Thread: High Rise Fires

  1. #1
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    May 2000
    Lincoln, NE

    Default High Rise Fires

    What are your department's tactics for fighting high rise fires? What size, length of high rise pack do you use? How do you ventilate the structure? Do you send crews to the roof through an interior stairwell? What is everyone's opinion on opening the bulkhead @ the top of the building, and then sending the crew down the stairs to search the top floors?

    I have zero experience in High Rise methods, so any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Dave1983's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    Gator Country


    The "search" button is your friend.

    We use two packs, each with one 100' section of 2" liteweight hose. One pack has a low pressure fog nozzle, the other a 10' section of 3" hose and a liteweight gated wye.

    Most of the time, you cant vent right away, so we use an indirect fog type attack and set up PPV as soon as possible.

    We dont usually vent the roof, unless the fire is on the top floor.

    Thats the basics, but do try a search. This has been talked about alot here.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer


    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

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    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  3. #3
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    NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Bronx, NYC



    Just for the sake of reinvigorating the Fireground Tactics thread I'll throw in my two cents on our tactics in Hi-Rise Multiple Dwellings

    The 1st due truck enters and goes up to find the fire. We use the 7-up rule (we are very simple LOL). If it's on the 7th floor or below we walk up. Anything above we take the elevator 2 floors below and walk up from there.

    Initial Truck Targets:
    - Elevators must be controlled. (Initially by the 1st due inside team then relieved by the 1st due OV)
    - Fire must be located and the best route for the engine to access must be determined. (1st due Inside team - Boss, can & irons)
    - Try to find the layout of the fire floor or apartment by looking on the floor below. (1st due Engine boss or 1st due Truck boss on the way up)
    - Fire apartment searched if they cannot enter, the fire apartment door must be controlled (1st due Truck inside team)
    - Apartment above the fire searched (1st due roof & 2nd due roof)
    - Adjoining apartments and fire floor hallways (2nd due Inside team)
    - Outside size-up. (1st due OV) If he can operate (fire is in the reach of ladders) he does. If not, he goes in and is the elevator man until relieved by the 2nd due OV.
    - Stairwell search (1st & 2nd due Chauffeurs unless otherwise assigned)

    Initial Engine Targets:
    - Locate a viable stand-pipe 1 floor below the fire
    - Flush the pipe
    - Assemble the attack line and stretch it to the fire area
    - Attack the fire
    - Chauffeur hooks up to FDC to augment roof tank

    All of the hi-rise fires that I have been to have been in MD's (multiple dwellings). I can't really pass on any experience from the huge commercial hi-rises that they have in Manhattan since I have never been into a fire in one, and have hardly even been in them. Keep in mind that some of the same tactics in a Hi-Rise MD might or might not be applicable to a Hi-Rise commercial.

    Answers to your questions:
    1) We use 2 1/2" lines with 1 1/8" tips for our roll-ups (hi-rise packs). The extra reach and "punch power" makes this a great tool to have up there. I have never had one of those "wind-driven hell fires" that everyone hears about, and I hope I never do. The 1 3/4" will be no match for the job if it happens. I have heard of (2) 2 1/2" lines working side by side all the way down the hallway just to get into the apartment in these wind driven fires.

    2) We do not ventilate like we do in normal buildings. You have to get permission before taking ANY windows as per our regs on hi-rise firefighting. The roof FF is in position to vent the fire floor windows via the floor above if needed, but he needs permission before doing so. Most ventilation is done after the fire is under control. The 2nd due roof & Chauffeur search the evacuation stair on the way up to the roof and then vent the attack stair bulkhead.

    3) I don't think it is a good idea to send the crews directly down the attack stairwell to do search while the fire is going on. It does need to be checked, but a quick check on each floor landing might be better to do than committing members to the stairs. Anyone else have an opinion?

    Anyone else have any thoughts or opinions?

    Nate DeMarse

  4. #4
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    Jul 2003
    Brooklyn, New York


    Additions to Nate:

    Roofman on floor above should chock door open to floor above apartment to simulate (get a read on) the wind conditions in the fire apartment and warn the 1st due Engine & Truck if adverse are found

    Roof bulkhead should only be vented when given permission by officer on the fire floor

    If heavy smoke is found at stairwell door (fire apartment door left open) charge line before entering hallway

    Force an adjoining apartment door PRIOR to forcing the actual fire apartment as an area of refuge in case the fire blowtorches out of the fire apartment.

