Interior Attack by Ray McCormack


D I C E R S is a fire extinguishment model utilizing interior tactics to extinguish fires.

D I C E R S – V O

D – Detect – Detect the location of the fire
I – Isolate – Isolation of the fire area
C – Confine – Confinement of the fire.
E – Extinguish – Extinguishment of the fire.
R – Rescue – Rescue of those effected by the fire and smoke.
S – Search – Search of the fire area and adjoining spaces.

V – Ventilation – Ventilation coordinated from within and as needed.
O – Overhaul – Overhaul of the fire area for hidden extension.

D I C E R S lays out the fireground with task components that are directed at operations within the interior of the fire building based on best practices and recent fire research findings from UL and NIST. They are the principle practices used by the fire service to stabilize a fire scene and save lives.

The tactical and strategic components of D I C E R S should be accomplished in an order that allows for the greatest success of the remaining parts. The six primary action components, Detect, Isolate, Confine, Extinguish, Rescue and Search are implemented in conjunction with a fundamental understanding of the importance of an ongoing scene size up to accomplish our strategic goals.

Your actions based upon the fires extent and location within the structure, utilizing ventilation disicipline and entry air management all impact our ability to obtain complete extinguishment and save lives.


The first step on any fire scene is to detect the locate the fire. Hoselines can not be placed correctly if we haven’t located the fire. Once that is accomplished using verbal and visual informational cues we can move on to the next step.

To isolate the fire area is to define it and set it apart from other areas not involved in fire. This comes from the ongoing and multiple perspective size up. Where is the fire and where will it extend. This is where our resources need to be placed.

Confinement of a fire may take place utilizing objects within the fire area such as doors or tools such as curtains. The confinement of a fire allows for additional actions to take place along with limiting air flows to the fire. Water can also be utilized to confine the fire, the spread of fire and reduce high heat levels.

Extinguishment on the inside of the fire area is typically obtained using handlines. High flow rates are critical so that stream reach and penetration are maximized as well as cooling any area with extreme temperatures. Interior hoseline extinguishment techniques must be understood along with proper hoseline management, coordinated ventilation and air control techniques. Complete interior fire extinguishment allows for the establishment of additional operational staging areas for expanded search and rescue operations and provides rapid event stabilization.

Rescue is a function of firefighting that can often place firefighters in positions without direct hoseline protection. Under those types of conditions firefighters must plan their entry and exit as they move about. Rescuers and searching firefighters must be cognizant of methods that can assist them with completing that mission such as isolation, along with entry air control. These practices provides additional safeguards for rescue in the form of shielding and additional time.

Search is conducted utilizing both primary and secondary postures. These search benchmarks may or may not be attainable at all fires as quickly as we would like however search is a core fireground function and must be carried out when structural stability allows. The primary search is often done concurrent with extinguishment or just after and may at times be delayed. Secondary search is preformed post fire extinguishment so only building stability or some other encompassing hazard would interfere with completion of the secondary search.

Ventilation of the fire area must be coordinated with extinguishment and or rescue and search, it must be communicated with interior teams. Ventilation may be horizontal or vertical or a combination of both. Improper ventilation however can cause unwanted fire growth, anti ventilation may also be utilized initially, until knockdown, or during windy conditions.

Overhaul must be preformed at all fires. Open up along side, above, or below any fire you believe may have extended. We must be through when we overhaul, while minimizing unnecessary damage. Good overhaul allows the fire department to leave the scene stabilized and confident that the fire is out.

D I C E R S completes the fireground mission as it relates to searching for victims, rescuing fire victim and those trapped, and complete extinguishment of the fire within the structure. Not all fires will be fought the same way however these components are the foundational concepts of firefighting operations inside a structure. Utilizing both sound firefighting tactics and scientific findings for complete extinguishment.

The following is taken from the IFSFI – International Society of Fire Service Instructors web site.

Door Control – The process of ensuring the entrance door providing access to the fire area is controlled and closed as much as possible after teams enter the structure. Steps must be taken to prevent the door from locking behind the entering members. By controlling the door, we are controlling the flow path of fire conditions from the high pressure of the fire area towards the low pressure area on the other side of the door. Door control also limits fire development by controlling the flow path of fresh air at the lower level of the open door towards the seat of the fire.

S.L.I.C.E.R.S.– Slice is a Fire Attack Mode tactic used to reduce temperatures inside a building prior to entry by firefighting personnel for extinguishment or rescue

Now you have D I C E R S and SLICERS

By Ray McCormack

Keep Fire in Your Life


Photo courtesy of Wayne Barrall

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  • Sean Brooks says:

    From my read of “SLICERS”, there’s no order or instruction requiring cooling prior to entry. They list it as an option: “In many cases, water application through an exterior opening into a fire compartment MAY be the best first action, prior to committing firefighting resources to the interior.”, emphasis added.

    Even on the interior attack, which I generally prefer, we should be engaging the fire using “stream reach and penetration” from the earliest possible interior position. SLICERS allows this as well.

    Here’s a thought experiment: You arrive in charge of the first engine to a middle-of-group fully attached ordinary construction home. Fire is in possession of the entry room. Do you attack this fire from the exterior, through the front door left open by fleeing occupants, or do you direct your crew to find an alley, or force entry through an exposure building, and stretch to the rear, so that you can perform an (interior) attack from the rear?

  • Ray McCormack says:

    Sean I would attack it head on, through the front door, from the burned side. But thats just my Urban opinion.

  • Mark says:

    Looks a lot like our “BASICS” of Locate, Confine, Extinguish, they are called basics for a reason.

  • Larry Rich says:

    I agree with Mark that this seems to be another way of stating the basics. That said, it is never a bad thing to revisit, and get a fresh look at this type of thing. In particular, things such as interior door control/ isolation , and proper horizontal ventilation are areas where I see guys getting sloppy.

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