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    Default Divisions, Subdivisions and such

    This one is for you Weruj1....... Let me mnow if it was already discussed.

    At our drill today we had a discusion on what to call the floors of a structure within a split-level house? We have many houses in our response area that when you enter the front door you are on a landing. You then have to go up 6-8 step to get to the main living area or 6-8 steps down to get to the family room, laundry room and etc.

    Do you call the area upstairs division 2 since you have to go upstairs? Also, is the area down below called the subdivision? This would leave the main landing area, division 1.

    Not sure if there has been prior discusion on this. What are your thoughts.

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    Question Huh?..............

    On a single family dwelling, there are 2 areas, inside and outside. Save the multiple divisions for larger structures. On the other hand, if you run relatively few structure fires , then close sectoring is a way to get some practice, while handling an incident in a SFD. Stay Safe....
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    Default hwoods

    On a single family dwelling, there are 2 areas, inside and outside.
    You have to have a little more detail than that. What if you get in trouble and need your RIT/FAST team? Do you just tell them your inside somewhere and hope they find you?

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    What the heck is wrong with 1st floor, second floor. Man we go outta our way to make stuff hard sometimes.

    My County area has been using 1 thru 4 for sides since they began using ICS. They decided this year to change to the Alphabet. Why? Just to be in synch with the NFA way. I could see doing it that way in the beginning, but to try and change after 20 somethin' years, just to be in line with a system that no one else around here uses. Progress I guess....

    I guess I wouldn't call the landing on a split anything, but maybe I am wrong on that assesment. 1st floor and basement would be how I would classify it.

    Dave

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    What the heck is wrong with 1st floor, second floor. Man we go outta our way to make stuff hard sometimes
    I know what you mean, but the question that came up at the drill in question, was if you come in to the split level house on the landing and then have to go up or down several stairs which level is actually considered the first floor? Also several of these houses also have an actual basement, or lower level below the downstairs family room. What would you call that?

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    Basement, 1st lower level = 1st floor and then 2nd floor? I guess it depends on who's doing the calling. As long as everyone on the fireground is on the same page, right?

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    We have a split level high school. 2 floors on the left, 3 on the right. Also a cellar/basement in the middle. We decided a long time ago to keep with the KISS method. Cellar, first floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor. Left side has 2 and 4. Right side has 1,3,5.
    "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?

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    We have quite a few of these split-level houses too. We call the main living floor that has the kitchen, living room, etc. "Division 1" and the family room, laundry area, etc. is "Sub-Division 1."

    On a single family dwelling, there are 2 areas, inside and outside. Save the multiple divisions for larger structures. On the other hand, if you run relatively few structure fires , then close sectoring is a way to get some practice, while handling an incident in a SFD.
    Chief, you hit the nail on the head for most suburban Northwest Ohio fire departments, we don't get that many fires in large structures. Heck, the biggest structures in my township are an elementary school and a "strip mall".

    If we practice on the house fires, hopefully we'll get it right when we have the big one in the strip mall or when we're scab...Uh, I mean "filling in" in the city
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    There are practical limits to doing things just for practice. If we stretched a hoseline for every medical call, we'd be really good at stretching hose.

    We talk about "plain english" sometimes in the fire service. Hey, gotta use plain english on the radio so people know exactly what we're talking about -- none of this code stuff.

    Then we turn around and start making codes to identify where we are in a building...hmmm, something's wrong.

    The more specific you try to make a code for a location, the more danger you have of actually mis-directing someone.

    "Chief, we got a firefighter down in the basement." Ok, I know what a basement is.

    "Chief, we got a firefighter down in sub-division 1." Ok, what exactly do you mean by sub-division 1?

    For that matter, would you prefer "I'm trapped in the (garble)sement" or "I'm trapped in (garble) division 1." for directions when you're using division 1 and sub-division 1? They're two seperate places, but the Chief might not pickup that the "sub" part got dropped.

    If it's a split level...I'm on the upper level, I'm on the lower level. Go up another stairwell from the upper level, you're on the second story. Go down another stairwell from the lower level, you're in the basement.

    The terms you use may change from area to area, but sometimes using common vocabulary for your area and using descriptions for where you are is best (god forbid you have to sectorize a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house!).

