This is a quick drill for you company officers and acting officers. So much of what we do is coach and mentor our younger firefighters. When we are out and about we need to take the time point out things that might be obvious to us, but maybe not so much to others on our crew. (more…)
Category: ‘building construction’
This is a great drill from a great Brother and friend, Lance Peeples of the Webster Groves Fire Department in St. Louis County. Look for more great material from Lance in the future.
Daily Drill 1: Standpipe Operations
“The Daily Drill” is designed to spark discussion about operational issues in YOUR fire department. To do this we use photographs or videos depicting fire operations in other fire departments. We do not know the exact circumstances in which our Brothers in these fire departments are operating. Photos or videos are not intended to embarrass our BROTHERS and SISTERS but rather are intended to provide US with learning opportunities relevant to OUR specific operational framework. DON’TFOCUSONWHAT THEY’RE DOING…FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WOULD DO! Stay safe!
Watch the video below and answer the following questions:
1. Using the National Fire Academy Fire Flow Formula, what gpm would be required to extinguish a completely involved 500 square foot apartment fire?
How large of an undivided floor area is often found in high rise office buildings and what fire flow would be required there?
2. Under previous editions of NFPA 14 what was the minimum psi required to flow 500 gpm at the most remote riser?
3. What is the target gpm you are attempting to flow from your standpipe hose and nozzle combination? What psi must be available at the standpipe operation to supply that hose and nozzle combination in order to flow your desired attack flow?
4. The operation depicted showed using 4” supply line into the fire department connection. What is the working pressure limit of LDH used in your department? What is the elevation head pressure in a 30 story building? Are standpipe operations usually high flow or high pressure operations? Is using large diameter hose in FD standpipe connections a good idea?
5. What is the diameter of hose used in your standpipe pack? Is it an automatic/constant flow fog/smooth bore tip? What nozzle psi is required for its designed flow?
6. Will rust, scale, and other debris commonly found in standpipe systems pass through an automatic fog nozzle? Will rust, scale and other debris usually pass through an 1 1/8” smooth bore tip?
7. Can fire department pumpers ALWAYS be used to increase available pressure on the fire floor? What about damaged or missing FD connections? Pressure reducing and restricting valves? Missing piping or excessive head pressures?
8. At the One Merdian fire in Philladelphia on February 23, 1991 what was the length, diameter, and nozzle type (including psi/flow requirements) of the standpipe kits used by the fire department? Did this setup work? Why or why not?
9. What were the names of the Brothers that died at One Merdian that tragic day?
In our classes we spend a lot of time showing firefighters how to stay out of and how to get out of bad situations. Our fire service is seeing an increase in firefighters who are falling through floors into basements or sub-levels. This is large part due to the engineered flooring systems that do not perform well in fire conditions.
Fires are growing more intense much faster than in the past and the structural members of these buildings are under attack before we arrive in some cases. The importance of knowing our response areas, getting an accurate size-up, doing a 360 evaluation of the building and choosing an appropriate tactic are more critical than ever.
We teach different methods of removing ones self from a basement and removing a downed firefighter from basements. There are several techniques for removing a firefighter including using an attic ladder, using the hose, rope, or webbing to lift them out of the hole. We can also cut the floor away from the exterior making a window a door to remove someone. These are just a few examples.
For self rescue we teach using a hand tool as a step or as a recent post by Chris Huston discusses, using the drywall as a ladder to get yourself out. We also teach using webbing as a stepping device with the assistance of firefighters on the outside. All of these techniques are good and and should be practiced. However, we know that if we fall through a floor we may lose our tools and it is going to be very bad down there. Speed is of the essence.
When go over the teaching points of basement rescues, we always talk about things to do to avoid this from happening in the first place. Doing a good 360, sound the floors, descend stairs feet first, know your still area and building construction are good places to start. I also like to point out that the hazards we discuss in regards to basements, junk and clutter, can also be our friend.
