1. #1
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    Default Survey: Basement Fire S.O.P.'s

    I am conducting a survey on S.O.P.'s for attacking basement fires. I would like to know if your department attacks basement fires by stretching a line down the basement stairs, through a rear exterior entrance,etc., and if a line is streched to first floor or floor above to provide exposure/search team protection.

    Serious and detailed responses would be greatly appreciated from any and all respondents. I'd especially like to hear from those of you from urban departments (LA, Chicago, Detroit New York, Philly, Baltimore, etc.)

    Thanks!!!
    Last edited by Ladders3; 02-02-2003 at 05:52 PM.

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    This comes out of FDNY sop Eng Ops chapter 4: Fire Scene Operations: 4.1.2 "..Engine company tactics at most structure fires are to stretch a hoseline via the primary means of egress (main entrance to the building), connect to a hydrant and attack the fire." Any agressive dept will want to make an interior attack, for the primary reason that the safest and quickest way to protect life is to get between the victims and the fire and to put it out. For a basement this means the interior stairs need to be protected. FDNY also uses a door postion, this is usually the 3rd ff on a hoseline. In sop chapter 5, 5.5.7 says "An important task of the door position is to monitor and observe heat, smoke and fire conditions at the entrance doorway. Undetected or extending fire could suddenly erupt or appear between the entrance and the nozzle team. The door firefighter is in a prime location to detet this situation and warn te nozzle team." The door ff would stay at the basement door to monitor conditions. This is an important assignment that doesnt get fulfilled in my dept. everyone on the hose is in the basement. That door position is probably one of the most important positions on the inside, but like most things the more important positions (ie. pump operator) are usually the less fun and glamorous. There are some fdny guys on here so they might be able to dig up an actualy bsement fire sop. But the above is from their general engine ops sops. msg me and ill give u a link to those sops if u want them.

    Oh, also this is what my dept does, im not on a huge dept but we are fairly busy and aggressive. Our second line backs up the first and if the truck or squad finds extension of fire on upper floors there will be another line pulled for that. Although if it is a big enough fire to need 2 lines in the basement a third line would be already pulled.
    Last edited by dfd3dfd3; 02-03-2003 at 01:47 PM.

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    Default Thanks!

    dfd3dfd3

    Thanks for your reply. I truely appreciate the info that you have provided.

    I'd still like to hear from the rest of you out there! Come on, this is s a serious and important issue - or perhapse you'd all rather talk about what color your fire truck is or something equally important like that!

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    Punch the far side windows as you enter, enter through main entrance/exit (usually have to go down the stairs, either outside or inside). One line for attack, second line for the backup and a third for main floor extension,etc. NO PPV, at least not until the construction type is confirmed and you are sure there is no way for it to extend through vents or other confined spaces.

    THat's how it's done here.
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    "My Opinion" Cellar or Basement fires are (THE) most critical of all fires. Your team needs to enter thru and down past the heat and smoke, and if extended operations occur, back up thru the same. POINT:SCBA AIR

    FDNY brings their line to the basement stairs, and proceeds down into the fire area for extinguishment......venting is very tackie here, too soon, the Engine cooks. A second line is also brought in to back-up the first, (remaining on the first floor level) and to protect Floor-Above Search Teams.

    DFD3D's read out is correct, remember the Drenin situation where a Capt, and two firefighters were killed when the line below them failed to halt any upward spread of fire. They were the Floor-Above Search Team.

    As far as slam=dunkin any windows, with Bunkers and SCBA's......don't jeopardize the Engine.
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    Basement Fires eat people. Probably more than any other area in a structure, Basements (Cellars to some) tend to take our own from us, usually without warning. As a Chief Officer, I tend to work with more than the usual caution when doing a basement job. My preference: 1st line to hold fire at the top of the stairs so S and R Crews can do the primary search, TAKING OUT THE WINDOWS AS THEY SEARCH. 2nd line goes to the fire thru an access point other than the interior stairway and starts an attack on the fire. A person or a two person crew takes out ALL the windows in the basement as line 2 is advanced to the fire. A backup line is advanced to the entry point used by line 2 and stands by, a Rapid intervention team is also positioned at that point, as well as a Chief Officer. The 4th line off will back up the first line as well as a second RIT for that floor. We are usually in a position where filling all these positions is not a problem. Stay Safe....
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    Was high expansion foam ever used in basements?

