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View Poll Results: Is it worth agressive interior attack on known vacant buildings?

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  • Yes, it is worth the risk

    20 55.56%
  • No, it is not worth the risk

    16 44.44%
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Thread: Risk/Reward Interior attack vacant buildings presentation

  1. #1
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    Default Risk/Reward Interior attack vacant buildings presentation

    I am going to school for a degree in Emergency Services. I am going to do a presentation on the Risk/Reward of an aggressive interior attack in a known vacant building. I know the motto of Protect life and property. But I believe I could make a strong argument that using a defensive attack on vacant buildings is protecting life (your life).

    I am going to argue that firefighters do not need to risk their lives when there is nothing to be saved.This idea for the presentation stems from the incidents in Detroit where firefighters were dying due to building collapse and other causes while fighting fires in vacant buildings. I know that the department has now told the firefighters to take more defensive actions during these incidents and that idea has been met with a great deal of scrutiny.

    So what I am asking for is if anyone can please give me some ideas for sources or maybe some strong arguments from someone that believes we should still go in during these fires.


  2. #2
    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    Haha!! Nice first post bro.
    Weruj1, MemphisE34a and ATFDFF like this.
    IAFF

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    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    You need to have more details to get an accurate answer. What are the exposures? Are vagrants possibly inside? Could there be explosives / HazMat inside? Could the fire be arson?

    Please tell us more about what is "known" about this vacant structure. Then you will get more opinions than you could ever use.

  4. #4
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    Time to get the popcorn, this will get interesting.

    Like Hunt said, we need more info. In general, if power is turned off to the building, something besides mice with matches started the fire. It may have been a vagrant or squatters. It's also possible that kids were playing in there and started the fire. Lots of possibilities. In general, the building isn't vacant until it has been searched.

    Also, a big part of the equation are the conditions upon arrival.

  5. #5
    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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    I told you these were great seats!!
    Nothing is as unimpressive as someone who is unwilling to learn.

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    The problem with ASSUMING all vacant buildings are empty of any victims is simply HOW DO YOU KNOW? There is absolutely no way to definitively know for sure that a building is vacant. Some will say that they never have seen anyone in a vacant building in their entire career, and others will say they have seen it over and over. Who is right? BOTH, unfortunately those that have never seen it may end up killing someone tomorrow by not doing a search.

    No one is suggesting that firefighters run blindly into buildings where there is no chance of survivable victims. We certainly don't do that in buildings where we know positively there are victims. The problem is not even trying to do a search if conditions allow.

    The basic problem with the original poster's poll question is it is so unbelievably vague that no real answer can be given by anyone seriously considering it. What is a vacant building? Who decided it is vacant? What are the fire conditions? What is the overall condition of the building? Are the utilities connected? If not how did the fire start? You see it isn't anywhere near as simple as he wishes it to be.

    Try again, and maybe you will get some answers that will have meaning for your presentation otherwise all you are writing is a propaganda piece for the over zealous Safety Sallies.
    SPFDRum and voyager9 like this.
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

  7. #7
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    I'm not going in. I joined just so I could tell girls at the bar I'm a hero. To be honest, I don't even go in when people are trapped. I always forget something on the rig and let the real firemen go in. The news cameras won't see me if I'm actually inside, need to stand in the front yard to get seen. Just remember, I fight what you fear, walk where the devil dances, and am a dragonslayer.
    Ctuttle3d likes this.

  8. #8
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CheeseFF/EMT View Post
    I am going to do a presentation on the Risk/Reward of an aggressive interior attack in a known vacant building.

    I am going to argue that firefighters do not need to risk their lives when there is nothing to be saved
    And how do you know the Bldg is vacant?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  9. #9
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    So should we not respond lights and sirens to a "vacant" fire? That includes heightened risk. Maybe we shouldn't even go if there aren't exposure risks.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Lions, tigers and bears, oh my. This will be interesting.

  11. #11
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    As many have eluded, there is no such thing as a "known vacant building" except when the building is in fact occupied and the resident meets you in the yard and tells you that all of his family, workers, etc. are accounted for and out of the fire building.

    Perhaps a better survey would be obvious abandoned buildings. Even this depends much on the territory. The section of town that I work in has literaly hundreds to thousands of abandoned properties. A conservative estimate would be that 50% of them are occupied by squatters - incuding men, women, and children.

