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Firefighters are persons who are trained and equipped to put out fires, rescue people and in some areas provide emergency medical services. The fire service, also known as the fire brigade in some countries is one of the emergency services.

A large number of firefighters were among the dead in the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack, see September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack/FDNY casualties by company.

Fire-fighting techniques Note: this mostly discusses urban firefighting. See bushfire for a discussion of forest fires.

Firefighting has several basic skills: Prevention, self-preservation, rescue, preservation of property and fire control. All of these except prevention can be performed at the same time by a skilled fire-fighting team.

Prevention attempts to assure that no place simultaneously has heat, fuel and air. Most prevention programs prevent heat. Every building, including residences, should have sprinklers. No life has ever been lost to fire in a residence with sprinklers. With the small rooms typical of a residence, one or two sprinklers can cover most rooms. If this is not possible, then at least have smoke detectors and a fire-extinguisher.

Self-preservation is critical. A dead fire-fighter is no good to anyone. The basic technique is to know where you are, and avoid hazards. Work in teams. Keep your basic tools with you. Always keep a route out, and preserve it by irrigation. Don't depend on failing structures. Try to understand where the fire is going: Usually up, following fuel and air. Never get above the fire. If you have breathing equipment, use it. Otherwise, stay low, out of the gases. Avoid fuel that can flash-over. When the search is over, or the exit is threatened, if the building can't be saved, get out.

Buildings that are made of fuel, such as frame buildings, are different from fire-proof buildings such as concrete high-rises. Generally, the fire in a fire-proof building can be limited to a floor. Other floors can be safe simply by preventing smoke inhalation and damage. A burnable building must be evacuated.

Rescue consists of searching, and then removing people that are alive. Animals too, if it's convenient. Generally triage and first aid are performed outside. The general form of rescue is to shuffle through the structure with the right hand against the wall. Remember to search beds and cupboards, and identify oneself to victims. Many children are very frightened of fire-fighters in breathing masks.

Property preservation is a great help to people. Most fires can be limited to burning only the upper part of a frame structure. If possible, turn off the gas, electricity and water, and during the search, tip all the movable property into the middle of a room, and cover it with a heavy cloth tarp. This reduces damage from water, smoke and burning embers. If the structure doesn't catch, it's very helpful to ventilate it to reduce smoke damage.

Fire control consists of depriving a fire of fuel, oxygen or heat. The standard way is to remove heat by spraying the burning solid fuels with water from a fire-hose. Some fuels float on water, and are actually spread by water (such as gasoline). Some departments can use chemical dust even on large fires. These are preferable because the property damage can be so much less water. Petroleum fires are more often smothered with foam. In electrical fires, the crucial thing is to turn off the electricity.

Most fires spread as hot gases move through the structure. Some fires can be controlled or limited by venting these gases to the outside. This can aggravate a fire if it introduces new oxygen, or permits a draft past fuel or structure, so it should be attempted only by veteran fire fighters.

Firefighters are constantly training and updating their skills on equipment. Some of their tools include extrication equipment, ladder trucks, tanker trucks, pumper trucks, and ambulances.

History of fire brigades

to be written

This is a stub article

See also

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