1. #1
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    Angry Fire In Falsework - Thoughts?

    A good friend in another state was just telling me that he and his company were first due on fire in falsework and advanced a line underneath the slab to attack the fire. The only lives at stake were those of the brothers making the attack. (The Battalion Chief arrived and removed them.)

    What do you do when you encounter falsework with a fire condition? Please note that in this instance there are no civilian lives in danger. Oh – not to be a smart%%% - but falsework, for those explorers who might not yet know, is the system of temporary support of formwork for concrete members. In this instance I am talking about wooden members. Falsework remains in place until the concrete members have attained required strength/self supporting.

    Any thoughts on this issue or experiences? My thoughts and my experiences were obvious.
    Last edited by JackTee09; 08-15-2005 at 01:34 PM.
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    Not worth the risk. You are fighting a fire that has no life safety risk(other than your own!) on wooden members that are supporting uncured concrete.

    Add fire to wood... wood weakens and the risk of failure goes up.

    Failure happens and you now have uncured concrete which is not to full rated strength yet freestanding! I don't think so.

    I don't know that circumstances of the actual incident other than the basic overview you gave... but if this is the phase of construction, that you are talking about open excavation around the area that could collapse in once you start adding volumes of water, etc.

    It's just NOT worth it! Soak it from a distance and everybody goes home.

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    FFTrainer -

    Yeah - no sense in putting lives at risk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackTee09
    A good friend in another state was just telling me that he and his company were first due on fire in falsework and advanced a line underneath the slab to attack the fire. The only lives at stake were those of the brothers making the attack. (The Battalion Chief arrived and removed them.)

    What do you do when you encounter falsework with a fire condition? Please note that in this instance there are no civilian lives in danger. Oh – not to be a smart%%% - but falsework, for those explorers who might not yet know, is the system of temporary support of formwork for concrete members. In this instance I am talking about wooden members. Falsework remains in place until the concrete members have attained required strength/self supporting.

    Any thoughts on this issue or experiences? My thoughts and my experiences were obvious.

    Are you talking in supporting a 2nd floor, or a first floor slab from a basement? Maybe a picture or somthing would help. I've never worked in concrete and your explanation really, is kinda confusing.
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    [QUOTE=JackTee09]Oh – not to be a smart%%% - but falsework, for those explorers who might not yet know, is the system of temporary support of formwork for concrete members./QUOTE]


    I must say, Ive never been called an Explorer before.

    Around here, we call that frameing. And no, unless it was going to cause the colapse of a VERY large building and put lives at risk, we would let it burn.
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    I must say, Ive never been called an Explorer before.
    I meant true Explorers. Not anyone else.


    Around here, we call that frameing. And no, unless it was going to cause the colapse of a VERY large building and put lives at risk, we would let it burn.

    Falsework is the term used in many texts, including "Building Construction for the Fire Service", Third Edition - Frank Brannigan.

    It is also found in the Florida Building code.

    Maybe a picture or somthing would help. I've never worked in concrete and your explanation really, is kinda confusing.
    I have no idea how to upload a picture. If you PM me I will try and send you one via e-mail.

    My apology for the poor description.
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    My son is a firefighter in the Miami Dade area and I am retired from a fire department in Mass. though I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I have never seen it called anything but falsework or formwork. My son agrees and passes along that this was what he was instructed in while he was at the academy. Very dangerous and lethal.

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    Very dangerous and lethal.
    Indeed it is...
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    not sure I understand exactly what it is ........but sounds like nothing worth risking alot for.
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    This is falsework/formwork/framing...etc.

    This picture is not of wooden members. Thanks to Benny for the instructions on how to upload a picture.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
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    Agree with Tee,

    Don't risk it. Risk Benefit a no go.

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    Exclamation Caution sign....................

    Quote Originally Posted by JackTee09
    This is falsework/formwork/framing...etc.

    This picture is not of wooden members. Thanks to Benny for the instructions on how to upload a picture.
    Jack, those appear to be Aluminum shores, similar to Airshore Struts that we use on our Collapse unit. If so, the Fail time is shorter than wood of equal dimension. A Catastrophic failure will occur quickly under moderate Fire Conditions, so the obvious approach would be master streams from outside the collapse zone.

