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Offensive operations after defensive attacks

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  • Offensive operations after defensive attacks

    What does your department do about returning to the interior of a home following a defensive attack.
    I understand that the older homes and buildings were built to last, but how do you decide whether to go inside a newer home after, say an attic fire forced crews outside? Would it be based on the amount of water used, do you send a recon team in or something else?

  • #2
    You have to determine construction type. Is it older with rafters and dimensional lumber, or is it a transitional truss home with dimensional floor joists, or a newer home with truss roofs, and truss or TGI's for floor supports.

    Depending on construction type then you look at extent of the fire damage. Depending on location and extent of the damage it may be safe to enter the structure or it may be safe to enter portions of the structure away from the structural damage.

    There may be times when entry is simply not worth the risk if the structure has suffered significant damage. This can be a hard pill to swallow for us aggressive firefighters but if the building has suffered such severe damage that entry is not reasonable then we must go to alternatives. Continued use of exterior streams, perhaps even backhoes to remove parts of the structure to allow access to the fire.

    I am assuming since you did not mention it that all occupants are outside the structure. Because if they aren't it may be an entirely different ball game.

    All in all it takes experience, knowledge of building construction, and yes some intuition and gut feeling to know when and where you can enter after a defensive attack transitioning to an offensive interior attack.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    • #3
      And sometimes after a heavy exterior attack little steps like jerking up a threshold and even cutting (or using the pike of the halligan)a couple of 'drain holes" cant hurt. And along with checking out the obvious structural damage , I try and size up the load in the various rooms. A lot of porous type stuff crammed in a room can sometimes be a problem. So in other words "depends on many factors"
      ?

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      • #4
        Expanding on what the others have said, I've not seen many buildings retain much water on upper floors other than what was retained by the contents. Each fire will have it's specific problems. You have to access the risk vs. benefit. Usually the benefit is releasing companies sooner, and ending the incident. Generally wood frame building are more stable and give better clues as to structural integrity, older brick buildings can be quite unpredictable.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johnsb View Post
          Expanding on what the others have said, I've not seen many buildings retain much water on upper floors other than what was retained by the contents. Each fire will have it's specific problems. You have to access the risk vs. benefit. Usually the benefit is releasing companies sooner, and ending the incident. Generally wood frame building are more stable and give better clues as to structural integrity, older brick buildings can be quite unpredictable.
          Just be careful about the water soaked contents. This can add significant weight to a building that wasn't designed to carry that kind of load. Of course, it would depend on what the contents were. A commercila building would be much more of a wild card than most residential buildings.

          I don't necessarily agree about wood frame being more stable than brick. Floor joists may be comparable in both but a brick wall can be much more stable than a balloon frame stick built wall.

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          • #6
            maybe a little off topic, but on OLD brick buildings, we still have some buildings that are built out of handmade sun dried brick . both the brick and the mortar are water soluble. Take a quick glance at the mortar and or a brick and check them out. Note -they relied on paint for waterproofing.
            ?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by captnjak View Post
              Just be careful about the water soaked contents. This can add significant weight to a building that wasn't designed to carry that kind of load. Of course, it would depend on what the contents were. A commercila building would be much more of a wild card than most residential buildings.

              I don't necessarily agree about wood frame being more stable than brick. Floor joists may be comparable in both but a brick wall can be much more stable than a balloon frame stick built wall.
              Capt., the wood frame buildings tend to drain off water better than a masonry building, so you generally don't get the water trapped in them as much. Your mileage may vary of course.

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              • #8
                I disagree that wood frame allows for better run off of water. There may be a slight advantage as far as water getting through walls but the vast majority of water is moving downward. Brick and frame generally have same flooring system. Water doesn't really get trapped on upper floors in my experience except the water that has soaked into contents.

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                • #9
                  cap jack - along with contents , I have seen upper floors that have a wood T&G ceiling below them trap water, the wood swells and it can be dang near water tight. Takes a lot of water to filter down, but I have seen the joist bays close to level full.
                  ?

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                  • #10
                    Good example. Haven't seen that. But you could have the same tongue and groove wood ceiling applied to the joists in a brick building also. Assuming the structure is safe to operate in, a team could be assigned to create drainage by making openings in ceiling.

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