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When is time to get the Hell out?

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  • When is time to get the Hell out?

    Okay here is a question that goes out to all of you. I want to know when you (yourself ) determine when its time to get out of a building. I dont mean when the structure becomes unstabble i mean like when flashover is emminent or backdraft. How do you tell? Ex Melting reflectors on coats, bottle air becomes hot and barely breathably. Thanks guys i am kind of new at this so give me good hints.

    Thanks
    yves

  • #2
    You raise a very good question. A lot of old timers will tell you they felt their ears burning (pre hoods)but in my opinion there is no reason to sacrifice any part of your body. Personally, I try to stay aware of several things, my location, of I am less than three feet from an area of relative refuge or safety the odds are pretty good if the situation deteriorates I can egress. Have a hoseline whenever possible, a flashover should not occur if the company has a viable hoseline. The technology of the newer heat sensing PASS devices can be an indicator. Lastly, I do keep my 4 inch faceshield in such a position that I can glance up and see it, it will start to deteriorate between 250-350 degrees. I hope that helps.

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    • #3
      Just something I was taught...

      With your nozzle on full fog, spay a short burst straight above your head. If the mist settles on your SCBA mask, than the temperatures are not hot enough to permit a flashover. If the mist evaporates before it falls on your mask, then start evaluating your current position. Get near an exit and watch above you for "snakes" streaming in the smoke. Also note the color and thickness of the smoke...thick and black...start moving or you will probably get cooked.

      Stay low, stay safe

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      • #4
        Frenchy, everyone has thier own time frame from witch they leave the fire building. To me, it depends on who I have with me on the interior. If it is someone who has been in fire, knows what is going on, can watch my back, and who knows how to fight the beast, then I usually stay in just as long as possible. That may be long enough to get the job done, it may just mean making a search of a few rooms. If I have a new firefighter with me that this is only thier fourth or fifth fire then I usually leave early. I always make sure that they are aware of what is happening. To me, with new people it is a learning experiance for them. We make a right hand search always. It is constantly brought to thier attention the heat, the smoke, the build-up of the gasses that create the forces of hell. If at any time that new firefighter finds themselves uncomfortable in anyway that may cause problems we back out. You just need to develop your own sense of security. Personally, when I can no longer progress on all fours due to extreme heat I retreat. If I have to lay on my belly to get low enough from the heat then it is time to get out. That is what I use. It may not be what you want to use.

        Stay safe,

        Mark

        *My opinion only, if you don't like it, don't read it

        ------------------
        If in doubt - Call us out

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        • #5
          Go to your local burn building and train. Reading books and forums will only give you a sneak-peek of what you should expect. Training in a controlled environment will let you experience the pain associated with the decision to leave. When the fire no longer wants you in its domain, it will spit you out of the nearest available exit.

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          • #6
            Frenchy
            I see that you are relatively new to the firehouse forums, so take this advice. Read what people say, then look at the experience of such person. Alot of people who post on these are yahoo's who have never been in a real fire. Never trust anyone who calls a fire," fighting the Beast", "Beating the Dragon of Hell" Or any other sad saying they come up with.

            As for the question, I think the firefighter from Houston wrapped it up. The fire dictates when it is time to go, that and your instinct. You will have to trust your instinct which you will develop over time, and Fire's.

            ------------------
            ** The opionions are mine and mine alone, they are not that of my dept or the local**

            [This message has been edited by bfd1071 (edited 01-14-2001).]

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            • #7
              training and experience is the only way. knowing what to look for is your biggest thing. try to stick with a vet who knows what the heck is going on till you get the experience you need. good luck and stay safe.

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              • #8
                My brother from Boston hit it on the head. You REALLY need to to read into the posts.

                Anyway, only time and experience will tell you when to get out. If you have some senior guys (and yes you need to watch out what they teach you also) try to follow their lead until you feel more comfortable.

