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    Default Residential High Rise Tactics/Tips

    *I did several searches before I posted this topic. I'm generally aware of the consensous of best high-rise packs and proper manpower needed*

    As part of a training effort by my dept our crew is putting on a high rise "class" for the rest of the dept. It is nothing formal, just reinforcing our SOPs and standard operations. We'll be running thru a basic 1st, 2nd and 3rd due drill then reviewing elevator operation, basic tactics, building systems, ect.

    I'm looking to add a little flavor to the class with some tips, tactics, special considerations, ect specific to residential high rises. (condos/hotels) Specifically ideas in the areas of tips regarding non-aerial "trapped on the balcony" victim rescue, "can't get to the windows from the interior or with aerial" ventilation, ways to carry your equipment up the stairs, proactive RIT ideas, apparatus placement, evacuation tips, door marking, something somebody taught you or you "invented". I want to learn more myself and put on a good class, so any tips would greatly be appreciated.

    ---------
    If you wanna be really helpful, keep reading.


    Here's a little background so you may be able to tailor it to our needs.
    We're a beach community and we have a lot of 5-15 story residential high-rises lining our beaches. We don't have any commercial high rises. All but one are sprinklered and most were built from the 80s onward, reinforced concrete. Mostly "hotel" style condos for vacationers and residents, or in other words, small square footage per unit. Usually under 1000 square foot, but some do go up to about 2000 sq ft.

    One unique hazard of these buildings is often we have no way to access the rear of the building because it is facing ocean and the rear balcony may be the only ventilation point the unit has, so ventilation will be tricky, not to mention rescue of trapped victims. (Looking for tips on these especially)


    Here's some images of the "standard" type high-rise buildings we have. About 80% are almost of identical design of different heights. The other 20% are variations of such, like with enclosed hallways, or maybe 2 story individual units.








    Also how to best approach these buildings with our manpower and following the basic outline of our SOPs. I won't be re-writing them or teaching outside of them. But tactical discussion is still appreciated. Little tips and tricks are REALLY appreciated.

    Our first alarm for any "real" fire is 4 engines and a 100' Tower, which is often OOS and will be replaced by a 55' squirt . All with an Lt, Engineer and a single FF. BC, 2nd, and 3rd engine will there in a about 2-4 mins behind us, 4th engine and truck will be about 10 mins.

    Here's the gist of our SOPs:

    Smoke showing from the building is automatic 2nd alarm. And our BC has said if he has multiple calls or the dispatch sounds reasonably "confirmed" he will call a 2nd alarm as we're leaving the bay. That'll get some mutual aid towers rolling sooner.

    1st engine - Lt and FF - Bring high rise pack (100ft of 1.75 hose w/ smooth bore, 15ft of 2.5 with wye, spanners), forcible entry tools to fire floor, report conditions, hook up to standpipe and begin attack. Search and rescue of fire floor is also assigned, but I still haven't figured out we're supposed to accomplish all that with two men, but I digress.
    Engineer - Lobby control

    2nd engine - Drop off equipment (irons, 2 air-bottles, 6ft pike, rope bag, 100' and nozzle) FF & LT assist 1st due with attack and search and rescue of fire floor.
    Engineer - Assist lobby control until more personel arrive then procceed to fire floor.

    Truck - Check exterior for victims, spot for potential aerial usage/ventilation
    Proceed to floor above fire for search and rescue/evacuation/check for extension.

    3rd engine - Water supply to building systems. Assist truck company.

    4th Engine - Check roof and work down to truck company.
    Last edited by imprezive; 04-06-2009 at 02:27 PM.

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    <<Truck - Check exterior for victims, spot for potential arial usage/ventilation
    Proceed to floor above fire for search and rescue/evacuation/check for extension.>>

    When you say check exterior for victims... you mean people hanging from windows?

    Also, the truck has to get to the floor above quickly if the fire isn't venting and open up.

    What techniques do you guys use to ventilate a single unit burning? Especially if it's not accessible from the ladder (ocean facing)?
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    <<Truck - Check exterior for victims, spot for potential arial usage/ventilation
    Proceed to floor above fire for search and rescue/evacuation/check for extension.>>

    When you say check exterior for victims... you mean people hanging from windows?
    Essentially. Preferably live people waving for help vs like dead people just hanging there. With the type of buildings we have, 95% of them have a little balcony porch thingy. So I could imagine someone being trapped there.
    Also, the truck has to get to the floor above quickly if the fire isn't venting and open up.
    Agreed, I honestly don't how well the concrete comparmentalization will hold... but I guess we're banking that it will hold for a while. We're pretty good at following our SOPs, which I feel are pretty strong, but we recognize that they have to be flexible due to our manpower. If we properly educate ourselves hopefully we can make the best decisions as far as what actions will take priority. In a perfect world the sprinkler and the building construction would prevent fire spread, but I know this isn't the case. So where would be the first places to check for extension? Where would you rank this on your priority list compared to the other duties needed to be performed.

