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  1. #1
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    Default Alarm vs. Assignment

    When tripped for a fire alarm, why do some departments only send a first response vehicle (officer only) without fire suppression equipment on board to "check it out" and tells the engines/pumpers to standby at the station until they advise? Does this not put us in a tough spot should it be an actual fire assignment?


  2. #2
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    I don't know the specifics of the department or building that you are referring to, but basically they are looking at the fact that 95% of the fire alarms are false or malfunctions. Yes, the department is taking a risk that there will be an actual fire and they will be delayed in being able to really do anything about it.

    While I would tend to run at least an engine to alarms, I can think of instances where staging at the station would be acceptable. A known problem system may be a reason to send only an officer (yes, I know you can still get burned). The distance to the station may be another factor. We have a new hotel across the street from the station, I wouldn't feel bad about having apparatus stage at the station in this case.

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    Forum Member FHandz15's Avatar
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    We get the gamet around here for AFA's.....

    - Still truck only hot
    - Still truck hot, 2 others cold (what we do)
    - 3 trucks cold, BC hot
    - 3 trucks hot
    - up to 5-7 trucks hot

    I will say, I do like what we do. We send the still truck hot, the other 2 respond quickly, but cold (oxymoron lol), gear on...etc. However....I think 2 of the last 3 fires I've been to came in as a fire alarm sounding, first truck got on scene with heavy smoke....etc. The other 2 trucks were only blocks away and upgraded quickly, and filled out a 1st alarm...etc. So it does happen, just not that often. Starngley enough, I've only seen it twice in my 10 years, and it was last year about 2 weeks apart lol. Wierd.

    As always, to each his (or hers) own. Everywhere is different.

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    First responding station responds hot/cold, depends on the time of day. Day time with known occupants, sprinklered building, etc. they respond cold. Night time business closed we respond hot. It all goes according to our preplans on responses. Residential alarms get first truck hot.

    T.J.
    Last edited by Remthedays; 07-31-2007 at 11:57 AM. Reason: spelling

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    B Shifter rjtoc2's Avatar
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    Default Automatic Fire Alarms

    If an alarm only and no report of fire, we send one (1) Engine Company lights and siren. After 10 PM, a Truck Company is added to the assignment.
    rjtoc2

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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Default

    We always send our front run pump plus a Chief or DC in personal vehicle at all times.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Forum Member Higby916's Avatar
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    We always send a unit, leaves no delayed response and no reason to call in more if there is a small incident. One pump investigates, the second stays staged at a hydrant. When it is found it was a false alarm, all but the first in pump are cleared. If there a small fire, pot on the stove, etc, then there's the ladder to help ventilate; and of course if it's a good worker, then we still get additional manpower, but have a good amount to start with.
    A unit here is two pumps, ladder and district.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    For us, we'll do this when there is a LEO on scene and he is also a member of the FD. Of course, he checks out the alarm first to make sure it's false. We will then only have a chief roll in to make sure the system is reset, everyone else will be held at the buildings.
    "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 DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by afd2511 View Post
    When tripped for a fire alarm, why do some departments only send a first response vehicle (officer only) without fire suppression equipment on board to "check it out" and tells the engines/pumpers to standby at the station until they advise? Does this not put us in a tough spot should it be an actual fire assignment?
    When I see this.. it screams MUTT POLITICIANS interfering with FD operations and a SPINELESS CHIEF who kowtows to their whim. By sending a support vehicle with just an officer to determine if "it's a real fire or not", they think they are saving the taxpayers money by only having one vehicle on the road instead of three or four.

    Tell that to the person who's house is ablaze, and now has to wait for the rigs to arrive wihile the officer in the support stands there waiting for the troops to arrive...

    "sorry you lost your house, but we did save a few cents on the FD budget...'
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  10. #10
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    Default

    When this issue comes up in conversation on these forums...I always ask to have depts show the stats that support the idea that they have a higher rate of accidents to actual fires.

    I know of the 3 depts I worked for...none had the stats to support such a move(other than my current one which only made a change to Class E buildings(see other recent topic on this issue) to essentially keep availablity up in lieu of companies from running 10,000 plus alarms a year in Midtown and not becuase of accident rates either.)

    No one on here save a few rural depts who essentially don't have enough data to judge from has been able to produce such figures or offer any other justification than...it is the safe thing and I read about it here, here and here.

    Someone needs to pay some bills and writes some silly article with assumptions and conjecture with little factual support or even a reasonable rationalization and lo and behold a full 1/2 of the countries mindless Chiefs jump on the bandwaggon.

    I know my three depts. have been to more fires that were dispatched based on single source fire alarms and I know my experience isn't unique to me either.

    I've seen depts that when challenged in the local media...when the Chief himself actually defended his policy even just a few weeks in when a fire alarm turned out to be guess what...a fire!

    If you wait in line at your state DMV and it takes 15 minutes longer than you think it should...you write a letter to any beauracrat or politician that would listen to you regarding the poor level of service or a DMV employee who seems disinterested in doing their job....

    The fire dept. doesn't take fire alarms seriously and take our time in getting to them....and some think this is an improvement in service delivery?

