• Initial Assessment, can you survive here? If not, LEAVE NOW
• Is there a Safety Zone nearby? If not, LEAVE NOW (IRPG)
• Do you have a viable Escape Route?
• What is the decision point at which you will leave based on fire behavior and rate of
• Is there a Temporary Refuge Area (TRA) on site? If not, LEAVE NOW
- Preplanned area for immediate, temporary refuge
-- Use of fire shelter should not be necessary
- Is there a viable Escape Route to the Safety Zone?
• Is “Prep and Go” tactic an option?
• Do you have communications with your supervisor and adjoining forces?
• If safety issues cannot be mitigated, LEAVE NOW
• Can you survive based on current and expected fire behavior? If not, LEAVE NOW
• Look up, Look Down, Look Around Indicators:
- Fuels (characteristics, moisture, temperature)
-- What will the intensity of the fire be when it arrives?
-- How long will it take to consume the fuels?
-- Current speed/direction
-- Expect changing winds?
-- Are you in a chute, chimney or saddle? If yes, LEAVE NOW
-- Is wind in alignment with topography?
-- What is your position relative to topography?
-- Are you mid slope or on top of a ridge?
- Atmospheric Stability
- Fire Behavior (requires constant monitoring)
-- Spotting, Crowning, Sheeting, Rate of Spread?
-- Flame Length and Height?
• Other Weather Considerations:
- What is the current relative humidity?
-- Is there an expected change?
- Are Thunderstorms forecasted?
• Is access compatible with time and distance factors necessary to utilize as an Escape
Route to a Safety Zone?
- Road surface adequate for speed necessary?
- Adequate width?
- Bridges within limits for fire apparatus?
- Drainage ditches/culverts?
- Steep grades?
- Is there a safe place to spot apparatus?
• Does the structure have adequate defensible space, based on topography, fuels, and current and expected fire behavior?
• Can defensible space problems be mitigated quickly?
• Will building materials and yard clutter compromise safety?
• Is the construction wood siding or shake shingle roof?
• Are there vent openings, open eaves, large glass windows facing fire front, decks with
- Will ember intrusion through attic or foundation vents be a problem?
• What are the contents in the garage and outbuildings?
• Are there Hazardous Materials present?
• Are there propane tanks, fuel tanks, power lines?
• Is there an adequate water supply nearby?
• Are additional resources needed to mitigate issues?
• Consider “Prep and Go” or “Prep and Defend” tactics
• Is there time for an adequate size up of the structure defense problem?
• Is there time to mitigate safety concerns?
• Is there time and adequate resources to properly prepare and defend the structure?
• Is there time to escape, utilizing escape routes, to a Safety Zone? If not, LEAVE NOW
STAY OR GO
• Tactical decision based on the S-FACTS
• Is it safe to stay? If no, utilize “Check and Go” tactic
• Is there time to prepare the structure for defense and what will the fire behavior be
when the fire gets here?
• “Prep and Go” or “Fire Front Following” tactics should be used when it is not safe to
“Prep and Defend”
• Are you adhering to the 10 Standard Fire Orders? (IRPG)
• Have you considered the 18 Situations that Shout Watch Out?
• Have you considered the Common Denominators of fire behavior on tragedy fires?
• Are you maintaining LCES? (IRPG)
• Look Up, Look Down, Look Around (IRPG)
• Have Decision Points (“Trigger Points”) been established?
• Conduct Risk Management (IRPG)
Situational Awareness – Hazard Assessment – Hazard Control – Decision Point – Evaluate
STRUCTURE DEFENSE TACTICAL ACTIONS
• Check & Go – Most appropriate action when no Safety Zone/TRA is present and fire front impact is imminent. Conduct rapid evaluation to check for occupants and evaluate for follow up action. LEAVE promptly.
• Prep & Go – Structure preparation can be safely completed prior to fire front impact. Potential fire activity is too dangerous to remain and/or there is no Safety Zone/TRA present. LEAVE before escape routes are compromised.
• Fire Front Following – Follow-up tactic after passage of the fire front. Involves searching for victims, perimeter control, hot spotting, and ember control.
• Bump & Run – Resources move ahead of the fire front extinguishing spot fires and defending structures. Extreme caution must be utilized.
• Anchor & Hold – Resources use large volume fire streams to extinguish structure fires, stop structure-to-structure ignitions, protect exposures, and control embers.
• Tactical Patrol – Resources remain mobile and continuously monitor assigned area after fire front passage. Involves aggressive mop up around structures.
Structure defense tactics are a vital part of perimeter control operations
• Stopping fire spread significantly eliminates the fire’s threat to structures.
• Connect contained points along the fire’s perimeter – typically near the structures at risk (“Connect the dots”).
• Perimeter control and structure defense should be done concurrently
LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT
• Primary Plan (Offense) - Focused on FF safety and objectives
• Alternate Plan (Offense) - Fallback plan that closely resembles primary plan
• Contingency Plan (Defense) - Focused on FF safety, tactical refuge areas, moving to a safety zone
• Emergency Plan (Defense) - Firefighter survival
• Fire shelters
• Defend – Reinforce – Advance – Withdraw – Delay
IMMEDIATE NEED EVACUATION CHECK LIST
• Co-locate with law enforcement at ICP
• Identify evacuation area utilizing local maps. Include area of incident potential when
determining evacuation area.
• Identify traffic control points for entry and exit of resources and civilians
• Identify areas that must be immediately evacuated and label “evacuation order” areas
• Identify areas that are potentially threatened and label “evacuation warning” area
• Identify “safe refuge” areas inside evacuation areas
• Determine and publish evacuation routes
• Identify and clearly communicate the decision points for implementing additional
• Identify areas of special needs population and large animals
• Consider use of public notification systems for evacuations.
STRUCTURE DEFENSE FUNDAMENTALS
• Back equipment in for tactical mobility
• Shield apparatus from radiant heat – be aware of structure ignition potential
• Park in a cleared area (watch for power lines, trees)
• Have an engine/crew protection line identified
• Determine if residents are home. Determine best course of action – evacuate if safe to
do so or shelter in place at safe location
• Maintain communications with all crew members
• Maintain at least 100 gallons of water reserve in your tank
• Top off your tank at every opportunity (use garden hose)
• For roof access, place owner’s ladder at a corner of the structure on the side with the
least fire threat and away from power drop
• Keep fire out of heavier fuels (suppress in lighter fuels)
• Clear area around above-ground fuel tank, shutting off tank
• Close windows and doors, including garage, leaving unlocked
• Place combustible outside furniture inside the structure
• Change and place garden hoses strategically around structure for immediate use
• Move wood piles away from structures
• Considering applying foam/gel to the structure (roof and siding) and/or fuels
REMEMBER to follow up with TACTICAL PATROL!