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Take Control of the Environment!

“If you wish to control a problem, you must know more about the problem than anyone else and if you need to know more about the problem, you must coin a terminology, a lexicon, that allows you to understand it and not use imperial rhetoric.”
Sir Eyre Massey Shaw, 1876

3D Fire Fighting

FIrefighting Operations in Modern Road Tunnels - Paper, Ed Claridge and Shan Raffel, 2014, International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security - Marseilles

FIrefighting Operations in Modern Road Tunnels - Presentation, Ed Claridge and Shan Raffel, 2014, International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security - Marseilles


Shan france


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Station Officer Shan Raffel has served as a career firefighter in Brisbane since 1983. In the early 1990's, he began researching the innovative approach adopted by the Swedish Fire Service in the mid 1980's. After the death of 2 colleagues in 1994 and the serious injury of 2 others from the effects of extreme fire behaviour in 1996, he submitted a proposal to study the latest methods of teaching Firefighters how to recognise and safely deal with Flashover, Backdraught and other Fire Phoneme. As a result of this proposal, he was sent to the United Kingdom and Sweden to study the teaching methods and training facilities. During the next few years he gained support and acceptance for these live saving methods in Australia.

Compartment Fire Behaviour Training

After implementing the first nationally recognised CFBT training program in Australia in 1998, he went on to work for 12 months with a Swedish Fire Engineer in 1999 to design the class A fire training structures for the Live Fire Training Academy in Queensland. This provided a fantastic learning opportunity that gave insight into the scientific explanations and the practical techniques. This experience merged his operational experiences with the scientific knowledge gained through the Institution of Fire Engineers examinations. This time frame also provided the rare opportunity to conduct a large number of research and training fires in acquired structures. which provided validation and refinement to the newly adopted techniques and tactics.

Operational Focus and Passion

Returning to full time operational duties in 2000 has allowed him to apply the techniques and tactics in the real world. He has assisted numerous fire services in Australia in the development of their training facilities and teaching materials. He has lectured at numerous conferences and delivered practical training in various locations around the world. His papers have been translated into several languages.

Shan has taken a keen interest in Fire Fighting Tactics, International Fire and Rescue Service Operations and Humanitarian Response. Through his long term involvement in the Institution of Fire Engineers he has been able to participate in a number of International Training programs and major events such as the NATO "Exercise Iron Sword" in Norway in 2005.

In 2010 he conducted research into planning, preparation and response to emergencies in tunnels as part of a Churchill Fellowship. With the support of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, the ten week fellowship involved visits to fire services, counter disaster organizations and training centres in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and Switzerland. In subsequent years he has been privileged to be provided with leave to participate in many international projects, seminars and workshops.

His national and international awards include the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM), the “Commendation for Brave Conduct” and Companion Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers (CFIFireE). 

Institution of Fire Engineers

He is a strong supporter of the Institution Fire Engineers which he describes as "a truly International multi disciplinary fraternity that brings together people from every aspect of Fire Engineering, Safety and Protection." He has held numerous state, national and international positions such as National Secretary, National President and representative to the International General Assembly.

The Brisbane Region of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service

Covering an area of approximately 5160 square kilometres, with a population of 1,763,131 residents, Brisbane it is the third largest and fastest growing city in Australia. There are 36 urban fire stations in the Brisbane Region and an operational staff of almost 800 full-time and 125 auxiliary fire officers. Risks include the largest Port in Australia, a large number of commercial and residential High Rise, all types of industry, a wide variety of residential dwellings and a significant iZone area.

The State of Queensland, Australia

In 2010, Queensland’s population reached 4.5 million with over 3 million people living in South-East Queensland. (Australian Government).This is a very low overall population density when you consider that the state of Queensland has a land area of 1,852,642 km2, which is approximately 8 times the size of the British Isles, or the combined area of Spain, Germany, France and Italy. This vast area is protected by approximately 5000 QFES full-time and part-time (auxiliary) firefighters to staff its more than 240 urban fire and rescue stations, with approximately 35000 rural volunteer firefighters crewing the State's almost 2000 rural fire brigades. The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service is the 3rd largest Fire Service in the world by area. This combination of vast areas to protect from a wide range of significant natural disasters has led to the development of an extremely versatile and interoperable emergency services. 



