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HUD Window Thinking and Learning from Past Fires

The term HUD Window refers to the stereotypical wooden board up frequently seen on “vacant” buildings, damaged buildings, and occasionally buildings under construction. It’s not a standardized term – I’m sure there are many regional variations. Just as there are variations in the name, there are variations in the style, construction, and manner of installation. As with all things forcible entry, a “one plan” approach is likely to fail you when the unexpected is encountered.

While out doing some district familiarization and rookie training we stopped at this house, which was the site of a recent fire. How often do you go by the address of fire you ran last tour, or the fire that the other shift went to? Unfortunately, I’ve worked in places where nobody has any interest in visiting the fire we ran last tour, or that the other shifts ran on the days off.  That’s a terrible waste of resources.  Not only is there a fire with good things to discuss, but it’s a fire that ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN YOUR AREA!  Take a minute during the day to top by and see what went down.

In our area it would not be uncommon do go back to an address a second time due to arson or careless squatters.  In this case we were able to not only to learn what to expect, and how houses in this area are being secured, but also do some rookie training and talk as a group about different ideas.

Different ideas are exactly what you’ll need for these situations. When I posted a brief pic of this house on our Facebook page the other day we had no less than 5 ideas in a few minutes. Is this something you spend time talking with your crew about, or do you just watch SportCenter all day?

There are many ways to skin this cat, but here are a few of my initial thoughts:

– As you pull up at a fire, don’t blindly run up with the same tools. Look at what you have. For example, as the OV FF here I would be thinking about bringing a chainsaw due to multiple boarded up windows – that’s not a usual tool for me in that position.  I would make two cuts – one each as close to the outside of the frame as I could judge.

– I’d also consider a short ladder (10′ or less) to provide me with better access to these shoulder height windows (see this idea in use in Joe Brown’s OV video here).  These 2×4 braces were also nailed into the sides of the frames, that may limit the effectiveness of certain removal techniques.

– As the irons FF or officer, i might think to tell my OV to start right away on the windows as we head to the door. Given the lack of an outside 2×4 here, I think we can make a relief strike just below the bolt heads with the 8lbs axe and just drive the bolts through to make access to the front door.  Remember that YOU might have a plan and a thought, but the effectiveness of the entire CREW will improve if everyone knows it – COMMUNICATE.  Ideally, PLAN AHEAD.

Be prepared for surprises.  You may assume by the presence of the HUD coverings over the door area that there is no additional challenge, however a peak inside allowed us to see that the original security gate was still in place.  How strong is it?  Who knows, but worth being prepared for.

– Of course being the site of a previous fire, I have to consider the buildings stability. In our area, squatters and vagrants are a distinct likelihood so my intentions are to enter if at all possible.  That said, I’m paying extra attention to the floor’s stability as I move ahead.  I’m also thinking that overhaul from the previous fire has given the fire a head start into void spaces.

Additional Resources (thanks to our Facebook friends!):

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, Tips & Skills, Truck Company | Posted on 25-02-2011

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Helmet Cam Training Video: Removing Window Mounted AC Units During Ventilation

Here is the latest in our Voiceover Training Tips Video Series” straight from the fireground to your computer screen. In this video Traditions Training Instructor Joe Brown takes us through some of his thoughts and actions when approaching a window mounted air conditioning unit during ventilation. The fire is on the second floor of a 2-story brick end-of-the-row home, Joe is part of the Outside Vent Team on DCFD Truck 17 and his actions are in conjunction with the Interior Search Team and Suppression Teams. As you watch the video think about what your actions may have been and how they might vary with different building constructions in your District. Leave us some feedback and open some discussion at your firehouse kitchen table or computer screen. As always, stay safe out there.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qkGyz88Cto

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, fires, Tips & Skills, Training Resources, training-development, Truck Company, videos | Posted on 26-01-2011

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"Standby to Copy…" – Making the Window a Door

Turning the “window into a door” is an important operational and safety concept that we preach every chance we get.  A few more seconds at the window can drastically increase ventilation and provide an egress point that will allow a firefighter to get himself out of trouble. In this edition of “Standby to Copy”, Chief Kelleher discusses the need to make the window into a door.