    What techniques do you guys use to ventilate a single unit burning? Especially if it's not accessible from the ladder (ocean facing)?
    We have none, that I'm aware of. That's why my LT and I have been working on figuring out some ideas. One idea would be a 12ft pike from the neighboring balcony.... or some sort of laddering from a neighboring balcony, but I know in some buildings this will be impossible because of parapet type walls between units. Maybe piercing nozzle thru the door to cool it down? Some condos have wide enough units to where a window could be broken out on the A side, but this would be far from ideal. The same goes for rescue on a balcony where there is no aerial access.
    Last edited by imprezive; 04-05-2009 at 08:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post

    Also, the truck has to get to the floor above quickly if the fire isn't venting and open up.

    What techniques do you guys use to ventilate a single unit burning? Especially if it's not accessible from the ladder (ocean facing)?
    We have used this method and while not perfect it does work.

    Chain Link
    A simple method for ventilating windows in high rise or multiple dwelling is by ventilating the windows from the roof or floor above. By welding a chain link on your halligan close to the fork you now have a place that you can attach a carabineer and piece of rope to. After you have attached the rope simply lower the halligan to the window that needs venting, mark the spot on the rope with your hand and haul the rope and halligan back to the roof. After you get the halligan back into your hands you can throw the halligan off the roof, when the rope goes tight the halligan will swing back in towards the building breaking the glass. This is an extremely effective way to ventilate windows at fires in multiple dwellings.

    These are a couple of easy modifications that you can do to your tools that will make them more effective on the fireground.


    Also add a chain link to the bottom end of a metal roof hook as in the pic and use a caribener to attach both the halliagn and the hook together. Once connected swing hook with haligan attached into windows in the fire apartment from the floor above.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by FFPCogs08; 04-05-2009 at 08:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFPCogs08 View Post
    We have used this method and while not perfect it does work.

    Chain Link
    A simple method for ventilating windows in high rise or multiple dwelling is by ventilating the windows from the roof or floor above. By welding a chain link on your halligan close to the fork you now have a place that you can attach a carabineer and piece of rope to. After you have attached the rope simply lower the halligan to the window that needs venting, mark the spot on the rope with your hand and haul the rope and halligan back to the roof. After you get the halligan back into your hands you can throw the halligan off the roof, when the rope goes tight the halligan will swing back in towards the building breaking the glass. This is an extremely effective way to ventilate windows at fires in multiple dwellings.

    These are a couple of easy modifications that you can do to your tools that will make them more effective on the fireground.


    Also add a chain link to the bottom end of a metal roof hook as in the pic and use a caribener to attach both the halliagn and the hook together. Once connected swing hook with haligan attached into windows in the fire apartment from the floor above.
    Yea, this is what I was thinking when I asked the question.

    I wasn't sure if this was something that was done or not, although it makes sense to me.

    .
    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.

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    If you don't have alot of fires in this type of building, when you DO have one it can be quite challenging.

    Two important points I would like to mention regarding ventilation.

    First, USE EXTREME CAUTION when venting ANY windows in a fireproof multiple dwelling. Venting the wrong window, or venting a window too early in the operation can be disastrous for the members operating in the fire apartment and the public hallway. A majority of the venting should be done by those inside the actual fire apartment once water is flowing and a bulk of the fire is knocked down. The members in the apartment directly above the fire can radio inforfmation regarding the apartment layout as well as check for auto-exposure as this is usually the only means of fire spread from floor to floor in these buildings. But ventilation is not their primary concern.

    Secondly, a key component to venting a fireproof multiple dwelling is the controlling of both the lobby stairwell door and the bulkead door on the roof. An open window in the apartment, an open apartment door and an open roof bulkhead can result in an incredibly intense and violent fire spread well into the public hallway and into the stairwell.

    Once the fire is knocked down, the opening of the lobby stairwell door and the roof bulkhead door will provide adequate ventilation throughout the public hallway and stairwell. But done too early and you turn the stairwell into a chimney.

