Tactical Fire Problem – Sidewalk, Storefront restaurant.

This week some considerations about a downtown restaurant fire. Take a look.

1.) Daytime and the place is occupied. It suddenly filled with smoke. How will you conduct a primary search? How often do you train on commercial building search? How many people does it take?

2.) In this scenario with a storefront how does that impact your preconnect hose line stretch ? You pull 150′ or 200′ and you have the width of the sidewalk…..have you practiced? A normal stretch in suburbia might be across a long driveway and front yard.

3.) What size lines and how many and where?

4.) Because you know your district (I hope!) you know there are apartments above. With limited manpower which comes first fire attack or clearing floor 2?

5.) What are your tactical operations for a fire in grease ductwork extended to the roof?

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

The Fire Service Rumor Mill

I pretty much hate the rumor mill and I truly believe it is detrimental in so many ways to the fire service, but I also know I am not smart enough to figure out how to make it go away. Hey maybe you don’t have a rumor mill or grapevine in your department, so this week’s commentary might not be for you. (Stop reading right now, I wanna talk about you later on in the piece!) It really doesn’t matter what you do to minimize, manage, or deal with it, the rumor mill exists and will continue to exists as long as one person hears a single piece of information prior to someone else, or prior to department administration being able to get it out there. I also acknowledge that while the rumor mill or grapevine will always exist I do submit to you that there are some things you can do to help the situation out in your own department.

Here are some basic thoughts: (Warning these may not get you any birthday presents or nuthin’ cause they are not real popular!)

When someone approaches you and says “the rumor mill says….” or “rumor has it….” immediately and directly ask where they heard it. More often then not they will not answer. In that case neither should you.

Try to be open and up front with information if you are an officer or department administrator. This will help to minimize the effects.

If you are an officer or department administrator know your personnel and know who you can have a conversation with, without it being spread throughout the department.

The simplest of all…….Don’t spread rumors yourself. Think of a time when you have been injured mentally or emotionally about some of the crap that may have been spread about you.

If the rumor mill is talking about other members, they are talking about you too. Make sure you know what they can say bout you. If you do good stuff and perform well on the job, then only good stuff will be said.

Build your reputation to be able to withstand the rumor mill. Each and every day behave in a positive manner.

What is being said about you at work? When you are out sick, or vacation is the shift happier? When you don’t make a meeting or company drill does it go smoother? When you miss a good incident do the personnel say “it’s a good thing you were not here cause somebody might have gotten hurt”. Are your personnel happy to see you take command?

All of the things I mentioned right here are being said about you today. Your work habits, appearance, and behaviors are all being talked about.

Make sure you behave in a manner that will make your mom proud when she hears the rumor about you!

Make sure you don’t get involved in spreading rumors about others. If everyone takes care of their own, then we can help make firehouse and the fire service just a tiny bit better, but each one of us doing the right thing!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Pickup truck carrying explosives…..or not?

This week a vehicle fire that could be a big problem.

1.) When you get dispatched to a vehicle fire, always ask for more information if it is the least bit unclear. If someone says truck fire ask what kind of truck.

2.) How close would you have to be to recognize this? Lines might be stretched and crew dismounted. Now what?

3.) How far back do you evacuate? How do you measure that in the field?

4.) How long will you be on scene?

5.) Think this through; How will this incident ultimately be mitigated?

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Roof Types and Construction

This week I am speaking about all of the aspects of construction that might relate to roofs. You could take this training idea and use it in any number of ways but we will throw out some suggestions for argument sake.

Make sure your troops know that in many cases the roof of a building is designed to keep the rain out and not much else. Of course it adds stability to the overall building but it is really not designed to take significant weight loads above it’s design maximum. Obviously in the Northeast and points where it snows, roofs are designed for snow loading as well.

Framing up a drill for roofs (no pun intended) would go something like this:

* Go to the local building department and determine what weight per square foot residential roofs are supposed to be able to hold in your area.

* Discuss and define the following terms with your personnel: Concentrated Load, Dead Load, Design Load, Undesigned Load, Distributed Load, Live load, impact load.

* Find out from building department what local materials are being used in roof construction in a typical residential.

* Take photos of buildings in your response area during and after construction so you can show your members what the roof support structures really are.

* Review all of the various types of roofs with your personnel and the characteristics of each, how you change your operations for each and any peculiarities which could lead to failure.

*Roof Types: Gable, Gambrel, Hip, Mansard, Shed, Lantern, Butterfly

* Discuss truss construction. Not every type of truss is bad, but primarily prefabricated truss construction materials may be. Truss construction using large substantial members has been used in churches for years. That is not what the fire department has concerns about, but really the engineered truss. Discuss the following bowstring truss, engineered wood truss, open web steel joist.

* Discuss Engineered wooden structural members such as the wooden I beam type.

* Discuss parapet walls as roof attachments and facades and their failure.

* Discuss and review existing roof loads such as HVAC and other machinery.

* Discuss heavy sign loads that may be creating an eccentric load pulling a parapet wall forward.

* Discuss commercial roofing such as membrane roofing that may have to actually cut away to get to subsurface areas. Also discuss the rapid fire spread that may occur with this type of roof covering.

* Discuss fires that have occurred while roof repairs were being made to commercial roofs using hot tar, and liquid propane burners up on the rooftop.

* Talk about the tools and equipment that should be brought to the roof.

* Talk about the dangers of locating the roof edges in heavy smoke conditions.

* Talk about two means of egress for crews operating and a number of other safety tips.

This is not all inclusive but you should have enough material to research in IFSTA or Delmar publications, coupled with your own digital pictures of your own community to create a good drill and get the personnel to focus on just this one aspect of building construction.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Fire Service Building Construction – An interview with Chris Naum

Our guest this week is Christopher Naum from the website buildings on fire. Chris is an internationally known expert on the subject and he is carrying on from his mentor Frank Brannigan.

This week we take an overview look of the five types of building construction as defined by NFPA 220, we look at wood frame buildings, and some of the things to be considered.

We also begin a discussion on engineered structural members and how the change the dynamics of what we are currently doing with suppression tactics and discuss how that might have changed from years past. The increase in the ability of these engineered systems allow for increase in the compartment spaces, meaning size and area of the fire compartment and how that has a direct impact on rate of flow.

Buildings On Fire website http://buildingsonfire.com/

NIOSH Website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/

Command Safety Website http://commandsafety.com/

The Company Officer Website http://thecompanyofficer.com/tag/fire-service-training/


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013