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  1. #1
    Fire737
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down Responding Non-Emergency to Alarm Drops

    I wanted to get some ideas from other fire Departments on how they respond to General fire alarms. According to our Chief he says that responding to general fire alarms all apparatus should respond without lights and sirens. I think that that is assanine. Shouldn't you at least respond the first due engine emergency traffic. What are some of your departments doing for general alarm drops. Are we getting away from and emergency service or does our department just need some new blood at the top of its ranks.


  2. #2
    firehat87
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I can not agree with you more. We used to have a lot of problems from our dipatchers, which were police-paid. They'd send the cop to automatic alarms and not us. We got a new chief and he wrote a policy saying we go lights and sirens on everything, and no one but FD personnel can tap it out, not even the cop. That was another problem, the cops would often tap out our calls, even though they had no knowledge of building construction or fire spread. Y'all are asking for a lawsuit if you are getting fire alarms, which are actual reports of smoke (regardless of if it is actually smoke), and going non-emergency. CYA and err on the side of safety.

    ------------------
    In Omnia Paratus

  3. #3
    Fire737
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I agree. In our town we send out the police lights and sirens to our fire alarms and when they get on scene they will upgrade our engine if needed. We have been burned over and over on general alarms that ended up being a confirmed structure fire on arrival of first engine. We had a burger King general fire alarm about 2 months ago that we went non-emergency to that burned to the ground. In all actuallity it probably would not have made a difference in the 3 minutes or so saved but I think its the pricipal. We educate the public to take fire very serious and tell them all of the horror stories of what a fire can do and then we treat them like it is no big deal we will get there when we can. If cops go hot to our alarms shouldn't we be able to carry guns?

  4. #4
    Halligan84
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    How many auto alarms do you respond to annually?

    Of that number, how many have been for any cause that required you to take action and would have resulted in a fire at some point?

    If your like us, you'll probably see that general fire alarms, without a telephone confirmation are a good bet to be bogus.

    We respond non-emergency to most alarms without a confirmation call. If its an oddball alarm that we don't get much or a high hazard its an emergency run, but they are few and far between.

  5. #5
    firecat1524
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We respond the first due engine in emergency with the rest responding non-emergency.

  6. #6
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Not to get out of Line by any means but....FIRE737 Your Chief will eventually get someone hurt or worse yet killed ....Yes 98 % of the time Automatic Fire Alarms are nothing more than a malfunction but what about the 2% that are actually fires....I Personally have responded to Incidents where an automatic alarm call was placed on reduced speed by and then found to be an actual working fire...Especially one I can re-call where a life-threat was involved ...About 8-9 Years ago I was with a diffrent department than I am now that took the Reduced Speed approach as soon as the first arriving officer arrived and had nothing showing....When in reality there was fire conditions he could not see from the rear of the property { Call it Im-proper Size-Up if you will } The first arriving Engine { Mine } was confronted with heavy fire conditions ~ Although no loss of life occured here its not to say it couldn't happen --- Alarm Systems are normally False as I said and the Company I'm now with responds lights and siren until it is confirmed no fire in the building by doing a physical walk through and then the reduced speed is ordered may sound silly...Some might even think we're a bunch of wackers responding dead red to a bells call but there is nothing worse then getting caught with "Your Bunkers Down"

  7. #7
    wannabe-EMT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our entire county just switched to dispatching automatic fire alarms non-emergency. There's been much debate, with a lot of it caused by the differences in first due areas. We protect a primarily residential area where people are less likely to be home during the day, and thus won't be calling in a fire if there really were one. We don't like the policy.

    The companies protecting more industrial areas, where there ARE lots of people during the day to phone in and verify an alarm, like the policy.

    All companies have the option, based on history from an address or comments on the run sheet, of running emergency. We also document, document, document, so we cover our rear. For example, the engine responded non-emergency to an automatic fire alarm, and found a smoke condition inside the house from a kitchen fire.