    Everyone is giving this Chief in Charleston a hard time for saying we aren't going to change our policies...but when the same thing occurs in a situation like this...what do we see or hear?

    We hear about as much outrage from the Firemen out there as we do from the Muslim community when their comrades in their "religion of peace" bombs, murders, loots, burns or pilages some Christians?

    Why is that? I certainly can't figure it out after all the discussions we've had on this topic.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 08-01-2007 at 09:22 AM.

  11. #11
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    Automatic alarm assignments

    -Fire alarm in a private residence we send one pumper running hot
    -alarm in a commercial occupancy gets 2 pumpers and a truck hot


    1st Alarm Fire Assignments

    -reported fire in a Priv Res gets 3 pumpers, 1 truck, 1 EMS, ! chief,
    ! safety officer.
    -fire in a comm Occ Gets the above with and extra truck and pumper.

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    What FFRED said.

    This topic burns me too. Ok I can live with only the first due engine and first due truck responding lights and sirens but the other vehicles have to be on the road and can step it up if needed.

    I have a hard time sending just one vehicle, not even an engine in some places, to "check it out" or see if it's a real fire. Yeah, granted 98% of them are false alarms but how do you know this call isn't in that 2%? You have to treat each call as real unless proven otherwise. That's how people die and how property gets lost.
    Jason Knecht
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  13. #13
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    3 engines and a truck Code 3. first unit on scene determines if it is a false alarm and then cancels appropriate units.

  14. #14
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Well...........

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    Forum Member axemanst3's Avatar
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    thats exactly right harve....

    once they call 911 it's up to the officer
    thats a right that he has earned
    if he wants to go all out i say go for it

    I was working dispatch about a week ago and a woman called 911 for the odor of smoke in a commercial high occupancy structure.

    not only that, this is an assisted living NURSING HOME!

    she had the nerve to ask me if we could send a firefighter out there in his personal vehicle to check it out. She wanted no firetruck, no lights, no sirens..... pretty much nothing. where there is the odor of smoke.... there is usually smoke..... where there is smoke there is usually fire!

    if some public education was done, to explain to the people(meaning taxpayers)... that this is why we send two or three trucks... I doubt any of them would say: well if my alarm goes off, just send me some guy in an explorer

    END OF RANT

  16. #16
    Forum Member DonSmithnotTMD's Avatar
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    The last one of these I went to, we sent one engine because it was a known faulty alarm. We staked out the corners and waited 2 hours for a key holder who didn't show. We then put the security guy on fire watch until the key holder arrived.

    I told the captain later that we should have gotten an iron set and popped open the lightweight doors at the side to "check things out" and maybe encourage them to fix the alarm.
    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LtJohns355 View Post
    thats exactly right harve....

    once they call 911 it's up to the officer
    thats a right that he has earned
    if he wants to go all out i say go for it

    I was working dispatch about a week ago and a woman called 911 for the odor of smoke in a commercial high occupancy structure.

    not only that, this is an assisted living NURSING HOME!

    she had the nerve to ask me if we could send a firefighter out there in his personal vehicle to check it out. She wanted no firetruck, no lights, no sirens..... pretty much nothing. where there is the odor of smoke.... there is usually smoke..... where there is smoke there is usually fire!

    if some public education was done, to explain to the people(meaning taxpayers)... that this is why we send two or three trucks... I doubt any of them would say: well if my alarm goes off, just send me some guy in an explorer

    END OF RANT
    When as part of my job in a former dept I was in dispatch...I would get the same requests almost every other time if not more.

    FTM-PTB

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    Here is something else to digest my Dept has the safest record of any fire department in this country when looking at apparatus responses vs. accident rate....and get this, we don't have any runs that are non-emergency.

    We run more than anyone else, we run more companies per alarm than most and we do it in one of the most crowded congested cities in the nation with more vehicles and pedestrians than most other cities

    This is why I have such a hard time digesting this notion that we need to run non-emergency to what until proven otherwise is an emergency situation.

    Taking in a run with the siren and lights doesn't automaticly constitute a reckless gamble with ones life and those of the civilians on the road at that moment.

    If this is really an issue with your dept, you should consider hiring some consultants to offer your chauffeurs re-training on how to do their jobs...or get new chauffeurs.

    FTM-PTB

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber swarmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by afd2511 View Post
    When tripped for a fire alarm, why do some departments only send a first response vehicle (officer only) without fire suppression equipment on board to "check it out" and tells the engines/pumpers to standby at the station until they advise? Does this not put us in a tough spot should it be an actual fire assignment?
    I'd hate to be that guy.

    Picture this... you're on scene by yourself...raging structure fire...no suppression equipment...multiple rescues. Sounds highly efficient!
    "...there isn't a firefighter in the free world who is forced to join this profession." -John Norman

  20. #20
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    We still run hot to automatic alarms, but our stats show that something like 98% are false so we reduced the response. We used to send 3 engines, a truck, a heavy rescue and a chief. Now we send an engine, a truck and a chief. If at anytime during the response we get a 911 call reporting an odor, smoke or fire, the response is filled out. If its a water flow alarm, the response gets filled out.

    This is for automatic alarms only. 911 calls get a full response.
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