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Looking for information on tactical considerations for the newly constructed big box retail stores. Any policies, best practices, or lessons learned you could share would be great.


Randall W. Hanifen

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Well, First consideration is Truss Roof, What type? What is used for Decking?!! and then Fire load! What have I got, Where is it going, and What am I going to do about it??? Remember COAL WAS WEALTH! Quick 13- point size up!

C- Construction, Collapse, Configuration, Confine
O-Occupancy, other( burn time, FAST, relief, rescue)
A- Access

A-Additional Alarms, apparatus
S-Salvage, searches, Services(utilities), Shafts, Size, Stairs,

W-weather, Windows
E-Exits, exposures, Extension, extinguishment
A-Area, Auxilary appliances
L-Life, Location of Fire
T-Thermal imaging, Time of day, Trusses
H-Haz-mat, Height, HVAC

Hope that helps a little.
Get to know the Fire Sprinkler System very well. Most of out alarms are due to a problem with the fire sprinkler systems. Don't go (leave the scene) until you know. The world does not begin or end in Bentonville. Never take the manager's word for anything.
A question came up recently in our department regarding 1.5" standpipe outlets in big box stores. Below is, in part, my thoughts on the matter. They maybe applicable here... Les


We’ve had a few discussions regarding the proper use of standpipe outlets (SPOs); especially those with 1.5” connections lately in our department. Eighteen years ago all the hose was removed from standpipe cabinets. Some of these old cabinets had 2.5” SPOs as well as 1.5” connections where that old single jacket 1.5” hose was attached. The 1.5” SPOs were rated and only considered for “Occupant Use Only”. Which was ok; we still had the Class I SPOs. We attached to the Class I SPO on the floor below and stretched up the stairwell.

So the question that is often asked; what about the 1.5” SPOs found in a big box store? It is not technically for “Occupant Use Only” because the new systems were never outfitted with hose. Realizing that while there maybe a technical difference between the old cabinets that had occupant use hose and those that are being installed at a Lowe’s store, where they’re installed on columns throughout the show room; there is not a practical difference. They are both pieces of 1.5” threaded plumbing without attached hose to use and never intended or rated for fire attack by FD.

So, I boil it down to this: Class I SPOs are for fire attacklines in commercial occupancies while all others are not. So in these structures; if an outlet isn’t for occupant use and NOT for fire attack, what is it? It is for a fire-out situation where there is basically no emergency or urgent need, such as for mop-up. Of course we still have the option of attaching mop-up hose to the end of our attacklines.

We must also consider the location of those “non-fire attack outlets” in these big box stores and other similar commercial occupancies. They are located on the interior. I would no sooner attach an attackline to an SPO in a high-rise on the fire floor, as I would attach an attackline to one of those interior SPOs. So how do we attack these fires and try to replicate the safe zone that is afforded us in high-rise stairwells? We take our attacklines from the engine and stretch to the interior. That is why they don’t install Class I SPOs interior. If they did I still wouldn’t use them. The engine is our Class I SPO so to speak.

So two bottom lines; 2.5” SPOs (or engines) are for fire attack and 1.5” SPOs are available for mop-up or other non-emergent events; 1 ¾” attacklines are for residential while 2 ½” attacklines are for commercial fires.
Your 100% right on the size up. Add to that only stretch a 21/2 even if it looks like a trash can fire. If it turns out to only be that the truck can put it out with the can. If it turns out to be more or hidden in a drop cieling you will be ready for the volume of fire you may have.

No line longer than 300 feet. Per Plan Pre Plan any longer then 300ft you will have firefighters getting jammed up from running out of air.

Leave the front for the tower

Get the rear doors open quick and dispact companys to the front and rear of the store.
Check out this training program on the Everyone Goes Home Website. This program does a good job of identifying building types and the hazards of these big box buildings.
Thanks for bring the "Avoiding the Disorientation Hazard" web site class to our attention. I previewed some of it ; I'm looking forward to viewing it with my crew.


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