    Peace, and stay safe.

  8. #8
    Fire737
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    It sounds like I am of the same opinion of many of you other FF's. I do realize that most alarms are false. But the thing that really scares me about our department is the fact that most of the time on these alarms we don't even put on our bunkers since it's a false alarm anyway. Thats a bad attitude I know. I just feel like we are starting to take the emergency out of emergency sevices. Who knows it could be one of our own family members one of these days in a building that is alarming and if the FD shows up not ready to go to work I would have a real problem with that. We have tried to get at least the first due engine to run hot but our chief wouln't budge. He still thinks the cops should get there fist and either upgrade or cancel us. What do cops no about Fire?

  9. #9
    Firefighter_Rob
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have seen and heard of many instances when fire alarms and smoke detectors haven't been taken seriously. The idea of responding the first due engine lights and siren with other units on the alarm responding on the quiet seems smart, but you got to remember to keep a spot open for the aerial in front of the structure. You may have been to that particular structure multiple times for false alarms, with your engine clearing it before the aerial arrives, but that one time, you'll have fire and the aerial will be stuck out on the road, burning diesal and flashing lights, being the all important firefighter transport truck. All in all though, fire alarms should be treated like emergency situations.

  10. #10
    Fire737
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Just another sore subject to me. I am a wannabe truckie. Our department is small. 36 full time and no volunteers. We have great equipment. The sore subject is our E-ONE Hurricane 95' platform truck that we have had for 4 years. We bought it new and it has less than 2K miles one it. Our officers think ladders are worthless and should never leave the station. I have been on full time here for 3 years and have only seen the truck leave the station 2 times for fires. It is never used as a first alarm unit. We should just sell it to someone who will use it I think. It's and awesome station weight. At least the station won't blow away.

    ------------------
    All comments expressed are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the Logan Fire Dept or Local 2148


    Dave
    Logan Fire Dept
    Local 2148

  11. #11
    cherryvale1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    When I was on another dept, I saw the result of a Chief thinking it was allright to respond code 1 to an alarm.

    We were getting alarms at the hospital often and the chief decided to start going CODE 1. A few of us tried to talk to him about this but "I SAID CODE 1". One afternoon we got toned out for "That Stupid Hospital" and the full-timers at the two stations started CODE 1. One station even threw their gear bags on top of the truck since it was hot that day and who wanted to get overheated.

    GUESS WHAT!!

    When we were about 1 mile from the hospital, we got a call from dispatch to advise that a police officer happened to drive by and the basement lanudry and about 4000 sq feet of that floor was blazing.

    Luck was with the station that had their gear on the top of the truck, they were told to grab the hydrant. It only took 3 departments about 3 hours to get the fire out and everything in order!!

    Needless to say the CHIEF never admitted to the press that he gave the CODE 1 order but about one year later he retired. GOOD JOB

    Answer that alarm as if it were your house and you will nover go wrong.

    BE SAFE
    BE PROUD
    BE A FIREFIGHTER

  12. #12
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Dave, I don't know if you remeber (or were even here) when the South Icon plant in Smithfield caught fire. It has been about 3 or 4 years ago now. We had numerous alarms there. That was a daily occurance. One night the front end burned off the building. Caused over $1 million in damage. We don't get very many alarms from there anymore. We used Truck 70 on that fire! So belive it or not, T-70 has been used. Sky View on the other hand!

    Stay safe,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited 01-20-2001).]

  13. #13
    Firefighter2197
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    what we do is the first out truck responds emergency and everthing else runs rountine
    2197

  14. #14
    Fire737
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I hope our new Chief comes in and changes that policy to the first Due engine running Hot.

    ------------------
    All comments expressed are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the Logan Fire Dept or Local 2148


    Dave
    Logan Fire Dept
    Local 2148

  15. #15
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    FIRE737...

