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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    So....
    My BC recently had the idea of each company within the dept putting on a "class" for the rest of the shift. I made the suggestion of high-rise ops, since I'm studying it in Strategy and Tactics class. My Lt had the idea of doing a "drill" thru our SOPs. Which would be just a "run thru" in gear of a small, quick, easy attack. Mostly ignoring the intracacies of a "real" high-rise fire. We have no training building so it would all be simulated in one of our local buildings. After some discussion, I found that essentially there has never been a high-rise fire in the city, or that anyone remembers. So I felt we should def add some more to the "class". I want to pass on as much info as possible to the rest of my shift and maybe inspire them a little. I've found a few videos that should scare the crap out of them. (Did for me) and want to bring up some scenarios outside of the "standard" sprinkler controlled mop-up fire, which is what complacancy has seemed to teach is the only thing that could ever happen. Hopefully, give them a little bit of a wake up call, but also encourage by suggestion some new ideas on ways to carry their tools/packs up the stairs, an outside the box way to rescue a victim, vent a unit, check for extension, handle the elevators, trouble shoot the sprinkler system. That way we can do our best or at least better, with less.

    I will not be purchasing any new high-rise packs for the dept our writing any new SOPs. I will not being applying for the chief's position, or running for mayor.

    Sure, this could turn into another depressing debate on the current direction of the fire service. I'd rather it just be brothers helping brothers the best they can.
    I think you are on the right track, it's good to hear that the training continues even in this tough time.

    Is there a way to bring about the questions or perceived shortcomings in the current SOP's?

    Maybe discuss the challenges other departments have had and discuss how they would attack a fire like this?

    Maybe throw in some the "what if's". You might get your leadership thinking.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."


  2. #22
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    Agreed 100%.

    I'll be bringing some material to hopefully explain the full magnitude of the dangers, but being the upbeat guy that I am, I don't feel like saying. "Our hose is too small, so you're going to die." - "Our tower is too far away, so that person hanging from the balcony is toast" - "We don't have an assigned an elevator contoller, so don't bother" I'd rather say, "it is quite likely that our hose won't be able to handle the fire load, here's an idea on how you might approach that... go ahead and grab a section of 2.5 and nozzle, or lower a rope to the engineer and haul some up or you might try this or that..." - "The tower is going to be a long way out, so if you need to make a rescue, here's something you might consider...." - "There could be citizens trying to use the elevators, you might try this..." - "There could be strong ocean driven winds, be careful if you vent or the fire vents itself, watch out for this... and you might make sure you do this...." - "If your first two lines can't control the fire in the first unit, you better try this... or you better check for extension here..." - "If a tightly sealed unit looks like it has potential for backdraft, you need to consider..."

    With respect to the vast knowlege and geniune help, which I do appreciate, genuinely.... I could use some more of the "try this or that" - "watch out for this or that".

    Thankfully everyone has provided some in one form or another and I appreciate it and have been making notes for the "class". More would be great.
    I did several searches before hand, and I'm generally aware of the consensous of best high-rise packs and proper manpower needed.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Is there a way to bring about the questions or perceived shortcomings in the current SOP's?

    Maybe discuss the challenges other departments have had and discuss how they would attack a fire like this?

    Maybe throw in some the "what if's". You might get your leadership thinking.
    To a degree. In this particular case, must be done delicately.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    Agreed 100%.

    I'll be bringing some material to hopefully explain the full magnitude of the dangers, but being the upbeat guy that I am, I don't feel like saying. "Our hose is too small, so you're going to die." - "Our tower is too far away, so that person hanging from the balcony is toast" - "We don't have an assigned an elevator contoller, so don't bother" I'd rather say, "it is quite likely that our hose won't be able to handle the fire load, here's an idea on how you might approach that... go ahead and grab a section of 2.5 and nozzle, or lower a rope to the engineer and haul some up or you might try this or that..." - "The tower is going to be a long way out, so if you need to make a rescue, here's something you might consider...." - "There could be citizens trying to use the elevators, you might try this..." - "There could be strong ocean driven winds, be careful if you vent or the fire vents itself, watch out for this... and you might make sure you do this...." - "If your first two lines can't control the fire in the first unit, you better try this... or you better check for extension here..." - "If a tightly sealed unit looks like it has potential for backdraft, you need to consider..."

