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FDIC 2018: High-Rise Firefighting Operations

Strategic, tactical, and Task Level



Assistant Chief David McGrail
Denver Fire Department

Monday, April 23, 2018: 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM


High-rise firefighting is exponentially more complicated and dangerous than most other fireground operations. From a room-and-contents apartment fire to the well-involved fire floor of a commercial high-rise to the ever-present threat of a terrorist attack, you must be prepared! This workshop helps prepare attendees for battle. It addresses the challenges and provides real-world solutions. The ultimate goals are firefighter survival and operational success. From strategic command and control to company level tactical operations to task-level firefighter evolutions and procedures, all of these critical, interrelated areas are discussed. Lessons from past high-rise case studies provide guidance for today’s “best practices” operational procedures and the recommended equipment. Attendees will apply past lessons and new procedures to solve scenario-based high-rise fire problems.

I will utilize PowerPoint, along with fireground audio / video to emphasize the critical components necessary for safe and successful high-rise fire operational procedures. I utilize high-rise fire case studies, some well known events such as One Meridian Plaza, Philadelphia, 1991, to several of the high-rise fires that I have operated at to reinforce the good stuff and highlight the bad stuff. I break this program down into three segments of approximately 1:10, with appropriate scheduled time for restroom and coffee breaks. Throughout the program I encourage attendee participation by presenting fireground scenarios (High-Rise Fire Problems) and allow the attendees to work through and solve the problems by providing strategic and tactical solutions. In the end, I try to ultimately address as many of their expectations as possible, and provide guidance for all attendees as they work to build an effective high-rise operational procedure for their respective fire departments.

1) To explain the Strategic Level components of a successful high-rise operation; the six critical areas of Command and Control. 2) To explain the Tactical Level Components of a successful high-rise operation; the Engine Company and Truck Company Operations. 3) To explain the specific Task Level Components of a successful high-rise operation; Engine Standpipe Ops., and Truck Support Ops. 4) To give attendees the opportunity to apply these components to case study and scenario based problems.


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