In Episode 20, Adam Thiel, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner and FSRI Advisory Board member, discusses the importance of initiating the firefight on the same level as the fire.
The quickest way to improve conditions on the fireground is to put the fire out. This is particularly important during basement fires when firefighters can be at increased risk for a floor collapse or become caught in the exhaust portion of a flow path if they are attacking from the floor above the fire.
Many factors can play into the initial decision of where to place the first attack line, but when possible, it is best to get water directly on the fire where it is burning. This does not mean that the primary search is not a priority or that it cannot be conducted concurrently. It highlights the need to coordinate ventilation, extinguishment and search. Early fire suppression is integral to minimizing the hazard on the fireground.
To learn more about this tactical consideration, visit these related FSRI research project pages: