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  • #31
    Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
    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.
    Keep in mind that firefighting is a profession where we find out we have been "entered in the race" after the stopwatch has been started...
    ‎"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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    • #32
      OK... try this out...

      Is a cat in a microwave a smoke call or animal recovery?

      Is there extra point for finding the lost family pet?

      Called in as multiple units with heavy, smelley smoke. 5 alarm apartment complex. You just never know.

      There wasn't fire on arrival, but we did vent 5 units. Nasteeeeeeeee.
      HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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      • #33
        Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
        Quote:
        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.
        I got this point and completely agree with it. However, I was addressing a different aspect.

        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.
        I agree with the first sentence, but as I'd think you'd know that doesn't always happen. Some departments don't always have an (actual) officer on the apparatus to ensure that doesn't happen. Sometimes the officers ARE the maniacs.

        I don't necessarily disagree with the second sentence, but I'm not sure exactly what you mean by it. On the face, it strikes me as saying respond to every call, exactly the same way. Are we discussing being prepared to go to work on arrival at every call, responding (aka driving) to every call in the same manner, both or something else?

        I agree with being prepared to go to work on arrival, but would tend to disagree with responding in exactly the same manner to all calls.

        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.
        I think you may be misunderstanding my point. I was specifically addressing the "need" for that extra "hussle" (that can be common when responding to a confirmed fire) for what is frequently a non-emergent event.

        I'm fine with disagreeing on the appropriateness of the non-emergency response to AFAs (specifically the "general" ones). I believe that is something that has to be evaluated at the local level. I know that for my city, we could easily respond to those AFAs at a non-emergent rate and see pretty much no "negative" impact.

        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.
        I would tend to agree, however I don't think it's appropriate to ignore the fact that such a small percentage of them turn out to be an emergent situation, like an actual fire.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by PaladinKnight View Post
          OK... try this out...

          Is a cat in a microwave a smoke call or animal recovery?

          Is there extra point for finding the lost family pet?
          OK! Where do I send the bill. Do you know how much it cost to clean coffee and blueberry muffin out of a notebook's keyboard??!!

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by hwoods View Post
            Well Said, Chief.........

            And you quoted the late Andy Fredericks, FDNY.......
            Ah yes, thank you Harve...


            and thank you to Andy Fredericks!!!! I raise my glass to you sir!!
            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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            • #36
              In the last week - 2. After going enroute, they were backed up with a telephone report of fire.
              The most important task on the fireground is the one YOU have!

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              • #37
                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.

                Couldnt address my point?
                Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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                • #38
                  I believe it was stated before, whether it is burnt toast, smoking skillet, or sheet rock dust it is not a false or malfunctioning alarm. That system is functioning as designed.
                  When you go to one of these events and the system tripped because of particulate in the air it should be looked on as a real world test and not a malfunction. These events confirm a properly functioning system.
                  There are true malfunctions and false alarms, such as weak backup batteries, damaged communications systems, damage to the alarm system, inadvertent activation,... These still should be treated as serious event and we should use them to educate the owner\managers of the systems, not blow them off and caulk it up to one nuisance call.
                  How about listing calls that were looked at,at the time, as "false alarms" but when you think about it could have been working fires if the alarm would not have either alerted the occupant, or alarm company?

                  *Pot on stove
                  *Fan motor burned up, but did not trip breaker
                  *Electrical transformer (cell phone, computer, door bell,..)
                  *Appliance failure (Frig, freezer, microwave, HVAC,..)
                  *Kid(s) with matches\lighter
                  *____ (fill in your incident)

                  Not trying to poke my finger in anyone's eye, but sometimes I think we do not look at what would have happened if that alarm would not have been transmitted.
                  We seem to get in the most trouble when we take the "Here we go again!" attitude about the average run.

                  Just my opinion.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by nyckftbl View Post
                    Couldnt address my point?
                    Been away at the National Fire Academy the past 8 days and didn't have much time to get on a computer. Got home last night.

                    the more legitimate stat is how many responses would have been working fires without the alarm system.

                    You don't need a "working fire" to make some roundabout point....Ive been to plenty of alarms that would have been fires had we not responded when we did. Your stat is meaningless.


                    In the case of the numbers I quoted, probably very few as the majority of the 15 or so alarm trips that were fires, but were extinguished prior to arrival were extinguished by a functioning a sprinkler system or a couple that self-extinguished prior to our arrival. There were only 4 or 5 that were extinguished by occupants, and I suspect they would have been working fires on arrivals.

                    So your answer would be 4 or 5 at most, out of about 4000 alarm responses.

