Photos by Brian Butler/Rob Dooley
A few years ago while doing a fire preplan at an old parking garage downtown in our first due, we discovered the seven deck parking garage had no standpipe. So every year, we conduct a training exercise to make our own standpipe. There are several methods to deliver water to an upper deck in a parking garage depending on location, manpower, and other factors. The options range from simply stretching up the stairs, humping a handline over a ground ladder, using the aerial, running a line off the tower ladder, or hoisting a dry line up using rope. Riding a three-man single engine company, we decided to go with hoisting up a dry 2 1/2 with a gated wye, and heading up to the roof with an old bleach bottle with 75' of rope, and an 1 3/4 double donut with nozzle.
This training exercise simulates a vehicle fire on the top deck of a fully occupied parking garage. We want to get our handline flowing on the roof in under 10 minutes. (We expect by that time, exposure vehicles may catch fire)
Last year, we tied off the hose on every other floor and used edge protection on the top over the masonry wall. Our concerns were the weight of the hose when filled with water pulling at the couplings, and a kink at the top when the hose was pulled over the wall. This time we didn’t bother to tie off on lower floors or use edge protection. We didn't have any issues with the weight of the hose once filled with water, the line pulling away from the building, or significant kinks when it was stretched over the top wall. We also saved a few minutes by not having to tie off at the lower floors.
Simulated bottle-Not actual bottle
Our 2-Man attack crew of 3 (driver) accomplished this by flowing in under 10 minutes. Using a 1 3/4 double donut and 75’ of utility rope in a 1 gallon plastic container, our two-man attack team took the elevator (why sweat it?) to roof and lowered the rope. The driver tied off the 2 1/2 preconnect from the rear bed. We pulled the 2 1/2 hose up to the roof, gated to a 1 3/4 line with a smooth bore nozzle.
After the pump operator tied off our 2 1/2 preconnect (we have 800 ft in rear bed for commercial fires) he pulled 100’ of 4” supply line to hydrant and supplied himself. At only 50 psi, we got a really good stream with our hoseline. Enough to easily knock down a few vehicles. This only took several minutes.
Again, we know that this is just one of several ways to get water to an upper deck for a vehicle fire. But the benefit of this training exercise is the relation to similar tactics used during high-rise and mid-rise fires where standpipes or FDC's aren't present or O.O.S.
We used the excess rope to go around a concrete pillar and around the hose and cable barrier. The cable barrier just happened to help secure the 2 1/2 hose perfectly. Very minor kink had no impact on our handline.
Make sure the line running up to the upper deck is in contact with ground and NOT suspended. This will decrease the stress put on the hose.
*If possible, bring a dry chem extinguisher for any running fuel fires.
*Attack from uphill direction on parking decks.
*Be aware of your typical modern day vehicle fire hazards (struts, airbags, magnesium etc..)
*DO NOT commit to leaning over the railing/barrier too much when pulling up hose, ESPECIALLY when charged! The weight of the hose suspended will get heavier as you're hoisting and can pull a complacent firefighter over the railing/barrier.