    Search ALL stairwells and floors above. Often there may be heavy smoke 10 floors above but not 2 floors above (Stack effect)

    When searching and venting windows, pull window Air conditioners IN. Do not drop them to the street where the Engine Chauffer may be hooking up to the standpipe.

    When searching for the fire in the fire apartment w/ no visable fire....feel for heat with hand or side of face (pull back hood) and go in direction of heat (commen sense)

    Consider leaving 1 man at the door of the apartment when searching without a line. He can maintain door in closed position (unlocked of course) to prevent the wind from being a problem. And act as a verbal guide out if conditions worsen.

    I'll post more as I think of them, because we could talk all night about these.

  5. #5
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    VinnieB's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    On the couch in my skivvies


    I'll add to this....sorry if I duplicate my 2 brothers posts....I did a 24 and havn't sleeped for 2 I'm a bit punchy now....

    -While steting up on the floor below...someone should try to get an idea on how the floor is you know which way to go on the fire floor. Also...if you can force a door on an apt to get an understanding on the apt layout,,,,that could help too.

    -100 psi to start on the Standpipes....(pumper to siamese) 5 psi per floor....this is for each length. Rule of thumb...1 pumper per that means if you have 3 lengths operating....then 3 pumpers will be on the sisamese augmenting it.

    -1st and 2d Due Engine Companies get the FIRST line in place. (2d Due still takes thier roll up to the floor below)....NO EXCEPTIONS.

    -3d and 4th Due....roll up to 2 floors below to augment the first line.

    -Certifired First Responder-Defib unit(CFR-D Engine) Floor below with spare air cylinders, EMS Stuff, and FE treat personnel as needed. Works along with the FAST (Truck, Rescue, or Squad Co.s).

    -2d Due Engine is to conserve air as much as the event of the 1st due have to need immediate relief.

    -We use an Inline pressure gage....and the controlman sets it to 70 psi for 3 lengths and 80 psi for 4 lengths with water flowing.

    -Control stays at the Standpipe unitl relieved by the 2d Due Engine Boss.....but he can work from the stairs to the Standpipe chasing kinks as neccessary.

    -The use of Fire Blankets too. Its a big blanket hung out over a vented window from above that should eliminate driving winds....its carried by certain special units.

    I hope I helped....and that my info is accurate.....if I am off... I hope one of the brothers would cyber slap me into shape...

    Stay Safe Bros....
    Last edited by VinnieB; 09-02-2005 at 12:01 AM.
    IACOJ Member

  6. #6
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    jfTL41's Avatar
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    Nov 2002


    Like Nate mentioned above we use 2 and a half with 1-1/8th smooth bore nozzle, using an automatic nozzle from a standpipe is simply not safe. One of the concerns with hi rise fires is controlling ventilation, these are not fires where you can just pop a window out and move in, the amount of air movement generated by an automatic nozzle is can drastically affect conditions on the fire floor. Also, as discovered the hard way in Philly, automatic nozzle pressures are not always acheivable from a standpipe, especially when you get to higher elevations and are depending on auxillary pumps. The solid bore nozzle used in direct attack on the seat of the fire is the way to go.
    Some companys carry a plastic house line nozzle to use for venting AFTER the fire is out, works like a champ and weighs nothing.

  7. #7
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    len1582's Avatar
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    Feb 2002


    Bring a Thermal Imaging Camera if you have one, it can help locate the fire apartment if you're not exactly sure which one it is. If all apartment doors are closed and you have close to zero visibility, the camera can show a "hot" door for the fire apartment. The fire may be in a back bedroom and the door might not be very hot, but it can be hot enough to give a reading. These fires are usually like ovens. The last one I went to,15th floor second like in, as soon as I turned into the doorway the blast of heat made the TIC white out completely. It was usless at that point so I ended up with a $12,000 door chock. The balcony door was wide open, so when the first in engine tried to make the apartment they took a beating and all ended up with a little sunburn.

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