If you find yourself in a situation in a basement or an area with a high window for egress, use the stuff in that space as steps. Pile it up under that window and climb out. Don’t forget to use the obvious. I have done training in acquired structures where we put firefighters in the basement and they are free to use whatever is available. You would be surprised how many limit their resources to only what is in their hands or pockets.
Train hard and sometimes thinking outside the box is as simple as looking around at the “stuff” that is right at your feet. Thanks for reading and expect fire!
Options. On the fireground, the more the better. When talking Firefighter Survival, presenting viable options will lead to success. Over the last few years, many great methods of self-rescuing have been taught to the Fire Service. The most important, is staying out of situations that lead to needing them, which is quality performance of the basics. However, after you still did everything right, it can still go bad. Having several techniques to self-rescue is critical to ensure success.
One such technique is what I call the Drywall Ladder. This method is performed by kicking and punching holes into the drywall to create a ladder. You would perform this to escape out of high window.
The standard residential window is 18”- 44” off the floor, if it meets fire code for escape. Windows higher than 44” are not for egress and are used for lighting and ventilation. To use these windows for self-rescue you have an option or two. The first option if you just need a little “boost”, use your hand-tool to create a step. Halligans work great for this task. Once you are over and out, just make sure to reach back in and grab your tool. If the window is too high, this option may not be feasible.
Another option, create a ladder in the drywall. The first step is to determine where the window goes and if refuge can be made. Next, kick a hole into the drywall about 8 inches off the ground then another about knee high. Make sure you create these holes approximately the same width apart as your legs. After the first two holes are created, punch two more holes several inches above the first two with your gloved hand. Think about the distance between two rungs on a ladder. Please use caution when using your body as a tool, consider where the studs are. Can you see the pattern? This method is a distance relative of rock climbing. Be sure to keep your weight on your feet to decrease effort.
- Call the mayday first and get help coming.
- Where is the window relative to fire conditions?
- Will you and your partner physically fit through the window?
- What type of glass/construction is the window?
- Will taking the window draw fire towards you?
Next time you are performing self-rescue maneuvers in training consider trying this method. The more options you have and can quickly utilize one in a self-rescue the better.
This is a blog post by one of our instructors, Andrew Krato.
While in Indy at FDIC my first night on the town I was looking out of my hotel window and I came across this building. What I saw was just a reminder of how important it is to get out and do your building preplans in your district.
What I found was a multi story commercial brick building just like many of theothers in down town Indianapolis and so many other s in my district in Missouri.
Like many other building they all have fire escapes, this building was different because it was missing. This building is setup for the escape and if you look closer at the pictures you can see that at one time one was there. The holes from the mounts can still be seen in the brick and the rust marks from over the years of weather have left its impression on the building. Unfortunately, I was unable to make my way into the building and see what it looked like from the inside. What I can see from the outside is each level has a full size door that exits to the platform.
As in the pictures the platforms and stairs are gone but the doors remain there. From the outside nothing is labeled as do not enter, not an exit or is blocked off from the inside no bars or boards as such. I would hope that from the inside it is labeled or marked or at least secured shut.
As we all know in the smoke or dark a door feels like a door and whether or not it goes toanother room or outside and down 10 floors we need to make sure we have control of the doors, andwe sound before we enter into another room.
Thanks and be safe doing your preplans.
Take a look at the pictures and think about getting water on the fire to the upper floor and/or making rescues. This building is one that is old and not sprinklered. It sits off of the road and aerial access is extremely limited, almost ineffective.
When looking at this type of building we need to consider the construction type, occupancy, access and egress points and any special hazards. What are our initial resources and what should we have coming on the way?
This building is four stories and is a dormartory at a college. The corridor length is 225 from stairwell to stairwell. As you look at the building in the picture, the stairwell on the right is more remote from a parking surface than the one on the left. The elevation that you see in the picture from this side is the same on the opposite side.
There is a basement under this building with tunnels that lead to other campus buildings with limited access and egress where kids sneak away to do what kids sneak away to do. There is a great deal of combustible storage in these basements and tunnels.
