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Thread: Cellar escapes

  1. #1
    Forum Member LtBlondie's Avatar
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    Smile Cellar escapes

    Ok we all know how nasty basement fires can be, for those of you who have them (basements) in your cities how about the techniques for getting a FF out one of those small windows? Any thoughts..


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    From my Firefighter Survival and rescue class,we are taught to partially undo the straps on the SCBA,enough that you can pass it through a small opening first,then crawl through after it,keeping the facepice in place.
    There was no mention of what you do if you are vacating a cellar space so I am assuming that the technique works anytime you are escaping and find a narrow opening to be the way out.
    We should all take a course in survival and rescue if offered in your state and also plan to never have to use it by being observant and alert when inside any burning structure.

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    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Its definitely a reduced profile operation with regards to the SCBA but also keep in mind that alot of those small windows are head height or higher.

    In a safety and survival class I had learned to use your halligan as a step up. Place the forks down into the floor and lean the tool against the wall beneath the window and step up onto it. You may need a boost from your partner and then in turn you may need to assist him up by pulling up on his arms, but its something to get you out if necessary.

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    I disremember if that tip was covered at mine last Spring but I'll remember it and pass it on when I can.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by FFTrainer
    Its definitely a reduced profile operation with regards to the SCBA but also keep in mind that alot of those small windows are head height or higher.

    In a safety and survival class I had learned to use your halligan as a step up. Place the forks down into the floor and lean the tool against the wall beneath the window and step up onto it. You may need a boost from your partner and then in turn you may need to assist him up by pulling up on his arms, but its something to get you out if necessary.

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    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Take your vent saw and make the small hole a big one. If the basement is to the point that FFs need to get out the cellar windows, the house is the least of your concerns.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Sucks, but handcuff knot and drag his butt through the window.
    "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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    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Sucks, but handcuff knot and drag his butt through the window.
    Beats the alternative!!

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    MembersZone Subscriber CFD Hazards's Avatar
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    The best way is to make the hole larger. Can be very difficult going through the concrete and many have steel surrounding the opening.
    There is an evolution that involves using a folding ladder, rope and manpower to get a firefighter out. Essentially the downed firefighter is placed on the ladder and secured. He is raised out the window by firefighters in the cellar and with help from outside. The SCBA does need to be profiled first and care needs to be taken when going through the window. It is very tight and anything can get caught up when going through.

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    My firefighter survival and rescue training was based on the idea that there was enough people to keep fighting the fire and rescuing our hapless comrade.
    Mine is a volunteer department and it seems like whenever we have a really big enough fire,we don't have a good response.I am just as bad as the others about turning the pager off when I want to hoist a few or meet up with a good looking ladyfriend.
    Just because your department is big enough that they have divisions and battalions doesn't mean that you should always count on having lots of resources around.
    The older guys,especially FDNY,will remember how stretched a fire department can get when people are trying to increase response time or when there is a large natural disaster.
    This means that you should know how to get your ownself out of trouble if you ever find yourself in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by cfdeng3
    The best way is to make the hole larger. Can be very difficult going through the concrete and many have steel surrounding the opening.
    There is an evolution that involves using a folding ladder, rope and manpower to get a firefighter out. Essentially the downed firefighter is placed on the ladder and secured. He is raised out the window by firefighters in the cellar and with help from outside. The SCBA does need to be profiled first and care needs to be taken when going through the window. It is very tight and anything can get caught up when going through.

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    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    You beat me to it. The folding ladder option just came to me after I posted the halligan trick as a save your self option.

    As for removing a downed FF, we learned to treat the folding ladder as an improvised litter. Using rope on the window end you secure to the top rung.
    Secure the FF to the ladder head toward the window and elevate the head end to the window. Once secured by the exterior guys, raise the foot end to parallel with the ground and slide the FF out.