    With respect to the vast knowlege and geniune help, which I do appreciate, genuinely.... I could use some more of the "try this or that" - "watch out for this or that".

    Thankfully everyone has provided some in one form or another and I appreciate it and have been making notes for the "class". More would be great.
    I did several searches before hand, and I'm generally aware of the consensous of best high-rise packs and proper manpower needed.
    If I may be honest for a moment, it seems to me that there is a difference between what you want to hear regarding these types of fires and the plain truth.

    Tips and tricks are great, but not when you ignore the basic principles of fighting this type of fire.

    Being upbeat is terrific. But not if it blinds you to the truth.

    Though no fault of your own, your current procedures seems like a recipe for disaster. And if nobody in your department has fought a fire in a high rise multiple dwelling, then the status quo and the old adage of "that is how we have always done it" doesn't apply and this scenario is ripe for change.

    Who is going to argue against changing procedures to reflect current thinking? Someone who has never fought this type of fire?

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    You've been honest, and that's what I want. There is a difference between what I want to hear and "the truth". I want to hear more about how to do the best with what we have. The truth is, it may not work, but can still do our best. I'm trying to stay within context of this class, making changes with our dept will be a whole different animal.

    PS -About a two years ago a push for 2.5inch hose on our high-rise packs was made. It was eventually rejected. Change is not our specialty.
    Last edited by imprezive; 04-06-2009 at 03:13 PM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    Change is not our specialty.
    The same could be said for the fire service as a whole at times.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    The same could be said for the fire service as a whole at times.
    What's the saying? 300 years of tradition unimpeded by progress?

    I actually hate that saying, because the next thing you hear is the salesman trying to talk you into buying a $500 firefighting frisbee.

    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    I know you say all that out of genuine concern, but your entire post was essentially no help at all. I didn't say I have control over the budget, manpower, or over our SOPs. You sound a lot like people who I work with, and you probably have too, where they show up to work to whine about all the problems, but can't find a way to work within the system to address them.
    I'm aware we do not have a perfect system.
    I'm trying to do my best to help myself, company and dept thru the avenues I have available. If I had a genie I'd be sure to wish for more manpower, more tower trucks, and superpowers, while I was at it.

    If you still have some constructive advice, I'd be happy to hear them.
    I'm curious especially about possible victim rescue from a balcony. What ya'll might feel the quickest, safest way to do so would be.
    I'm a union man who looks to preserve our safety and improve it where needed. I gave you a number of examples of where to start in terms of deficencies in your operation. If you look at the issues I and others presented, you can probably answer for yourself what you can do to improve the operation.

    So many speak like you before you kill a brother or numerous civilians and then after when a report highlights the obvious short commings...guys like you stand there in bewilderment asking why did this have to happen to us!?

    You come on here and look for some perspective from people who presumably have some expereince with such situations. I'm certainly not the most experierenced fireman in the world (who really is?) however I have done my share of standpipe jobs over the years and the collective experience built from my personal work and that of my department I hope to offer something so that you and your brothers don't end up in a pine box prematurely.

    My orgininal post what to help you figure out a solution on your own which would be better than me telling you what I think you should do. Since you didn't like the subtletly of my post I'll spell it out for you.

    You don't have enough manpower to see to the needs of the entire building and your brothers safety. So my suggestion is you need to look to focus your efforts on the most exposed people and areas and leave the roof (stairs to others as opening the roof can cause a huge draft that will quickly turn that 1 3/4 hose into a squirt gun.) Focus on those most in need and use manpower to prevent exposing others to danger that you clearly don't have the manpower to overcome or address. Search the stairs much much later and use that manpower elsewhere to support the men on the line and on the firefloor and floor above.

    If things go badly...you don't have the resources to back up any errors in judgement or suprise issues that are more common than you think (sprinkers not working, low pressure, elevator malfunction, wind driven fire, doors propped open, more victims than you can hanle....etc.)

    As for the Balcony senario....remember the acroynm:
    • I
    • Hump
    • Fine
    • Ladies
    • Regularly
    This is the prefered method of removal.
    • Interior Stairs
    • Horizontal (Only works in large complexes with fire/smoke doors)
    • Fire Ecapes
    • Ladders (first prerference aerial then portable)
    • Ropes

    Now obviously you have an area that more or less is inaccessible by ladders so that is out, Not large enough for Horizontal, no FE...so does your dept have procedures in place for a rope rescue? If you are like most places...probably not.

    So interior is your best option...but considering Murphy's Law...it probably won't be practical in many situations. Although the only suggestion I have for you is does your FE team carry a Hydra-Ram? AKA-Bunny tool?

    Considering a wind driven fire is a distinct possiblity and would possibly trap residents in adjoing appartments off the same hallway....how would you get a mask to them? How would you get to firemen driven out and down a hallway with their in adequate stream who retreat into an adjoining appartment? Wait until it burns out?

    The reason I raise these issues is perhaps it will highlight the fact that you need to focus what little you have on keeping you and your men alive. Do some research...take what you find to your union. Help them argue for more resources. Because there isn't much anyone can offer you in terms of realistic suggestions considering the less than adequate resources given to you.

    You state you don't waste manpower on control of the elevator...but as I stated...do you have the manpower to address 3 adults and 2 children who attempt to take the elevator from the floor above to the ground and have it open onto the firefloor? I doubt it...so again what is best practice, 1 man in an elevator in fireman's service or numerous victims and insufficent firemen to remove them to stair safety and revive them?

    Do all your members carry elevator fireman service keys on them? Or do you need to retrieve them from a building super?

    Here...we might be able to make due with 1 5-man Engine(5men-1officer) and1 5-man Ladder Co.(5men-1officer). However...we have a number of things going for us that you don't. Including company integrity, showing up at the same time, familiarity in having been to dozens of standpipe jobs...and our members on occasion operating within radio contact of the officer (something that most of you reject out of hand.) thus giving us an efficency gain that you can't achive.

    Perhaps it isn't what you want to hear, but I'm giving you a realisitic apprasial and suggestions. There is no suggestion anyone can give you in how to work within your constraints because your dept doesn't even provide enough manpower to realisticly provide for your safety and expect a positive outcome in even a best case senario of a fire where everything goes to plan (it rarely if ever does in a standpipe situation).

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 04-06-2009 at 03:36 PM.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    I'm a union delegate who looks to preserve our safety and improve it where needed. I gave you a number of examples of where to start in terms of deficencies in your operation. If you look at the issues I and others presented, you can probably answer for yourself what you can do to improve the operation.
    Good idea.

    So many speak like you before you kill a brother or numerous civilians and then after when a report highlights the obvious short commings...guys like you stand there in bewilderment asking why did this have to happen to us!?
    Ridculous generalization I won't be killing anyone or standing anywhere in bewilderment. The citizens thru the local government decide how much protection they want. If they are ill-informed, that is the responsibilty of the fire dept admin and elected officials. I'm aware of the risks and do my best to protect myself.

    You come on here and look for some perspective from people who presumably have some expereince with such situations. I'm certainly not the most experierenced fireman in the world (who really is?) however I have done my share of standpipe jobs over the years and the collective experience built from my personal work and that of my department I hope to offer something so that you and your brothers don't end up in a pine box prematurely.

