We have a couple good size modern motels in our town. Our small department response to fire alarms there have been hap-hazard and less than professional, in my opinion. I hate beating ourselves up, but one day we will look really bad when it's not just an alarm.
Typically a response will include both our engines with a total of 5-8 FF. An automatic aid call goes to the only neighbor we have who will usually show up with 1 more engine and 2-4 more FF's. These are 2 story 60-75 room buildlings.
We tend to group up and wander around looking for obvious problems, but really dont have a standardized plan or method to sort things out.
I think we can do better.
Anyone willing to share the small town SOG or process on how we can do a better more complete job at this type of call?
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Thread: Small Dept Motel Response
10-23-2009, 07:54 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
Small Dept Motel Response
Last edited by fireharley; 10-24-2009 at 11:21 AM.
10-23-2009, 08:55 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- Central NJ
Some random thoughts,,,
First officer or engine company to arrive reports to the fire alarm panel to determine alarm zone and then assigns crew to investigate area indicated.
First engine prepares to be the attack engine, should fire be discovered, and stages near the area where the reported problem is, leaving room for additional apparatus (truck co if one is coming).
Second arriving engine stands by for water supply, be it a hose lay, nurse feed operation, whatever. Second or third engine also prepares to connect fo sprinkler/standpipe connection if one exists. Assure that the rig drivers know how to make these hook-ups and the hosebeds/adapters are set up to facilitate such an operation. Verfiy proper system pressures (usually 150 PSI) if there is s suppression system/FDC.
Teams search for the source of the alarm and radio/report back on findings, other personnel are on standby preparing to stretch a line and go to work, if a fire is found.
Investigating personnel should have radios, handlights, forcible entry tools, a water extinguisher, thermal imager and building keys (if available). All firefighters should be properly dressed in PPE and have SCBA donned on their backs with masks at the ready.
After each alarm, company officers and Chief discuss how they would have handled a fire at the location in the motel where the alarm was found to be coming from. Where would the line have been stretched from, where to, who would do the vent, search, utlility control etc? If you have a few bucks, invest in one of those measuring wheels to verify your hose lines will reach the rooms from the rig, and make sure your officers can do a good hose estimate, not just dump a preconnect and hope it reaches.
Make each faulty alarm/non-fire run a learning expierence. Assure all members understand the building, the places fire would spread, how to get in, how to get out, where utlilty rooms are etc.
Hope this helps
10-24-2009, 04:04 PM #3
10-24-2009, 05:38 PM #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- Northeast Coast
Our small FD runs numerous alarms to hotels/motels. Having poor staffing is always an issue so we've designated them high risk occupancies and any alarm is a full first alarm assignment. For us that's only 2+1 and a bus, though an automatic recall of all off duty and call personnel.
Duty officer goes to the panel to find the zone. First engine crew to the floor in the zone, and short of secondary reports, the truck crew and firefighter from the ambulance go to the floor above. This can be modified depending on staffing at the time of the call (ambulances out, second engine delayed, etc).
We also run automatic aid to the next town over for a hotel on our border and our engine crew stays together and takes whatever assignment they're given unless we arrive first, in which case our officer takes command and splits the crew floor/zone and floor above.
In all honesty in the last 14 years we've not had a burner in any hotel that one or two sprinkler heads didn't control. More often than not if it's anything its a water issue from the floor above pouring into the detection device. This being said our crew assignments reflect our experience, which is not necessarily the best way.
10-24-2009, 08:52 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
MG3610: you have provided a good basis to work from. It will sure beat the mulling around discort that currently goes on. Thanks
Last edited by fireharley; 10-24-2009 at 08:55 PM.
10-24-2009, 10:29 PM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Your problem isn't limited to small depts only, many medium and big cities also show up without a clear plan or idea of what to do. The difference is that in alot of the cases with medium and big cities is that they can throw more manpower or equipment into the equation.
Several good responses so far, not sure what I can add but heres a couple thoughts:
Measure the distance from each entrance to the center of the hotel hallway to see if your cross lays are long enough to reach the center or not. This would also include going up interior stairs or working off standpipes if present. If your hose doesn't reach the room that is in the middle of the hallway then you know you immediately have to add sections or run a gated wye.
Determine with hotel management how quickly they can provide you a print out of occupancy levels. Big difference between a Tuesday night when it's partially full and a Saturday night on a holiday weekend when it's completely filled.
Preplans have already been mentioned. Know your utility locations, alarm panel locations, stairwells, elevators, FDC's, the list goes on.
Realize that in alot of smaller departments, sometimes it takes one person to take the bull by the horns. Get a buddy and start preplanning it on your own. Outline a proposal on paper. Think it out make it look good, then take it to your Chief/brass. They are likely to tell you to run with it...they may be so busy with other things that they haven't put the time into it so will welcome your proposal. If they get bent out of shape that you did it, well, you and your buddy will still be prepared should either of you ever end up first in or in command.
If there is a bigger sized department with inspectors that you can access information from then give that shot. Read, learn, study.
Most of all, don't panic, whether it's the big one or the routine little one. Take your time, look at what the situation is telling you, make the best decision with the information you have in front of you, and always have a backup plan. Good luck.
10-27-2009, 01:55 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
the biggest thing is to have the officer and at least 1 firefighter go to the alarm panel (which should have a zone map) and then going to the area indicated to investigate the alarm.
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