    Ideally you should designate a stairwell as the "attack stairwell" and another as the "evacuation stairwell" and ONLY open the bulkheads when the fire has been controlled by the nozzle team.

    These fires require strong SOP's and discipline because much of what you need to do in these types of fires is counter-intuitive to what you would typically do for a fire in a private dwelling or tenement.

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    It isnt my intention to cut up your SOPs, but just based on a little bit of personal experience, and whole lot of history and LODDs, I feel compelled to at least comment on them. Dont take it as anything besides another opinion.

    IMO, it should be the 1st due engines responsibility to get you water to the fire floor. In theory, being first due should provide the eng. chauffuer with intimate knowledge of the building, including hydrant locations, siamese locations, and first floor outlet locations should the siamese be broken. It is his company operating on the fire floor, it should be his responsibility to work with those members to give them water. Waiting for a company that can be up to 4 minutes out, who could possibly get blocked out by the 1st and 2nd due companies, can create an unneeded delay in proper water supply. Let the 1st due truck chauffuer handle the firemens service elevator and lobby control. If needed, after the eng. chauffuer hooks up, he can do a more complete perimeter walk around, should the 2nd truck not be able to accomplish that either.

    Teaming up the 1st and 2nd due engines is a great idea, but even with your limited manpower, a 2 1/2" line is a much safer option in a high rise fire. I dont want to get into the ****ing match that will surely ensue, but it only takes a look back through threads here to understand why some of us feel that a 2 1/2" should be your only option at a high rise fire, especially one with the potential to be a wind driven or wind assisted fire, as yours can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    If you don't have alot of fires in this type of building, when you DO have one it can be quite challenging.

    Two important points I would like to mention regarding ventilation.

    First, USE EXTREME CAUTION when venting ANY windows in a fireproof multiple dwelling. Venting the wrong window, or venting a window too early in the operation can be disastrous for the members operating in the fire apartment and the public hallway. A majority of the venting should be done by those inside the actual fire apartment once water is flowing and a bulk of the fire is knocked down. The members in the apartment directly above the fire can radio inforfmation regarding the apartment layout as well as check for auto-exposure as this is usually the only means of fire spread from floor to floor in these buildings. But ventilation is not their primary concern.

    Secondly, a key component to venting a fireproof multiple dwelling is the controlling of both the lobby stairwell door and the bulkead door on the roof. An open window in the apartment, an open apartment door and an open roof bulkhead can result in an incredibly intense and violent fire spread well into the public hallway and into the stairwell.

    Once the fire is knocked down, the opening of the lobby stairwell door and the roof bulkhead door will provide adequate ventilation throughout the public hallway and stairwell. But done too early and you turn the stairwell into a chimney.

    Ideally you should designate a stairwell as the "attack stairwell" and another as the "evacuation stairwell" and ONLY open the bulkheads when the fire has been controlled by the nozzle team.

    These fires require strong SOP's and discipline because much of what you need to do in these types of fires is counter-intuitive to what you would typically do for a fire in a private dwelling or tenement.
    Ditto

    Imprezive read Jakes post, absorb it, then read it again. I attended a seminar yesterday at "the Rock" covering this very topic as well as LODDs of some FDNY brothers at hi rises where wind and ventilation were contributuing factors. VERY IMPORTANT stuff that you should know before making any SOPS or doing any training. I'm sure you an find more stuff online about it.

    Stay Safe

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    I would change your 1 3/4 to a 100ft length section of single jacket lightweight 2 1/2 with an 1 1/4 tip. Make sure the line is 1 piece: less couplings = less weight also. As far as venting the windows I agree that it is very dangerous because if the company does not have control of the door or a safe haven and by taking that window you create a wind driven blowtorch it is going to get very bad.

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    This is my first attempt at a reply. I'll go back and re-read several times and possibly edit this. I'm also including some pics for the first post.

    First of all, thank you VERY much for all the input. It will all be mulled over.

    As far as the haligan swing, and the haligan/pike, very cool ideas. I wish there was a place for us to try this. But I'll pass it on to the other companies.

