OFM - 04-13-12

Basic Structural Fire Fighting (No Expected Rescue Component)

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-13-12


Emergency Response


January 1998


Basic Structural Fire Fighting (No Expected Rescue Component)


Under Review

Schematic diagram illustrating options for increasing the fire suppression capacity of a municipality. Options for fire suppression include the following: no fire suppression capacity built-in automatic extinguishing systems portable pumps structural firefighting with limited resources (no rescue expected) (consider automatic adi as an option) aggressive interior structural firefighting and rescue (consider automatic aid as an option)  aggressive interior structural firefighting and rescuestructural firefighting with limited resources (no rescue expected)portable pumpsbuilt-in automatic extinguishing systems automatic aid The option involving structural firefighting with limited resources has been highlighted.

To provide municipalities and fire departments with suggested procedures when basic firefighting with no expected rescue component is chosen as the fire suppression option. .

Service Delivery Implications:

  • All municipalities should provide the public with access to "basic" fire suppression services. This should reduce the spread of fire from within involved structures, and minimize the spread to other structures and the environment.
  • It is the responsibility of every council to determine the level of fire suppression that is to be provided and then to ensure that the fire department is provided with appropriate equipment, personnel and training to safely and effectively deliver the service.
  • The provision of fire suppression is an important component of the Comprehensive Fire Safety Effectiveness Model, however, due to a variety of influences, not all communities are capable of or should consider delivering the same level of service.
  • The level of fire suppression being delivered in the community must be thoroughly evaluated to determine if it is being delivered in a safe and effective manner and that it is appropriate for the needs and support of the community.
  • Fire suppression capability will vary from none, to aggressive interior structural firefighting and rescue, with effective firefighting apparatus and adequate fireground staffing.
  • Where rescue and interior firefighting are not ordinarily possible due to staffing and intervention time criteria, added emphasis should be placed on:
  • public education
  • fire prevention
  • early detection
  • built-in suppression systems
  • resident self-responsibility

Service Delivery Options:

  • Fire suppression services may be provided:
  • locally by the municipality
  • purchased from another municipality, territory without municipal organization, or person
  • jointly managed and operated with another municipality
  • agreement with Ministry of Natural Resources
  • supplemental through an automatic aid agreement1
  • any combination of the above.
  • These services may be provided by a full-time and/or composite and/or volunteer service. Apparatus and equipment can vary from portable pump packages to the more traditional pumper (and tanker), depending on local circumstances.

[1] Automatic aid is an option to provide the quickest availability of appropriate resources through co-operation with other municipalities/fire departments. This timely supplemental support of limited local resources in an option for ensuring faster initial response capability.
(OPTION 1) Exterior Exposure With No Interior Firefighting
  The level of training within the fire department and the availability of appropriate firefighting equipment and staffing may preclude traditional interior structural firefighting.
Consequences  This approach provides higher firefighter safety and lower public safety. The exterior fire attack concept results in a reduced level of firefighter effectiveness and often results in fires that extend beyond the room or area of origin. Rescue of persons within the burning structure is usually not an option.
Alternatives  Any alternative approaches are highly dependent upon effective public fire safety programs. Automatic aid from neighbouring fire departments that provide a higher level of fire suppression capability is an alternative.
(OPTION 2) Structural Firefighting With Limited Resources
  Fire departments often find themselves with inadequate numbers of firefighters on the fireground to conduct operations in an efficient, effective and safe manner.
Consequences  This approach provides a reasonable level of firefighter safety with decreased public fire safety. Rescue will be possible only in a limited number of circumstances.
Alternatives  Any alternative approaches are highly dependent upon effective public fire safety programs. Automatic aid from neighbouring departments that provide a higher level of fire suppression capability is an alternative.

Policy Requirements:

  • Every authority providing basic fire suppression services shall ensure that the services can be provided in its jurisdiction(s) 24 hours a day by one of the above options. Every authority shall make known to the public, the types and services levels provided.
  • Every authority, that provides basic fire suppression services in accordance with the following criteria, shall have written policy governing that activity.

Quality Management Standards:

  • Training
  • All fire suppression personnel should be trained to an appropriate Professional Standards Setting Body.
  • Service Providers
  • The type of service provider (volunteer, composite, full-time) is influenced by a number of important factors, such as the:
  • financial resources of the community
  • availability of on-call or volunteer personnel
  • risk to be protected
  • frequency and number of fire incidents
  • range of services expected from the department
  • type of department preferred by the community
  • intervention time expected
  • expectations of the assembled fire attack team
  • apparatus, equipment and technology available
  • Management
  • all fire fighting operations shall be under the direction of a competent supervisor(s)
  • the service provider shall have an incident management and accountability system
  • all fires and related matters shall be reported as required to the Fire Marshal 

Quality and Performance Measures:

  • All authorities providing basic fire suppression capability should maintain the following measures of quality and performance. They should analyze and assess:
  • injuries and loss of life to public and damage to property and the environment
  • firefighter safety
  • the assembly time of the initial and total fire attack teams
  • the cost effectiveness of the service provider
  • containing the fire to the room or area of origin
  • the actual loss versus the potential loss
  • the effect of built-in suppression systems
  • the effect of building and fire code standards
  • adherence to operating guidelines and procedures
  • intervention time
  • initial and total fire attack teams effectiveness and efficiency for their objective and mandate

Related Functions/ Considerations:

  • communications
  • staffing
  • apparatus and equipment
  • maintenance
  • administration
  • training
  • fire prevention
  • public education
  • community fire safety team
  • support services
  • selection of appropriate apparatus and equipment
  • Occupational Health & Safety Act
    Section 21 Guidelines

Codes, Standards, and Best Practices:

Codes, Standards and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca . Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.

See also PFSG
02-03-01 Economic Circumstances
02-02-12 &
02-02-03 Risk Assessment
04-04-12 Automatic Aid
04-12-13 Core Services
04-03-12 Service Providers