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Does the fire service, in general, risk safety too much at commerical fires?

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  • Halligan84
    replied
    I think the problem with commercial fires is that we attack with a house/apartment fire mindset. How many time do you see the 1 3/4 pulled? Probably flowing the same as they do for a bedroom fire. How often do you see the truck inside with the LONG hooks? How fast is the 2nd line getting into the fire, how fast can we open the roof? Do we plan for the extra time and effort for forcible entry? Who has the right resources on the way for a working commercial fire? 229 makes some great points and his FD floods a building fire of this type with firefighters to accomplish everything they need to, but even they lose firefighters in commercials too often. Regarding businesss owners not insuring their properties.. tough, thats a gamble they are taking. If I owned a business, I'd never risk my livelihood thinking someone else would protect it and as an officer I will never give up a firefighter to save a piece of property. TRAINING and the correct tactics are needed. Once this is in place, a reasonable risk/benefit can be addressed and we can make the right decision on when to attack and when to call it a loser.

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  • Dalmatian90
    replied
    Every fire is a risk benefit analysis.

    Some buildings and specific occupancies have much less benefit than others, and that certainly should factor into the decision to pull out or switch tactics.

    The risk benefit analysis also includes...is it safer to attack the fire now and put it out, than try to overhaul a weaker structure later?

    No two fires are the same.

    In looking at the risk-benefit, who is the occupant?

    What, precisely, are we trying to save when a McDonalds or any other national chain is going up in smoke? Their business records, which are transmitted to HQ each evening if not more often? The interior so the health department has something to stand inside when they condemn it?

    Same style of building with a locally owned business may change the equation -- there is a greater benefit in saving the business records of a small shop who also probably doesn't have the insurance or financial pockets of larger company. Risk is the same, benefit is bigger -- that makes a difference.

    =========
    An aggressive interior attack puts out fires faster than an exterior attack...TRUE?
    Usually.

    The longer a fire burns, the greater the chance for collapse...TRUE?
    Yep. Of course with some of the commercial strip structures like fast food restaurants, you have very little time in certain fires before collapse.

    All members kept outside a building which collapses are safe...FALSE?
    Um, let's see
    1) Collapse Zone
    2) Excavators
    If you need to, let her burn and tear it apart with machinery later.

    A building allowed to free-burn endagers all surrounding structures...TRUE?
    Maybe in Brooklyn, NY...not Brooklyn, CT or much of the suburban or rural nation. If the McD's in our town caught fire, it *would* not spread to other structures -- 100' of pavement around it, then a 20' grass strip, and another 20' of pavement to the next exposure.

    Structures surrounding commercial buildings can store any number of Haz-Mats, leading to a full blown confligration...TRUE?
    Again, depends on your area. Outside of cities where buildings touch or nearly touch each other, conflagarations are pretty darn near impossible -- unless you have severe wildlands interface problems.

    Fire brands from a fully involved commercial building will NOT endanger residential areas downwind...FALSE?
    Never seen any structure fire I've respond to pose a problem to *roofs* downwind. Have seen some *very, very* limited situations where brush has caught fire and needed a quick knockdown. So, yeah, FALSE in my area.

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  • E229Lt
    replied
    An aggressive interior attack puts out fires faster than an exterior attack...TRUE?

    The longer a fire burns, the greater the chance for collapse...TRUE?

    All members kept outside a building which collapses are safe...FALSE?

    A building allowed to free-burn endagers all surrounding structures...TRUE?

    Structures surrounding commercial buildings can store any number of Haz-Mats, leading to a full blown confligration...TRUE?

    Fire brands from a fully involved commercial building will NOT endanger residential areas downwind...FALSE?

    I can go on for a long time here. We take a risk at every call, that's our job. Now go put the fire out and do it quickly.

