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Does our town need a ladder?

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  • doughesson
    replied
    I don't presume to know nothin' about no ISO but:
    My old department didn't have a building over 3 stories unless you counted the water tower at 150'.
    There is planning for buildings higher than 36 feet so buying a ladder is in the works after the new station is paid down some.
    When we'd mutual aid train with departments that had a 100 footer,they'd mention that some of their district had soft driveways too narrow to run an engine back in but weren't set back too far from the road that the master stream from the tip couldn't get the fire knocked down.
    If there's bridges in your district,they probably need painting once in a while and of course someone's going to need to be brought down from the superstructure,right?It'd be easier to get the rescue guys up one ladder than having to climb the bridge structure,isn't it?
    That's two reasons I can think of to justify a ladder truck in an area that doesn't have too many tall buildings.But then I'm looking at it from a still learning firefighter as opposed to an officer fighting the money battles with a Board of Trustees or a City Council.

    Leave a comment:


  • BD6413
    replied
    Honestly if you have to ask or be asked the question ..."Does our town need a ladder? ".... My guess is probably not.

    It's 2007 if this hasn't been fiqured out by now the fire department management really needs to take a look at the community and perhaps learn it a little before undertaking the awsome responsibility of purchasing, training, and implementing Ladder Company Operations.

    Leave a comment:


  • CFD14EMT
    replied
    Originally posted by bobsnyder
    So this is going to be one of these threads...



    Happy now??

    And what really bites is that it's only Tuesday and this crap is starting already...

    What else is new? ssdd

    Leave a comment:


  • bobsnyder
    replied
    Originally posted by kfactor
    Bob, come on, what FD could evacuate a hospital (or a part) down a single aerial ladder? Your kidding right?
    So this is going to be one of these threads...

    First off, "evacuate the hospital" was just an off-the-cuff example of one scenario that would be problematic given the buildings mentioned earlier in the post. You can feel free to substitute "office bulding," "church steeple," "elevated rotating restaurant," "magically suspended anti-gravity bagel shop," or whatever else you want there. The potential need for the capability to rescue some finite number of civilians or firefighters from a significant height was the real issue.

    Second of all, I'm fully aware that you're not going to successfully evacuate the entire population of even a relatively small commercial or institutional building using only one aerial ladder (and, in some cases, not even using 100 aerial ladders) and I gave most everyone reading this credit for knowing that too.

    Alas, I may have given credit where it was not due, yet again...

    So, I suppose this is ultimately my fault for not being sufficiently precise in my example. Thus, I beg of you to allow me to humbly make a second attempt at providing a suitable response...

    The concise and apparently innocuous question...

    "For example, could you effectively evacuate that hospital if the stairways were blocked?"

    ...apparently should have been replaced with the following, slightly more cumbersome, query in order to meet the needs of everyone in the audience:

    "For example, if you were faced with a scenario where there were two to four people on the fifth (or higher) floor of the hospital who found themselves cut off from a conventonal route of egress by fire and/or heavy smoke conditions and could not be in any way protected in place from the advancement of said fire and/or smoke conditions, but who could access a window suitable for rescue operations, were capable of signalling first responders, and had the presence of mind to do so, would the ground ladder complement carried on your current apparatus allow you to effectively carry out a rescue of said two to four people and/or would a minimum of one mutual aid aerial device, even if dispatched on the initial report of fire, be capable of reaching the scene in a sufficiently short time period such that this device could be effectively deployed to make a successful rescue of the aforementioned few people who had, to recap, been trapped, found a suitable window, signalled successfully, and were determined to be in immenent danger from which you could not protect them in place?"

    Happy now??

    And what really bites is that it's only Tuesday and this crap is starting already...
    Last edited by bobsnyder; 12-05-2006, 01:48 PM.

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  • Bones42
    replied
    If the GPM from a master stream is needed...it's too late, the building is a loss.

    I get the impression from some that you decide what you want and build your case around it.
    For us, we look at where we may be deficient and decide what we need from there. We don't pick a truck we want and build a case for it. We do much like I think you are doing and see where our greater risks/needs are, what we have to deal with it, what would make us better able to deal with it.

    Trench Rescue is a needed service in many areas, but not all. It's a good analogy though.

    Leave a comment:


  • GPM123
    replied
    Kfactor,
    Trench rescue... I believe you should know our area a little better before suggesting setting up a trench rescue team.
    However I do see where u are coming from.