    Re: Jakesdad -
    We're pretty good about knowing and following our SOPs. You make excellent points about the timing and control of ventilation. The only time I could imagine really using some "last ditch" ventilation techniques mentioned would be in a case where the entry team couldn't make a push from the front door due to steam pushing back on them and the wind pushing the fire wouldn't be worse. But for the most part I would imagine the nozzle team is just going to have to take a little beating to get to the seat of fire in these type buildings. If the sprinkler system fails and the fire is too great for the nozzle team to make an attack, I'm not really sure how we're going to approach it. Bresnan nozzle thru the floor?...haha
    As far as stairways, we will be covering this and it is in our SOPs, but for the most part we either have open stairwells or at least open hallways that lead to enclosed stairwells. But def want to do it correctly on those few buildings that have it all connected.... and I think we have that down pat.

    Re: nyckftbl -
    I like a lot of what you're saying, and def feel there could be some tweaking to the order of some of our ops, but I'm an engineer for my dept. I won't be rewriting the SOPs or teaching outside of them. But in our defense of tactics, we have strict apparatus placement guidelines for high rises. The supply engine won't have to worry about being blocked out. Depending on building layout. The first engine may park near the hook-up or drop off LT and FF and remove the engine from the general operational area. But if the panel is close by and location of fire is confirmed. I could see myself hooking up the 2.5s to the building and taking care of a few tasks before my way to the panel to be "lobby control". 2nd engine will be parked outside the operational area before the engineer comes in.
    We don't "waste" any personnel on a elevator operator, just send it down when you're done.
    We def don't need a 2.5 vs 1.75 debate here, it has been done. I'll just say that for our type of buildings we feel the 100ft of 1.75 enables us to make the most a safe, quick and effective stretch/attack.

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    Dont forget about ocean driven winds which are a constant in your city Im sure...those could make lower level fires behave like an upper floor fire, I imagine if its not treated the same ventilation-wise...
    The good thing about this job is that we have done so much, with so little, for so long that we can do everything with nothing...... which is what is wrong with this job.
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    sounds like manpower is an issue for you. If you have a good high rise going, your going to chew through those guys very quickly.


    Is your lobby control guy controlling the elevators? With the amount of people you have, using the elevator to shuttle equipment will be useful.

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    I have a question ....We have limited manpower and leading off with a 2-1/2 would be very challenging if not impossible (6 men on initial alarm). How could we get that size line in service and control it with 2-3 men?

    I know we can get 1-3/4 in service and control it. Our additional manpower is 10-15 mins behind the 1st alarm companies....MA is longer. Any tactics or thoughts ?
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    Look at single jacket light weight 2 1/2 and as I said before get them in 100 ft lengths. The 100 ft lengths weigh less then a 50 ft length of double jacketed hose. When you get it it takes time to get used to it but if possible get the line where you need it then charge it. Once it's in place and charged force your door and put the fire out. If you're talking residential you may only need to get about 10 ft inside the apartment to get a good knock on a fire anywhere in that apartment. Just my thought

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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    We don't "waste" any personnel on a elevator operator, just send it down when you're done.

    Does this mean you are using elevators without putting them in fire service? I can't think of a way to send an elevator down while having it in fire service mode.

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    JAMES B. WILLIAMS, Fireman 1st Grade, Ladder 121. Jan 5, 1996
    Box # 22-1201, 40-20 BEACH CHANNEL DR. ROCKAWAYS
    BURNS

    It was in a a building not that much different than what you have shown here. Almost lost a few men in the same building a year or two ago.

    Buy using 100 ft of 1 3/4 you are unnecesarily risking your lives, willfully ignoring history, and best practice along with what the standpipe was likey designed to be used with. How do you hook up on floor below and make every back room in the farthest appartment with only 100 ft? Did your code specify this when these buildings were built?

    Also how do you know which stairwell to use? If you get a call at 6am from someone in Apt H who says they have no fire but heavy smoke comming from the hallway and it down to the floor...how does your Chief expect two of you to search and find the fire appartment, force entry and control the door while searching , meanwhile no one is getting the 1st (and inadeqate) line in service.

    Also with 2 of you who controls the flow at the standpipe outlet?

    Also how do you just send an elevator down? If you have a fire on the 8th Floor...and you take it to 6 and walk up...how do you control for a civilian on 9 or 10 using it and attempting to take it down. It could very likely end up on the fire floor and now you have more victims to deal with that could have been easily prevented?

    Obviously you are being given inadeqate resources...if anything would happen...I'd hope your families know enough to sue the living sh*t out of the city, Dept and put the CODs name at the top.

    Honestly...no amount of tricks or tips is going to help you much. Standpipe operations are manpower intensive and clearly your city isn't helping you much. You have a good general plan to cover the important issues...however clearly the times that the companies arrive and the manpower (or lack of) they bring makes many of their assigned efforts almost in vain.

