Tactical Firefighter Teams: Pivoting Toward the Fire Service's Evolving Homeland Security Mission (English)

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Firefighters and police officers are increasingly called upon to work in each others spaces but are neither trained nor equipped to do so; consequently, they are limited in their ability to enter one anothers high threat areas. Fire complicates the polices ability to respond to hostile incidents by creating visibility issues and thermal injuries as the burning building deteriorates. Firefighters are equally ill-prepared to enter an environment in which fire and firearms are present while victims are trapped within the hazard zone. As a result, first responders consistently lack the capability to accomplish combined missions when multiple threats are present. This thesis investigates the best way to fill this operational gap, first by examining the merits and limitations of several models related to the role of firefighters during hostile events. It then documents and analyzes the field tests of a fourth model piloted by the Houston Fire Department that would deploy cross-trained firefighting strike teams into hot zones with both incendiary and ballistic hazards.