The box alarm (structural assignment) is transmitted, reporting a fire at the Home Depot. It's mid-afternoon, the building is 100% sprinklered and companies have responded to the reporting address a number of times for false calls, odors, electrical issues, fire alarms, etc. So, what are the chances that its actually on fire? How complacent are companies and the crews responding?
If you've looked at this photograph, you know that the aforementioned building was on fire. The great thing about this incident, is that each Engine Company laid a supply line in or had their own hydrant, each Truck/Rescue Company positioned according to the SOP's and EVERY crew member arrived READY TO WORK.
The moral to this story, is that you must never be complacent, nor let your guard down. When companies arrived at this alarm, they found fire involving a large commercial "rack" completely involved. Measuring 40-feet tall and 50-feet wide. Smoke conditions were to the floor throughout the entire 600x400 building. The store was completely occupied.
One of the biggest factors that keeps us alive is preparedness. Always expect the worst and hope for the best.
Some items to keep in mind as an Incident Commander on this type of incident:
- Sufficient resources
- Coordinated ventilation
- Sufficient RIT's (more than 1)
- Air consumption
- Large area search capabilities
- Units in the rear
- Continuos CAN reports