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  • Sounds...

    Most Senses are impaired during a firefight --
    Touch is covered up by thick gloves.
    Seeing is obscured by smoke.
    Taste, well, I hope you never taste anything!
    Smelling is blocked by the SCBA, once it's donned.

    The only sense that remains more or less at full function is hearing, blocked at most by only a thin layer of the Nomex hood if you're wearing one, and only impaired by all the different sounds you may be hearing at once.

    What is the most memorable thing you've heard on a fireground, something you said to yourself, "Gotta remember that one!"

    For me, that sound was back in 1989. We had a 600'x50' single story chicken coop about 50% involved. Myself and another FF where on the line that stopped the fire spread -- a portable master stream at 350gpm we got at a low angle and pointed under the eaves.

    All of a sudden, we heard a large, unusual noise. It wasn't an explosively loud "pop" as much as a long, big "rumble" and "whoosh" sound.

    We looked at each other, and said, "What the F?" And started looking up and down the building. Finally Dan pointed up at the eaves -- which where now pointed UPWARDS -- about 200' of the truss roof had collapsed at like dominoes which was the "rumble" and the "whoosh" as the roof came down pushing the air out of the building.

    It was nothing like I had ever imagined a roof collapsing would sound like, but it's something I'll never forget for a unique sound!

    Sounds, sounds, everywhere are sounds...

    IACOJ Canine Officer

  • #2
    As a part of the first alarm companies that pulled up on a top floor fire in an attached, 3 story ordinary construction multi-dwelling, a window let loose with an AC unit in it. The unit fell 3 srories (while it was burning), bounced off a rain ledge and struck a brother in the chest and head.

    The sound that sticks out in my head was the eire silence after it hit him and before we reacted. It couldn't have been more then a second or two but it is something that I will never forget.

    The guy is not back to work yet, but is expected back soon.


    • #3
      what about the smell of a burnt body that just seems to hang around for awhile. you need to wash 2-3 times to get it clean.


      • #4
        I have my share of unforgetable sounds.

        First there's the bad ones; 'pings and groans' a blink before a suspended ceiling fall, the 'snap and pops' of flat roof rafters, and the 'crack snap crack' of a downed powerline whipping around the street.

        Then there's good ones; hearing the clicking clacking sound of a ladder being raised to your window, hearing RIT stumbling around a few feet away and getting closer, and the 'spit spit spit whoosh' of a handline being charged.

        But I'm reluctant to agree that hearing is more or less at full function; especially with sprinkler or fire alarms sounding, personal radios, elevated voices, roof saws, air monitor alarms, and PASS devices howling each time someone chills out for a few seconds, stops to communicate, or if the PASS exceeds acceptable temperatures.


        • #5
          The worst sound... "Firefighter trapped in the basement. Send in the RIT"... at a basement fire...

          The best sound... "WE GOT A PULSE!"... at my first CPR save...
          Stay safe all.


          • #6
            Without a doubt, the worst Job Related sound I know is Bagpipes.


            • #7
              Being on a line in the 2nd floor kitchen of a 2.5 wood frame, protecting the brothers in the attic, and hearing the evacuation signal over the radio and from the street......errie.

              Also same fire, fighting it from outside, and hearing the bang a brother makes when he is thrown from the aerial and hits the side of the ladder truck....and like the previous brother said, that silence before we all reacted.



              • #8
                The worst sounds? The fwwwwit bang of a car battery in the basement of a home exploding about 5 feet in front of you.
                My S&R partner saying, "Oh sh*#, we got one.", immediately followed by the evacuation air horns.
                Best sound ... the saw cutting on the roof above you while you're getting hammered.

                Stay Safe


                • #9
                  worst- aerosol cans exploding ahead of you and then one hitting your helmet, Jaws twisting metal at a car wreck while you're under a tarp trying to comfort a patient.
                  Best- a thank you from helping someone in need.


                  • #10
                    Amen to that E229Lt. I get chills every time I hear them.

                    The best sound to me is when I ask the back of the engine if everybody is on and I hear a "Yes". Nothing sounds better.

                    Shawn M. Cecula
                    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS


                    • #11
                      I have two worst sounds that jump immediately to mind. On one of my first attached garage fires as a rookie I was on the nozzle pushing in with heavy smoke conditions. The only reason we new there was still a car in the garage (it was a three cr garage used as a home-run auto body shop) was because we felt it and just as I got to the front driver's side tire it blew. Talk about pucker factor!

                      The other was on a 5-11 industrial fire, 200' in the building and hearing the 5 air horn blasts to get out, we couldn't move quick enough!

                      The best sound, the speaker cracking at 2 AM and calling the other houses numbers to go out.
                      The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my Department or it's Administration.


                      • #12
                        Hearing a PASS alarm go off at a call. Worst site: seeing three FF working on another FF.
                        "My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea." - Tommy Douglas 1961.

                        Tender 9 - old, slow, ugly, cantankerous, reliable!

                        All empires fall, you just have to know where to push


                        • #13
                          Worst - the wail of the bagpipes, and you're not at a Scottish fest....

                          Best - the cough & cry of the 16 y/o girl who we brought back using CPR as she started breathing on her own.....
                          We gotta be nuts...we're running in when the rats & roaches are running out!

                          Let No Victim's Ghost Say That We Didn't Try
                          These are my opinions, and only mine, and do not reflect the views of my department.


                          • #14
                            the worst sound is the one you don't hear,for example,working with the line on a top floor job looking for two missing brothers,and wondering when the f--- are they going to cut the roof only to realize that you can't hear the saws over the howl of the fire in the cockloft(laughed about it later but wasn't funny at the time). another example would be the building coming down on you (just ask the brothers in queens about that one).


                            • #15
                              The screams of the injured and the silence of the dead are two sounds that I will always remember that I dont like to hear. They never leave my head. The best sound on a call???????? "All accounted for on the fire ground."


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