Chock that Door!

Recently, NIOSH released the report on the LODD of Allan Roberts (BCFD) that occurred on 10/10/06 in Greek town neighborhood of Baltimore City. FF Roberts died at a fire in the middle of the group row home in which, due to numerous factors, he and his crew became trapped inside the dwelling. The report is an excellent training document for you to review with your members because the conditions faced that day are re-created everyday all across the Country. Here is a link to the report:

Baltimore City Fire Service

The fortunate aspect of our occupation, the associated LODD’s, and subsequent comprehensive reports that follow is that they validate what we train on and why we train on these particular skills. The contributing factor and recommendations in the report that each and every firefighter should review, and is the focus of this posting, is surrounding the chocking of doors. FF Roberts and his crew became trapped inside the dwelling when they fell back into the front metal door which caused the 1 3/4″ hoseline to became jammed under the door. Aside from this obstacle that was limiting their egress, they also had to deal with the fact that the three of them were piled up behind the door in high heat / zero visibility conditions. Essentially, no one could get in or get out because the hoseline was jammed under the door. If this scenario sounded unrealistic before, now we know it is not, and can happen to anyone. So what do we learn to take this factor out of the equation? Chock every door we go through.

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“Inductive Loops” – Forcing Entry Through Electric Gates

In many areas, gated communities are becoming more common.  We frequently encounter mechanized gates that are chain-operated or work off a swing-arm, preventing us from accessing whatever it is we need to access.  When presented with these, we have a couple options…

  1. Have the key.  If we’re pro-active about our box alarm district, the manager might give us a key to keep in the map book or the rig so we don’t break his gate (see step 2).
  2. Cut the chain.  If it’s chain driven… But which chain?  There are two: short & long.  If you look, you’ll notice the shorter chain is under tension – cut that one.  Cutting the long one will do nothing for you.
  3. “Inductive Loops”.  Dave Pylar, a good friend from Tower 3 in DC and a part time TT instructor, shared with me this quick & simple way of opening these gates in a non-destructive manner.  Check out the PDF below for more information on how to look like an all-star the next time you encounter one of these….

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FE: Sledgehammer vs. Flat-Axe

In the truckman’s world the debate between the sledgehammer an the flathead-axe has become equivalent to the age old smoothbore/fog nozzle debate.  Over the past few years, the sledgehammer seems to have gained popularity – buy why?  Personally, I had a brief affair with the sledgehammer (admittedly, because it was the “in” thing) but after some experimentation and experiences, I’m back to the flathead-axe.

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Hopefully it’ll spark some good discussion, but here are a few of my reasons to choose the axe over the sledge for your next forcible entry operation.

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“First-In” Company Operations: West Bradford, PA

This past weekend TT Instructors Nick Martin (DCFD E-11), Chris Birch (DCFD R-1), and Danny Doyle (PBF T-8) traveled to West Chester, PA to train with the West Bradford Fire Company.  

The topic of this 16-hour class was “First-In Company Operations”.  The course is designed for those departments whose initial operations may have limited equipment and manpower – yet still must accomplish essential fireground operations.

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Open-Enrollment Class 1/17/09: Downingtown, PA

We will be presenting our Fighting Fires in Residential Buildings curriculum on Saturday 1/17/09 in Downingtown, PA (30 miles west of Philadelphia).  For more information & registration please click here.

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So far, we have over 100+ attendees attending.  There is still plenty of room and registration will be open until the day of the class.

Elevator Operations at High Rise Part II

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Fire Department Operations Using Elevators:  Part II

 Battalion Chief Al Mullins

High Rise Operations:

 You are the first due company at a fire in a high rise and because the fire is on an upper floor you make a critical decision to take the elevator.  Good choice, but you need to insure things are working properly.

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Fire Department Operations Using Elevators

Fire Department Operations Using Elevators

Part One:

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Battalion Chief Al Mullins 

Every day we respond to calls in high-rise buildings where we need and choose to use building elevators.  Of course, if you run a fire alarm or GOD forbid an actual fire in a high-rise building using elevators will make our job much easier.  The use of elevators in high-rise buildings during fire conditions is also a risky operation and should be done very carefully.  I am going to review some of the basic things we need to know if we are going to use elevators.

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