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    Most of the windows in our jursidiction are hardly big enough to get an SCBA through, let alone a FF in full PPE. My question is, if the basement is that well off why are we deep enough in where we can't egress through the same point of entry. Granted, venitlation is not the easiest in these situations, and your going to get beat up working one of these jobs, but solid tactics, combined with a decent fire flow, and you should not have to worry. CAFS is perfect for these applications, of course you can always turn up the concentration to 2% as well. Perhaps it's that I see this more often than not, I think some forget hose streams reach further than a few feet.
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    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    Perhaps it's that I see this more often than not, I think some forget hose streams reach further than a few feet.
    Some also realize that people cram their basements full of stuff that limits stream penetration to no more than a few feet. On top of that there are divider walls, furnaces, chimneys, etc. Sometimes it becomes necessary to go a little further than the bottom of the stairs to fight the fire.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    we can't egress through the same point of entry
    pfd4life, I'm with you on not being where we shouldn't be.....but I'd rather have/know/try ways at getting guys out and hope to never need it, than to not think about it until it happens.
    "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?

  14. #14
    Forum Member LtBlondie's Avatar
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    Good point bones.. a dept close to us had a FF die in a basement who was just a new guy 2 years and he was trying to get back up the stairs and thought he was on them when he was actually on a filing cabinet, the Dept. he was with was just north of us and they were devistated. The other guy he was with was just on 2 WEEKS!! He tried to get out the windowss...too freakin small!! It's a shame but all we can do is try to learn from it I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewiston2Capt
    Some also realize that people cram their basements full of stuff that limits stream penetration to no more than a few feet. On top of that there are divider walls, furnaces, chimneys, etc. Sometimes it becomes necessary to go a little further than the bottom of the stairs to fight the fire.
    I don't disagree, I was pointing this out because, I'm sure you, as I have seen the guys that feel they need to get right on top of the fire to extinguish it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    pfd4life, I'm with you on not being where we shouldn't be.....but I'd rather have/know/try ways at getting guys out and hope to never need it, than to not think about it until it happens.
    Agreed as well, my question is, why are we leaving the hoseline, if we are not oriented, or can visually see a way out? It's fairly easy to spin around and follow the line out when we realize things are going to hell on us. Hose, nozzles tools etc..are all replaceable, we are not. This is obviously not an excuse for NOT knowing how to extricate our own from a situation though.
    FF/NREMT-B

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    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  16. #16
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    I guess I'm looking at this more of as there was a collapse or something behind me blocking the exit (way I went in), not backing out due to the fire overcoming what we can handle.

    I agree with your point.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    I guess I'm looking at this more of as there was a collapse or something behind me blocking the exit (way I went in), not backing out due to the fire overcoming what we can handle.

    I agree with your point.
    I can see where you are coming from, but for me I'm going to take a pretty firm stand on this. I'm not being close minded, it's just that basement/cellar fires are rather nasty things to me there is not a single excuse for getting trapped in a basement, UNLESS you have fallen through the first floor for some reason. If there should be a collapse that should happen blocking your egress, you f'd up on your size-up.

    Basement ventialtion needs to be done PRIOR to entry to make the evironment as tenable as possible, then move in and make the attack. Another option to making a direct attack would be to use a cellar nozzle, very simple, locate fire cut 8"x8" hole, place cellar nozzle through hole, extinguish fire.
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    very simple, locate fire
    which is the "not" simple part.
    "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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    Forum Member clancyxdogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    Another option to making a direct attack would be to use a cellar nozzle, very simple, locate fire cut 8"x8" hole, place cellar nozzle through hole, extinguish fire.
    Well, well, well. Another piercing nozzle fan heard from. You won't have to worry about "escaping" from anywhere if all you do is stick the nozzle through a window.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clancyxdogg
    Well, well, well. Another piercing nozzle fan heard from. You won't have to worry about "escaping" from anywhere if all you do is stick the nozzle through a window.
    A cellar nozzle is not a piercing nozzle. Piercing nozzles have their uses, basement fires are not one.

    Bones42, I was offering another option, we've only done it a few times, combine the use with a thermal imaging cam, it works rather well. We've only done it when we cannot get down the stairs due to the heat. And for the 'heroes' amongst us, it does happen.

    Now as for removing one of our own, especially in buildings without egress windows, pick your window, remove siding/insulation/etc..make large hole through wall and floor, remove material, place ladder find and remove crew, repeat as necessary
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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