    To EVERYONE: Believe this: If the Concrete was capable of holding it's own weight, then it wouldn't be shored. Risk nothing to save nothing.
    Last edited by hwoods; 08-15-2005 at 10:06 PM.
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    now that I see the picture and before I read Harves post ..............thats defensive from the get go !
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
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    one other thing to remember --- usually the plywood forms are sprayed with form oil, many times on both sides. I have seen dirty crankcase oil used.

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    Excellent pic, I know exactly what it is now. Yes, pure defensive. In my eyes, any building under construction needs to be considered a defensive operation. You just never know what your gonna find inside.
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    Jack, those appear to be Aluminum shores, similar to Airshore Struts that we use on our Collapse unit. If so, the Fail time is shorter than wood of equal dimension.
    Aluminum goes quick - no doubt about it. Has anyone noticed that people often believe that aluminum is just as strong as structural steel?
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    Exclamation

    well ya cause its made of metal !
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    well ya cause its made of metal !
    But for firefighters that can be a fatal mistake. You know What I mean?
    Last edited by JackTee09; 08-16-2005 at 10:29 AM.
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    Trust me, I know exactly what you mean. A lot of people don't know (or forget) that steel loses strength at a relatively low temperature and can sag significantly which in turn can wrack a building leading to collapse. Steel also grows in length when it is heated which can push over sidewalls. All of these features of steel (or aluminum) falsework make them no better than wood falsework when subjected to a fire in a building under construction. Unless you are trying to rescue trapped construction workers, in my opinion there are no options to a defensive attack from large caliber streams at a distance.
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    Asked my brother...who is in construction...about this one, and he and I actually agreed on something.

    hwoods also noted this fact…The wooden falsework would actually last slightly...and I emphasize slightly … longer than aluminum, with the difference in time to failure being measured in minutes. The wooden supports would allow you to get just a little further into the building before the unsupported slab collapsed.

    Also, Anyone who thinks aluminum keeps any structural rigidity in a fire condition has obviously never seen a trailer fire…even a room and contents…self vent through the walls before the windows blow. While the aluminum shores are of somewhat heavier construction than a trailer’s exterior wall, direct flame impingement would cause rapid and catastrophic failure of the support, likely causing a domino effect as supports fail and shift their load to undamaged members.

    The same would happen, of course, as wooden support members burned through or were damaged to a point of failure. IF there is ANY involvement at all of wooden falsework…or flame impingement on aluminum shores…with no life hazard except for that of the firefighters themselves, the attack should be of the age-old Surround and Drown variety. Taking a crew in beneath what is rapidly becoming unsupported uncured concrete poses risks that are entirely unsupported by any benefit.

    Rob

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    Rob and CJ

    Excellent points. The part that is so distressing is the number of firefighters who don't know the dangers of falsework (or what it is). As to the structural stability of aluminum versus wood the high temps are going to turn aluminum into silly putty.

    Further, with regards to wooden falsework, the condition of the wood, used over and over again, is in and of itself a collapse hazard - prior to any fire condition.
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    I think I'd break out the wienies and marshmallows too.But that's only because I don't know what else you should do when there are no life safety issues and the building is gutted anyway.

    [QUOTE=Dave1983]
    Quote Originally Posted by JackTee09
    Oh – not to be a smart%%% - but falsework, for those explorers who might not yet know, is the system of temporary support of formwork for concrete members./QUOTE]


    I must say, Ive never been called an Explorer before.

    Around here, we call that frameing. And no, unless it was going to cause the colapse of a VERY large building and put lives at risk, we would let it burn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackTee09
    Falsework is the term used in many texts, including "Building Construction for the Fire Service", Third Edition - Frank Brannigan.

    It is also found in the Florida Building code.


    I know, but we still call it frameing.
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    Not just No, but He!! NO!!! Not worth the risk..........
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    Surround and Drown.
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