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FDIC International 2016 November 16, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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If you are attending FDIC 2016 International, I would like to invite you to attend “SFT: Decision Making for Suburban Company Officers” on Tuesday, April 19 @ 08:00. Why? If you share the same challenges as I do (minimal staffing, lack of truck companies, and response area challenges), there will be a lot of discussions about solutions to decision making processes for the non-urban environment.


A Good Suppression Plan = A Great Safety Plan August 12, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.

A Good Suppression Plan = A Great Safety Plan

By Jim Silvernail

The RIT/RIC dilemma raised its ugly head again last week when my friend Doug Mitchell (25 to Survive) posted a chart of FDNY’s RIT statistics from 1989 to 2008. The stats that really grabbed my attention were 1. The elapsed time from the working fire declaration (10-75) until the Mayday, 19 minutes, and 2. Who found the Mayday firefighter. First alarm units, excluding the F.A.S.T. or RIT team, found the Mayday firefighter 76.47% of the instances.

Now, before I start, let me acknowledge the fact that RIT/RIC is essential on every working fire or event that requires firefighters to enter an IDLH. They should be trained, have the minimal appropriate equipment and be staffed with at least 4 firefighters. However, in the text Suburban Fire Tactics, I wrote that they are prioritized lower than other fireground functions when selecting functional implementation. Why?

If you analyze Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) or procedures that I have written for my organization and other outside organizations, you will notice that typically the RIT/RIC Company is the last arriving company out of the 5 or 6 suppression apparatus assigned to a structure fire. An argument against this philosophy includes the fact that a Mayday or RIT event often occurs 5 minutes within the onset of the fire. In all fairness, I should state that my last arriving company (6th arriving) typically arrives within 8 to 9 minutes from time of dispatch. Allow me to make my argument.

The reasoning which justifies this philosophy is the fact that there are many components to firefighter and fireground safety. RIT/RIC is simply one of the components. Extinguishing the hazard, rapidly, is also a component of not only firefighter safety, but also occupant/victim safety. The point is simple, I do not want to handicap or delay this effort.

SOGs must be written with the prioritization of fireground functions which achieve our objectives of saving lives and protecting property while simultaneously providing a “safety” net for operations. The fireground objectives and firefighter safety often go “hand-in-hand.” You might ask, how so? Firefighting is dangerous. This is very true, however, if you rapidly eliminate the hazard the situation just became safer for both firefighters and trapped occupants. Therefore, a good suppression plan is a great safety plan.

Yes, I realize in theory that this is a great philosophy. But I also realize that it isn’t that easy. There are critical elements which must be present. There are risks involved in firefighting that we must understand before we can manage them. Managing these risks include: 1. having experienced company officers and firefighters who understand building construction, fire behavior, and tactics/strategies, 2. Training, and 3. A game plan for consistent, safe, effective, and efficient operations.

What components or fireground functions must be in place for a good suppression plan in order to achieve our objectives and to also manage the risks of the fireground?

  • The ability to rapidly place water on the fire and to rapidly place attack lines
  • Support the initial attack with fire floor truck operations, including:
    • Forcible Entry
    • Search and Rescue (both for fire and occupants)
    • Identifying flow path and providing ventilation considerations
    • Identifying egress, including laddering the building or softening the structure
  • Have  backup lines to protect the attack line, stairwells, and egress points
  • Secondary truck functions;
    • Searching the floor above(for both fire and occupants)
    • Providing further forcible entry or egress points (laddering and softening the structure)
    • Considering further ventilation tactics
    • Utility control
  • RIT/RIC team assignments
  • A command structure
  • A safety officer and accountability
  • The ability to provide advanced life support

As detailed above, the RIT/RIC component is one strand or element in the “safety net.” Do not rely on one simple element for the entire safety of your firefighters or occupants. Create a plan for safety, but also see the big picture: a good suppression plan is a great safety plan.

Stay Safe!

Food for Thought…or RIT/RIC for thought August 10, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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The pic below was from an article/blog from my friend Doug Mitchell. One of the philosophies in SFT is that RIT/RIC is absolutely essential, however, not the end all be all in safety. Getting fire ground functions in operation in a prioritized manner is as essential to firefighter safety. Attack the “hazard” and be proactive, not reactive. In my travels around the country teaching on this topic I have found cons and pros to the philosophy. Please look at the statistics and digest. Please feel free to comment.

The item which I would like you to concentrate on is the stat of who found and removed the Mayday.

RIT Stats

July 2015 Fire Engineering July 9, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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This article marks the fourth time I have made print in the Fire Engineering Magazine.  Still a major thrill and complete honor. 


2015 is over half way in the books, What’s next???? July 5, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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2015 has been super busy year.  Suburban Fire Tactics was delivered 14 times in 6 states and online.  To date,  we have been in over 8 states and have covered the Suburbs of New York, Houston, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dover, and Columbus.

So, what’s next?   New things are definitely on the horizon.  I can tell you to check out the July edition of Fire Engineering!  Suburban Fire Tactics and Step Up and Lead teamed up to write an article. “Leading Today’s Fire Service Youth: Using History to Understand Motivation.”  It is definitely an honor to have been included on the same page as my friend, Frank Viscuso.fireengineering

winter spring 2

Brining it home to FDIC 2015 International April 12, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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It has been a fantastic Spring/Winter Seminar Season.  I had some absolutely fantastic venues and had some great discussions about Tactics and Strategies.  Thank you: Fire Engineering Webcast, Westchester County, NY, Sunrise Beach, MO, Hibbing, MN, Virginia, MN, Cloquet, MN, Stafford, TX, University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute, and Oswego, IL for being unbelievably hospitable hosts.

In exactly one week, I leave for the Super Bowl of Firefighting, FDIC 2015 International.  I invite you to attend: “Suburban Fire Tactics: Decision Making for Suburban Company Officers” on Tuesday (April 21) @ 08:00.winter spring 2

Thank you Fire Engineering! March 23, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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Never forget where it started and who made it all possible!  Thank you Fire Engineering.

FE and SFT Fire Engineering March11 (First SFT article, March 2011)

SFT: One + Plus + One Concept March 22, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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Recently, I have had a few questions about the SFT: One + Plus + One concept found in my seminar module, “Fireground Critical Principles.”  It has been the main theme and tool used in recent functional Standard Operating Guideline development.

Click the link below to find the excerpted PowerPoint presentation of One + Plus + One

Suburban Fire Tactics Concept one plus one

It can also be found in the webcast from January


Stafford, TX (Houston) March 19, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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SFT is getting back on the road this weekend and heading to Stafford, TX (Houston).  Looking forward to getting South.  Just a few more dates before the big show in April (FDIC).

Stafford Flyer

Sunrise Beach, MO February 26, 2015

Posted by Jim Silvernail in Combat Ready for Suburbia.
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If you are in the Sunrise Beach area in Missouri on Saturday (2/28)and want to talk Operational Consistency on the fire ground, come on by Sunrise Beach house #1

Sunrise beach

winter spring 2