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    Recently a buddy of mine went to a apartment fire the building is a 6 floor senior citizen complex and the fire was on the 3rd floor, initial dispatch was for Fire Alarm Activation with smoke condition, He is on EMS but heres the thing...upon arrival EMS command told his crew to head to the 3rd floor stairwell and standby for a possible burn victim his crew started heading to the 3rd floor via stairwell and were met with a moderate smoke condition, and heavy water due to the sprinkler system being activated..NOW here is the part that I and many others thought was not right..What they didnt know was the room was still pretty involved in fire while they were in taht stairwell..and the Apartment burning was right next to the hallway door to enter the stairwell...No one ever told the crew that there was still Heavy fire and a VERY severe smoke condition once on the 3rd floor level of the stairwell. They werent up there to long before Firefighters brought out the victim who was severely burned throughout her body but the thing is...Should they even of been near the fire floor? They thought nothing of it do to the fact there was only a smoke condition figuring the fire was out also because firefighters in the stairwell had no SCBA on...so they figured the fire was knocked down and ventilation was in progress. What this turned out to be was a MCI with Multiple BLS and ALS units on scene transporting multiple Patients...Once the victim was removed hte fire was quickly knocked down but I was just wondering what everyone thinks about that..In my opinion I think the EMS command should of told his Crew to standby at the bottom of hte stairs until the fire was Undercontrol or until they found hte victim then go up onto the 3rd floor...NOT stand in the stairwell while the fire was still burning...so what do you think? Should they or shouldnt they have been there?

    South Amboy, New Jersey
    EMS Cadet in NJ

  • #2
    Tend to agree with you Andrew!

    All incidents have three zones...Hot, Warm, and Cold.

    The hot zone is the fire apartment and the immediate vicinity where SCBA should've been worn.

    The lobby/base of stairs probably would have made a good warm zone...little bit closer, but not as risky. Knowing victims where on the way, they probably should have setup there with the cot ready for respiratory problems & burns. Let the firefighters carry the patient out of the hot zone. Besides, what treatment are you going to do in a hot, smoky, wet stairwell?

    Now, in all fairness, the EMS Command might not have quite known what conditions where inside. Just like the military, we have a "Fog of Battle" sometimes when so many things are happening at once, its hard to sort it out, and mis-communication happens.

    Situations like this is one place having standard procedures help -- for instance, it's common on high rise fires that fire forces stage 2 floors below the fire. It might be a good procedure that EMS stages 2 floors below, provided it's safe enough...and Fire will remove patients to two floors below the fire to EMS unless otherwise directed.


    • #3
      I completely agree with Dalmation. The ems crew has no business being anywhere near the fire area. We won't even let anyone in the building. Let us bring the victim outside to the awaiting crews. I am a medic that responds on an engine. So I have been on both sides of situations like this. Like I said we don't even allow anyone in the building on a high rise fire below the fire floor.

      Fishers Fire Dept.
      Local 416


      • #4
        I CANNOT BELIEVE what I just read!! Thank goodness our EMS and Fire teams think more of each other than in that department. Our EMS people would NEVER be placed in harms way like that. I'm glad that your buddy and his team were ok. Let's all pray that they aren't placed in that kind of dangerous situation again.


        • #5
          This fire, due to the construction mentioned should have been treated as a high rise fire. That being the case, EMS should have been in the staging area, which in a high rise should be 3 floors below the fire floor. Therefore, EMS should have been either in the lobby or just outside the front door awaiting the victim.

          Kevin M. Fitzhenry, [email protected]
          Firefighter, Truck Co. 2
          City of Bayonne (NJ) FD

          [This message has been edited by FitzBFDT2 (edited 01-16-2001).]


          • #6
            This is the type of case where good old fashioned common sense, or street smarts as some might call it, is called for. It seems the fire service is getting so caught up in trendy terminology like "cold zone", "warm zone", etc., that common sense really is becoming old fashioned. Is it just me or do we seem to make rules, standards and procedures for everything imaginable to protect people from themselves?
            Step 1: The EMS crew should very simply take themselves and their equipment as close to where they were told to go without putting themselves at risk or impeding the operations of the fire companies.
            Step 2: They should then radio whoever told them to go there that they have stopped at the floor below the fire, two floors below, or wherever, for reasons of safety.
            This is not meant to be anything negative about the people involved, just generally speaking. It calls for a little good judgement but isn't it a whole lot simpler?

            [This message has been edited by NozzleHog (edited 01-16-2001).]


            • #7

              [This message has been edited by Engine58 (edited 01-16-2001).]


              • #8
                I have to agree with Dal and Fitz. EMS has no business on the fire floor. They should have been in a staging area, and notifies EMS command of their situation/location.

                Just a question- Are Fire and EMS seperate entities where you are. I saw this in the vollie agencies I used to be in, both Fire and EMS. They both set up their own command systems at an incident and nobody knew what the other was doing. EMS shouldn't have a seperate COMMAND unless you use a unified command system and all agency commanders are standing side by side and know what each are doing. Only this way will everyone be safer on the fireground.


                • #9
                  Bring the patient to the medics not the medics to the patient! Especially in a hazardous enviroment. Can the medics carry the patient down to the bus better then the firefighters on the floor? I tend to think not. As a medic I would tell the on scene commander to take a flying leap before I would go into a structure fire without PPE to get a patient! Bring the patient to me.


                  FIrefighters are the chosen people.

                  My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force


                  • #10
                    EMS should always stay a safe distance away from any scene. The is the first thing you learn. BSI/PPE/Scene Safety

                    It is extremely disturbing to me that the command would let his crew go in that building. It is even more disturbing that the EMS crew did w/o thinking it was a problem. There was a lot of mistakes in this situation and I hope that some people are smarter and more the wise.


                    • #11
                      Yes, these were both Volunteer EMS & Fire Dept. Also like I said..They didnt think anything of it do to the fact none of the firefighters standing there didnt say anything to them, plus there is 2 EMS squads in that town. Also I just found out that they were standing on the second floor stairwell...a Floor below the fire floor, but conditions were still the same throughout the entire stairwell.

                      South Amboy, New Jersey
                      EMS Cadet in NJ
                      "EMTS DON'T DIE THEY JUST STABILIZE"


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