Type 3 construction is the type of building we are dealing with and the interior has been altered over the years. There is an automatic alarm system but no standpipes. Water supply is limited; the closest hydrant is approximately 300 feet from where you would likely place first in companies and that hydrant, if laid from, would severely hinder access by other units because of only one access to the campus.
So, here we go……..what are your tactics and why? Watch the video and let everyone know what you would do and why. Use this for discussion purposes and relate it to buildings that you might have in your jurisdiction. Share your thoughts and ideas.
Train hard and we hope to see most of you at FDIC 2012 next week.
Take a look at the video and let’s have a discussion. It is not a critique of what the video shows, but more of what are our considerations if we pull up to this fire. We all have buildings like this one and depending upon our resources and response area, how would we deploy on this fire? Watch the video and ask and discuss these questions with your crew:
–What type building construction can be suspected?
–As the first arriving company, where and what do we do first?
–What is our primary concern in regards to access?
–What are our life safety considerations and where should we be looking?
–Are exposures a problem?
–What size line are deploying and why?
–Types of ventilation and roof considerations?
These are just few things to talk about. Train hard and share your thoughts.
Here is an excellent video on VES. There are additional techniques for performing VES that are not in the video, but I think these guys did a great job hitting the important factors of VES and the basics.
You must remember that VES must be trained on and it is an assignment, not free lancing. There must be coordination and communication and you can’t be sloppy or slow. Practice and train and expect fire!
We have taught a lot of classes and trained extensively on numerous firefighter operations. One thing that always interests me is the choice of hand tools by firefighters. Each has their own preference and favorite, but in many cases when challenged as to why that specific tool is their tool of choice, the answer is not clear to them.
Some are bound by the fact that they work on a truck, engine or squad. Some are bound by their riding assignment based on what order they arrive on the scene. In many cases, however, they just pick what they want and what is convenient or easy to carry. This is dangerous and we encourage each firefighter to choose their tool with a purpose in mind.
When choosing your tool some things to consider are what your using it for, will it accomplish your tasks, is it durable and reliable and does it complement the tools of other members.
I’m not here to tell you what tool to use, but I have some suggestions for you to consider when picking your tool
–Can you use it for forcible entry or forcible egress?
–Will it get the job your are assigned to do accomplished?
–Will it allow you to perform multiple functions with that tool? Is is versatile?
–Are you familiar and proficient with that tool? Do you train frequently with it?
–Will it complement what your team members are using? This could be especially important for forcible entry and for being a more efficient team.
Take a look at the pictures and discuss the pros and cons of each tool. For example, I don’t like seeing guys coming off with a close hook. It is good for overhaul, but for forcible entry or breaching walls and getting out of a bad place, it’s not very useful. This is just my opinion. But, I have had firefighters pick that tool because it’s light and easy to carry.
Make the tools that are preferred easy to access and train with them. Clean and inspect them on a regular basis. Take care of those tools. Get know their capabilities and their limitations. You have to get your hands on them.
Discuss these options as a crew and/or company and share your thoughts. Take care and expect fire. Train hard!
Here are some more pictures from my A Shift buddies, Jim, Bob and Dave at Florissant Valley Fire Protection District. These photos show the challenges of just getting into some of our buildings. It’s a lot easier to get a good look at the working mechanisms and traits of these obstacles during daylight and in non-emergent situations.
Take time to know what is behind these doors and grates. What are they protecting and how secure are they? Is just a matter of prying bolts out of the brick and concrete or are they really seated into the building? Now is the time to find out.
One note, the pic with the bars is actually a smoking lounge for an adjacent bar. Access is made from inside the building but it looks like a different occupancy. Don’t wait until it’s smokey and dark.
Read the doors and try to identify characteristics that can indicate foricible entry challenges. Do the doors swing out or in? Are the hinges exposed or protected? Is the jamb protected?
These are also important for RIT operations, to read the building and soften it up for interior crews if a company has not already done so.
Stay alert and get out and look around. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find.