    My orgininal post what to help you figure out a solution on your own which would be better than me telling you what I think you should do. Since you didn't like the subtletly of my post I'll spell it out for you.
    Thanks

    You don't have enough manpower to see to the needs of the entire building and your brothers safety. So my suggestion is you need to look to focus your efforts on the most exposed people and areas and leave the roof (stairs to others as opening the roof can cause a huge draft that will quickly turn that 1 3/4 hose into a squirt gun.) Focus on those most in need and use manpower to prevent exposing others to danger that you clearly don't have the manpower to overcome or address. Search the stairs much much later and use that manpower elsewhere to support the men on the line and on the firefloor and floor above.
    Great suggestions! I'll be reviewing these suggestions with my Lt, and trying to refine/organize them for our buildings/manpower.

    If things go badly...you don't have the resources to back up any errors in judgement or suprise issues that are more common than you think (sprinkers not working, low pressure, elevator malfunction, wind driven fire, doors propped open, more victims than you can hanle....etc.)
    Agreed.
    As for the Balcony senario....remember the acroynm:
    • I
    • Hump
    • Fine
    • Ladies
    • Regularly
    This is the prefered method of removal.
    • Interior Stairs
    • Horizontal (Only works in large complexes with fire/smoke doors)
    • Fire Ecapes
    • Ladders (first prerference aerial then portable)
    • Ropes

    Now obviously you have an area that more or less is inaccessible by ladders so that is out, Not large enough for Horizontal, no FE...so does your dept have procedures in place for a rope rescue? If you are like most places...probably not.
    You would be correct.

    So interior is your best option...but considering Murphy's Law...it probably won't be practical in many situations. Although the only suggestion I have for you is does your FE team carry a Hydra-Ram? AKA-Bunny tool?
    Only on the tower.

    Considering a wind driven fire is a distinct possiblity and would possibly trap residents in adjoing appartments off the same hallway....how would you get a mask to them? How would you get to firemen driven out and down a hallway with their in adequate stream who retreat into an adjoining appartment? Wait until it burns out?
    That's what I asked, and haven't gotten an answer.

    The reason I raise these issues is perhaps it will highlight the fact that you need to focus what little you have on keeping you and your men alive.
    Copy that.

    You state you don't waste manpower on control of the elevator...but as I stated...do you have the manpower to address 3 adults and 2 children who attempt to take the elevator from the floor above to the ground and have it open onto the firefloor? I doubt it...so again what is best practice, 1 man in an elevator in fireman's service or numerous victims and insufficent firemen to remove them to stair safety and revive them?

    Do all your members carry elevator fireman service keys on them? Or do you need to retrieve them from a building super?
    Don't get me started on this issue.

    Here...we might be able to make due with 1 5-man Engine(5men-1officer) and1 5-man Ladder Co.(5men-1officer). However...we have a number of things going for us that you don't. Including company integrity, showing up at the same time, familiarity in having been to dozens of standpipe jobs...and our members on occasion operating within radio contact of the officer (something that most of you reject out of hand.) thus giving us an efficency gain that you can't achive.
    Agreed, but we def don't reject a little solo work when absolutely necessary.

    Perhaps it isn't what you want to hear, but I'm giving you a realisitic apprasial and suggestions. There is no suggestion anyone can give you in how to work within your constraints because your dept doesn't even provide enough manpower to realisticly provide for your safety and expect a positive outcome in even a best case senario of a fire where everything goes to plan (it rarely if ever does in a standpipe situation).
    Disagree There are few suggestions that can be given, but that doesn't mean there are none. Someone already mentioned a unique ventilation technique. The elevator issue needs to be addressed, although we don't have anything in our SOPs about elevator control, doesn't mean we can't assign somebody. Just trying to figure out who? You mentioned rope rescue. That is something I had thought about. So here's an idea: an "unofficial" rope rescue procedure could be ironed out and trained on within my company and the other companies within the dept. We have some rescue techs that may be able to take the lead. That way we'd at least have something ready to go if the situation arose. That is a suggestion that has application to the situation.