    FTM-PTB

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    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.
    Last edited by imprezive; 04-06-2009 at 01:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    Thank you for not helping 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 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, towers, and superpowers, while I was at it.

    If you still have constructive tips, I'd be happy to hear them.
    Pointing out the obvious shortcomings inherent in your current operating procedures IS constructive.

    Unless you are running for mayor, this should be painfully obvious to you.

    Rather than ignore the facts of the matter, you should be taking a proactive stance as to how to address an extremely manpower intensive fire in extremely dangerous buildings.

    Which is what I thought you were doing by asking for input in the first place. Obviously several of the people that replied to you had significant knowledge regarding fires in high rise fireproof multiple dwellings.

    It isn't necessary to go on the defensive regarding your staffing, or lack thereof. But the procedures you have proposed have their limitations, and some of them are downright dangerous.

    Those that have responded to your initial questions have been more than thoughtful and informative with their experience and advice.

    Take it or leave it. But don't act like you are owed a pat on the back for policies and procedures that are woefully inadequate. You should be using occupanceis such as these for leverage to get the resources you need to protect your city, not figure out a way to do the impossible or put your members in grave danger for no other reason than "working within the system to address it".

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    I really didn't want to go into all this, but I guess it is now necessary. I don't have some blinding fondness for my dept, but I also prefer not to "bash" them on the internet, but maybe I should've been clearer in my initial post. I have 4 years on in my dept. Recently promoted to engineer. Many years from being a good one, and many years from being an Lt. I'm not responsible for the training of my dept. I want my fellow members to be as educated as possible, but that falls mostly on their own shoulders. I know I need to do a better job myself.
    Essentially our dept has no official training any more due to budget cuts and current leadership. Do I like this? No. Have I tried to help this? Yes. Just recently drafted a letter for our union about the training issue. Respectfully, my Lt, like many other members of my dept, is part of the problem. I've been pushing to do more. I will keep pushing, but I'm doing my best to do so within the means available to me. The city and administration has been quite clear that if anything is going to change, it'll be less manpower, less engines. I'm not going to defeat that on my own.

    I'm not saying I'm the perfect fireman stuck in a black hole. I readily admit there is a lot I should know that I don't. I'm working on it.

    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.
    Last edited by imprezive; 04-06-2009 at 01:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imprezive View Post
    I really didn't want to go into all this, but I guess it is now necessary. I don't have some blinding fondness for my dept, but I also prefer not to "bash" them on the internet, but maybe I should've been clearer in my initial post. I have 4 years on in my dept. Recently promoted to engineer. Many years from being a good one, and many years from being an Lt. I'm not responsible for the training of my dept. I want my fellow members to be as educated as possible, but that falls mostly on their own shoulders. I know I need to do a better job myself.
    Essentially our dept has no official training any more due to budget cuts and current leadership. Do I like this? No. Have I tried to help this? Yes. Just recently drafted a letter for our union about the training issue. Respectfully, my Lt, like many other members of my dept, is part of the problem. I've been pushing to do more. I will keep pushing, but I'm doing my best to do so within the means available to me. The city and administration has been quite clear that if anything is going to change, it'll be less manpower, less engines. I'm not going to defeat that on my own.

    I'm not saying I'm the perfect fireman stuck in a black hole. I readily admit there is a lot I should know that I don't. I'm working on it.

    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. He 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. 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 some new ideas on ways to carry their tools/packs up the stairs, an outside the box way to rescue a victim or vent a room so that when we're in that crappy situation

    I will not be purchasing any new high-rise packs for the dept our writing any new SOPs. If I could, I would.

    Sure, this could turn into another depressing debate on the current direction of the fire service. I'd rather it just be brothers helping brother the best they can.
    Quite honestly, you are getting what you need. Honest, straightforward advice on a unique fire situation from those who have actually done it and don't use terms such as "sprinkler mop up" when referring to these deadly and dangerous fires.

    Obviously you can't change you manpower or equipment, but you can counter the notion that these fires are easy mop-ups with concrete information regarding the way these fires need to be fought from those that have actually fought them.

    And those making manpower decisions aren't the ones pushing their way down a dark, charged hallway. YOU ARE!

    You dont have to agree with or implement single a thing you read here. But you are having it told to you the way it is and there is no shortcut or easy way around extinguishing these manpower intensive fires, despite what your city or your administration would like you to believe.

  21. #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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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