When we enter a hallway through a door or stairway landing, we evaluate that space. Smoke contamination is common and will vary in saturation. When heat is detected in the space three situations are possible:
- We have a fire in the hallway.
- We have a fire in a space and the door to the hallway was open, but not anymore.
- Fire has extended to the hallway and expanded the fire area.
You must recognize this fire area expansion into your fire attack approach. Heat and smoke are automatic indicators that the hallway is either on fire or will be. We handle visible fire easily by a universal approach of an open nozzle. We must also use this mindset for the approach to the fire‘s origin.
You are traveling in a path that may contain hidden fire above you or is getting closer to a rapid fire development event. You must control this space with water flow. You are there to protect the advance. An engine that doesn’t flow is performing poorly on the fireground.
During the approach, you can flow water using two methods. During the UL interior attack study, we examined both the Flow and Move and Stop and Flow techniques for gaining control of the hallway.
Stop and flow is a method that incorporates only flowing in a stationary position and then advancing with the nozzle shut down until you open up again.
Flow and move is a method that incorporates flowing during the advance without stopping or shutting down the nozzle. This approach eliminates temperature rebound and provides for continuous cooling.
Do not cheat on water application during your approach. Surface cooling, gas contraction and delaying or the elimination of temperature rebound and crew safety are some of the benefits of an open nozzle.
If you want your attack to be successful, flow the line. Don’t walk a tight rope of hope that you can get it done without flowing before room entry, that’s a fools errand.
Remember water damage eliminates fire damage.