1. #1
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    Default High Rise with no Aerial Device

    Our District has a potential for a 6-story hotel with up to 90 guest rooms, restaurant and bar being built within the next two years. The tallest building currently in our district of 5500 people is two stories so we have had no immediate need for an aerial device. Our closest mutual aid aerial is at best 15 - 20 minutes away. The new hotel will obviously be fully sprinklered for fire protection but my concern is for any rescue occurances from the upper floors. Looking for any communities that may have been in the same situation, if an aerial device was purchased and if there really is an immediate need (I think so). We definately don't have the funds available for a purchase of this type.

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    Maybe a Federal Grant for a Truck?

    Not sure, never have run into this before.

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    Maybe a talk with whoever enforces your fire/building codes? There may be language about FD access and capabilities that would be helpful to you.

    If someone is about to put up more building than your FD has the capabilities to handle, the time to discuss it is while the building is still just on paper.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    I agree with Deputy Marshall, your chief and city need to talk with the developers about the situation. Could be something as simple as a letter of understanding or as complex as the developers put up a portion of the cost for a new aerial device.

    Definately keep your eye on the development and plan your department's training accordingly. Brushing up on large area search, corridor searches, commerical cooking fires, high-rise fire fighting, along with mass casualty incidents, just for starters, is not something you'll want to do AFTER the building is in place. Then you're just behind the curve and it may be too late.

    Definately talk with the developers.

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    I actually had my first meeting with the developer yesterday. This project is in the very incipient stages with a lot of contingencies to be met for it to even happen. I have informed the developer and the Village Administrator of my concerns for potential elevated fire & rescue operations. If the FEMA grants are available in 2012 & 2013 I will be applying for an aerial device, don't know what my success will be. I actually had intended to look into the possibility of financial support from the developer for complete or partial payment on an aerial, but after our meeting determined this is probably not going to happen. I have definately had my nose stuck in the NFPA, IFC and state and local codes to find anything that will support my concerns. We are also beginning to collect available data on tactical operations involving high-rise structures which will eventually be used to create lesson plans, SOG's and training sessions for our personnel.
    This is a project, that if it occurs will be of a great benefit to our community so I am going to continue working closely with the developer to ensure that it happens, but at the same time ensure the safety of all occupants.

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    Not that I don't understand the need for an aerial. I just don't quite understand why you're only worrying about it now, because there's (possibly) a building your non-existant aerial won't reach.

    (It is amazing what some perspective does for you. Here, our definition for a high rise doesn't start unless part of the building is above/beyond the reach of fire department aerials. I'll take 6 stories anyday instead of 60 stories. We worry about those high rises where we can't even hook up to the standpipes because the systems pressures are higher than our pumpers can pump.)

    But I digress. Back to your situation; depending on landscaping, site layout, etc. your proposed aerial might not even be able to position close enough for access to the top floors. so you'd be bck to where you are without one. I don't know what your zoning/build codes require, but perhaps it would more beneficial to place more emphasis on adequate building systems and properly sized/rated egress (fire towers, et al.)...
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita View Post
    But I digress. Back to your situation; depending on landscaping, site layout, etc. your proposed aerial might not even be able to position close enough for access to the top floors. so you'd be bck to where you are without one. I don't know what your zoning/build codes require, but perhaps it would more beneficial to place more emphasis on adequate building systems and properly sized/rated egress (fire towers, et al.)...
    This..

    Even with an Aerial there may be situations where you won't be able to reach everywhere on the building. You must start by assuming it can't and then plan your operations accordingly. As Pita said, make sure the building has standpipe, sprinkler systems and start developing your high/midrise SOG's. Start training on the use of standpipes..etc.

    We have quite a few buildings similar to what you're describing. Unless there are people hanging out the windows our Plan-A is not to attack it from the outside but to go in and get it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kringsy View Post
    I actually had my first meeting with the developer yesterday.
    Who do you represent in the code process? If you represnet the fire department and don't have regulatory authority in the plan/building approval process, you might not get very far with the builder. The AHJ varies by jurisidiction, but you'll probably get the most traction with whoever that is in your area.

    Which building/fire code system is in effect where you are and who has the authority to enforce it?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    It's going to tough to justify an aerial just because of one structure, even if it is an hotel, especially if the building is fully sprinklred. I certainly understand that it could come into play in other structure fire operations once you purchase it, but justifying 750K or more for a new truck or 400K or more for a good quality used 95' or greater aerial, based on one building may be some tough sledding, especially in the grant process.

    Obviously you want to push for the maximum in terms of built in fore protection. If this is beyond code, emphasize the need for this to your AHJ since it's unlikely you will be able to justify tthe purchase of an aerial.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Who do you represent in the code process? If you represnet the fire department and don't have regulatory authority in the plan/building approval process, you might not get very far with the builder. The AHJ varies by jurisidiction, but you'll probably get the most traction with whoever that is in your area.