    The neighborhood where I live however is more in line with your original rationale - a vacant house in my neighborhood is vacant - regardless, a search is the only way to truely confirm that.

    My personal opinion is this: Your decision to initiate any kind of fire attack should be based on the size and location of the fire along with the construction and stability of the structure - period.
    Robert Kramer
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  12. #12
    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    As many have eluded, there is no such thing as a "known vacant building" except when the building is in fact occupied and the resident meets you in the yard and tells you that all of his family, workers, etc. are accounted for and out of the fire building.

    Perhaps a better survey would be obvious abandoned buildings. Even this depends much on the territory. The section of town that I work in has literaly hundreds to thousands of abandoned properties. A conservative estimate would be that 50% of them are occupied by squatters - incuding men, women, and children.

    The neighborhood where I live however is more in line with your original rationale - a vacant house in my neighborhood is vacant - regardless, a search is the only way to truely confirm that.

    My personal opinion is this: Your decision to initiate any kind of fire attack should be based on the size and location of the fire along with the construction and stability of the structure - period.
    That sums it up very well.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Option 3 - Maybe. Reasons stated above.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  14. #14
    Forum Member FiremanLyman's Avatar
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    Vacant =/= Unoccupied. Until it is proven otherwise, one is to assume there is the possibility of life inside a structure.

    Most fires are caused by man-made reasons (cooking, heating, installation of utilities, improper use of items, arson...). Very few are caused by good old nature (lighting, sun hitting a mirror...) though they do happen.

    If a structure fire presents tenable conditions to proceed with a primary search in conjunction with an offensive fire attack, and trained manpower is available and equipped to perform interior operations it should be done. Three things happen;

    1) Increase the chance of rescuing a victim.
    2) Exposure problems are mitigated.
    3) Cause and determination are made easier to investigators.

    Once a vacant building is determined to not contain a life safety issue, the call then can be made to reduce risk to firefighters and transition to a defensive fire attack. That is an issue for IC's and Departments to make.

    There are many other thoughts to this topic, these are mine.
    ~Drew
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    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    The Condition of the structure and amount of fire etc. is more important to me versus the vacant or unvacant.

    The building did not fall down because nobody was inside. It fell down because of structure is was weakened by some force (I.E. fire, water, unkept).

    A blanket statement such as the question above is where the problem lies. You cannot say we will not go in on vacant structures. That would be akin to saying we go in on all structure fires. That binds the ICs hand and does not allow him to adapt to the situation at hand.

    Now i will agree that a vacant structure can provide you with clues (just like any other building) that will affect your decision making process on the fire ground.

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    Ok guys. I knew that this forum could of been a good help to steer me in the right direction. But I should of included more information and I didn't think this post to be a place to insult my intelligence. I will taking it down asap

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CheeseFF/EMT View Post
    Ok guys. I knew that this forum could of been a good help to steer me in the right direction. But I should of included more information and I didn't think this post to be a place to insult my intelligence. I will taking it down asap
    Seriously, if you felt insulted by anything here heaven help you if you ever actually become a career firefighter and sit down at the kitchen table. Learn to take some ribbing and maybe you will learn something from the guys that have been around the block without their mom driving the mini-van!
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

  19. #19
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    A) how is it known vacant?
    B) In my neighborhood, with zero lot lines and 18" separation between houses, you would look pretty stupid letting the block burn because you where to timid to stop an interior fire on the assumption the property was "vacant"...
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CheeseFF/EMT View Post
    Ok guys. I knew that this forum could of been a good help to steer me in the right direction. But I should of included more information and I didn't think this post to be a place to insult my intelligence. I will taking it down asap
    Nobody insulted your intelligence. This topic has been hashed out here in the past and the threads got entertainingly bloody. That was the reason for MY remark, nothing else. Dont take your thread down, don't get offended. You've just touched on a topic that divides the users here by a minute percentage...and they are passionate about it.

    My take on this subject was covered by MemphisE34A (who I'll wager is not on A shift anymore) and FyredUp.
    They both, as well as many others here have been balls deep in this very debate.
    So don't take it down, steer away, abandon, or otherwise bail on your thread. Let it play out and you might be surprised at what you will learn.

    Chive on!!
    IAFF

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