Ventilation Studies and has worked with the District’s firefighters and fire officers to integrate the tactical considerations from both studies into day-to-day operations.
With the release of UL’s online course on Horizontal Ventilation, CWIFR developed a post course test to ensure that members grasped key content. Used as an independent study element in the District’s training program, 100% of their 40 full-time, part-time, and volunteer members completed the online training and received a passing score of over 80% on the written examination. CWIFR also incorporated research findings into promotional processes for company officers (both in the tactical simulation and in assessment of technical knowledge).
Given limited and variable company staffing, CWIFR had been using exterior streams in advance of offensive interior operations for a number of years. However, UL research provided scientific validation for this tactic and clearly demonstrated that appropriate use of exterior attack does not push fire.
Chief Ed Hartin had introduced the concept of cooling the hot upper layer and door control prior to the UL studies, but this research demonstrated the importance of these tactics. In addition, when reviewing incidents in occupied homes, members discovered that exiting occupants often left the door open, providing an ongoing air supply to the fire and increasing heat release rate (HRR). This expanded the tactic of door control to include an emphasis on closing the door as one of the first actions during 360º reconnaissance.
Just as these UL research projects are influencing major metropolitan fire departments such as the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), Chicago Fire Department, and Los Angeles County Fire Department, small volunteer and combination departments are also changing strategies and tactics or have a scientific basis to support effective tactics currently in use.