Firefighting Strategies – Glossary

Firefighting is a complex and dangerous task that requires a variety of strategies to effectively control and extinguish fires. The approach taken by firefighters depends on numerous factors including the type of fire, the environment in which it’s occurring, and the resources available. Here’s an overview of some key firefighting strategies:
  1. Direct Attack: Applying water or other extinguishing agents directly to the burning fuel. Effective for small, localized fires.
  2. Indirect Attack: Applying extinguishing agents ahead of the fire to create control lines, used in large-scale fires, especially in wildlands.
  3. Containment: Focuses on preventing the spread of fire by creating barriers, such as firebreaks in forests.
  4. Ventilation: Removing heat and smoke from a building in structural fires to improve visibility and reduce fire intensity.
  5. Cooling: Reducing the temperature of the fire and surrounding areas, typically with water, to prevent the spread of fire.
  6. Exposure Protection: Protecting nearby structures and areas at risk of catching fire by wetting them down or creating barriers.
  7. Overhaul: Searching for hidden flames or smoldering areas after the main body of the fire is controlled to ensure complete extinguishment.
  8. Salvage Operations: Protecting property and belongings from water, smoke, and fire damage during and after firefighting efforts.
  9. Fire Breaks: Creating breaks in vegetation to control the spread of wildland fires, either by removing or burning vegetation.
  10. Aerial Attack: Dropping water or fire retardant from aircraft, primarily used in wildland fires.
In conclusion, effective firefighting requires a combination of these strategies, tailored to the specific situation at hand. Firefighters must assess the situation quickly and choose the most appropriate tactics to control and extinguish the fire while ensuring their own safety and that of others. These strategies are continually evolving with advancements in technology and understanding of fire behavior, ensuring that firefighting efforts become more efficient and effective.