Fire Attack: Offensive vs. Defensive

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Fire Attack: Offensive vs. Defensive "¦ or Starting the Clock for Change AUTHOR, DATE Whether the on-site team or the incident commander elects to go offensive or defensive in fighting a fire is so important that it would seem that the science, art, and even math of the issues would be well determined by now. As it turns out, however, that is not the case (Stephens, nd, p. 6). Though there does seem to be some level of fundamental agreement about what offensive and defensive tactics are in practice, it can be difficult to distinguish them in the midst of an attack against a fire, commercial or residential. Yet, it is still mostly accepted that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) got it right when their commentators affirmed that "Offensive and defensive strategies should never be conducted in the same building at the same time" (Klaene & Sanders, 2008, para 8). Fire engineers and firefighters generally assume that offensive maneuvers come first and then defensive ones follow. The real debate centers on when or if a transition from one to the other should take place. A recognized "Street Smart" commentator on the topic begins a posting on the topic by highlighting the quotation he says he often hears: "We are an aggressive interior firefighting department" (Lee, 2009, para 1). Such statements make him worry as to whether command and instructional biases are such that they favor using a singular approach (starting offensively and moving to a defensive
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