New Training Video Available for Firefighters: Challenges and Tactics for Fighting Row House Fires

 March 15, 2023
NIOSH Update:

MEDIA CONTACT: Nura Sadeghpour,, 202.245.0673

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Fires that break out in row houses must be fought using specific skills, strategies, and tactics. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently partnered with the District of Columbia (DC) Fire & EMS Department to develop a training video on actions firefighters should take when working under duress within the bounds of these densely populated neighborhood homes.

The new training video, Challenges and Tactics of Fighting Row House Fires, was initiated by the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP). It draws attention to the specific ways in which fires behave in a row house and the potential for fire extension—when the fire has extended into concealed spaces within a building—based on features specific to row houses.

Due to a substantial number of firefighter fatalities and serious injuries involving row house fires, the video:

  • Highlights the challenges and tactics for fighting fire in row houses.
  • Identifies specific structural elements within row houses like older construction, narrow windows, steep stairs, sloping roofs, lack of fire walls, and common areas for possible fire extension.
  • Presents six proven tactics to keep firefighters safe when fighting row house fires.

“The intent behind making this video was to raise awareness about the specific features of row houses that make fighting fires in these structures particularly challenging,” said Murrey Loflin, an investigator with NIOSH’s FFFIPP who was consulting onsite during filming. “We hope that this video can help positively impact the fire service as a contribution to their training resources and in support of the health and safety of their firefighters.”

The video compliments the NIOSH Row House Firefighting Tactics poster and factsheet, which are easily downloadable and available for use. Fire departments can use these products as part of their training efforts to reduce and eliminate the risk of firefighter injury and death when fighting row house fires.

The new video, developed through a contract with Potomac Haven Inc., is available on CDC’s YouTube page or on the NIOSH website.

The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program conducts independent investigations of firefighter line-of-duty deaths.  NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Find more information about NIOSH at