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  • #16
    Originally posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    While they're not as common as unintentional activations, I can think of handful of actual fires fairly quickly. At least three were held by sprinklers, another was in a boat building plant and the upside down hull shedded water (as designed) and had a decent size fire.

    As TC noted, many alarms are not false, but in fact proper activation of the system for situations less than full blow fires. Burned popcorn creates smoke which activates smoke detectors, not a system failure. Pulled alarms are not false, they're human error/mischief/crime, but again the system worked properly.
    We have had our share of fires in apartment complexes... all of the notification initially came from the alarm system followed by 911 calls.

    The last five apartment complex fires I went to on duty all went to mutliple alarms.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #17
      Only takes one.
      ?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
        You have to treat every automatic alarm as a working fire until you get a call back saying it is a false alarm.
        I may be misinterpreting your intent, but I would tend to disagree with the literal message of this post.

        I think that treating automatic alarms (with out further indications of a fire, like a 911 call reporting smoke in the building) exactly like a working fire until receiving notice otherwise is somewhat foolish, depending on your department's specific history with such calls.

        Let's be honest, when we know it's a working fire we tend to "hussle" a bit more than we would for the report of a more "minor" incident. For some, this extra "hussle" can take the form of "driving like a maniac", while for others it may be a more "controlled" increase in the rate of response.

        Given the fact that the vast majority of automatic alarms (in general) result in non-emergent problems or no problems at all, that extra "hussle" probably isn't appropriate. So, in this context, I think that automatically treating the call as a working fire is not the right course.

        However, treating it as the real deal in terms of things like wearing your PPE and your attitude & mental preparation for the call would be appropriate.

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        • #19
          I can only think of 1 that we had during the daytime...nighttime is a whole other story. I've probably been to 10 or so late night/early morning alarms and arrived with fire showing.
          A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
            We have had our share of fires in apartment complexes... all of the notification initially came from the alarm system followed by 911 calls.

            The last five apartment complex fires I went to on duty all went to mutliple alarms.
            Without a doubt, I was only noting fires I could recall that had no other report by any means, just the first due responding to the alarm and arriving to find a fire. Without a doubt far more often the alarm activates and corroborating calls start banging in. This happens both with jobs and with food on the stove or kids pulling the F/A.

            I can see no valid reason to increase the risks to the public, the taxpayers property or ourselves by reducing alarm responses. Just one time when you arrive with your minimalist response and have a worker will prove why we treat these alarms they way we do.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by mcwops View Post
              We have a home for the mentally disabled in our community. A large number of our auto alarms are calls for burnt popcorn in the microwave, which sets off the detector head in the kitchen. The only burnt food fire we have had at that location that I have seen was one of the residents placed a tube of biscuits in the microwave, which did start a small, short lived fire.
              We have that too! We call it "HEADQUARTERS!"

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              • #22
                we respond everytime, and as i can remember maybe twice its been actuall fire.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
                  I may be misinterpreting your intent, but I would tend to disagree with the literal message of this post.

                  I think that treating automatic alarms (with out further indications of a fire, like a 911 call reporting smoke in the building) exactly like a working fire until receiving notice otherwise is somewhat foolish, depending on your department's specific history with such calls.

                  Sorry, I disagree, we get automatic alarms for a 14 story hospital and um, guess what one of the ones I went to was an actual fire. My point is get dressed, get on the rig, get out the door and get there. If it's nothing so much the better. If it's something you are ready to go to work.

                  Let's be honest, when we know it's a working fire we tend to "hussle" a bit more than we would for the report of a more "minor" incident. For some, this extra "hussle" can take the form of "driving like a maniac", while for others it may be a more "controlled" increase in the rate of response.

                  If your officer EVER let's the MPO drive like a maniac he should be bitch slapped into next Tuesday. If you respond to every call like it has meaning when it does you don't have to ramp up your preparedness.

                  Given the fact that the vast majority of automatic alarms (in general) result in non-emergent problems or no problems at all, that extra "hussle" probably isn't appropriate. So, in this context, I think that automatically treating the call as a working fire is not the right course.

                  And once again we will have to disagree. The only time to cut back response and even go non-emergent is if you get a call back saying it is a false alarm. Then turn rigs around and respond in one engine to verify the false alarm.

                  However, treating it as the real deal in terms of things like wearing your PPE and your attitude & mental preparation for the call would be appropriate.

                  We agree on this.
                  The problem with playing automatic alarms as if they are always nothing is when it is something you are already behind the game when you arrive.
                  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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                  • #24
                    We have had one recent fire, and I mean two weeks recent, where the initial call came from the alarm company. Turned out a small fire on the stove that went up the wall a but and burned the overhead hood.

                    A department next to responded to a sounding fire alarm at an elderly housing complex where there are several false alarms. They pulled up to fire and smoke showing on the third floor which included a rescue which unfortunately turned into a fatality. They were caught totally off guard.

                    I try to instill to my people not to get complacent because 98% of the alarms are false or a malfunction. True, burnt food is NOT a malfunction, the alarm did what it was designed to do...it is a human malfunction.

                    I remember reading a line once here in the forums someplace and it struck me as totally true and a good thought provoker..."when a garbage man comes around the corner and sees garbage, he doesn't get excited because he expects it be there." (credit to whomever said that)
                    Jason Knecht
                    Firefighter/EMT
                    Township Fire Dept., Inc.
                    Eau Claire, WI

                    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
                    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
                    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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                    • #25
                      Yep.............

