Taking it to the Streets: Vacant, unoccupied, abandoned

 

What at the Projected Operational Risks? Do they Matter? Photo:CJ Naum, 2013

 
Taking it to the Streets
Vacant, unoccupied, abandoned and derelict buildings continue to challenge emergency response companies at incidents. It’s the buildings of Heritage – masonry construction with Heavy Timber, Mill, Semi-Mill or Ordinary Construction systems of three to six to eight story heights that create the most significant risks to operations, mitigation, safety and integrity.

Do you know what the inherent characteristics and risks are for each system and occupancy condition?

Do you train on when and how to establish collapse management zones (CMZ), how to manage them and what indicators to monitor and track?
 
The identification, establishment and control of collapse management zones continues to be a leading Fireground performance deficient area requiring greater Fire
Service attention, training and rigor.
 
Understand the Difference between Occupancy Risk versus Occupancy Type?
 
Take a look at the building presented in the photo: discuss what the possible building construction features and systems are and why.
  • What type of Collapse Management Zones (CMZ) can be expected both interior and perimeter?
  • What would the expected fire flow requirements be with heavy fire involvement and extension?
  • What are other operational risks to operational companies and personnel?
  • How and when would Collapse Management Zones (CMZ) be established?
  • Who would manage them and how?
  • Is there a problem controlling Collapse Zones?
  • And the obvious question: How does the buildings’s assumed condition:Vacant, unoccupied, abandoned and derelict buildings affect your Incident Action Plan, Strategies and Tactics? Or is it not a factor…..How do you determine when and how to commit to interior operations?

For incident deployments to a report of a structure fire, the single most important attribute that defines all phases of subsequent operations and incident management; is that of understanding the building. 

An officer or commander’s skill set, comprehension and intellect in their ability to read a building is paramount towards identifying risks, conducting fluid assessment, probability, predictability and recognizing intrinsic characteristics of the building and its expected performance under fire conditions, which are essential toward development of an integrated and adaptive fire management model and flexible incident action plan.

If you don’t know and understand the building, how can you identify and select appropriate strategies and tactics and have an integrate IAP suitable for the building and occupancy risks and predictability of performance? 

It’s much more than just arriving on location, identifying a single family wood frame residential, a three story brick or a five story fireproof or single URM commercial and stretching in and going to work.

 

NIOSH: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters using Risk Management Principles at Structure Fires HERE

 

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Chris Naum

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