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Control measure

Direct firefighting

Control measure knowledge

Direct firefighting is a means of extinguishing a fire, sometimes after the fire gases have been suppressed using gas cooling techniques and/or compartment boundaries have been cooled using indirect methods. However, firefighters should not become overly focused on, or distracted by, gas cooling techniques when the direct application of firefighting media is required to extinguish the fire.

Direct firefighting has the potential to generate large amounts of steam, as it involves applying a controlled amount of water directly to the seat of the fire. Firefighters should consider taking measures to ensure they are protected from steam burns and the increased heat in the fire compartment. For example, they could adopt defensive/safe positions behind substantial available cover (doors/walls) or use tactical ventilation.

Straight stream direct attack

A constant flow straight stream attack (jet) on the fire is traditionally the most common form of fire attack. In situations where a high-flow rate is required to overcome a high-energy fire, the direct attack is sometimes the only method that will achieve effective suppression and rapid knock down of the flame front.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Develop tactical guidance and support arrangements for the hazards that may be encountered and the actions to be taken whilst adopting direct firefighting tactics

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Select an appropriate firefighting technique (e.g. direct firefighting, firebreaks, controlled burn)
  • Consider direct cooling as the most effective method of extinguishment
  • Put safety jets in place to protect firefighting teams and maintain safe access and egress
  • Put covering jets in place to prevent fire spread and protect surrounding risks

  • Establish communications to coordinate internal and external firefighting operations
  • Protect personnel from steam produced by direct firefighting, using ventilation and personal protective equipment (PPE)