    Leave a comment:


  • Billy Mott
    replied
    I'm 100% for life safety, and I guess I think I know where you are coming from to a point, but....As long as I am a FireFighter no one is ever going to say to me that I just let a structure burn down without a real good reason. Are you saying that if you are 100% sure there is no body inside then we have no reason to go in and make a good stop? How about 95% or 82%? Where do we draw the line?How about your neighbors house when you know they are on vacation? How about the church just because it's after hours? I hate to see firefighters die for any reason, but the fire service was formed to protect lives and property, and therefore we are obligated to give the taxpayers, our employer's, the best we have. I hope we have leaders and good common sense to keep us all safe and if we have a higher up that wants it done in an unsafe manner then WE need to stand up and be heard. As I have heard before I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Just remember we can be Structural, Aircraft, or even a Shipboard Firefighter, and at times any of the above but I don't think we can be a pick and choose profession.

    [ 09-01-2001: Message edited by: Billy Mott ]

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  • ggtruckie
    replied
    Strongly believing that there isn't someone inside ins't enough, unless you are 100% sure or there is no chance of a victim surviving than u can write off an interior attack. Untill that point every effort should be made to search, even if you cannot search the entire area. at least search what you can even if it is just ten feet into the doorway. But however when it comes to a commercial building that is at the point of being writin off because there isnt much you can do, dont risk anything. You can always reevaluate it later and send people in if it is safe. But Billy is right i think, there are some stratigies that we dont want the general public to be aware of.

    Leave a comment:


  • RRR
    replied
    Billy Mott, I guess you didn't really get my point but that's okay it's hard to get them at times unless talking to someone. My family has two businesses and a share in a large commercial structure and I'm an insurance agent, so we like to see damage to a minimal.

    It just seems that sometimes where there is no life at risk, such as in commercial fires where it is strongly believed no one is inside, things are maybe risked or pushed just a little much, such as with interior attacks sometimes. With a residential fire, with the usually higher possiblilty of occupancy, go at it and get those people out.

    Leave a comment:


  • Billy Mott
    replied
    I hope I'm not misunderstanding your point but here goes. I don't know what town you work for but I think you don't want your opinion to get out to to many of the business owners. If I was to hear that all commerical business's stand a ZERO chance of survivial when fire breaks out I'm afraid that I would have to move my business to the other side of the town line. Every taxpayer deserves a to expect that his livelyhood will be protected. I guess you think that all Mom and Pop stores carry sufficient insurance to rebuild their property after a total loss. Guess again, then take another guess at how many business's both large and small can afford the same. So unless your district is very well off tax base wise from residential homes and/or you don't want anymore present or future commercial business in your area you might want to talk this idea over with your Chief and the town council.

    Leave a comment:


  • Does the fire service, in general, risk safety too much at commerical fires?

    Regarding commercial structure fires with absolutely no indication of persons inside:

    I know that an interior attack won't be initiated if it appears too dangerous, and if one is initiated and conditions later appear to becoming too unsafe, firefighters are then pulled out.

    With these thoughts set aside, I believe that in the big picture of things, the fire service in general may often be too aggressive when fighting commercial structure fires.

    I am cautious and pretty level headed but have probably risked more than really needed even though the conditions for an interior attack appeared good enough. But you never really know when a ceiling is going to come down, or there will be a hole in the floor. (I know its part of the job). And how many of these commercial structures ended up being torn down anyway?
    ( I know taxpayers pay for fire service and you have to try to put fires out, and that insurance companies set their rates based on level of service, and water supply).

    Firefighters must conduct fireground operatons with thought, proceed as conditions dictate, and with safety in mind but it seems that saving the higher risks for residential dwellings is something that maybe should be done a little more?

    Do we need to resist the tempation to go inside even if it appears safe enough, and just concentrate even more often on an exterior attack and protect the exposures?

    I know people will say ever situation is different but you know what I mean. There is that moment in time at a working commercial structure fire when it seems okay to go in (usually when you first get there of course), you know it might not be too long before you and your buddy on the line will be pulling yourselves out anyway, but should you really be going in? Is it really worth it?

    Has the past given the firefighter a history that portrays such strength, toughness, and bravery (and rightly so), that society has high expectations of firefighters and then this pushes us a little to risk more than really needed? Should we ease off more at commerical fires and save the more aggressive, and offensive attacks, for residential fires (don't worry, I know the old cliches: every situation is different, every fire is different, etc.)?


    [ 09-01-2001: Message edited by: RRR ]

    [ 09-01-2001: Message edited by: RRR ]

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