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  • Aerial and Lightning

    (something seems to be wrong with forums database - I did not start this thread but my reply post has appeared at the top!)

    Originally posted by pete892
    I have never run more than a 50 ft. telesqurt. What about standing on the little platform at the pump panel or on the rear step? Does this make any difference?

    Pete
    Lightning is fickle. It just traveled through the air who knows how many hundreds/thousands of feet to touch the stick (lightning can travel over ten miles). People sometimes think vehicles are "insulated" by being on rubber tires, but forget that lightning so well traveled will not be greatly discouraged by the additional 12 or 18 inches to get from the vehicle to the ground. It may choose to jump to the ground by some other means than the lowest point closest to the road, and thus might decide to jump off the truck through the person standing on the board. No thanks.

    Incidentally, power company personnel sometimes ground their bucket trucks by use of a heavy cable attached from the vehicle frame to a twist-in grounding rod up to six feet long. This introduces the problem of striking underground utilities, but if this is not an issue, grounding the truck means a person operating a ladder truck is far less likely to be the path of least resistance to ground for lightning or power line contacts.

    Good call, Chief.
    Last edited by RLFD14; 07-19-2006, 10:45 PM.
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
    - - - - - -
    I A C O J

  • #2
    Aerial and Lightning

    Just heard that a fire dept. in an adjoining county responded to a fully involved commercial building fire during a thunderstorm and lightning. The chief refused to use the aerial because of the lightning.

    I have never heard of this before. Maybe not put personnel on the ladder but at least use the stream. The fire was thru the roof. Anyone else have such a policy or was this just the actions of a single chief.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

    Comment


    • #3
      Would you want to stand at the controls of a 100ft lighting rod?
      This space for rent

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KyleWickman
        Would you want to stand at the controls of a 100ft lighting rod?
        Ditto. I've never read for sure our guidelines in regards to this kind of situation, but I would hope we keep the stick down when lightning's present.

        Comment


        • #5
          (And like RLFD's, this post is way out of order too!!!)

          There are risks, irrational risks, and unnecessary risks.

          It was a risk to respond the fire. It was a bit riskier due to weather.

          Not deploying the aerial to spray water due to lighting in the area, I'll agree with the Chief -- unneccessary risk.

          As RLFD says, lighting is fickle. Even with grounding rods, etc it's reaction will be unpredictable.

          It's bad enough you're out in a storm fighting the fire, but that is a risk we need to accept. But we don't need to accept extraordinary risks by putting a big metal thing in the sky with a sign on it that says "hit me!"

          (BTW, I ended up out last night on traffic detail...risky, yes since there was lighting in the area although not close to us at that time. But it was the major highway through our district, with primaries down just over the crest of a hill, so we where turning traffic around and giving them the five-mile long detour instructions...actually had a total of some 9 places in a four-square mile section of our district closed due to tree & wires down, most of which we closed off with only cones & tape so you didn't have guys babysitting them on side roads).
          Last edited by Dalmatian190; 07-19-2006, 11:08 PM.

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          • #6
            Another question

            I have never run more than a 50 ft. telesqurt. What about standing on the little platform at the pump panel or on the rear step? Does this make any difference?

            Pete
            Pete Sinclair
            Hartford, MI
            IACOJ (Retired Division)

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds to me like the chief made a decision based on what he saw as a safety issue.

              These are the decisions that should not be questioned.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just think what you would be saying if he did use it and it was struck by lighting. I wasn't there but the bottom line is he was in command and he made the decision based on the safety of the crew, sounds like he's a good decision maker not a coffin maker. Key word FULLY INVOLVED COMMERCIAL BUILDING The insurance company will build a new building.
                Last edited by fdsq10; 07-19-2006, 09:49 PM.

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                • #9
                  a couple of people & $500,000 Ladder versus a total loss building, I'll err on the side of safety. Not to mention most storms that are considered severe have strong gusty winds associated with them. What wind speed does it take to topple the ladder ? wanna find out ? I didn't think so.....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pete892
                    a fully involved commercial building fire during a thunderstorm and lightning.----- The fire was thru the roof.
                    I think this speaks for itself. It is already considered a total loss when flames are through the roof, I believe.


                    JG
                    JG
                    PTB-EGH
                    "Train Like Your Life Depends on It B/C It Does"
                    9-11-01, 06-18-07, and all those who have given the extreme sacrifice RFB.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are other options for delivering water as a PR effort when faced with adverse weather conditions. A ground monitor could perhaps suffice, a deck gun, guys sitting on 2 1/2 streams. These might even be more effective, since they can hit more than just the place under the open part of the roof.
                      Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by E229Lt
                        Sounds to me like the chief made a decision based on what he saw as a safety issue.

                        These are the decisions that should not be questioned.
                        EXACTLY!!!!!!

                        Risk vs. Benefit

                        How much do I risk for what kind of benefit?? Putting up a stick in a storm is too much risk for a benefit of sacrificing the building for the block.

                        That is why the Chief officers makes these decisions. Be happy they are watching the big picture and your backside, thinking of your safety when you are not all the time.
                        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!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We have a condominium complex that has it's fire alarm master radio box that is mounted on the aluminum pole and base that also serves as the mast for the antenna... the knox box that holds the keys for the annunciator panels on each building is also mounted on this pole.

                          A couple of years ago, we had a violent thunderstorm that ripped through the area. One of the boxes tripped by a proximity strike was the one for this complex. A city councilor who lives there was livid that we would not reset the fire alarms...

                          I asked him if he would volunteer to open the knox box to get the keys to insure the safety of my personnel... you can guess what his answer was...
                          Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-20-2006, 06:03 PM.
                          ‎"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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The same storms Dal was dealing with came through my area as well. The storm itself was three towns away, no less than 15-20 miles. The lightning from it was going over my head in the firehouse parking lot. Then, after it passed by us and was 2 towns in the other direction away, the lightning was still shooting over my head at the firehouse. And that was just the first wave... I was out of state for the second wave, so I didn't have the pleasure of blocking the road for 5 hours like usual this time.

                            I wouldn't be caught dead within 50ft of a ariel with the stick up while a thunderstorm is even CLOSE to the area.
                            Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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