                      Originally posted by Dickey View Post

                      I try to instill to my people not to get complacent because 98% of the alarms are false or a malfunction. True, burnt food is NOT a malfunction, the alarm did what it was designed to do...it is a human malfunction.

                      I remember reading a line once here in the forums someplace and it struck me as totally true and a good thought provoker..."when a garbage man comes around the corner and sees garbage, he doesn't get excited because he expects it be there." (credit to whomever said that)

                      Well Said, Chief.........

                      And you quoted the late Andy Fredericks, FDNY.......
                      Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                      In memory of
                      Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                      Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                      IACOJ Budget Analyst

                      I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                      www.gdvfd18.com

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                      • #26
                        I would be willing to bet that in most cases when there is an alarm tripped by an actual fire, there are followup calls, either from the building itself or a neighboring building, providing the department with information that there is a fire.

                        I know that was the case in most of 7 incidents in my career that turned out to be an un-extinguished fire, so we were very aware of the situation before we arrived.

                        Bottom line is in most communties, the vast majority of the alarms are not incidents.

                        Does that mesn we don't have a our gear on when we arrive or we don't investigate without tools? No. But it should mean that we are not sending out an entire first-alarm assignment and risking the chance of serious injury to us or the public responding to a likely non-event.

                        First due engine hot? Maybe. But running the entire alarm hot simply isn't worth it.
                        Train to fight the fires you fight.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
                          I would be willing to bet that in most cases when there is an alarm tripped by an actual fire, there are followup calls, either from the building itself or a neighboring building, providing the department with information that there is a fire.

                          I know that was the case in most of 7 incidents in my career that turned out to be an un-extinguished fire, so we were very aware of the situation before we arrived.

                          Bottom line is in most communties, the vast majority of the alarms are not incidents.

                          Does that mesn we don't have a our gear on when we arrive or we don't investigate without tools? No. But it should mean that we are not sending out an entire first-alarm assignment and risking the chance of serious injury to us or the public responding to a likely non-event.

                          First due engine hot? Maybe. But running the entire alarm hot simply isn't worth it.
                          In our situation, usually the PD is on scene before the first engine is out (we are a volunteer department). We have a fairly good idea of what is going on before we ever leave the station.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by deliverypenguin View Post
                            How often does your department respond on an automatic alarm and arrive to find actual fire? In my small department, the vast majority of our automatic alarms are malfunctions.
                            Been on a handful...know of many more that I wasn't working for either.

                            I'll bet if you look at the breakdown of all your different call types you will find most reported structure fires aren't really fires and most medical emergencies are really not as emergent as the caller portrayed.

                            Take them seriously...otherwise all the money invested in providing us an early warning will have been for not.

                            FTM-PTB

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                            • #29
                              Where I've seen problems with complacency is when you have frequent false alarms at the same location. At my old department, we had one government office building that we'd get an alarm on at least once per week, every week, for about 3 years. Adding to the problem was that the place was about an 8 mile response from the station. The calls were always due to malfunction. They always said they were trying to get it fixed, but it never helped. We also had no system in place to bill them for false alarms and you certainly don't want to tell them to disable it. What ended up happening was that after about a year of this nonsense the chief came out with a policy that any alarms at this place would be responded to by the battalion chief in a command vehicle only. If somebody called back with a report of an actual fire while the BC was enroute, then the cavalry would respond. If maintenance called the station to confirm a false alarm before we physically rolled (happened about 50% of the time), our policy was we didn't turn a wheel.

                              Now at my current department, and in my position as chief, I'm keeping an eye on an assisted living center where we also get a false alarm at least once per week, which has been going on since it was built. This place is about a 5 mile response from our station. Time will tell if we need to try something like we had at my old department to address this issue.

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                              • #30
                                I can think of two right working fires right off hand. Oddly enough both were about a week apart from each other. AFA with only ones means of notification are dispatched as 2 quints, 1 rescue and a bc, all respond emergency. The first fire was a SFD arrived with heavy black smoke showing, no additional calls in the afternoon. The 2nd was at an assisted living place which regualarly had fire alarms several a week (sound familiar roykirk1989). Was dispatched as an AFA 2 quints, 1 rescue and a bc. No additional calls no reports of smoke and fire around 2000hrs. 1st in Quint arrived and reported heavy fire from the rear nobody had evacuated they filled the box. In the end the fire went to 3 alarms and multiple special calls. estimated 75-90 people RESCUED (not evacuated) by Firefighters. Most were bed ridden, wheel chair bound on the upper floors, a few trapped in apartments, and one ground ladder rescue. This does not include the 200-250 residents that were evacuated from the building. Luckly no one was killed only a few firefighters substained minor injuries. Keep in mind that both of these were in an urban location with plenty of people around.

                                This does not include the countless alarm bells that turn out to be food on the stove. Been to one so far today. dispatched as fire alarm and turn out to be food on the stove. The simple fact is that we must take every fire alarm seriously. Even the ones that are false alarms 100s of times a year. It took my department 150 years to develope a trust and reputation with the citizens. I am not going to be the "that guy" the ruins that trust. All Fire Alarms are treated as a fire until told other wise.

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