How climate change affects Fire & Rescue. An Australian Perspective. Crisis Response Journal 10.1 (2014)

Learn and BE SAHF, Fire and Rescue, 1st Quarter, 2014 Issue 93, P14, 16, 17

Understanding Fires, Fire and Rescue, 3rd Quarter, 2014, P29

Rural PPV, Fighting Fire with Air, Fire 2002

Safe Zone or Buffer Zone?

The Application of 3D Firefighting Techniques to Avaiation Fire and rescue Operations, Airport Fire-Rescue USA 2006. 

Fire Gas Ignition - the Hidden Killer

Fighting Bush Fires with Air - Fire 2002


Realistic Training - Why Bother. IFIW 2013 Frankfurt. Paper

Realistic Training - an optional extra? - Paper.
There is no substitute for realistic training for workers engaged in dangerous occupations. Core Skill or Optional Extra? In my opinion, for an operational firefighter, there is no skill more central to the principle of ZEROharm, than the ability to accurately read a fire and assess the risks. It is essential to firefighter safety and forms the foundation for an efficient fire attack plan. Like any other core skill it must be repeated until a high level of proficiency is achieved, and then maintained by regular refresher training. What do you think?   

Europe's Most Realistic Training Centre? - International Fire Professional Journal January 2014 
On 14 June 2013 the Frankfurt Fire Department officially opened its new state of the art training centre. The Feuerwehr-und Rettungstrainingscenter (Fire and Rescue Training Centre), Frankfurt am Main (FRTC) is the culmination of many years of research and 2 years of construction which comes with a price tag of nearly 23 million euros. It is conveniently located on a 20,000 square metre block at the rear of the Emergency and Rescue Center (BKRZ) not far from the centre of the city of Frankfurt. 

Realistic  Training - For Success and Safety, Safety and Security International Edition II/2008 (see page 33)

Construction plan for the small scale "Dolls House" fire development demonstration

Plan for 4 conpartment Dolls House

Dolls House Lesson Plan


Critical Flow Rates for compartment fires (Slideshow)   
This is the powerpoint presentation the was delivered on 4 October 2007 at the 2007 IFE NZ Emergency Management Conference in Wellington. 

Critical Flow Rates for compartment fires (Paper)   
The supporting paper for 2007 Emergency Management Conference, Keeping Pace: Technology and Modern Emergency Management

Tactical Flow Rates for Fire Attack       
The introduction of the "Sliding Scale Approach 4 – 8 - 12"  
I believe that there needs to be a more practical and balanced guide to selecting the tactical flow rate. I believe that the sliding scale model provides a more practical guide that uses the mode of attack as part of the guide for initial attack flow. At the lower end of the offensive mode of attack, a flow rate of 4 lpm/m2 should be considered the minimal tactical flow rate. As we approach the marginal mode of attack, we should be looking at a minimum of 8 lpm/m2. As we move toward the upper end of the defensive mode of attack, we should be looking at flow rates of 12 to 13 lpm/m2


Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS) Evaluation Project (Fire Australia Journal 2011)       
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service was the first Fire Service in Australia to fully integrate Compressed Air Foams Systems into the Urban context in early 2009 . With the assistance of the ACT Fire Service (Canberra) they began an evaluation project that has been based on extensive international research, capturing local experience and practical research at the state live fire training academy.  

Newsletters written as part of the QFRS CAFS Evaluation Project
Newsletter 1 - Project Overview     
Newsletter 2 - What is CAFS   
Newsletter 3 - Training the Trainers  
Newsletter 4 - QFRS Type 4 Urban CAFS Pumper Configuration      
Newsletter 5 - Live Fire Testing  
Newsletter 6 - Operational evaluation  



Tunnel Safety and Fire Protection - Innovations in safety through the life cycle. Melbourne 25 - 26 February 2015
Tunnel and Life Safety - a cooperative approach between contractors and emergency services during construction and operation. Presemntation, Shan Raffel

International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security, 12 - 14 March 2014 Marseille, France
Fire Fighting Operations in Modern Road Tunnels: An Australasian Perspective. Ed Caridge and Shan Raffel 
Fire Fighting Operation in Modern Road Tunnels: An Australasian Perspective. Presentation Shan Raffel

Australian Tunnelling puts Fire Safety First - International Fire Professional January 2013       
Australia is following international trends in road and rail traffic management for major cities by including tunnels as part of the overall traffic management plan. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Brisbane which is the capital of the “SunshineState” of Queensland. Only 4 years ago, Brisbane had very few tunnels of any significance. On 15 March 2010, Australia’s largest road tunnel, the 4.8 km “Clem7”, opened to traffic in Brisbane.  This milestone for tunnelling in Australia was recently eclipsed with the opening of Brisbane's’ 5.3 km Airport Link Tunnel. In addition, a third major road tunnel (4.6 km), the “Legacy Way” is currently under construction. 