    I'm thinking it was for some reason... just fill it up, and let the fire go out.

    I can't remember where I heard this though. I've never seen this done personnally, so I can't comment on it.
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    Res14.......Foam has been used in Basement fires......however mainly commercial types. With the amount of Basement and Cellar fires in NYC, it would be time consuming to get the product in place, plus there wouldn't be enough of the product.

    For those of you who may or may not know-There is a differance between Basements and Cellars....try reading your SOP's, if they in fact cover it.
    I believe the degree of ventilation (location of the window height) decrees the differance.

    Therefor in cellar fires where the windows are higher......it is entirely permissable to vent early, but NOT in basements fires where the windows are lower. Thus the reasoning for either waiting on ventilation, or not ventilating at all! Do not think venting in these type fires is like other jobs, sometimes there are no windows to vent.
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    I believe that if you are looking for a specific way to fight a basement fire you might be looking for the wrong thing. As you are very well aware basement fires are among the most dangerous a firefighter will ever face. For our department we do our best to ventilate the basement before making entry. If the fire is in the insipiant phase then we will make an aggresive initial attack. Where entries are is completely up to the company officer. The idea of making entry it to do as safely as possible. The major focus is to use an entry that limits the chance of cutting off your means of egress. If this is through the main entrance good, if its through a secondary entrance that fine too. The point is to do it where you are not endangering yourself or your team. In stead of making an SOP or dead set procedure for this particular situation maybe make SOG's. Give your people a way to start the operation but have options to which they can do this job in a safer manner. Hope this helps.

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    Roadrunner, You raise a good point, but I think regional differences in terminology get in the way of some of us. The comment about foam was probably relative to that fad of the 60's, High Expansion Foam. Hi-Ex was used and abused by quite a few departments looking for a cure-all for every kind of fire at once. Didn't happen. Then or now. As to the Basement/cellar thing, I have had the same room referred to as a basement or a cellar depending on who was talking. Likewise, I have heard the uppermost space in a building called an Attic, a Cockloft, or a Garrett, depending again on local terminology. Stay Safe....
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    Chief your probably right about terminology, here in NY, the Attic is livable-walkable space. The cockloft is a crawl space or insulating barrier above the top floor ceilings! Additionally here in NY we have both Cellars, and Basements.....so it is necessary to distinguish between the two.
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    I could not agree more with the points raised by RoadRnnr and dfd3dfd3 - the FDNY advice and approach to basement fires inline with venting actions is spot on! The Cherry Road Fire demonstrates the type of fire dynamics that may be expected by such a venting action under certain conditions.



    http://www.firetactics.com/Cherry%20Rd%20DCFD.pdf

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    We generally attack basement fires by going down the interior stairs
    QUICKLY. Notice I said "generally". Each basement fire is different. The level of aggressiveness is dependent on the type and size of fire. How many times do you see fire blowing out of the second floor of a balloon constructed structure and come to realize the fire has actually started in the basement? If you are not leery of basement fires, you are either a rookie, have never attacked one or you are insane. It still comes back to knowing the occupanices in your district, officers making quick, sound decisions and crews that are tough enough to make that entry. Another big danger is the possible collapse of the floor above the basement. Another reason why basement fires are such a bit*h.

