Archive for the 'Building Construction' Category
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.3 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
Hidden access stairs can certainly cause some confusion on the fireground. They allow for unobstructed smoke and fire travel, and can make finding additional floors frustrating.
The first example was sent in by Derek Porter and the Engine 3 crew from Morgantown (WV.) In this example, a spiral staircase leading to the occupied basement is concealed behind a bi-fold closet door. The staircase was added by the homeowner once the basement was “finished” to prevent having to go outside to access the basement. The spiral staircase fit just perfectly into the existing closet, while maintaining the bi-fold doors.
The next example is from Ronny Findeisen from Stuttgart Fire Department in Germany and proves this is not just a problem found in the United States. In this situation you can see a set of sliding closet doors that is concealing two hidden stairs leading to both a floor above and below.
Neither of these situations are going to ruin our day, they are just going to make the primary search a bit more complicated and time consuming.
Nick Bailey sent in this photo taken by Will Price quite some time ago. Prince Georges County Squad 1 found this children’s bedroom hidden in a knee wall during a working fire in Montgomery County. This makeshift bedroom was concealed by curtains and a book shelf. The photo reminds us of the importance of good primary search, and an even more through secondary. Effective search techniques are not something that can be learned on a book, or even a website. Crews must train regularly on search techniques and always be ready for the un-expected. Would you and your crew have found this? Photos like this serve as a great conversation piece with the crew over a cup of coffee. Searching is one of the primary functions of the truck company, and need to be completed on every fire whether a truck company is present or not.14 comments
Christopher Moe, AC from Bladensburg (MD) and FF with Montgomery County (MD) Engine 2 sent in these pictures taken in Elkridge (MD.) The picture shows a common townhouse occupancy with dormers. Dormers always prompt an interesting discussion. How do you know when they are real and lead to a occupied space, or how do you know when they are only decorative? One of the most common responses to that question in more than likely: “knowing your area.” Obviously knowing your area is your best chance of figuring out the dormer question (or any other building construction question), but it’s never an absolute. As you can see below, these dormers “almost” lead to a occupied space. they lead to a loft, but the loft is set back from the dormers. This was done to allow the dormers to allow light in the loft area, and additional light for the second floor below. This could lead to quite a surprise to someone performing VES. (This is way the floor should be sounded before dropping in)
Well here is the twist to this one. Christopher used to live a townhouse very similar to this one, and the dormers lead directly to the loft area, without the drop to the second floor. So in this particular case, relying only on “knowing your area” would have let you down. Knowing your area is an essential part of being prepared for the job… Learning the trends in your local building construction can provide you with a tremendous amount of valuable information on the fireground. Just as importantly, this example proves that we should never rely on one source of information. We should use our preincident knowledge to assist us in making better decisions on the fireground, without blinding us from what we see right in front of our eyes.16 comments
We have preached for years the importance of getting out and surveying your area to know ahead of time what you will face on the fireground. One of the most important (yet often overlooked) components of a good area survey is sharing the information with the other shifts. We recent received an excellent example from Tony Ferreiro, Carpentersville (IL) Truck 981. He shared that his shift goes out once a month on Sundays and actually ladders buildings in their area with the aerial. This obviously allows them to determine optimal positions, and identify any limitations ahead of time. Beyond the area familiarization component, setting up the aerial on actual building is a valuable training tool for new or relief drivers. When it comes to sharing the area familiarization information Tony sent in this attachment which was shared with the other crews. The simple attachment is just a few pictures with descriptions of what they found of interest in that particular building, like a roof over. The example could have gone one step further to show the aerial set-up in a few spots on the building to show good and bad placement.
Area familiarization is an essential tool in being a well prepared truck company, but sharing this valuable information with everyone else is just as important.8 comments
Lieutenant Kenneth Pagurek from Philadelphia Squad 47/B sent in these pictures of a structure that would require some great truck work. The crew of Squad 47 came across this mess while checking out their area. Photo credit goes out to Firefighter Terry Lorson and the rest of the 47′s gang. The structure has store fronts and residential units, with all sorts of surprises: billboards mounted to the facade and the roof, roll up doors, fence, razor wire and the list goes on… We know this may not be in your area, but it’s a great time to review with the crews about prioritizing your truck work. Use this one a company drill around the dinner table. There is a lot that needs to be done and overcome on this structure. What needs to be done first? Who’s going to accomplish the task? What tools are needed?
Click here to see more pictures of the structure.30 comments