    We don't live in an all or nothing world. If we're under-equipped and under manned, doesn't mean we shouldn't bother rolling out of the bay until we organize a political rally for more equipment and manpower. (which isn't a bad idea, but you catch my drift) But you're thoughts about focusing on certain areas of safety and not getting in too deep since we are under equipped and under-manned are excellent and appreciated.
    Last edited by imprezive; 04-06-2009 at 04:07 PM.

  10. #30
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    The jist of what I get is that you dont have the manpower to perform all the needed functions on a high rise job. Therefore, you need to identify all of the tasks that need to be done then prioritize them as you see fit.

    If you decide that you only have enough personnel to place 1 line on the fire, then you need to dedicate all your personnel to the efficient deployment of that line. If you decide that you would rather use your resources for search, then do that. But you must realize that half azing one aspect to give you some personnel to half aze another aspect doesnt really do anybody any good. It just puts you in the position to be wondering how the LODD happened to our department.

    The department has provided you with insufficient manpower and resources to properly fight a high rise job. How you go about adapting to being woefully understaffed is up to you. No amount of "tips and tricks" can make up for the lack of manpower and resources.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

  11. #31
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    Does anyone do stairwell pressurization on high rise fires. How do you do it? from what I've read so far (we don't deal with a lot of high rise fires but we have a lot of them in town) you open the roof door put a fan in at the base of the stairwell let the smoke clear and then shut the roof door. If you do that in the attack stairwell after the roof door has been closed wont the ppv push into the fire floor and feed the fire if their isn't an exhaust opening?

  12. #32
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    I'll keep it short....or my blood pressure will crash through the roof.....

    My one point, a safety point,

    Be careful of the railings....fires hot enough (very possible due to that building construction and location on the beach) can melt the railings.....they'll will twist and fall off as well. My point is, when searching or advancing a line you may find yourself out on the breezeway or balcony....try not to fall off. Feel for the floor, of it changes think about it, look for the sliding door channel (if there is one), listen to the water...is it still hitting a wall/ceiling.....is it there more of a breeze, can you see better.....are just some of the tips to think off.

    Stay Safe..
    IACOJ Member

  13. #33
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    Not long ago, we operated at a fire with a pressurized stairwell. Even with the door opened on the fire floor, the smoke stayed on that floor. The Senior was very impressed. The fire was vented through a window in the involved apartment (just one apartment--cinder block walls).

    I reckon all ventilation "feeds" the fire, but the decision has to be made whether it's more important to clear the stairway or not. If the stairway isn't pressurized, then the fire might vent into it, anyway.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    Default High Rise Ops

    I just recently presented a powerpoint demonstration and walkthrough of a residential high rise in our first due(8 floors, no standpipes, no sprinklers) and what I found that worked best is the NIOSH LODD reports on firefighters who were killed in high rise fires due to faulty equipment, poor tactics, or especially the ones who did everything right and still bought it in the end. I am sure your FD's SOP's are well put together and professionally executed, but please stress the fact that it is a serious situation and if we attack it like a regular single family we are gambling with our lives. Start off by talking about the Philly Firefighters who bought it due to improper nozzle selection and pressure reducers in the standpipes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AbduNur View Post
    I just recently presented a powerpoint demonstration and walkthrough of a residential high rise in our first due(8 floors, no standpipes, no sprinklers) and what I found that worked best is the NIOSH LODD reports on firefighters who were killed in high rise fires due to faulty equipment, poor tactics, or especially the ones who did everything right and still bought it in the end. I am sure your FD's SOP's are well put together and professionally executed, but please stress the fact that it is a serious situation and if we attack it like a regular single family we are gambling with our lives. Start off by talking about the Philly Firefighters who bought it due to improper nozzle selection and pressure reducers in the standpipes.
    That's a great idea, thanks. I sorta have woven a few incidents of note and facts regarding the dangers thru the powerpoint, but I may print up a few full reports for discussion.

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