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    Line #1 to top of basement stairs via 1 st. floor entrance,
    proceed down basement stairs. If line #1 CANNOT advance down stairs
    they are to close door and maintain postion to protect interior stairs
    and extension on first floor. Line # 2 take will take line through
    rear or side exterior door to basement and extinguish fire.
    Line # 2 will take a position at top of basement stairs to back-up,
    protect interior stairs, extension to first floor (have enough line for 2nd floor)if line #1 CAN advance down basement stairs.
    Fire that has not vented before arrival must be timed and cordinated with line advancement, look ,listen . If not sure get on radio and
    ask Eng.Boss (usually Truck will be following line down stairs at
    a good basement job , as OV assume the worst).
    Fire has vented before arrival and you have no wind or exposure problems, vent enter and search. Its good to have a purpose for venting and to know the consequences of your actions.
    Basement with no exterior means of entry and you can not push a line
    down the stairs , now your talking foam and or possable breaching.

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    Another question.

    Bresnan distributors being dropped from the floor above?

    If you would even consider doing this, when would you?
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    Resq14.....a distributor by virtue of it's application is used mainly for flooding, again, for commercial structures, it is not a bad deal. Most basements or cellars are divided by rooms, or petitions, it would be a while before the steam knocked it all down. No-one I know of wants to be known as a "foundation-saver only". Your first line in and down....your second to back-up and protect that, plus the floors above is the way to go.
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    I was just wondering when we'd want to use ours, as we still carry one.

    Many people here don't even know what it is. I've never seen it used, and you don't see it covered too often. Thanks.

    We would go with an attack line, safety line, and lines on the floor above as you said.
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    Not sure I have heard of one. We carry a cellar nozzle.
    Is that the same thing. It is about 3' long has a 90 degree bend
    and the the end looks lie a rotating shower head. Puts out a lot of fire. As someone said about the basements being divided, it won't do much for that. Never tried it but what about fire coming up stairs?

    Open the door a little stick it in and open it up. Could knock out the fire in the stairs real quick.

    What do you think?
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    The Bresnan can also be used in an unaccessable attic or cockloft from the outside.

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    Could........Scoop, I'd not venture to guess what would happen to the Truckies pulling ceilings below? Or for that matter......any companies within the building below that cockloft......a distri puts out tons of water real fast. Have you ever used one, or seen it used? At one time, the FDNY used distrib's very frequently, but they found the damage to both personnel and property could be avoided by the old fashion 1 3/4 or 2 1/2 straight stream line and nozzel combination.
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    We have a Bresnan on our pumper but I've never used except just fooling around with the equipment. You are right they throw a ton of water. I've never seen it used the way described, but I have seen a combination nozzle put through a hole in the roof on a fog pattern. This was of course with people out of the building. I never really thought though, a Bresnan could add alot of weight to a floor and cause alot of damage

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    We do the foam thing--Since we don't have that many basements around here, we use Class A hi-expansion foam down the steps.

    Need to have lots of foam available and still have a hand line available in case it does not do the job.

    If we had a lot of basements, we might actually do the interior because the foam would get expensive and we'd probably have more experience available.
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    Question for those that foam the basements...do you search the basement first? If so, is the foam going while you are searching or does your search team take a handline?

    My very first fire that I was allowed entry on was a basement fire. Left a lasting impression on me. We have many basements/cellars (don't know difference) and find that most only have one actual accessway. Most of the windows for them are too small for much other than the hoseline. We generally take a 1 3/4 down with a second one at top of stairs.
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    For Bones; A Cellar is described as sub-terranium, a basement not quite. If your window line is high, and the actual room is more than 3/4 below ground....it's a cellar. Just some info.......and your right most true cellars have little or no ventilation, and most one means of egress only. A basement on the other hand sits higher, has larger windows, and sometimes has a second means of egress, usually one from the interior, and one from the exterior.
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    I am assuming (I know how dangerous that is! ) this building would be refered to as having a basement according to the criteria set up by RR. I guess it is typical of the Brownstones.


    And this would be classified as having a cellar using the same criteria.

    If that is the case. You would have a hard time finding basements in this area, and an even harder time finding a secondary outside entrance to the cellar.

    It ends up being either gut it out and make the interior stairs with a line to protect them or get out the piercing nozzle and poke a hole.
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