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  1. #1
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    Default Assisted living Occupancies

    Assisted living occupancies are springing up all over the country. We now have 3 each having an occupant load of about 150 or more. All but one are sprinklered and have combination heat and smokes throughout the structures. Does anyone have a procedure for dealing with the evacuation of the residents?


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    We have a large assisted living facility in our Station 3's district. The buildings are fully sprinklered.

    For an assisted living facility, the best plan might be to "protect in place"... keeping the residents in their units until the FD notifies them to leave and then assists them in evacuation. If you are going to assist residents to a safe haven, you need a lot of manpower, so if you do have a fire that is larger than a room and contents or a single unit, don't hesitate to strike additional alarms or call for mutual aid early, as the evacuation will be "personnel intensive".

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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    We had a stove fire, new tenants moving in put a box on stove, and knocked the burner on.

    Sprinkler controlled the fire, but light to moderate smoke condition spreading in the facility.

    The process of relocating the tenants to the dining room took nearly an hour to complete! We also had issues trying to manage traffic, or rather where to park family, etc that were arriving. Very tight situation there, and this wasn't even a "working fire." So we know it takes a while to evacuate, and we really have to enforce strict parking control very far out from the facility to make sure there won't be any blocking of access.
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    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
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    Apart from your Mutual Aid, wouldn't a call to the local PD be a smart move?

    Manpower and Traffic control as Dal pointed out.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    The PD is a good idea...we traditionally do our own traffic control, although we know have much better State Police coverage than we used to (when I first joined it was sometimes a question *if* a Trooper would get to the accident if they were all tied up...more than once we had cars towed with the Sergeant's OK because he no one to send)

    On our fire, I had been at a nursing home on a medical call with our service truck (got to watch all our trucks drive by going to the fire...grrrrr) and by the time I cleared, I ended up getting the traffic assignment to prevent non fire apparatus from going down the driveway since they were getting plugged up in there, and that was just with a 1st alarm assignment, never mind extra companies.

    Our one A/L facility is adjacent to land the Town is negotiating to buy, and I'd really like to see a gravel Fire Road put in if that occurs, the facility is relatively tight. More over, once we start laying a couple 5" lines down the driveway to secure additional water (say we get something ripping in the attic) we'll block additional trucks getting in -- it's a real tough balancing act -- do you dedicate manpower to attack/evacuation, manpower to getting the 5" lines off the driveway, or do you delay laying lines till you get in all the aerials you want/need. Hydrant at the facility itself only does 1000gpm, and that feeds the standpipe/sprinklers too -- my nightmare is a partial/total sprinkler failure in this huge 4 story woodframe truss roofed structure. Try to use the 1000gpm up the ladder pipe to cut off a running attic fire, your stealing gpm & possibly pressure from any working sprinklers.

    I guess my point on that is access, and if you're having one of these built in your district, make sure you dig your heels in and insist there's enough access to insure you can both establish water supply to remote draft or hydrant sites *and* bring in plenty of apparatus.

    Vulnerable populations, huge woodframe structures, locating them in often rural or semi-rural locations that depend on volunteer firefighters used to barns & single family homes...these things can be a day-to-day burden with both false & legitimate medical alarms and have real potential for multiple fatalities in the future -- all it takes is the failure of the sprinkler system for whatever reason. Yeah, this is real good facility siting...
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  6. #6
    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    I work at a senior high rise apartment building. Although it is “independent living” we still have a few who have gradually progressed to needing “assisted living” but have not yet moved out.

    When the alarm sounds they are to move into their assigned (nearest) stairwell, and remain there until instructed to go back or evacuate. When FD arrives, they will go into the stairs and take a head count against the list in the stairs. Any resident with oxygen, walker / wheelchair, or a hearing problem will have a sticker on their door indicating so. It will also be listed on the sheets in the stairs. Anyone who doesn’t show up to the stairs will have their apartment searched first. We place tags on the doors indicating the apartment has been searched.

    The building’s physical fire protection in completely half @ssed. There are no smoke or heat detectors wired to the alarms, water flow and supervisory switches were never connected and the existing sprinklers need to be updated. *cough* turned *hack* back on *ahhem*

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    We have quite a few assisted living facilities in our area. We like to call them "Gods Waiting Rooms. Gonzo has it right. Protect in place and evacuate only those in immediate danger. You are going to have get the fire hard and heavy because it will overtake the building long before you could get everyone out. I don't know about your facilities but we make a lot of fire alarms at ours and the residents don't pay much attention anymore so don't expect a whole lotta help there. Working with management and assigning hall captains in each of the buildings also helps. The captains know their neighbors and can identify particular needs in order to remove them swift and safe. Good luck.

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    MembersZone Subscriber Diane E's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, how many times are drills held at the facilities? Even low-key ones without "lights and sirens". It's one thing to tell someone they need to get to a stairway, but it's another to actually have them get there. I'm sure the staff has to have training yearly or more. Is it something that's practiced? I can imagine it can be a logistical nightmare and if the seniors forget it's a drill, they probably panic....
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    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DianeC
    Just out of curiosity, how many times are drills held at the facilities? Even low-key ones without "lights and sirens". It's one thing to tell someone they need to get to a stairway, but it's another to actually have them get there.
    We have a 10-story retirement home just down the street from my station. While the facility isn't "assisted living," there are more than a few residents that would have some difficulty getting out. We did a complete fire drill (residents into pressurized stairways) two years ago. It was the first one like that in some time. I would guess that 80% of the residents had no problems getting into the stairwell. I worry about the others being caught by smoke between their apartments and the stairs in the event of a fire.

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    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    In my building, we have at least 2 surprise drills each year. More if you count the alarm and sprinkiler system checks. The only panic I've seen is when someone doesn't hear the buzzer and finds firefighters roaming around in their room.

    Even though I’m just a ‘custodial engineer’ I keep trying to get the updates made to the building. The biggest problem I see with our current system include non-pressurized stairways and no auto shut down of the elevators. It’s an old building, I just hope we can get it updated soon.
    Last edited by ffexpCP; 03-15-2004 at 03:28 PM.

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