Tactical Benchmarks

The latest edition of Radio @ Firehouse.com’s Training and Tactics Talk presented a brief outline of what will be Chief Doug Cline’s future radio programs. Chief Cline begins to look at real tactical operations that occur in the field; a comparison of these between big city and rural departments; and the tactics that have to be done regardless of location. Below are significant notes and comments from this latest program.

Three Tactical Priorities
1. Life Safety
2. Incident Stabilization
3. Property Protection

In the years to come, could it be possible that a fire scene would develop into a hazardous materials incident based on the materials burning (smoke plume) and runoff (environmental hazards)? Would this eventually change our initial tactics? Having known occupants change how you fight the fire; our perception that ‘offensive’ is equal to ‘aggressive’ interior “go get it” attack dictates out tactical priorities.

Modes of Fire Attack
1. Rescue
2. Offensive
3. Defensive
4. Transitional

Can we still be ‘aggressive’ when having to transition from an offensive to a defensive attack?

Tactical Objectives
Sizeup starts long before the alarm.
What are we really thinking about at the time of the alarm? Do you truly have situational awareness of what is going on? You are only limited to what you can see and imagine on the scene.

Tactical Objectives and Benchmarks
NIOSH reports continue to note problems with communications; not feeding the right information to the right people. The fire service has a problem with some members using the radio to an extreme, “giving a doctoral dissertation”. Benchmarks need to be brief reports of tactical objectives. Benchmarks are not to be used to keep members from freelancing, but to know where members are operating.

What is the Incident Commander listening for?
Does the radio report meet the company objectives (benchmark)?
Do benchmarks tie up the radio? It depends on the area you work in.

Fireground communications need to begin with benchmarks and train on using them. Some benchmarks may be:
1. Entry
2. Start and End of the Primary Search
3. RIC Established (is this a legal component?)
4. Water Supply
5. Utilities Controlled
6. Secondary Means of Egress

Key Benchmarks:
1. Knockdown/Control of the Fire
2. Search Results
3. Complete Control of the Fire
4. All Loss Stopped

References
Training & Tactics Talk: Examining Text Book Strategy & Tactics

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