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Even in this downturn in the economy, there are still very large homes being built. In many cases these homes are over 5,000 square feet of total living area.

This creates a significant problem for many fire departments, especially smaller, more rural ones, in regards to tactics.

We are fighting these fires with traditional methods and resources. In many cases it just isn’t enough. Add to the those issues that these are all built using light-weight construction, we have a recipe for disaster, as we have seen across our country.

Firefighters are falling through floors immediately after entering. Roofs are collapsing much earlier than before. Contents are causing fires to burn faster and reach untenable temperatures much earlier in the fire. The larger area requires the firefighters to search longer and further into a building than in the past.

We need to look at these structures a little differently when confronted with a working fire in them. Here are some considerations that should not be overlooked on these fires:

1. Your going to need more water, get it rolling fast.

2. A 360 is a must. You don’t know what you might have on the back side. 4 stories, victims hanging out windows, location of the fire, etc.

3. A larger line. It may be very prudent to pull a 2 1/2 as your first line of attack.

4. More manpower may be needed due to the multiple functions needed because of the size. You may treat this alarm like a commercial alarm.

5. Search lines. In these very large homes, it is not out of the question to use a search line.

These are the primary items that you can’t discount. You may need to think differently on these larger home fires to have a positive outcome. I have seen departments burn these houses down because they were using tactics for an 1100 square foot building on a 5500 square foot house.

With the open floor plans and the light weight building materials, fire develops very fast in these homes. Anticipate that and plan for it. Adjust and have back up plans. Never be afraid to regroup to get it right.

Feel free to add to the concerns, I encourage you to contribute. After all, that is what makes this so much fun.

Stay safe and stay low. Don’t forget to hydrate all day in this heat. Carry around some water and sip on it all day.

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This is my world.
These structures are an automatic additional alarm. In the new construction we are all dealing with, if you are going to attack a fire, all the things Jason mentioned are very true, but the one I tell my folks is if we're going to go, we go big or not at all! Keep hydrated, this weather is kicking our tails!

Stay Safe!
Jeff
Great topic, it is very necessary to look into these structures in your area and decide what resources will be needed in the event of a working fire. My Volunteer department only has about five of these massive homes but we have recently started preplanning them so we can adjust our run cards for these specific homes. Like has been stated already, with the LW construction, the period of "safe" attack is normally long over by the time we arrive. Stay safe out there brothers.
-These structures are residential occupancies and should not be treated like a commercial occupancy. That being said, McMansions are huge structures that necessitate additional resources; call for help early. A working fire on arrival at a McMansion should necessitate an additional alarm.
-I like Jeff's idea of going big right away. Simple math will demonstrate that anything smaller than a 2 1/2 hand line just will not work. Manpower is crucial in this occupancy.
ADULTS water, a bunch of manpower, large foot print (getting in and around in a timely manner), lots of gasoline furniture. What makes it different from a small commercial? Other than people might be sleeping in it?
This would be residentail alarm , and depending where it is located in our district , more than likely a second MA company would be added.
One of our biggest draw backs to these types of homes is access. In commercial buildings many times you have parking lots, loading docks. and the building is designed for large trucks to get close. In our area, most of these homes are at the ends of long drives, some of wich have light weight bridges and tight turns that a large firetruck has no chance to get to the structure. This really hampers the operation. Preplans on these are a must.

Stay safe

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