Have you ever trained for the challenges found in hoarder home fires? Will you be able to maneuver your hoselines is it's covered with heavy contents?
Photo credit: Kevin Smith/SDFirephotos.com
Good afternoon from the Jumpseat. Yes, it is time to bunker up and buckle in again, after finally receiving clearance from the doctor it is time to return to the job that I dearly love.
While preparing my PPE and checking my uniforms I wanted to answer a question that I hear often about fighting hoarder home fires. How do you deal with the added weight that may be added to your attack line?
Some “heavy contents” fires will be a manageable size upon arrival allowing you to go offensive. During this attack is where your hoseline can be kinked, have debris fall on it, or even be exposed to smoldering debris. So how do you deal with these problems?
Here are a couple key points:
- Call for additional help once “heavy contents” are discovered
- The backup firefighter needs to stay alert to help remove debris
- Place the hoseline on top of the piles if at waist height
- Use the nozzle to knock over stacks ahead of you, so they don't fall down on your or your hoseline behind you
Fighting fires inside a hoarded environment requires tried and true tactics, but they just need to be applied in a different manor. We have been taught to sweep the floor as we enter a structure to remove burnt embers, needles, or any other dangerous debris that is on floor. This technique can be applied in this situation as well.
Depending on the types of items that are being hoarded might make the sweep technique ineffective. If the weight of the objects are too much for the nozzle team, they will need to use the pathways to make entry. This is where piles of stuff can fall onto your hoesline. Being attentive to the weight as you make an advance needs to be on everyone’s mind. If you experience a sudden stop in the ability to advance the line, the backup firefighter may need to follow the line to investigate and remove the debris.
Mangaging a hoarded hoseline can use many techniques, t0o many to cover in this blog. Just remember that if you can’t manage a hoseline in your fire station how can you manage one inside a heavy contents environment.
Take the time in training to review hoseline advancement skills and toss in some challenges, such as turns, snags, or added weight with debris covering the line. Using your senses when entering these types of environments can also help you make the determination that it may not be your fight and it's time to get out.
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Thanks for the stop in the Jumpseat. Keep your eyes open for some more help with hoarded hoselines.