"how am I supposed to get out?"

“Standby to Copy” is an informal newsletter produced by TT instructor Chief Tony Kelleher of the Kentland VFD, providing operational tips to companies that operate in the Prince George’s County Fire Department.  While some of these tips reference things that are specific to the operations of PGFD companies, they share some great thoughts that are easily applied to any department.  They’re a great quick read and good for a conversation starter around the kitchen table.  As such, we’ll be cross-publishing these newsletters here for your enjoyment…

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, command-leadership, Commentary, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, RIT / Survival, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 19-12-2010

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Watch Your Step on the Roof!

Nighttime operations on the rooftop have many inherent dangers.   With smoke perhaps even further reducing our visibility, we must use eve more caution.  This photo is of the top floor roof area between two rowhomes in DC.

Note the gap between the two houses.  Remember that while the fronts are often even, the backs are often staggered.  WATCH YOUR STEP.  Carry a big light, and have it on.  Check the area you’re about to step on with your hook BEFORE you commit your weight to it.

Remember – you can’t un-fall.

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 17-12-2010

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Forget the Excuses – Just Get to the Roof!

Many initial operations depend on firefighters accessing the roof early in the incident.  Providing a report from the rear and sides, assessing lateral extension, opening natural openings and cutting a hole may all be potential tasks, but our first task is to GET TO THE ROOF.  The truck’s aerial is of course a preferable option and ground ladders are a close second – but what about if you can’t get either up?

This was the case at a fire on Kennedy St, NW in DC the other night.  First-in companies found fire in a church on the 1st floor of a 3-story occupancy.  The building sat about 20 feet back from the curb with power lines running along the curb.  These prevented use of the aerial, even though the truck was able to position right on side A.  Ground ladders would have been difficult because with the building’s height a 35 would have been unlikely to make the height and the 45 would have been unwieldy in the area of the wires and companies making the stretch through the front door.

Like many others, I too have seen people encountered with such a situation just give up – it’s easy to fall back on the explanation of why you didn’t do it.  But a COMBAT READY out-of-the-box-thinking fireman will forgo the excuses and just get the job DONE.  This was just the case for Truck 11’s tillerman, who quickly thought to use the adjoining building’s porch roof.   By quickly placing a 24′ ladder to the porch roof, the 14′ roof ladder was used to go from the porch to the fire building roof.  In hindsight it seems like a simple and obvious idea – but this kind of creativity is more difficult in the heat of the moment.  Pay attention to your buildings, plan for fires before you go to the fire, and think outside of the box!  (photos courtesy of D. Smith, DCFD T-11)

  

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, fires, news, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 13-12-2010

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A MUST READ article on "Primary Roof Ventilation" from TT's Dan Troxell

Be sure to checkout this months edition of Fire Engineering magazine for an awesome article on Primary Roof Ventilation Operations at Flat Roof Structures.

One of TT’s instructors, Dan is a 34 year veteran and presently the Captain of DCFD Truck 6. He brings some great tips on size up, ventilation, and more.

Click the image below to view the article, and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, news, Training Resources, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 22-08-2010

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Tower Ladder Class in Johnston, IA Reinforces Key Point on Knowing Your (and their) Aerial Apparatus!

Last weekend TT instructors Scott Kraut, Mike Stothers, Joe Brown, and Nick Martin headed west to the metro Des Moines area for a Tower Ladder Operations course with the Johnston Fire Department.  The two-day program brought attendees from all over Polk County to talk about truck work and the capabilities of various apparatus.  All kinds of topics were covered, from forcible entry to ventilation to designing riding assignments.  Sunday brought 40 students and 4 different styles of aerial apparatus for an awesome day of hands-on training at a great acquired building.