                Also, I don't recommend shooting a fog pattern up above you when in a poosible flashover. Unless you like steam burns!! The best way is to pencil the ceiling when you enter the room. I mean use a straight stream at the ceiling with a short burst. If no water comes down then get the hell out now. This will help with upsetting the thermal imbalance. And it derfinetly won't give you steam burns.

                ------------------
                Fishers Fire Dept.
                FF/Medic
                Local 416

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                • #9
                  8Ball, BFD1071 and ME93 have all given great answers to this question. Training, knowledge and instinct are all part of knowing when to get out, along with communications and teamwork. There are times that you will be inside the building and it will appear that you have are gaining the upper hand, but you can't see what's going on the floor below you or the floor above. That's where commmunications come in. The IC and the Safety Officer have to look at the "big picture". Sometimes it's hard to back out, especially if you know that there may still be someone inside, but you have to weigh out the risks to your brother and sister firefighters against the benefits.

                  Teamwork speaks for itself. You have to know the abilities and the limitations of the firefighters you are working with and take that into consideration when going in.

                  ------------------
                  And on the eighth day...God created Firefighters!
                  Captain Gonzo

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                  • #10
                    All answers givin are great answers. You must gain expierience. Today you dont get the fires frequency that we used to have, BUT that is why you do what you are doing. Gather any and all information that you can and attend every seminar that you can. Also I am a firm believer in post fire critiques in which all members explain their own scenarios. Do not be afraid to be critical of your self it may save your life.
                    Dale, Captain Los Angeles City Fire Department. [email protected]

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                    • #11
                      As far as when to go, some of the previous posts cover it, but DALE brings up a good learning method. Sorry it's the instructor in me....

                      The post fire critique is a very good learning method. If you can go over things while the incident is still fresh in people's minds, then you might get a few things extra to add to your thought process when evaluating your next situation.

                      There are many things that FF's(particularly senior ff's or officers) that they won't explain. They'll just say "Let's Go!" or "Do this!" and you may never know the thought process he or she used to make that decision. If you can get together a post incident critique or just a simple question and answer period, you may be able to draw out some other info you otherwise would never have gotten. You may be able to turn and say "when we were in that hallway and you said ......, what was your reason for that?" and get a list of some of the factors that went into making the decision so that you can use them in the future. It truly is a great learning method.

                      Just don't do it after you were out on a 2 hour job at 03:30. That one you might want to wait until a more civilized time.

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                      • #12
                        Frenchy...I have seen the ear test,(Burning flesh-below average), Time vs Temp ratios, But the best deal we have found is this..Ventilate...the wind at our backs and the crew togeather with a charged hose line and a vent hole in front of us somewhere..we make our truckies work...it make for a safer scene and the tasks easier to accomplish...I remember coming home the first tme with burnt ears and having my wife and children freak...It doesn't have to be part of the job...I want to personelly thank L.A. County Fire for pushing the vent idea on our department heads some ten years ago...It has saved a lot of discomfort...also the improvements in PPE make it easier to get too deep because now the margin of error is slim given time temp and physical human response. Godspeed and Keep the Faith jack

                        [This message has been edited by Joaquin Homen FFPM HMR-9 (edited 01-17-2001).]

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                        • #13
                          You will know French.....trust me.

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                          • #14
                            I thought of two ways to tell if it's time to leave...

                            1. If it feels wrong, it probably is. This goes along with the Houston and Boston FF's suggesting the fire will tell you when it's time to go.

                            2. When what you are doing isn't making a difference it's time to re-evaluate and decide if staying is good for you or the fire (you will become a fuel at the right temperature.) In other words if you're flowing a 2.5" with 300gpm and the fire is laupping it up - you shouldn't be there.

                            You must constantly do a personal risk vs benefit analysis as you go. (Something quick in your head - not some formal ICS thing.) If the risk is greater than the benefit - get out and try something else. Your commander is doing the analysis for the whole incident, you're responsible for your own personal well-being.

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                            • #15
                              Good advice guy's and gal's keep em coming.
                              Frenchy

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