Emergency Response Planning for Tunnels under Construction and Operation - International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction. July 2013

Emergency Response Planning for Tunnels under Construction and Operation - Presentation

Churchill Fellowship Report 2010, Planning, Preparation and Response to Emergencies in Tunnels


Professional Links

LinkedIn Profile

Firefighter Nation

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

From Knowledge to Practice - Canada

Youtube uploads

Quicklay Fire Attack Blog

Against All Odds: The History of the United Firefighters Union of Queensland

FireRescue Magazine

Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub

CFBT Croatia

French National Academy

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Recommended Links and Downloads



UL-NIST Live Fire Dynamics for Fire Officers

Understanding Fire Behaviour - Global Fire research

Enclosue Fires - Lars-Göran Bengtsson

Fire Ventilation - Stefan Svensson

Water and other extinguishing agents - Stefan Sardqvist



Rollover, Flashover and Backdraft in a small scale fire simulator

Single compartment Dolls House from 3D Fire Fighting

4 compartment Dolls House at CFBT International Instructors Course Level 1 Croatia

Effects of ventilation presented by Prof Stefan Svennson

Pyrolysis of wood - by Lasse Nelson. YOU MUST WATCH THIS CLIP! Simply the best ever explanation of the essentials of combustion



Do you know the difference between wet steam and dry steam? This may seem like a strange link, but the knowledge hidden here will help the inquiring mind to understang the difference betweem 3D Gas-Cooling and Indirect Entinguishing

Flammability Limits from Wikipedia Good basic explanation of the fundamentals of flammable mixtures. 

Wikipedia Portal Fire



Dafo Fog Nail



The History of Strategy 

Modern Fire Bahavior

Tactics, command, leadership



CTIF International Fire Terminology Translator 

UL Fire Safety Research Institute

A Learning Experience - Lauran Welling



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Fire: an evil enemy, or a logical element you can beat with knowledge, skill and courage?

 I don’t view fire as "the enemy". Fire can be very beneficial or very dangerous. But it is a chemical reaction that follows the laws of science. It is not an evil intelligence that we must "battle against". It has no brains or intent. It follows the laws of nature and if we can understand the factors associated with fire development we have a much better chance of getting ahead of it, and, therefore controlling it. This may not sound very glamorous or heroic. Personally I take pride in knowing all I can about fire so that I can control it with the maximum efficiency and safety. I don’t need to view myself as a soldier battling an intelligent, powerful and evil enemy that has attacked defenceless civilians. I view myself as a "civilian" that is tasked with an important role in society. While I face a high risk at times, I don’t see myself as being somehow better than a plumber or electrician or any other member of society. If I recall correctly, one of the professions facing the highest risk of being killed at work is the construction worker. When a construction worker is killed at work do we just accept that they are heroes killed in the line of duty?  On the contrary, the law views them as victims of an industrial accident and does not accept that their death was inevitable simply because they work in a high risk occupation.

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Get it Now from Amazon



 You can odrer a copy directly from the publisher at http://info.ifsta.org/products/36568

3D Fire Fighting:  Training, Techniques, and Tactics



Having trouble getting a copy in Australia, Shan usually has a few copies on hand and can be contacted via the Contacts Us form. 


Paul has served as a professional fire fighter and Compartment Fire Behavior Training (CFBT) instructor, Born in London in 1953, he joined the London Fire Brigade in 1971. During his career, he has studied structural fire fighting tactics on an international basis and since 1979 has presented numerous technical papers and magazine articles. He is the author of three other books on fire fighting strategy and tactics. From 1975-77 he served as a Long Island volunteer firefighter in New York, while also on study detachment to the FDNY’s 7th Division His proposed fireground strategies of Tactical Ventilation (1989) and 3D Firefighting (1991) have both since been acknowledged and adopted as national policy (ODPM) in the UK and in several other countries. Described by the Fire Protection Association (FPA) as "not averse to controversy… his contributions over the last decade (1982-92) have helped to pioneer a number of innovative firefighting techniques."

