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The bowstring truss......Do all your members know the hazards? or do you THINK they know?

This week's fireground simulation focuses on an old nemesis of our great service, the bowstring truss. There are many types of the bowstring truss roofs and all bowstring trusses are not created equal and do not share the same characteristics when found in a building and occupancy.They may have the same shape, but shape alone does not define the bowstring truss. Based on the type, design, construction, materials, age, span, spacing, configuration, occupancy and application there are vast differences and similarities.

The above paragraph means to me anyway that firefighters officers and especially commanders need to better understand  the enemy and get in its head, just because a building has a bowstring does not make it an automatic no go stay out. There are some great pieces of literature and I have copied below a few great links to help along with my size up and kitchen table handout.

Article 1-

Article 2-

Article 3-

As we head into July and August the fire service thoughts always turn to to two tragedies that took place on July 1st 1988 in Hackensack, N.J. and on August 2 1978 in a Waldbaums Supermarket in Brooklyn, NY  look at these dates, 1978 and 1988, how many of us were on the job or were even born? I started my career exactly one year to the date of the 1988 event and its lessons were at the forefront in my early years, as time has passed so too in my opinion have our focus and attention on the building and fire's affect on it. 

It is my hope that you review the documentation links, find out if you have bowstrings in your first due or response area, play the simulation and make an all out effort to know the enemy!  

A Four minute video on Waldbaums Fire

Bowstring Simulation

You are called mid-day to an auto parts store, an employee doing some cutting has accidentally started a fire, there has been a delay in alarm because they attempted to extinguish prior to calling for help. Utilize your respective resources when viewing this simulation.

Some Thoughts To Consider:

A-Life Safety, search...Say the manager isn't sure everyone is out!

B-Apparatus Placement

C-Construction issues

D- Fire Attack thoughts....Where,What Size, etc.

Kitchen Table Handout--Bowstring%20Kitchen%20Table.pdf


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