1. #1
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    Default "Powerless firefighters watch home burn"

    WARNING - RANT MODE NOW ACTIVE !!

    With regard to the story posted on the Main page
    Powerless firefighters watch home burn

    Am I the only one who thinks that the Fire Dept. is at least partly to blame here ?

    The Brushy Island Water Association provides water to more than 200 homes and businesses in the area, and water pressure has been a constant problem, Hill said.
    "Normally, a typical fire hydrant has between 130 to 150 psi (pounds per square inch) of water pressure. These hydrants in this area have 20 or 25 - maybe 30 if you're on a good one."
    Hill said his department has a contingency plan for battling any future fire at a cabinet shop located in the same area.
    "If it catches fire, we're going to lay lines across the highway," he said. "Otherwise, there's no way we'd be able to save it."


    Note - the "Hill" quoted above is Frank Hill, chief of the Sylvan Hills Fire Department

    Rodney Rainey has lived on James Cutoff for more than 30 years, he said, and low water pressure has always been a problem for residents in the area. "It's always been that way, as far back as I can remember," Rainey said.

    The chief said the problem has existed for several years.

    If the Fire Department knew this problem existed (even though it's the Water Dept's. problem to fix), shouldn't they have at least developed a contingency plan for EVERY structure and not just the select business mentioned in the article ?

    The Sylvan Hills department ended up calling out units from two additional departments and shuttling water from a hydrant four or five blocks away to pour on the flames.

    If everyone knew this problem existed - why weren't other units auto dispatched to start with ?

    Why hadn't the Dept. looked into other (better ??) ways to move water ?

    Now I'll be the first person to step up and argue against "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" someone else's call, and I truly feel for our Brothers on the SHFD for having to sit and watch a home go up and they couldn't save it. But there's a difference in loosing a house due to a newly discovered water supply problem vs one that "has existed for several years".

    RANT MODE NOW DEACTIVATED

    Your thoughts welcome.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
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  2. #2
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    Smile Let's offer CONSTRUCTIVE Advice...

    OK, what can we do to help? For one, is anyone close to this dept.?? If we offer some ideas, can the info get to them? Here goes: First, an immediate move can be REQUEST MORE APPARATUS ON THE INITIAL CALL. Second, arrange a meeting with those organizations that would respond to this area, discuss the problem, and set up some training to improve the water supply process, include both relay pumping and tanker shuttle operations. There are VFDs out there that have dramaticlly changed their ISO rating using tanker shuttles only, without even having any hydrants. After the immediate items have been addressed, start on the water company. Go to each property owner, enlist their help. write to each insurer, asking the insurer to bring pressure on the water company. Go the political route as well, even try to force the issue that public water and sewer need to be regulated, (if not outright owned and operated) by government. Get thru this and get back to me, I'll have more to offer. Last thought. The Fire Department MUST take the lead on this and be working on the problem BEFORE someone dies in a fire. That is the only way to keep the spotlight off of FD opetrations. Stay Safe....
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  3. #3
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    Unhappy

    Without knowing the financial situation within the dept. or the community...it would be speculation on my part....to discuss the why's or why nots of acquiring the needed equipment,(i.e. Tankers)or having the problem (low pressure) corrected.

    However, armed with the knowledge that hydrants in those areas would be useless for anything other than a 5x5 grass fire...I would certainly set up extensive pre-plans for moving large amounts of water, in the fastest and most efficient method. There is NO EXCUSE for this not being done.
    Tanker shuttles, lister bags, LDH relays, drafting, automatic mutual aid response...are just a few items that should have been put IN WRITING, prior to this incident.

    Yes, they are partly to blame. No doubt about it.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    Might be me, but in my town, my absolute best hydrant pressure ever is 54psi. We routinely operate with our hydrant pressure's at 10psi. But, at that 10psi, we are also flowing over 700gpm. Funny how with the 50psi, we can flow a whopping 1000gpm. Pressure does not always relate to lack of gpm. With that being said, I would agree they should have some better contingency plans for that area. How far is 4 or 5 blocks that they shuttled water from that distance as opposed to laying ldh?
    "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?

