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looking for anyone who believes that firefighters should not fight vacant fires.

Call in to tonights radio show! starts at 7:30 eastern time we should be talking about vacant structures around 8:00.

Thanks,

Frank Ricci 

call in number on home page in the middle

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-Not fighting fires in vacant buildings is in fact not doing your job. More to the point this mindset ignores the fact that someone may in fact be inside the vacant building; homeless, children playing... even the guy who started the fire, regardless of his intentions still deserves the FD attempting to find him and extinguish the blaze. The fact is that short of a lightning strike or mice playing with matches, vacant buildings do not set themselves on fire! That means someone got inside and set the fire; malicious or accidental is irrelevant, that person may still be inside!!

-Anything less is subscribing to a culture of fear that is being sold to the fire dept under the guise of firefighter safety. As Tom Brennen put it, this culture of fear is brought to you by the same people who created purple vests to identify the guy handing out vests.

-Fulfilling the office of firefighter is often times a risky endeavor. Firefighting is about calculated risks not foolish chances but risks all the same. If it's too scary find another line of work.

It may be vacant now, but in the future could be a vital piece of the community.  Its cheaper to buy an existing building to start a business in than build a new one.  If we let vacant dwellings burn, it may mean the new business will go to another town, or the young family trying to save money to buy it as their first home will be heart broken.  We do what we do regardless of the type of occupancy, its more than appearances, its about the community.  Another burned out shell is just another eyesore and possible death trap for some kids that play in them.

 

If you assume that any patient contact could have any and everything from HIV to TB, how many of you are wearing ALL of the available medical PPE at all calls?  I don't see many FFs at EMS calls all gowned up.  I guess getting dead because of a fire is cooler than getting dead because of AIDS, SARS, HEP-C, etc.

Hi all

I don't understand why a risk assessment carried out by trained, competent and experienced officers should be any different based on the perceived occupancy of a building at the time it's on fire.  A building is a building.  Any building at any time can be vacant or occupied.  The busiest building in town might be vacant when it catches fire and we arrive.  The "vacant" building on the corner might be occupied with 5 kids playing at the time it catches fire and we arrive.  The whole point is that we make a risk assessment based on a number of factors and information that we are presented with at the time.  Our strategy and tactics are determined by that risk assessment.  If an immediate search to save "possible" but unconfirmed lives is too dangerous and will, in all likelyhood, have catastrophic consequences for our own, we don't do it.  It's not our fire, we are not not responsible for starting it, we can only do our very best based on a sound assessment of the risk and selection of effective tactics to improve the outcome.  I would much prefer to base decisions about offensive or defensive tactics based on building construction and integrety, fire conditions and likely development, staff numbers, water supplies, information from bystanders and Fire Service ops plans if they exist.  I would not consider the previous perceived occupancy.  Obviously, a higher level of risk will always be justified and acceptable for "confirmed" persons inside than it would be for no reports of anyone present.  A building is a building, a fire is a fire.  We deal with each situation as it presents us, regardless.

MD

-Very well said. This is the absolute simplification of this issue to all those cowards purporting the new culture of fear in the fire service that says we don't do aggressive firefighting or do searches anymore. 

Michael Dombroski said:

Hi all

I don't understand why a risk assessment carried out by trained, competent and experienced officers should be any different based on the perceived occupancy of a building at the time it's on fire.  A building is a building.  Any building at any time can be vacant or occupied.  The busiest building in town might be vacant when it catches fire and we arrive.  The "vacant" building on the corner might be occupied with 5 kids playing at the time it catches fire and we arrive.  The whole point is that we make a risk assessment based on a number of factors and information that we are presented with at the time.  Our strategy and tactics are determined by that risk assessment.  If an immediate search to save "possible" but unconfirmed lives is too dangerous and will, in all likelyhood, have catastrophic consequences for our own, we don't do it.  It's not our fire, we are not not responsible for starting it, we can only do our very best based on a sound assessment of the risk and selection of effective tactics to improve the outcome.  I would much prefer to base decisions about offensive or defensive tactics based on building construction and integrety, fire conditions and likely development, staff numbers, water supplies, information from bystanders and Fire Service ops plans if they exist.  I would not consider the previous perceived occupancy.  Obviously, a higher level of risk will always be justified and acceptable for "confirmed" persons inside than it would be for no reports of anyone present.  A building is a building, a fire is a fire.  We deal with each situation as it presents us, regardless.

