1. #1
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    Question Water leaks and "Opening up"

    Recently, my department had a small fire in a 3 story commercial building that was connected/built into an older ordinary constructed strip mall (taxpayer if you will). One sprinkler head fused and knocked down the fire in an office area. We had extensive water damage...
    What do YOU do when it comes to opening up a commercial building such as a taxpayer or strip mall for water leaks etc. The businesses were all suffereing from some sort of water leak be it little or significant. How does your dept. handle this sort of situation when the fire is undercontrol and salvage operations are in order? I was formerly a New York City Fire Patrolman so I did this sort of thing for a living in conjunction with FDNY operations. I suggested to my Lt. (who knows of my experience in "opening up" everything) that we force the doors (throught the lock) and check for damage etc. Well, some of the officers on scene insisted we wait for the ole' KEY HOLDER. My Lt. understood the seriousness of the damage that could be caused and said to open up. Ultimately, I spun one cylinder, used a K-tool on the other three (spun those locks) and watched and listened to a crew "play" around with another cylinder lock with the old "you can hear the halligan workin'" sound. Dink, dink, dink, fiddle, dink dink dink fiddle. I assisted that crew with through-the-lock to open up the business...

    The firefighter's I work with are experienced, knowledgeable for a dept. of a small size. I don't doubt they have experience with suppression etc. but, forcible entry is hard to come by on many of our jobs so the experience was humbling to some.

    What are your SOP, tactics etc. for opening up for working fires, water leaks with obvious flow etc.??

    Just opening up another thread for your opinion's and experiences....
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    I recently went on a water leak call in a condo where the water was running into the unit below. Noone was home in the upstairs unit and none of the neighbors knew where they were or how to contact them. One of the FFs actually opened the door with a credit card The water was from an overflowing toliet-thankfully the water was not "contaminated". We turned off the toilet valve, threw some towels down to soak up the water, and left a note for the owner.

    Forcible entry can be hard to come by in the 'burbs. The vast majority of our fires seem to have unlocked or open doors when we arrive. Most of the rest take only a swing or two with a tool.

    On commercials, I love the thru the lock. I spun the cylinder of a door at the same building 4 times in one night-malfunctioning alarm system. It's a great option-when it's available.

    The bigger question is, when do you decide to go in at a 2am alarm activation, no keys available, and no exterior sign of a problem? Glass door, but has a shroud over the cylinder, so you can't pull it. You can see in a couple of windows, and no sign of a problem. Do you cause damage and leave the building less secure because of it, or spend 6 hours waiting for a key holder? What if it's vacant and you can't ascertain who the keyholder is anyway? Do you write it up as a false alarm and leave? Do you have an SOP on this situation, or is it a company officer judgement call?

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    Remember one thing when one of the dinosaurs starts talking about how ****ed the insurance co. is going to be...

    A mold claim is going to be far more severe than the damage you are doing to those locks. Open it up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Remember one thing when one of the dinosaurs starts talking about how ****ed the insurance co. is going to be...

    A mold claim is going to be far more severe than the damage you are doing to those locks. Open it up!
    Yep...being that is the business where my bread is buttered....totally agree.
    Ins., would rather have mitigation take place ASAP...so that involves opening it all up. (Unless its below zero...of course!)
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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    Default great posts...keep em' going!

    The responses are great. And you even mentioned the Insurance Co's...Ah, the insurance companies...The same ones that voted to close down and disband the New York Fire Patrol...www.fpny123.net. Read up folks. It's coming to a town near you. 203 years of salvage tradition. Anyway, I'm off on a tangent. Great responses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salman1
    The responses are great. And you even mentioned the Insurance Co's...Ah, the insurance companies...The same ones that voted to close down and disband the New York Fire Patrol...www.fpny123.net. Read up folks. It's coming to a town near you. 203 years of salvage tradition. Anyway, I'm off on a tangent. Great responses.
    The insurance cos. that are members of the NY Board of Fire Underwriters voted to discontinue a service that has been discontinued in every other city in the US. I have no doubt that the services provided by the Fire Patrol save money and property. Their vote to shut down the operation had more to do with simple economics than with being an attack on the organization.

    It is a credit to the Fire Patrol that the union and the membership have continued to conduct themselves in a professional manner and have worked (apparently) very hard to locate funding to continue the operation. But to suggest that somehow the insurance cos. are some evil empire because they shut down a service out of a concern for economics is a but disingenuous.

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    For fires we obviously force anything we have to, not worrying about the damage. For water leaks we will take our time and try to find another way in, ie: adjoining apartments and fire escapes. Then if that fails we will just force the door, a broken door is better than 5 apts. full of water and countless other problems!

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    Default the insurance co's...

    My intent was NOT to bash the insurance co's in any way except for the idea that they move on something that they knew practically nothing about that is IN their favor:

    The New York City Fire Patrol: It is funded by a 2 percent surcharge on all fire-insurance policies written in New York City.