                    I never said buildings should not have alarms. I did say that since alarm trips are most frequently accidental station pulls, system malfunctions, false trips (cooking smoke, dust, construction dust, etc) power surges/drops, water flow issues or accidental head discharges, as well as variety of other non-emergent issues, the responding department should closely look at it's numbers and respond in the safest way possible for it's personnel and the motoring public.

                    In the case of my past departments, as well as my current, the data would certainly justify a 100% cold response or closest station hot only response, unless there has been telephone information indicating smoke and/or fire. A full-hot response can only be seen as reckless.

                    Certainly the volunteer response to the station should be cold for any alarm trip.
                    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-22-2010, 03:37 PM.
                    Train to fight the fires you fight.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by PaladinKnight View Post
                      OK... try this out...

                      Is a cat in a microwave a smoke call or animal recovery?

                      Is there extra point for finding the lost family pet?

                      Called in as multiple units with heavy, smelley smoke. 5 alarm apartment complex. You just never know.

                      There wasn't fire on arrival, but we did vent 5 units. Nasteeeeeeeee.
                      Bet the cat wasn't DRY either. T.C.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        It would be impossible to treat every fire alarm like a fire. We don't have the resources. We send 1 engine and 1 truck to an automatic fire alarm and 1 engine to a residential fire alarm. If we sent our box alarm assignment of 5 engines, 2 trucks, 1 rescue squad, 2 battalion chiefs and an ambulance, we probably couldn't protect the rest of the city. The reason is we run A LOT of AFAs every tour. A few tours ago during a storm there were multiple downtown companies that ran 10-15 AFAs during that tour alone. The department itself is responding to about 500 runs/tour so it just wouldn't work. If there's an actual report of smoke or fire then its upgraded, but there's no way we are sending a full response for an AFA.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          This is an issue on the volunteer side - especially for the majority of us who don't staff the firehouse. Too many "no fire" AFA's and folks don't even bother getting out of their easy chair to run down to the station. And that's doubly true for too many AFA's from the same place.

                          With the improved availability (and marketing) of home alarm systems, this is going to continue. Even the police are having problems with it - folks who neglect to disarm their alarm when they enter, or screw it up when they set it.

                          We're even having trouble with dispatch's terminology on "structure fires." We're dispatched for a "structure fire" on the pre-announce and the full dispatch indicates some relatively minor issue. Granted, those situations can, and do, turn out to be workers (we had one here a year or so ago), but after some number of them, people start holding back to see if it's real, or just another "cancelled enroute."
                          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by nyckftbl View Post
                            the more legitimate stat is how many responses would have been working fires without the alarm system.

                            You dont need a "working fire" to make some roundabout point....Ive been to plenty of alarms that would have been fires had we not responded when we did. Your stat is meaningless.
                            Yup.....In this one perticular vollie dept I was in I can recall 15 major fires that came in as automatic alarms, 1 fatal. Most of the time the AAs at this perticular place was due to elderly people who didn't pay attention to thier cooking habits and we would get little fires in cabinets and that sort.

                            As a career fireman, I have been to 3 good jobs that came in as automatic alarms and hundreds of small incidents that could have been worse without the system in place.
                            IACOJ Member

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by tree68 View Post

                              We're even having trouble with dispatch's terminology on "structure fires." We're dispatched for a "structure fire" on the pre-announce and the full dispatch indicates some relatively minor issue.
                              We have that problem where I'm at too. From what I've gathered, I think it's due to how the call gets categorized and a misinterpretation of such by certain dispatchers (particularly those who don't spend time in the field). I think some of the categories are too broad and you get stuff like "odor of gas" being entered into the CAD and it gets assigned the "structure fire response", so they announce the call as a "structure fire" and then reel it back in at the end. Definately annoying.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                One of the most significant fires in my 10 years was a job in a 10-story retirement high-rise that came in as an automatic alarm. We'd run a slew of false alarms there in the previous month, but came around the corner to find smoke showing and a few residents poking their heads out of windows for fresh air.

                                As it was, there was only one injured resident and no fatalities. What would have happened if we'd just sent a car to go "check it out?" Or even two or three guys with a pumper non-emergency? We're grossly understaffed for such a fire as it is... I can't imagine the potential consequences if we had not treated the alarm as real. With that said, there has to be a difference between a real, live human being dialing 911 to say "my house is on fire" and a computer auto-dialing to say that a microchip has chirped somewhere.

                                So, what's the answer? I think it depends on the community and the property. If I were king, most AFAs with no third-party contact would get a first-alarm assignment. The first due company would run hot. Everyone else would go cold. Certain target hazards would get the cavalry running every time. In my kingdom, there would also be increasing penalties for true false alarms. Firefighters take alarms more seriously when they're not going to the same address for the same alarm every other shift.
                                sigpic

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