    Just to give you a quick Overview...My department runs Emergency Speed to Automatic Alarms as I said and Believe it or Not 9 out of 10 Times we Run the Ladder Out First Due { 1999 KME 100' Stick } It has a Pump/Supply/Crosslays ~ Followed up by Two Engines and a Utility Truck if enough Members show up --- Ladder First especially during the daytime --- Reason -- Ladders/Hoses/All the tools we need -- All wrapped on the same vehicle

  16. #16
    Halligan84
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I find it interesting to see the responses regarding fire alarms as real emergencies, but then see that departments run only the first piece emergency speed. Is that because you really know its false but have some weird sense of "liability" if you run everything reduced? If people truly believe that alarm systems are reporting a fire, how many of you run the same box to an alarm that you do on a telephone report of a structure fire? In the last few years, out of 4 or 5 hundred alarm systems I can think of 3 incidents where a fire existed. 2 were incipient and handled by the first piece at reduced speed with a PW can and 1 was extinguished by a sprinkler system prior to arrival (dispatch did not identify a water flow alarm) To me, fire alarms are an incredible burden, probably similar to burgular alarms for the PD. Let's think about why we want smoke detectors.. to alert residents / occupants to get out.. right? If property owners really wanted their properties protected while unoccupied, they would sprinkler. Somewhere along the way, both cops and firefighters have been burdened incredibly by people that feel they have a god given right to hook up whatever they want, install a speed dial or get a monitor service and we'll come whenever they screw up. We responded last week to a run where a new alarm system was installed that gave the resident a KEY CHAIN fire alarm!.. Yes, she was getting her keys out and called us! We need some serious regulation of alarm installation and maintenance (including prevention of malicious alarms) Maybe then, I'll have more of a feeling that we are going to an emergency, than what we are really doing.. putting on all our PPE, driving with traffic to see why a circuit closed.

    [This message has been edited by Halligan84 (edited 01-21-2001).]

  17. #17
    Firefighter_Rob
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I fully agree with the idea of responding the first out pumper, whether it be a dedicated engine or quint, lights and siren, with other units responding on the quiet. But a complete on the quiet response doesn't seem very much to our ideals does it. In MD they teach us, life, property, and environment. These people want to protect there property by alerting us of a possiable fire situation. I think we owe it to the civilians (our customers and taxpayers) to respond at least one engine lights and siren. But you best have the proof to prove that full lights and sirens response is required because of safety issues in case that one time out of 100, the structure is burning and you lose it and the owner sues you for a slowed response.

  18. #18
    JetAxe
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Two of the last ten auto alarm calls I responded to turned out to be actual fires.
    One was a high rise fire on the 17th floor that was out on arrival via sprinkler.
    The second one was a kitchen fire in a private home.

    In both cases the dispatcher had to drop a box after sending us on the auto alarm. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be responding non emergency to these calls, and then finding out the there was a fire there, out or otherwise. If you respond to an auto alarm (fire) without lights and sirens, it is just a matter of time until you get "caught with your quick hitches down".

  19. #19
    ME93
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I think it is rediculous not to at least have your first due engine run lights and siren!!

    Our SOG's state that the first due engine co. responds lights and siren period on all alarms. Unless it is a school or public assembly that has a lot of lives in the building. Then all apparatus respond lights and siren per our BC.

    The one time you let down your guard is when it hits you the hardest.

    ------------------
    Fishers Fire Dept.
    FF/Medic
    Local 416

  20. #20
    stevedm_uk
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    About 6 months ago our chief introduced a policy of sending 1 pump (no lights,horns) to AFA's. On at least 4 occasions when the pump's arrived it's turned out to be a real fire involving persons still in the building. His answer to this is for the OIC to make a risk assesment of the premises he or she is turning out to BEFORE THEY LEAVE THE STATION!! We have recently balloted for strike action over this and a number of other points the result was a yes vote which has succeeded in bringing the Chief to the negotiating table with a view to overturning this insane and dangerous policy.
    Take care
    Steve from UK


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