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Paul Grimwood


Some files from our authors. 

Downloads Page

Rescue Vs Fire Control

'Rescue is always our highest priority at a structure fire, but it should not be the first thing we do unless, of course, we are determined in getting ourselves injured or killed!

Therefore I always maintain that the best way to rescue people from a burning building is to put out the fire'.


Chief Shapher challenged those who disagreed with him to read the NIOSH reports to see how firefighters get injured or killed whilst making rescue attempts.'

F. Shapher - Chief of St. CharlesMO

Quick Attack

Even if the fire is not immediately controlled or extinguished, a quick attack can slow the spread of the fire and buy other firefighters additional time to take the victims away from the danger'.


R Hiraki - Assistant Chief Seattle WA


Take the danger away!

'we should always remember that the best way to accomplish the rescue objective is to take the danger away from the victims or put out the fire.

Deputy Chief (ToledoOH) John 'Skip' Coleman

Put the Fire Out!

'Unless you can effectively do several things at the same time (on the initial response) - PUT THE FIRE OUT (first)'.

... 'this should be followed by aggressive ventilation by the swiftest means possible'....'

This practice allows you to first get a hose-line between savable victims and the fire (assuming the line was taken into the structure in the most appropriate avenue, placing it between the fire and savable people). Hopefully this will keep the situation from getting worse'.

John Mittendorf - Retired Los Angeles Fire Chief

Neutral Plane

The separation between the Over-Pressure region and the Under-Pressure regions developed in a compartment fire (sometimes referred to as the smoke/air interface). The neutral plane can be seen quite clearly when thermal balance exists in the fire compartment. 3D firefighting techniques can assist to keep the NP as high as possible, which maximises visibility and makes conditions more bearable for entrapped occupants or firefighters......a key principle in successful, safe and efficient compartment firefighting.

3D Water-Fog or Gas Cooling

Branch technique where water spray in correct quantities can result in contraction of the gases without the over production of steam. May assist as a control measure in small compartment. This is not an extinguishing technique because it is still essential to apply water to the surfaces.

Fire Gas Ignition

an ignition of accumulated fire gases and combustion products, existing in, or transported into, a flammable state. There are a wide range of events ....generally be defined as -. Any such ignition is usually caused by the introduction of an ignition source into a pre-mixed state of flammable gases; or the transport of such gases towards a source of ignition; or the transport of a fuel-rich mixture of gases into an area containing oxygen and an ignition source. 

Buffer Zone

The creation of a 'buffer-zone' implies the use of 3D defensive actions to reduce potential for an ignition of fire gases in the immediate area of a structure occupied by firefighters. This may create a temporary and more local zone of safety for firefighters, although offering far less protection than a 'safe-zone'.

3D Zone Control

The strategy of 3D Zone Control intended to improve the safety of firefighters operating inside a burning structure. It attempts to safeguard the immediate locality of any space occupied by firefighters in resorting to various defensive actions that (a) confine the fire; (b) remove combustion products safely and effectively; or (c) mitigate dangers in the hot-gas layers. Providing more permanent levels of protection in structural compartments (safe zones), ...to operate in various fire & rescue roles

3D Fire Fighting

3DFirefighting is about getting water onto the fire yes, but it is also about getting water into the gas layers, using the optimum methods of water application with the equipment available and maintaining thermal balance whilst doing it. It is also about understanding the practical aspects of how a fire grows, develops and behaves and how dangerous gases may form, accumulate and transport into hidden areas of a building, waiting to 'ambush' firefighters. 3D Firefighting is all about gaining a working knowledge of where to make vent openings; when to make vent openings and when not to!


Not just what and how, but why!

Ed Hartin

Reading Fire

"Every fire sends out signals that can assist the firefighter in determining the stage of fire development, and most importantly the changes that are likely to occur. This skill is essential to ensure the correct firefighting strategy and tactics are employed. Being able to "read a fire" is the mark of a firefighter who is able to make decisions based on knowledge and skill, not guess work or luck."

Shan Raffel AFSM EngTech CFIFireE

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