    And if you're trapped, before you worry about what divisions, remember to train:
    -- Calm down
    -- Think of where you are, how many stairwells you came up, what direction did you turn from the stairs, what sounds do you hear like hoses hitting a building, where it sounds like apparatus is, can you hear the fire
    -- Think of what you need
    -- Think of what you're going to say
    -- Key the mic
    "Mayday, mayday. Firefighter Jones, I'm disoriented and have fire behind me. I'm in the basement, I took a left from the stairs, I can hear apparatus towards my right and it sounds like there's a hose team right above my head."

    Now, some of that may help, some of it may not, but it's probably a more accurate description of where you are than saying "basement" or "sub-division 1" or whatever.

    ONE FINAL CAVEAT...
    As Harve alluded too, you don't really need to sectorize single family dwellings. The buildings are pretty simple and you should be drilled & trained well enough to describe where you are. I personally don't buy into the "just-for-practice" idea -- drills are for practicing.

    Having internal sectors, whatever are good for larger residential & commercial buildings. It's something you can practice on your commercial drills -- you know the ones you practice pulling 2.5" so you don't go inside the autobody shop with a 1.5" line like you do for a residential room & contents. It's also something the Officer-in-Charge can make clear to companies receiving assignments so they're oriented. "This is Alpha side. Go up the first half-flight of stairs, that's 1st story. Go down, that's ground floor. Got it? Good, now I want you to take a crew and search the 2nd story."

    We need to triage buildings properly. Complicated commercial buildings with odd, confusing layouts -- take time, slow down just a bit, and make sure everyone gets on the same playing field as to what is what and where is where.

    I hate to use the word, "slow down" -- maybe think a bit more about what you're doing. Don't dilly-dally, but it's reasonable to take a little bit longer to explain the situation and plan to your troops for a big, complex building fire than a room & contents in a SFD.

    Matt
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 12-09-2003 at 10:47 AM.

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    First, I am honored that you have asked my for my opinion I guess on this matter. Second it is important to ALWAYS do a 360 of a scene especially if you are the IC as most of should recall a tragic scene in Pittsburg Pa a few years ago in which crews pulled up to what appeared to be a story and half (if I recall) residential dwelling and began supression efforts. However some of the crew got lost and fell down or through and opening and when other thought they had located the trapped and missing there were really FOUR stories to the stucture from the rear side. So, the street side showed 1.5 but the back had 4.........now on to how I would work this if I pulled up on one today.
    I have been a few split levels and we have a few in the Indian Ridge Trail housing subdivsion. They usually (keyword) have a garage and a full floor (basement) behind or off to the side of it. For me that is subdivision # 1. Crews that climb the steps should be entering the main floor , Division #1, and if there is a story over that Division 2,3 etc. Not sure if it is right, and I know we do not have any SOG to address these buildings. I will do some checking around to see what others say as well. Weruj1
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    Lightbulb Confusing Terminology

    hfd66truck & Dal90,

    I agree as well, why is it we must code our language and make this harder than it has to be. Many depts stopped using 10-codes for that very same reason. Why give something a name that already has one?

    I also never liked the alphabet B,C,D all sound alike. If your area changed just to meet the National crap look at The Editors Opinion in Last (or the month befores) in Fire Engineering. To me 1234 makes too much sense. The only time letters should come into play is with strip malls and attached dwellings like exposure 2D. But thats just me.

    Especailly when you are talking about split levels. As I'm sure is true in your city there are multiple ways to split a split-level.

    If a FAST/RIT team should need to find someone wouldn't "Go to the Landing inside the front door and take the stairs to the right to the main floor then make a hard left and take the stairs to the 3rd floor attic bedroom " make more sense than "Go to Subdivision-1 then take the stairs on the right to Division 1 then the stairs on the left to Division 3.

    Or "I'm in the rear bedroom above the garage!" Instead of "I'm in a room in Quadrant C of Subdividsion 2!"

    Honestly by doing this you are assuming that when you say Division 1 or 2 or whatever you and the person you are talking to are talking about the same floor.

    Handout an elevation of different split-levels (3,4 & 5 Level) to your men and see how they would label each floor with your so called Divisions. Don't school them before just see what they would do if the alarm went off right now! I gaurantee there will be some big differences.

    Just call them floors...anyhow here are some ideas:

    -If there is a lower family room or Den or whatever they call it that is level or approximitly level with the garage call it the basement. Why? Because a basement by definition is a level with less than half its height under ground.