    Sources said insurance writers were growing concerned about the Board of Fire Underwriters' management of the fire-surcharge money.

    Enough said about the insurance co's....

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    Smile Cinquantacinque si'?...

    Hey 55. We used to bump into "youse guys" all the time...We had a lot of fun with E33 and TL9. Carl O'reggio was 33 Engine's chauffer and his mother lived across the street from Patrol 2 on West 3rd st. in the ole' Edgar Allan Poe building. (since been demolished for NYU's dormitories etc, I guess). I have some old photo's of 55 engine training with a Lt. Brady I believe on the waterfront. Some basic hand tool, truck stuff. If interested I can send em' your way. They were with 20 Truck for the morning drill...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salman1
    My intent was NOT to bash the insurance co's in any way except for the idea that they move on something that they knew practically nothing about that is IN their favor:

    The New York City Fire Patrol: It is funded by a 2 percent surcharge on all fire-insurance policies written in New York City.

    Sources said insurance writers were growing concerned about the Board of Fire Underwriters' management of the fire-surcharge money.

    Enough said about the insurance co's....
    NO it's not. If you're going to express an opinion, at least have the gonads to defend it.

    And you even mentioned the Insurance Co's...Ah, the insurance companies...The same ones that voted to close down and disband the New York Fire Patrol...www.fpny123.net. Read up folks. It's coming to a town near you.
    That is a bash to the insurance cos. If there is one thing that they are good at is keeping track of every penny. I would be more ****ed at the Board than at the insurance cos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salman1
    Hey 55. We used to bump into "youse guys" all the time......
    Sorry Salman, I don't work in E-55. That just happens to be my screen name. Sorry to hear about fire patrol!

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    Talking oh boy...

    Well, here we go...forget I commented about the insurance co's.. Let's drop it. This thread is certainly not an avenue to defend or negate the insurance co's. Yes, they/we etc. should be upset with the Board and not the insurance co's as a whole. But, many representing various insurance carriers etc. WERE at the meeting and expressed their disdain for supposed mismanagement of the funds and also agreed that closing the patrol (not because they hate em' etc) to save additional cost's to the co's. Most didn't even know WHAT the fire patrol was and the money it saves annually in insurance claims. It was definately a knee jerk reaction to the management of the funds and the Fire Patrol was simply one of possibly many avenues they could have gone down to save money. Jeez.

    firefiftyfive, gotcha. thanks. stay safe brother.

    Anyone ELSE have any comments regarding opening up and leaks and nothing negative about the insurance industry as a whole?!...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salman1
    Anyone ELSE have any comments regarding opening up and leaks and nothing negative about the insurance industry as a whole?!...
    Geez, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that this was YOUR thread to decide what comments were made.

    Opening up...

    1. Guys on here are always talking about "saving property". Saving property from water-related loss is not exciting and glamorous, but it is every bit as important.

    2. Water has the potential to cause more damage than fire. I have seen losses that reached into the tens of thousands of dollars due to a small hole in a water pipe. Mold losses can result in the demolition of a building.

    3. IF you open it up, you have to do more than look at it and say, "It's bad in here". You have to be prepared to throw covers if necessary, move stuff out of harms way if possible and do whatever else is necessary to reduce the damage.

    4. "Throw covers? What the hell is he talking about?" Salvage is one of the most important avenues towards reducing property damage. Yet, very few FD's practice it at all, today. You would be surprised what a disaster restoration company can do to reclaim materials that were exposed to a moderate amount of water.

    5. You get alot of mileage, from a PR standpoint, by trying to salvage property rather than throwing it out of a window.

    6. No, I'm not saying to do salvage work instead of putting out the fire .

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    Default great input...

    How about some method's to forcible entry for opening up ie. forcing the door vs. through-the-lock, taking the glass etc. What does YOUR dept. do normally during similiar operations? How do they approach these types of operations? Aggresive or cautious ie. waiting for the key holder most of the time because the dept. does not approach operations aggresively to prevent damage to businesses etc.?...Or due they simply open up everything with the knowlege that fire spread happens and water flows everywhere and the stores etc. have to be opened up to secure/prevent/knockdown extension etc?

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    On alarm situation our policy dictates that commercial occupancies be opened up and walked through due to the fact that you can have an initially small problem in a large building and it not be obvious from the exterior. That small situation will of course eventually get big enough to get obvious from the exterior but then you have a much larger problem.

    When things are not obvious from the exterior an attempt will be made to get a key holder. If one can arrive on the scene in "a reasonable amount of time" we will wait. 1 hour is what is generally accepted, but the actual time frame is not dictated and is at the discretion of the company officer or chief in charge.

    On small buildings where you can see all the way through the building like you describe, many times companies will make a judgement call from the outside and leave. If these buildings become a nusiance with their alarms then we will require the keyholder to make the scene or bust the lock.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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