    The hospital is just one building in our town to consider when making this decission. besides the ladder I'm thinking about the elevated fire stream advantage.

    It's not all about life safety, We also have to consider the impact it would have if we lost one of these big employers.

    As I said before, I'm asking this question because I believe it's the responsible thing to consider. I"m more interested in how to determine if we do need one. It seems the ISO guide is a good resource and I have contacted them. I get the impression from some that you decide what you want and build your case around it. Maybe there is no clear result from such a survey? I'm not bent on getting a ladder. The easy way out is to get another pumper. Less expense, not half as much extra training needed, we have room for it and a lot less trouble for me as Chief to go through the process. But I would not be doing the town or myself justice without looking at this from all angles.

    Leave a comment:


  • kfactor
    replied
    Maybe one way to aproach the problem, aside from ISO and that sort of thing, is to put together scenarios which are possible with the actual structures in place right now that you couldn't handle effectively without an aerial. For example, could you effectively evacuate that hospital if the stairways were blocked?
    Bob, come on, what FD could evacuate a hospital (or a part) down a single aerial ladder? Your kidding right? Luckily the codes don't rely on such plans. You have to have a minimum of two smoke compartments on a floor and each compartment has to have a minimum of two exits - first where are these block exits going to come from and two, the smoke compartments are for defend in place. What are the fatality statistics for hospitals? About 1 fatality a year in all of the U.S. and I doubt the presence or absence of an aerial had any bearing on the outcome. Since we are talking about risk - GPM, do you have a fully equipped and trained trench rescue team? and what about access to a vac truck, etc. on short notice? Compared to the 1 fatality a year in hospitals, there are about 75 excavation fatalities and larger number of disabling injuries. On a risk basis, excavations outweigh the hospital fire scenario by 75:1. Other commerical structures, same thing, very low death rates. So how do you ask for $500-900K or so for a aerial if you don't have a fully equipped and trained trench rescue team for a risk that is 75 times that of a fatal hospital fire? There is probably far more risk of excavation related fatalities or serious injuries than due to fire in commerical buildings in your community.

    If you take away the life safety justificaiton, why should taxpayers fund an aerial for larger target commercial risks? And if they sprinkler their builidngs(or are required to) what is the value of the aerial?

    And the roof access issue - your community should require roof access via a stairwell to every commercial roof. Let the owner put in access vs. the taxpayers footing the bill for an aerial. I work in the industrial sector and we put in roof access (often with elevator access) to the roof on most all buildings for ease of access/maintenance for roof top equipment.

    Fires are going down in this country, but the fire trucks just keep getting bigger and bigger. No wonder in my part of the country people are screaming about property taxes.

    Leave a comment:


  • BC79er
    replied
    Ah, north of the border you are. ISO is a US rating system, and technically NFPA standards are only US based. But safety knows no borders, so no reason you can't use the same arguments we do since the theories are the same.

    Leave a comment:


  • GPM123
    replied
    Thanks Bob.
    Your comments are sort of an endorcement of what I have been thinking about, and you do have a pretty good picture of the environment we have.


    FYI
    . The last time our town was audited was 1988. called a Fire Underwriters Survey, directed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. They are no doubt simmilar to ISO but I don't believe ISO operates in our area. This was a free service at that time, but no longer the case.

    Leave a comment:


  • ChiefDog
    replied
    Originally posted by LVFD301
    There probably is a better way, but we deal with what we
    have to deal with.

    If I can have a comprehensive, strong, and effective Fire Department,

    VS

    A Comphrehensive, strong, and effective Fire Department WITH A
    lowered ISO rating to better serve my patrons by saving them money,
    which way should I go?

    Thats why I play the ISO thing. Do I live by ISO? Of course not. Do
    I bear in mind what consequences some of my decisions have on the rating? sure I do.
    Very well put...

    Leave a comment:


  • LVFD301
    replied
    Originally posted by LaFireEducator
    ISO, and it's cousin PIAl, are basically a scham that costs fire departments around the country probably millions of dollors a year. There must be a better way.
    There probably is a better way, but we deal with what we
    have to deal with.

    If I can have a comprehensive, strong, and effective Fire Department,

    VS

    A Comphrehensive, strong, and effective Fire Department WITH A
    lowered ISO rating to better serve my patrons by saving them money,
    which way should I go?