    -If there is a floor lower than the garage call it the cellar, because More than half of its height is underground.

    -If there is no lower family room level with the garage and all that is on that level is the Garage, you could say "I'm in the garage" or "I'm in a Laundry room just off the garage."

    -Any level with the kitchen and living room you could call the 1st floor or Main level. Any floor above such as bedrooms above the garage call the 2nd floor and if there is a room above that, lets say a room in the attic, call it the 3rd floor.

    That would take care of a 5 floor split level house. Forget about any landing inside the door.

    The main key is that everyone should be on the same page and use the same common terminology. Define the difference between a basement and a cellar etc..

    Best of Luck,
    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 12-09-2003 at 11:27 AM.

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    Default wow

    This has brought up some interesting discussions. I agree with the KISS method but also believe, especially with fire departments that don't fight fires everyday that there needs to be standard terminology for all fires. To only use terminology on certain types/size of fires is a mistake. All terminology should be consistant throughout every emergency.
    Last edited by PFD109NFD107; 12-09-2003 at 03:51 PM.

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    You use the terminology where you need to use the terminology.

    You don't have to A/B/C/D sides on a car fire -- front, rear, drivers side, passenger side are clearer and simpler.

    You don't need sectors on a single family dwelling!

    When you're faced with a fire complex enough for sectors, it's probably a good time to pause, think about what you're doing, and take the extra time to make sure everyone knows the game plan -- cause it ain't your everyday fire.

    (Now, why couldn't I write something that simple before!)

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    No we don't use terminology for a STRUCTURE fire on a VEHICLE fire. Sorry but that is a pretty poor comparision.

    In my response area we have some rather large "single family" dwellings, 4000 - 5000 square foot, with multiple floors. My point is that whatever terminology you use should be the same for each STRUCTURE, no matter what. If you don't you will do nothing but confuse your firefighters. They won't know what terminology to use.

    I could just here the size-up "On scene with a single family dwelling that appears to be less that 2000 square foot so we are not going to use Incident Command language".

    KISS and use the same terminology for every STRUCTURE fire.

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    I hear you, but by the same logic we'd pull an 2-1/2" on all structure fires for the practice -- don't need it on most, but it would help fix a definite weakness of many FFs & Departments always pulling the 1.75", well, because they always pull it.

    Why take a building that's pretty simple overall and take the time to think of what we're calling what today? Not all houses are the same, and at least in my area the setbacks on the McMansions can be such that "A" is not logically the street side of the house.

    Codes are for specific information with a standard definition. If you're questioning what to call what in a structure, it's no longer specific or standard and you have to give people a reference point "This is Alpha side, 1st floor" or whatever your jargon is so people have a point to orient themselves to.

    If you're not giving people that information, you're inviting confusion because you're asking people not to use plain english which you might be able to translate or ask for clarification, but specific codes you assume to match your understanding and which if they screw up you're sending resources to the wrong location.

    Today that maybe a question in a drill about what everyone thinks of as a standard "split-level". What happens on the fireground when you encounter a "tri-level" and firefighters in their minds have different thoughts of what to do now? If you gonna use codes, gotta define a reference point. So maybe you get to the point of defining the Alpha-One location each time you establish command if you want to use them all the time?

    IMS is still evolving, and not all of it can fit into neat little boxes.

    --------------
    Pet peeve I continue to pound on -- it's Incident Management language, not Incident Command and the sooner the fire service can learn the difference, the better. We do not command incidents -- we command people. We manage incidents. Never seen a Fire Chief say, "Fire, extinguish thyself." and then wipe his hands and turn away from a fire that extinguished itself as ordered.
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 12-09-2003 at 05:47 PM.

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    I too see the point for consistency. But.....

    We establish Command at every structure fire, do we also establish all the other ICS positions? No. Use what you need to use, be consistent in your use, and make sure everyone is on the same page.

    FFRED said it very well...you too Dal, I actually read all the words in that second post .

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    Talking OK............

    Originally posted by hfd66truck
    Dal, I actually read all the words in that second post .
    He had to. There is nothing else to do out on the Cape in this weather.
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    aw shucks Harve,

    Its 100 degrees, and the water is just fine.........in my hot tub

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