Report Release – Analysis of Search and Rescue Tactics in Single-Story Single-Family Homes Part III: Tactical Considerations
The focus of the Analysis of Search and Rescue Tactics in Single-Story Single-Family Homes Part III: Tactical Considerations report is to provide evidence-based concepts in the form of tactical considerations to the fire service to meet the objectives outlined above. The report uses the data analysis performed as part of the discussion sections in Part I and Part II to present nine tactical considerations. Firefighters can leverage these considerations regarding pre/during/post-suppression search and rescue tactics along with their current training and experience to increase their efficiency and effectiveness on the fireground.
The purpose of this study was to improve firefighter safety and victim survivability by examining the impact of
- different search tactics, such as search initiated through the front door or search initiated through a window.
- different rescue tactics such as path of occupant removal or elevation of occupant removal.
- isolation (front door, fire room, or remote bedroom) and ventilation.
- search and rescue operations that occur prior to, during, or post suppression.
Prior full-scale fire service research on the residential fireground has focused the impact of ventilation and suppression tactics on fire dynamics. This study builds upon prior research by conducting 21 experiments in two identical purpose-built single-story, single-family residential structures to quantify the impact of how search and rescue tactics are coupled with ventilation and suppression actions and timing. Each fully furnished structure included four bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open-floor kitchen and living room. The structures were instrumented to quantify post-ignition toxic gas and thermal conditions. Temperature, velocity, and pressure were measured to evaluate the fire dynamics. Gas concentrations and heat fluxes were measured to quantify toxic and thermal exposures. Eleven experiments examined bedroom fires, eight examined kitchen fires, and two examined living room fires. Across this series of experiments, the impact of isolation of fire and non-fire compartments, the timing of search actions relative to suppression actions, and the influence of isolation, elevation, and path of travel during rescue were examined with respect to firefighter safety and occupant tenability.
Similar to previous experiments in both purpose-built and acquired structures, the data showed that prior intervention locations lower in elevation and/or behind closed doors had lower toxic gas and thermal exposures compared to locations at higher elevations or locations that were not isolated. Lower elevations were also shown to have lower toxic gas and thermal exposures during the removal of occupants as part of rescue operations.
For scenarios where search operations occurred prior to suppression, isolation of spaces from flow paths connected to the fire compartment was shown to be effective at reducing the thermal operating class for firefighters and the toxic and thermal exposure rates compared to spaces that were not isolated. Following isolation, exterior ventilation was found to further reduce the toxic gas and thermal exposures in the protected space. Suppression, from either interior and exterior positions, was effective at reducing the thermal operating class for searching firefighters and the rate of thermal exposure increase to occupants. Following suppression, additional exterior ventilation increased the rate at which gas concentrations returned to pre-ignition levels.
Research Project: Study of Fire Service Residential Home Size-up and Search & Rescue Operations
Report Title: Analysis of Search and Rescue Tactics in Single-Story Single-Family Homes Part III: Tactical Considerations
Report Authors: Craig Weinschenk and Keith Stakes
Download the Report: https://dx.doi.org/10.54206/102376/XSLA7995
Release Date: May 17, 2022
The ‘Study of Fire Service Residential Home Size-up and Search & Rescue Operations,’ was funded through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program under the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants: Research and Development (EMW-2017-FP-00628).