Archive for the 'Building Construction' Category
John Douglass sent in something he found while detailed over to DC Truck 15. This scuttle has a homebrewed method of being secured with 2×4’s. Regardless if you are opening this from the roof, or the interior, almost any hand tool should be able to defeat it. If this was a ghetto fabulous plywood skylight replacement that you were removing from the roof, it might give some unexpected resistance. But the nails or screws that are holding it together would more than likely be the weak point, and pull right through the plywood. When removing from below, a quick strike from a hook or halligan should do the trick. Even when operating on a “nothing call” like a fire alarm, it is essential to be ready for anything and be prepared with tools in hand. It would certainly be embarrassing to encounter this and have to head back out to the rig to retrieve a tool to defeat it.1 comment
Derek Brown from Madison (WI) Firehouse 7 sent in these photos of new style of roof construction he and the crew ran into in their first due. The building in the photo is a two-story day care facility that features an interesting style of roof construction.
The building has steel trusses with corrugated metal sheet decking directly over the truss system.
On top of the corrugated decking there are fire rated 2×4’s acting as a purling. Over the purling is fire rated 3/4′” plywood. The roof will be finished off with traditional tab shingles. Once completed the roof will look no different than an ordinary shingle roof.
Accomplishing a vertical vent on this building would be interesting if the style of construction was not know ahead of time. A good carbide tip on the chain saw should get right through the entire assembly, but will certainly take a bit longer than traditional plywood or OSB decking.4 comments
Lieutenant Joseph Minehan from Boston Engine 28 sent in some recent photos of an artistic board up project in Boston. We first posted about Artistic Board Up (click here for the post) projects found in New York back in August of 2009, and followed up with photos from a fire involving and Artistic Board Up building in Baltimore City (click here for the post).
We wanted to re-post information about these so everyone stays on their toes about them. As you can see in the ones Lt. Minehan sent in, they are getting a bit more creative with the artwork.No comments
Technician Jeff Billingsley from Denver (CO) Tower 1 sent in these photos of something they recently ran into on a fire alarm. The building was an old church that had a recent addition of an office and classroom building with modern construction techniques.
In order to separate the old portion of the building form the new building, they utilized roll down fire doors to achieve building separation from a fire code point of view.
As you can see in the photos both doors have a fusible link on either side to allow the doors to roll down into place in the event of a heat condition on either side of the door. The crew was able to manually pull the door down to inspect and take a photo. These style doors typically have a counter weight or spring mechanism that allows them to automatically roll into the down position when the fusible link lets go.
Below is a photo of the smaller door that was found in place of an average 33”-36” door way.
Below is a photo of the larger door that spanned about a 12’ wide hallway.
Because of the potential issues these could create on the fireground, we should try to be aware of this type of door in any of our buildings. These doors could operate behind us potentially cutting off our primary means of egress. It could also come down on the engine company’s umbilical cord and compromise their water flow.5 comments
Senior Captain Tod A. Paget from Houston (TX) Ladder 46 sent in this photo of something they encountered while doing tactical evaluation/assessment plans in their area. When walking through a partially occupied warehouse they found this unique method of reinforcing a sheet rock wall.
Performing a wall breach for rapid egress of this particular room (or surrounding rooms) would be problematic at best. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way of identifying this ahead of time. The only indication of finding something this unique might be through noticing some other home-brewed ways to secure doors and windows as well. Unfortunately, we might not find out about this until its too late, and someone is trapped inside. The two best options would be the door (obvious) or simply attempting another wall in the same room. Often times fortification like this may be found on exterior wall or a wall that is shared with an adjoining occupancy. If you find fortification like this in one wall, don’t waste your time, try another wall.
Now take a look at this scenario from the eyes of the RIT team. If that door was not present, and you knew your brother was trapped in that room what would you do? Do you normally carry a rotary saw? Would it have the proper blade to defeat this? What is your “Plan B?” We’ll never be able to predict and plan for every single thing we could encounter on the fireground, but we must make sure we take every opportunity possible to discuss crazy finds like this. Remember to always expect the unexpected.
Captain Tony Carroll from DC Truck Co. No. 9 sent in this detailed write-up on security bars that Rescue Co. No. 2 recently found on an apartment building. Finding bars on the ground floor of an apartment building is not uncommon, however these bars are located inside the window. We have shown interior security bars before on the site, but Captain Carroll has a detailed analysis of this particular setup that we wanted to share. Click here to download the file.No comments
William Hardy, Jr. from Newport (NH) Fire sent in these photos of something we will probably all begin to see more of in the near future. Take a look from the street and think about what you see…
With any moderate smoke this would totally be concealed…
The installation of PhotoVoltaic Modules (PV Modules) is becoming common place everywhere. If you are not aware of these in your first due it’s for one of two reasons:
1.) They are currently being installed (or will be in the VERY near future)
2.) You just haven’t found them yet!
We featured a supplemental page awhile ago with some additional information on PV Modules and their characteristics. Click Here for that info and take a moment to think about trying to vent that roof. Keep in mind, you can’t always see them from the street.4 comments
Since it was a frigid 40 degrees this morning in Florida, we realized that our brothers elsewhere in the world must be still dealing with quite a bit of snow. Snow loading is something we had never even heard of, let alone considered on any fireground down here. As a result, we are going to turn this post over to some folks who obviously know much more about this they we ever could: Deputy Chief Sean Toomey and Bill Greenwood. A special thanks goes out to them for allowing us to share this information.
Click here for an article written by Lt. Bill Greenwood from Keene (NH) Fire and FETC Services regarding roof snow loads. It discusses some tactical implications of operating under a snow loaded roof, and even explains the differences between warm and cold roofs.
Click here for an info sheet used by Concord (NH) Fire that includes instruction on how to assess and calculate a roof loads to determine collapse potential. This simple sampling and assessment process was developed by Concord’s Deputy Chief Sean Toomey, who happens to be a fire protection engineer.
The video below shows exactly how much of a hazard snow loads can be on the fireground.
Stay safe (and warm) out there in the snow brothers!2 comments
Lieutenant Landon Harris from Chesterfield County (VA) Truck 14 sent in these pictures of something he saw while visiting Cumberland, MD. As you can see from the photo, the building has transformers mounted directly to the building, just over a loading dock. This particular installation may pose some issues if we were operating in this building. For example, if fire were venting out of the bay door a significant hazard could exist. The proximity of the transformers to the loading dock may eliminate this area as an assess point into the structure. Ground ladders may also not be a viable option if they were needed on this side of the building. Finding this issue ahead of time, noting it on your pre-plans, and coming up with a plan of attack will be the key to a successful operation in this structure.
Here is a great video of a close call on the roof. Forest Park (OH) firefighters were performing a vertical vent on a residential fire, when the decking started to fail. The firefighter knew enough to spread out and was caught and SAVED by the trusses. Huh, imagine that, the decking is what failed, and the trusses are what saved him… Maybe those trusses aren’t so dangerous after all. Maybe the fire service should be mad at the cheap and thin OSB decking instead of the trusses… Kudos goes to Forest Park for getting the roof, and knowing what to do in case things go bad. Training made the difference!
Video from WKRC Local 12 Cincinnati27 comments