Click here for more photos…

One of the goals for the weekend was to allow attendees to work with and understand the various capabilities of different aerial apparatus.  While many departments only own one style of truck, it’s imperative that departments understand the capabilities and limitations of any style of aerial apparatus that might respond into their town. Rear-mount, mid-mount, tiller, tower, aerial – they all have specifics as to their positioning needs and use in various scenarios.  The time to find those things out is NOT the fireground – if you don’t know these things in advance, you can’t POSSIBLY put the rig to the best use when it gets to your fire! It was great to work with a forward-thinking, pro-active group of enthusiastic firefighters.  Thanks to the firefighters of Polk County for your hospitality and we’ll look forward to seeing you again!

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Posted by | Posted in administration-leadership, Blog, command-leadership, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, news, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 05-07-2010

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New Helmet Cam Training Video from Traditions Instructor Joe Brown

Last week, prior to leaving for FDIC, an interactive discussion began on the Traditions Training facebook page based on a single picture, one moment in time. The picture was placed with a scenario and the readers were asked to give their thoughts and approaches to the scene. The picture was actually a freeze frame from Traditions Training instructor Joe Browns helmet cam footage from a fire that occurred earlier that same day. The below video is that helmet cam footage coupled with voice over training tips to help viewers identify with what is taking place. We have received a lot of positive feed back from Joe’s last video (found here) and how it has helped viewers’ better train and prepare for that next fire. We are pleased to be able to bring you another installment in the never ending process of becoming better firefighters.    

This video is filmed from point of view of DCFD 17 Truck’s outside vent man (OVM) position on a 2 story middle of the row home with fire on the second floor. For more detailed information on the fire visit http://www.30engine.com/fullstory.php?106159. Please feel free to share your thoughts, tips and comments with us in the comments section. Stay safe and enjoy.      

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXk28GZ_Fy0

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, firefighting-operations, fires, Tips & Skills, Training Resources, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 28-04-2010

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TT Heads West – Tower Ops in Iowa, June 26 & 27!

The staff of TT is excited to head to some new territory this June.  We will be putting on a “Two-Team Truck & Tower Ops” program for the Johnston Fire Department, just outside of Des Moines, Iowa.  The program will be held on June 26 & 27 and consists of two parts:

  • Sat, Jun 26: An interactive seminar on two-team truck operations and tower ladder operations.  Tips on making the most of your limited resources and understanding the pro’s and con’s of various aerial apparatus.
  • Sun, Jun 27: An 8-hour hands-on program implementing many of the concepts from Saturday.  Use of the TL bucket in defensive and rescue operations, as well as various inside/outside truck company skills!

The program features instructors from the DCFD, FDNY and Kentland VFD.  This will be an exciting and informative program and, since “truck work” is performed on ALL firegrounds, will be applicable for departments with or without aerial apparatus.  If your in the western states, we hope to see you there!

For more information and registration, please click here!

Johnston_IA_Tower_Ops

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, Training Resources, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 26-03-2010

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Photos & Video from January's Truck Ops Classes

Traditions Training traveled to southeast PA twice in January, each time for  “Truck Company Operations” class.  The first program was held in Kennett Square with the Longwood Fire Company.  Two weekends later we returned to West Chester, PA for another program with the Parkesburg Fire Company and some surrounding departments…  Little did we know that one department would use some of these skills just hours later.

Thanks to members of each department for these photos from the classes:

On Sunday evening after the class, members of the Honey Brook Fire Company responded to a fire in a motel.  Deputy Chief Dan Brooks sent us the following account:

“Sunday night while recovering from the weekends class we were hit out for full company assist on the working Motel Fire. Members who attended the training, working with those who didnt, forced 10+ doors on rooms and provided ventilation and primary searches of the entire building mostly under poor to zero visibity. Using the skills we learned and reinforced, things went VERY well. THANK YOU!!!”

Nothing could make the staff at Traditions Training happier than to know that we might have provided even the smallest tip that helped someone do their job at the fire. Thanks to the members of Longwood, Parkesburg, Honey Brook, and the other department’s that attended January’s classes!

Fore more information on our Truck Company Operations, or other, programs – please contact us!  Also, be sure to check out our past blog posts on Truck Company Operations.


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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, fires, news, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company, videos | Posted on 17-02-2010