1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Are you prepared for the big one?

    As I travel around the country teaching my big water stuff I find a common link with most departments. They don't get that many big fires. When I say big fires I mean the type that require large flows. The big fire operations require thinking out of the box, if you will, to put together hose evolutions to move large volumes of water. I find that some departments really don't have a plan for moving big water and don't rally care because they say "we just don't get those fires here.
    My question is, what does your department have for a plan to handle the BIG ONE?

  2. #2
    Fire Line
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    We learned a lot when we had a big one two years ago. All major buildings/industries have pre-fire plans done. Luckily most of them are in areas covered by hydrants. One elementry school has no hydrants and we hold a mutual aid practice with the two closest FDs at least once a year. All that is left is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I work for the city water department to support my habit. This is an issue that my boss(Retired Fire Chief)and me have worked on for a while. We have installed pumps for these type of fires and added storage tanks to compensate for the rest. We have put the piping in the ground to make the water supply accessible to the fire department and the fire department has purchased enough 5" LDH to get the water were they need it. My water system could supply all three Engines from here and two Engines from our mutual aid department. They could pump all the water they could for over five hours just off the stored water with out any special adjustments on my part.

    In the rural area's it is a different story. We have to rely on tanker water, except in certain areas, and this is our major downfall. Even with mutual aid if the fire is more than 2000 gallons can black-out it will burn down.

    Most municipal water systems are built around fire protection and it is convenient for people to hook-up and drink, but rural water supplier put water in pipes for people to drink and not for fire protection! The rural water business here will not work with the fire service on the issue of fire protection at all because they would have to absorb any cost incurred and not have any way to get the funds back. This problem is due to the laws that bind them as to what they can charge for.
    I know I got a little off the topic "THE BIG ONE", but to answer your question we preplanned our big fires and worked out the water supply and other issues like haz-mat, ems, media, and what special equipment will be needed during the incident. I just hope I am retired before they ever need to use it.

    [This message has been edited by JAMESBENNETT (edited 01-23-2001).]

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The largest structure in our district burned down this past summer. It was a cold storage wharehouse. We had a preplan on the structure, but the dispatch center failed to use it initially. They were not sure if was actually the cooler on fire. The preplan worked well once it was used. We ended up laying five 5" supply lines supplying three ladders, and a bunch of deluge guns. We used two ponds for water (no hydrants out here). One was a short 400' lay which fed two 5" lines. The other required a 2200' relay feeding the other three 5" lines. We had to be flowing at least 6500 gpm. We where probably about 100,000 gpm short of what we needed. I still can't believe the volume of fire that was present when we rolled up. I guess not to many people drive by the place at 2:00 am.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We are a rural department, most of the district has hydrants. Aside from some barns that you won't probably be able to save if they get going anyway, we have a large grocery store and a large trucking company that will both require water that the municipal system won't come near to supplying. The only answer is PREPLAN and document the plan including automatic mutual aid assignments. Our County Fire Control has our mutual aid plans and all we have to do is call for a 2nd, 3rd, etc alarm. For either location we'll be using dump ponds and tankers shuttling water. The store is sprinklered, but the trucking company will be a nightmare as it includes multiple buildings one of which is a large old heavy timber structure that is close to the road with power/phone lines in the way.

    If you're an officer, flow-test the hydrants, have mutual aid drills once a year, keep your plan current and try and work it out in your mind what you would do given a situation involving a large or water-intensive structure. We don't get enough fire, let alone large, to be able to just do it off the top of our head. Ya gotta have a plan!

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We protect a rural area without hydrants except for the Mall, which has hydrants, but not enough for a real fire there. We have preplanned our response area and have located all the accessible water sources. We have a tanker task force preplanned. And, possibly most important, we practice, more than once a year, with our mutual aid.

  7. #7
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I Don't think you could ever be fully pre-pared for "The Big One" --- My Town had a Large Fire in an abandoned Lumper Company in 1995 --- At the time I was a member of one of the Mutial Aid Departments that responded to it --- 7 alarms I believe were Tranmitted before the Under Control was sounded --- The Town itself is only 2.1 Square Miles and raley has a House Fire let alone what we had this particular night --- Although the Fire was a total loss the guys and girls who were there handled the Incident with the training and equipment that was availible --- An excellant effort went into the extingushment and no one was injured --- It was the largest Fire my community has ever seen and Although alot of the members knew the building was abandoned I don't think anyone ever expected or pre-pared themselves for what did occur there

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We had one of our biggest fires about 2 years ago, it was a 150 year old barn that was about 2 1/2 stories high, the fire also burned two smaller structures that were beside the barn.
    The first major hurdle that we had was that the fact by the time we were dispatched the barn and one of the smaller buildings were already fully involved and the third was well involved, But the biggest problem that we faced was the fact that this fire was in a very rural area with no hydrants so we had to user a takner relay. I think that we had about eight or nine tankers because the nearest water supply was about 4 miles away.
    Overall though i think that between all of our mutual aid and our dept that we handled this fire very well.
    i do however feel that no matter how much training and preplanning that is done no department can be fully prepared for the big one, but again this is just my opinion.

    Tom Pysh
    Ellsworth/Somerset V.F.D.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    When they tone out for it, we get on the engines and the trucks, and we go. When we get there we save the people inside, and put out the fire. It's that simple. These plans are stupid. We don't have that many big buildings in my town, so pre-lans don't matter. Besides, you'll never be prepared for a fire. Or any call. So you can pre-plan until sunrise, but it will never be the perfect senario. And that's all i've got to say about that.

    Lt. Triple V.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest



    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

    [This message has been edited by BucksEng91 (edited 02-13-2001).]

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Fireman0023, I have to disagree with you. Pre planing can be a valuble tool. Haven't you ever looked at a building and asked yourself: where is the FDC, what chemicals are stored here, how is this building constructed, where is my nearest hydrant, what may help or hinder a stretch into the center, second floor, basement?

    If you ever did any of those things you were pre planning that occupancy. If you never think about any of those things then you are doing a disservice to yourself, your men, and your department.

    You can't plan for every scenario on a given building, but you need an idea about what you are doing.

    Stay Safe and never stop learning

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Preach it, Fireman!!! Preplanning is a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME!!!

    (until you pull up to find that your ladder company can't access the rear to affect rescues because you're just too damn big to fit under the power lines, you have no idea where the sprinkler connection is, don't-sweat-the-high-rise-pack-we'll-pull-a few-extra-sections-along-with-the-preconnect-and-now-we've-made-the-fire-floor-but-are-thirty-feet-short-of-our-goal, and WHAT THE HELL was that large explosion??? Ignorance will only get you in the grave a little sooner.)

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just remember... What you do in the first few minutes will determine what you do for the next few hours. Make the right call....

    [This message has been edited by lumpy649 (edited 02-13-2001).]

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I believe we are ready for the big one.

    5 inch hose on our pumpers for supply. All handlines flow from 150 to 326 gpm. 2 deluges on the first out rig and one on the second.

    Realizing a water supply problem in the area of a few of our structures we have planned for mutual aid tanker shuttles for additional water supplies for those areas.

    Our pre-plans are being updated this year.

    Being ready for the big one is an evolving process. We believe we are ready now but could make changes to be more ready. We are hoping to install at least one dry hydrant to augment our municipal system in an area of concern for water supply. Also we are looking at purchasing additional 5 inch hose and turning an older rig into a hose wagon.

    So I guess the simple answer is yes, I think we are ready.


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