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  1. #1
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    Default Skyscraper thought

    With the recent WTC event, I've thought about the rescuers having to haul gear up many stories to the floor where the incident is. I'm a small town volunteer where our tallest structure is a church steeple so I apologize if I'm totally off track on this. My thought is if you have a structure that is many stories high (I'll use 60 floors as an example), to have gear already in place. For instance, have rooms on the 20th and 35th floors with SCBA's, spare bottles, forcible entry tools, hi-rise packs, and EMS gear available for entry teams. The fire department crews would only have to carry themselves and a mask up to the room closest to the incident, unlock the door, retrieve the needed equipment, and procede to where you need to go. This room could also be a command post, staging area, and rehab area. I realize the expense in all of the hirise buildings in some cities would be great, but maybe this could be shared with the building owner, tenants, and fire departments. This would help the first in crews to reach the incident floor faster and with less exertion than carrying a ton of equipment. Like I said, I'm not accustomed to this type of incident. Maybe its not feasible, it's already done, or may be in the works. You guys that have these hi rise structures have my respect as "ironman athletes". Keep it safe!!


  2. #2
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    Well let's see...FDNY doesnt do that...they stick with the old fashioned carry you gear all the way up the stairs...but I did just read somewhere that a dept somewhere in the US has a plan very similar to yours I cant (grrr) remember what department or where I read it (an old Firehouse perhaps). but they have large steel boxes in the stairwells with high rise hose packs, SCBA bottles, forcible entry tools, search ropes, and the like. The boxes are mandated for certain types of buildings by the local fire code and are paid for by the buildings owner.
    Hope this helps.
    - -Stay safe, Brothers

    [ 10-21-2001: Message edited by: FyreFyter402 ]
    Stay Safe!!! FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    It is an interesting idea, however elevators usually remain available to the fire service.

    If I remember right from my readings, FDNY's high-rise procedures is they normally will use the elevators to the 3rd floor below a fire, unless the building is less than 6 stories.

    Additionally, large buildings like WTC would have multiple elevator banks. Not all go to the top -- some elevators have shafts that physically stop on certain mechanical floors. So a fire on the 34th floor, you normally can safely take an elevator bank that stops on the 30th floor -- no chance there of the elevator going to the fire floor since it ends four floors short!

    With WTC, the Jet Fuel went down the shafts, making the whole elevator system unavailable -- a very unusual occurence to say the least.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    And each building should have one of these closets every five floors above the 10th floor, fully stocked with fire equipment.

    The idea is good but the cost and maintenance factors would make it totally out of reach for any building owner.

  5. #5
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    This would be an excellent idea. The only problem is, it's probably about 25th on the list of excellent ideas ... like adequate staffing (w/ realistic pay), up to date equipment, TIC's for all apparatus, SCBA's w/ integrated PASS, and so on and so on.

    Stay Safe

  6. #6
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    This is a very interesting idea. One of the first problems with this is that the SCBA cylinders need Hydro tested either every 3 or 5 years depending on wether there Aluminum or Composit. So if they did do this someone is going to have to make sure that the hydro testing gets done as needed. Also a composite has a service life of 15 years not sure about Aluminum and someone is going to have to go out and make sure that there getting taking care of as needed. I think the idea of storing some equipment in stairwells or secure rooms for Firefighters has a great deal of merit. However I don't think SCBA should be included. What happens if a department changes brands of SCBA who has to foote the bill for replaceing all the SCBA in the buildings. Also the last time I knew SCBA are suppose to be tested yearly as well. I just don't think putting SCBA in high rises for Firefighters is a good idea.
    Now putting high rise packs and hand tools in them is a good idea as long as they are secure. These items don't require frequent testing and will last a long time.

  7. #7
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    I have no idea how common this actually is, but in a discussion this weekend at the fire school, one of our instructors mentioned that some newer buildings are set up with something like an air standpipe. It lets firefighters refill their bottles at various places inside the building. It isn't quite as handy as the idea of having all your gear there, but it certainly cuts down on having to haul spare bottles up 60 floors. It would also be brand independant, unless someone goes and changes the fittings on the air bottles.

    I'm not sure if there's a cascade in the building, or if you hook a compressor from a truck to the outside air connector, and pressurize the whole system that way. Either way, it's something that's currently in existence somewhere... so it's a step in the right direction.