  5. #5
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    Default

    Where I am from, the FD has kind of like a landlord/tenant relationship with the water utility. We pay rent, theymaintain the system.

    It is kind of hard for me to blame the FD. The article seems to indicate that this is a small part of the FD's response district. Aside from the response upgrade (do they have tankers in Arkansas?), there appears to be little that they could do.

    Why don't we blame the homeowners a little, too? If you are dumb enough to live where thee is insufficient water for 30 years, you are rolling the dice that something is going to happen.

  6. #6
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    Question

    Pre-planning!! If they have known for years there is no water pressure in that area, why were they trying to use the hydrants instead of shuttling water immediately.

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    Default

    Perhaps I am a "Dumbo" May I ask why the heck the dept didnt lay a line across the street for a house? if thats the plan for the cabinet maker, then why not for the house?

  8. #8
    kevinr
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    Default Living somewhat near Sylvan Hills

    I live near (and work closer) to Sylvan Hills FD. I do know one of their assistant chiefs (he was my First Responder instructor) and have been in contact with him several times. I have not had a chance to talk to him about this incident yet, but I will be willing to pass on any CONSTRUCTIVE advice you may want.

    In response to George's question, yes we do have tankers in Arkansas. Both of our initial mutual aid departments have tankers. In addition, I THINK, that Sylvan Hills received a FEMA grant to purchase a tanker (would have to look back on that).

    Until I get a chance to talk to the AC, that is all I will leave you with. But please keep the advice coming and I will forward it on to them.

    Also if you are interested in contacting them direct, their website is Sylvan Hills Fire Department. Be advised the home page has sound.

  9. #9
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    Cool Could they have called for an air drop?

    Kev,

    Their website states that the Fire Act grant went for a rescue (maybe with a large water tank)

    Without knowing the full story, I'm not going to second guess their tactics or capabilities. Their dept. may have realized their short-comings prior to the incident, but due to (funding issues, boundry squabbles, higher hazard issues, incompetent political regime, etc.), it would be inappropriate to pick at their command or firefighters due to a news article.

    My department protects a 1 mile square island with 100 people living on it. The only way on or off is by a small ferry. Last year we responded in the middle of a summer day to a house fire. We had to wait on the mainland side while the ferry made its 20 minute ride to us, 10 minutes to load an engine, tender, rescue, and medic unit, and another 20 minutes back. Needless to say the house was to the ground prior to our arrival. What does this have to do with the post?

    Well, homeowners on the island complained that the fire department was not protecting them, even though they pay taxes. We offered to put an engine and tender on the island if some folks would go through the volunteer training, and no one responded. Like George stated, the homeowners need to take some of the responsibility. If you decide to live on an island (or in this case, an area with low water pressure)don't expect the same protection as everyone else.

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  10. #10
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    Default Been there...

    Our town used to not have good water flows either, so I know what kind of situation this department is in. Our solution was calling in water immediately if we had a structural fire, and we had a 4,000 gallon tanker in our station that responded to every structure call.

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  11. #11
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    My department protects a 1 mile square island with 100 people living on it. The only way on or off is by a small ferry. Last year we responded in the middle of a summer day to a house fire. We had to wait on the mainland side while the ferry made its 20 minute ride to us, 10 minutes to load an engine, tender, rescue, and medic unit, and another 20 minutes back. Needless to say the house was to the ground prior to our arrival. What does this have to do with the post?

    Well, homeowners on the island complained that the fire department was not protecting them, even though they pay taxes. We offered to put an engine and tender on the island if some folks would go through the volunteer training, and no one responded. Like George stated, the homeowners need to take some of the responsibility. If you decide to live on an island (or in this case, an area with low water pressure)don't expect the same protection as everyone else.
    We have an islandlike that in our county also. Only the ferry is not big enough for all the apparatus to use. It seems to me that if you choose to liveon the island, you have to accept the risk. In the case of this post, did this guy live there for 30 years and there were NO fires? I'll ive you the first fire. But, after that, seems to me that the residents would see the risk they CHOSE, andplan accordingly.

    Some people live on the beach by the ocean and accept the risk that their house may be washed away. The weigh the risk vs. gain and choose accordingly.

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