    Thats why I play the ISO thing. Do I live by ISO? Of course not. Do
    I bear in mind what consequences some of my decisions have on the rating? sure I do.

    Leave a comment:


  • bobsnyder
    replied
    Originally posted by GPM123
    We are considered a service center for a lot of rural towns for miles around. only aid to us would be manpower. Our population is 5300 and growing fast. Day time pop is easily double that...We have sereral bldgs with a large foot print, some are sprinklered. Hospital, schools, arena, malls, strip malls, food plant, office bldgs etc, A Big Walmart just went up, I expect the other's will follow. We have 3 bldgs that we cannot reach the roof. fully supplied with hydrants.
    Assuming for the time being that you're going to be limited to four apparatus (this new one will definitely replace one old one), then this is a scenario almost tailor-made for a quint in the 100'/1500 gpm range as a primary attack piece. You've got big commercial and institutional buildings to worry about, you've got limited financial resources (it seems) and you've got growth. One thing you can be reasonably sure of is that resource and service requirements in an area like this will not be reduced over time...they will grow.

    In my opinion, the resource requirements to properly cover the commercial and institutional buildings you describe as being in place have already exceeded the capabilities of the two engines and tanker you've got. Right now, you've probably got the potential need for multi-story rescue operations, elevated master stream operations, and other operations that you can't handle effectively with what you've got. While I'm a big fan of automatic mutual aid, the way you describe your area makes it sound as though any aid you would get is too far away to do you much good, as least from the standpoint of putting apparatus on scene in a timely fashion. To me, this one's a no-brainer.

    Maybe one way to aproach the problem, aside from ISO and that sort of thing, is to put together scenarios which are possible with the actual structures in place right now that you couldn't handle effectively without an aerial. For example, could you effectively evacuate that hospital if the stairways were blocked? Or, could you effectively get an injured workman off the roof of the arena or the mall in a stokes? There has to be more. I can't think of a better case for equipment than being able to say something like, "if someone were seriously injured while working on the mall's rooftop air conditioning units tomorrow, it would take us 2 hours to get him down, if we could at all, and we couldn't guarantee we wouldn't add to his injuries. If we had an aerial ladder and a stokes, we could package him properly, get him down without further injury, and do it all in less than 30 minutes." If the people in charge don't respond favorably to arguments like that, at least to some degree, then they just don't care and nothing you say will sway them.
    Last edited by bobsnyder; 11-29-2006, 10:36 AM.

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  • BC79er
    replied
    ISO is based on NFPA recommendations, so it's not like they're pulling this stuff out of thin air. The 2 & 1 response is from the low-risk response table in the Fire Protection Handbook. Table 10-2 to be exact.

    I agree with Bones that some things don't make much sense in terms of equivalency but there aren't that many. They aren't really meant to be "equivalents" in terms of actual use, but instead equivalents in terms of the lives and property that could be saved using the equipment.

    All of the ISO FPRS documentation, equivalency tables, and other information are available on their web site. But definitely if you contact then get a copy of your last rating so you can see where you're greatest chances for improvement are.

    Bones is correct, it's really easy to throw the system. More and more are getting caught, hence the hoopla around Houston over some ISO scores. The question you need to ask is whether or not the jail time for insurance fraud is worth it. I've heard of people moving tarps and other hand tools from station to station. Looking at the relative points scale for ISO it's not even worth it to spend the gas to drive the stuff back and forth.

    And at 50 calls a year you are in a very big uphill battle to buy a new aerial or quint. That's a lot of money for only a few calls. Auto M/A would be the best bet for right now considering you really wouldn't be leaning on the neighbors that often.

    - Brian

    Leave a comment:


  • GPM123
    replied
    Back to the topic I posted.
    I contacted ISO and they are sending me a free copy of the FSRS. I guess we will go from there.

    Leave a comment:


  • LaFireEducator
    replied
    Unfortunatly a lot of departments buy heavily into ISO, or in my case, the Louisiana Property Insurance Rating. Though my department is well run, all apparatus decisions are made regarding ISO. We run 2 service trucks, which are basically wasted apparatus, because the rating schedule says we have to. We own 56 SCBA, because the rating schedule says we have to, even though we average 27 members for a structure fire. I could go on ... but basically a lot of our hand equipment has been purchased because the rating schedule says we have to.

    ISO, and it's cousin PIAl, are basically a scham that costs fire departments around the country probably millions of dollors a year. There must be a better way.

    Leave a comment:

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