MD

Well the Brotherhood thing didn’t last long at all.  I think that if you are going to call another Firefighter who has been on the job and earned their chops a coward, it better be for something more overt than saying that they won’t risk the probability of killing one or more of their people for the potential possibility of saving a civilian.  Even the Marines don’t insist that you charge up the hill at a machine gun if there’s a better way to get the job done and unless the fire is at my daughter’s house, I can pretty much guarantee that I love the people that came with me to fire more than anyone who was there first.  That goes for swift water and tech rescue also because I’d be disappointed if the “go every time” crowd was not pulling on a Mustang suit and harness every time  a person or car went spinning down the river.

A timely topic.  Just last night while on duty we went to a fire on the ground floor of a "vacant" 4 storey.  No reports of persons inside.  A risk assessment deemed the search of the upper floors appropriate while the fire was being dealt with.  The primary search located a person on an upper floor who was removed to safety and treated on the scene for smoke inhalation.  The secondary search located a further occupant.  Both are fine and did not need to go to hospital.  As it turned out the fire was quickly dealt with and the whole thing was brought under control in a matter of minutes.  The fire was at the base of the stairs and was blocking the egress of the occupants.  The windows were boarded up so they could do nothing but find a corner and wait.  Both of them shouldn't have been there.  They are homeless and in need of shelter (its our winter).  Imagine if we had a policy of not searching vacant buildings, or a policy of defensive only tactics at vacants.  This could have been the end for two people, but for a sound risk assessment and selection of tactics based on the risk and potential benefits.

I don't think Michael was calling any of the bothers' cowards.  I think he may have been suggesting that policy makers and those sitting behind desks trying to justify the "dumbing down" of our skills may be at fault.  I would like to think that any firefighter worth his salt would respect an officer's risk assessment and any command decision that dictates defensive operations, regardless of what his perception is.  That's what officers are for. 

Take care

MD

Michael Bricault said:

-Very well said. This is the absolute simplification of this issue to all those cowards purporting the new culture of fear in the fire service that says we don't do aggressive firefighting or do searches anymore. 

Michael Dombroski said:

Hi all

I don't understand why a risk assessment carried out by trained, competent and experienced officers should be any different based on the perceived occupancy of a building at the time it's on fire.  A building is a building.  Any building at any time can be vacant or occupied.  The busiest building in town might be vacant when it catches fire and we arrive.  The "vacant" building on the corner might be occupied with 5 kids playing at the time it catches fire and we arrive.  The whole point is that we make a risk assessment based on a number of factors and information that we are presented with at the time.  Our strategy and tactics are determined by that risk assessment.  If an immediate search to save "possible" but unconfirmed lives is too dangerous and will, in all likelyhood, have catastrophic consequences for our own, we don't do it.  It's not our fire, we are not not responsible for starting it, we can only do our very best based on a sound assessment of the risk and selection of effective tactics to improve the outcome.  I would much prefer to base decisions about offensive or defensive tactics based on building construction and integrety, fire conditions and likely development, staff numbers, water supplies, information from bystanders and Fire Service ops plans if they exist.  I would not consider the previous perceived occupancy.  Obviously, a higher level of risk will always be justified and acceptable for "confirmed" persons inside than it would be for no reports of anyone present.  A building is a building, a fire is a fire.  We deal with each situation as it presents us, regardless.

MD

-Wow, at least someone gets it, thanks Mike

Bricault--I'd love for you to "educate" some of the guys (officer's) I work with.  It gets frustrating because I'm the one who is "wrong" on saying the "building is not vacant until we say it is".  Great information Brothers.  This is what keeps me coming back.  Stay Safe

 

Larry

http://backstepfirefighter.com/why-we-search/

 

Found the above site last night, has close to 100 links to stories about vacant buildings that were anything but vacant. 

 

My thoughts, if the building is 100% vacant (which is hard to prove no matter the source) and its well involved, I don't think my life is worth property alone.  I have no problem risking a lot for lives, but I will also sleep well at night if I risk a little for property or lives that have already been lost. 

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