    Andy

  8. #8
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    IN THE DEPARTMENT NEIGHBORING MINE, IT IS THEIR POLICY THAT EVERY BUILDING OVER 10 FLOORS MUST BE EQUIPED WITH H.A.C.(HIGH RISE ATTACK CART). THIS CART IS LOCATED IN A LOCKED CLOSET IN THE LOBBY OF THE BUILDING. THIS CART IS ACTUALLY A KNAACK LOCK-BOX ON WHEELS THAT CAN BE WHEELED IN THE ELEVATOR TO YORU VARIOUS FLOORS. INSIDE THE BOX MUST BE EVERY POSSIBLE TOOL YOU THINK OF, FROM CERTIN SETS OF IRONS, FLAT HEAD AND PICK HEAD AXS, SLEDGES, RIT PACKS, ROPES, SPARE RADIO BATTERYS,HANDLIGHTS, AND VARIOUS STANDPIPE CONNECTIONS WITH 200' 2 1/2 WYED INTO (2)200' 1 3/4 HANDLINES WITH NOZZLES.IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LANDLORD OR THE BUILDING TO GET THE EQUIPMENT SERVICED AND TESTED EACH YEAR. YOU THINK THIS IS EXPENSIVE? WELL THE TRADE OF IS THAT THE BUILDING DOES NOT HAVE TO BE EQUIPED WITH HOSE STATIONS EVERY 150'ON EVERY FLOOR! WITH THE COST OF RUNNING THE PIPE AND THE COST OF ALL THAT HOSE AND THE FACT IT NEEDS TO BE TESTED YEARLY DO YOU REALLY THINK THE LANDLORD IS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE COST OF SOME HANDTOOLS???I THINK NOT. ITS A GREAT PROGRAM AND IT IS MONITORED AS PART OF THIER YEARLY FIRE INSPECTION.
    GOD BLESS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTER FROM FDNY!!! WE ARE FOREVER GREATFUL!!!

  9. #9
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    I am with E229Lt. Besides...who should better know what they need there than those that deal with it.

    Stan
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  10. #10
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    It's a nice concept, but you have to remember who we are dealing with here. These are the same people that if the code states any building 70 feet or taller in height requires a sprinkler system, they will build the building so it is 69 feet, 6 inches high.

    The building owners are interested in just one thing...$$$$

    Most FDs are strapped as it is when it comes to fire prevention efforts...having to throw in the issue of making sure the building owner complied with the equipment and testing of same would be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

    [ 10-23-2001: Message edited by: Captain Gonzo ]
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  11. #11
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    The High rise Cart sounds like a very pratical idea but, who is in charge of making the yearly check? Another question I have is how do you make sure the spare radios stayed charged? I can see the other items such as hand tools, nozels and hose being on a cart or in a closet ready to go. If there only checking yearly how do they know the radios and flashlights would be ready when you needed it?

  12. #12
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    Does anyone remember why we stopped using hose that was in building cabinets? It wasn't maintained. I have been trained to ignore hose & any other equipment like this since I started, early 70's. Guys got caught without what they needed a few too many times.

  13. #13
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    It is a nice idea...but many companies don't maintain their equipment as Grit said. The company I work for has their own EMS and Fire Brigade and they maintain all the equipment located on each floor of the building. They do all their own training, have a HazMat Team, etc. In my fire area there is a 3 story office complex and they basically handed us all their hose, etc. and told us to use it because they didn't want to maintain it all the time. They tried having a Fire Brigade and didn't like it so they told us that we could take all the equipment for free. We threw out most of the hose they donated to us cause it was junk.

    Also, with high rises I think we need to weigh the loss of life more. I was a little suprised that they sent so many fire fighters up the WTC towers. I figured they would try some other approaches like send up special teams and post a fire fighter on every 3rd floor to help the workers down. I know the rush of adrenaline that we get and I am sure had I been there that I would have rushed right into the building too..it is our job and we don't hesitate..sometimes that is what the problem is. We as a fire service need to start looking at some new ideas...you know think outside the box about high rise incidents. A 110 story building (even if it does not collapse) poses so many threats to us. They said on foot it would have taken these guys at least 2 hours to get to the top of the building! That is just unrealistic for all of us...especially carrying an additional 60-80 pounds of gear and equipment with us. Number 1 cause of death in the fire service...heart attacks...even without the collapse I think we would have had a lot of injuries and deaths among the firefighters on that day. Hopefully the IAFF, Chiefs Associations, NFPA, etc. will start to look at some of these things and make some needed changes. Take care and God Bless.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

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