    Which building/fire code system is in effect where you are and who has the authority to enforce it?
    What he said.

    Code Enforcement Official? Building Code Official? Fire Code Official? Fire Marshal?

    Who will be doing the fire and life safety plans review? Probably this person has the authority as the Fire Code Official and can make the official recommendation that the Fire Department be equipped with an aerial device. Although I cannot remember specific community names, I can recall several times that developers have fully funded or substantially funded apparatus purchases. Perhaps you could get the developer to match a federal grant? Or do it three ways- Department/Grant/Developer
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Someone else touched on it...

    A "high rise" operation is not dependent on an aerial ladder.

    What's the nearest aerial from a mutual aid department?
    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 I were you I'd reach out to a city department near you that has experience with high rises and see if they will offer some help writing SOG's and developing training for your members. That is more important than any aerial device. You need to be prepared to fight a high rise fire, and that's more about getting your playbook ready and making sure everyone has read it. In a community with only one high rise, it's easy to get excited about planning now, forget about it for 15 years, then get caught with your pants down when the building actually has a fire.

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    We have several buildings similar in size to the one you are concerned about in our district, with no aerial. All fires in these buildings will have to be fought from inside, which really would not change with an aerial. Our department is getting ready to order an aerial ladder in the very near future, but more so because of the increase in lightweight residential construction and needing a safer way to ventilate the roof.

    Now for what you can do, most have touched on it already. Ensure the building is properly sprinkled, has standpipes you can hook to, adequate emergency escape routes, etc. On each of our engines we carry high rise packs consisting of hose, nozzles, and tools that we would need to hook to the standpipe and fight fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcwops View Post
    We have several buildings similar in size to the one you are concerned about in our district, with no aerial. All fires in these buildings will have to be fought from inside, which really would not change with an aerial. Our department is getting ready to order an aerial ladder in the very near future, but more so because of the increase in lightweight residential construction and needing a safer way to ventilate the roof.

    Now for what you can do, most have touched on it already. Ensure the building is properly sprinkled, has standpipes you can hook to, adequate emergency escape routes, etc. On each of our engines we carry high rise packs consisting of hose, nozzles, and tools that we would need to hook to the standpipe and fight fire.
    It's possible that if the developer isn't willing to fund an aerial, you still may be able to assess a small "impact fee" to pay for the additional hose, nozzles and appliances required for the initial purchase of the high-rise packs, plus the cost of specialized training.

    If they go for that, consider sending a few members to a specialized school where they can perform hands-on evolutions, and then come back and train the remainder of the department.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-09-2011 at 08:31 AM.
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    Am I the only one who thinks the thought of the developer purchasing the ladder truck is ridiculous? Fire protection is not his responsibility- it is the governing municipality's. If they allow a development to be built they should have plans in place to be able to provide services to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Am I the only one who thinks the thought of the developer purchasing the ladder truck is ridiculous? Fire protection is not his responsibility- it is the governing municipality's. If they allow a development to be built they should have plans in place to be able to provide services to it.
    I agree. Not sure how this would fall on the developer.

    And while i agree a ladder is not required in all high rise incidents seeing as with most modern building codes with ample fire doors, sprinklers and stairways. But anything can happen. And their should be a aerial device available to deal with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    I agree. Not sure how this would fall on the developer.

    And while i agree a ladder is not required in all high rise incidents seeing as with most modern building codes with ample fire doors, sprinklers and stairways. But anything can happen. And their should be a aerial device available to deal with that.
    I don't disagree. I wonder how close the mutual aid ladder is?
    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
    I don't disagree. I wonder how close the mutual aid ladder is?
    In his first post, he said 15-20 minutes. That is a pretty long time and not even taking into account that fact it may already be in use or OOS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    I agree. Not sure how this would fall on the developer.

    And while i agree a ladder is not required in all high rise incidents seeing as with most modern building codes with ample fire doors, sprinklers and stairways. But anything can happen. And their should be a aerial device available to deal with that.
    So should we limit buildings to a height and layout that the aerial can reach the highest occupied floor from every side? I see why it could prompt a dept. to look at purchasing aerials, but it's not really something that is a MUST have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    In his first post, he said 15-20 minutes. That is a pretty long time and not even taking into account that fact it may already be in use or OOS.
    In most parts of the country, that's probably not that bad.

    I see far too many aerials in my neck of the woods that get used maybe 1 or 2 in ten years.

    However, I'd hate to make a snap judgement, as I don't know all the particulars in this brother's department.
    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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    Sounds like a ladder would be nice but... The way $$ is these days probably be on the wish list for awhile. Keep us informed of your situation.

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