So you are approaching the scene of a highrise fire with visible smoke and flames showing. You pause, think for a second to collect your thoughts and then you key the microphone and say...

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I think your cheat'n Cap. Getting help from here. LOL
Captain to Comms. comms. Could you get onto FFN and e-mail Mike Schlags and tell him to take his hi-rise out of our area-- make sure you remind him we only have 2 stories as our highest and if he give you a hard time--- tell to come and put it out himself. comms copies. :)
Mike,

How many floors are we talking about here?

Unless this is more than 9 or 10 floors, this one is a pain but not as bad as it could be.
The initial attack on this may only require two engines and a truck. The first engine carries a high-rise pack and connects to the standpipe one floor below the fire. They stretch to the fire floor and hit the fire.

The first truck goes to the apartment above the fire, searches it, checks for vertical extension, then evacuates the rest of the top floor.

The second engine puts a second high-rise pack in service and gets any extension above the fire.

The rest of the first alarm searches and evacuates the rest of the fire floor, handles water supply, gets any additional extension, and makes sure that no fire gets into the cockloft.

That said, any working fire in an occupied high rise is at least a second alarm, due to the personnel exhaustion and vertical distance issues.

What I say is "Working high-rise fire, give me a 2nd alarm, three additional EMS units, and additional police. Battalion 1 establishing Command. Engine 1 will be conducting fire attack on the fire floor, Truck 1 will be searching the apartment above the fire. All 1st alarm units report to the Command Post. All 2nd alarm units report to Level II Staging at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk."
I'd be saying on turnout, "why are we being responded to a fire 30 kilometres outside our area?. On arrival I'd be asking if the resident had an plastics factory inside that room - that smoke!

See I'm like you Wildfire - we don't have anything like that near us! Thankfully.

And Mike, you're being naughty - this should be with Chris's threads over in Fireground Tactics - we should keep all these lovely threads together - they might be scaring some people!

Now what would I be saying? "Vicfire, smoke and flame showing from the nth floor of (address), structure fire not yet under control. Make pumpers six, aerials two. High volume pump required, BA support required." Or words similar to that.
With the smoke showing from the left hand deck on the floor below the visible fire, 2 engines and a truck would be sufficient? I would automatically transmit the second alarm for working fire and depending on the extension to the floor below and the resources on the second alarm I would contemplate a 3rd alarm for additional RIT since I believe the second alarm will be pretty busy pulling walls and putting fire out.
In my FD we have already assigned tatical templates so all the units already know what they are supposed to do. the order of arrival dictates it.

So I would simply say " Radio Engine 6 is on scene with a (don't know the floor) high rise commercial occupancy with fire and smoke showing from (again don't know side and floor), transmit a 2nd alarm, we will be operating in the rescue mode, and we are establishing (don't know the road) command until the arrival of the chief."
Since we are a rural dept. this is not something we would experience but I will give it a shot.

Radio Engine 71 is on scene. Have a (# of stories) structure with fire and smoke showing on ____ side of building on _____ floor. 703 will have command start me 12 Ladder also manpower from_____. I am also requesting at least 2 EMS units to this location.
I would have a crew search and attack fire on the floor below as well as a crew on the main fire floor. Since the fire is already vented through the window that wouldn't be much of a concern. I would have a RIT team waiting outside and 3 crews of at least 3 FF's searching the top 3 floors for victims.
I can't tell but is that a person on the balcony on the left side there? If so we would have to get them out of there.
My exact quote was "The initial attack on this may only require two engines and a truck. " (emphasis added) Nowhere did I say that a 2 and 1 would be "sufficient". I also specified that "any working fire in an occupied high-rise is at least a second alarm..."

The smoke from the deck appears to be from the same level as the autovented fire. Both are one level below the top floor. I called the 2nd alarm just in case, but in this type of construction, we're probably not talking about a structure taller than 10 stories. That means that the hike up will be a little tiring,. but doable for reasonably-fit firefighters.

The fire isn't likely spreading much laterally due to the autoventing putting a lot of heat outside.
The main firespread threat is vertical. One line into the apartment can knock the flashover and one above can get any basic extension. One truck can complete the SAR assignment in the apartment over the fire. There is no rescue assignment in the flashed over apartment - anyone in there is dead.

The balance of the first alarm and the second will be used to mop up and for RIT. I'm staging RIT one floor below the fire in smoke-free conditions for this one.
Is it too late to call off sick? "Engine on scene with a ## story brick apartment building. Heavy fire and smoke showing the XX side. I need 3 engines and 3 trucks to the scene. Crews got to channel 5 on arrival." My first in engine would hit the stand pipe if available. If not, we got some hoofing to do. This actually looks like it may be confined to one apartment at this time. But, we never get fires like this when the weather is nice, so the more help the better.
My response wasn't intended to be accusatory Ben and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I was under the impression due to the smoke volume coming from the floor below the visible fire room deck area that this would be a no brainer 2nd alarm for more hands and potentially a third alarm for your RIT. I see in your response where your coming from and I agree with you.
No problem. My post was actually talking about two different things - an initial attack to take care of the immediate problems (search/rescue and primary confinement/extinguishment) and the follow-up stuff when we have bought ourselves more time.

If we're looking at the same thing, the smoke that you think is coming from the floor below the fire is actually coming from the same floor as the fire. The photo angle and cropping creates an optical illusion that the light smoke from the left is below the fire on the right, but it is not. Follow the floor line around the corner to the left and it is below both the autovented fire on the right and the light smoke on the left.


As anticipated, there are a lot of different styles to report an alarm involving a high rise fire. I thank you all for your responses and encourage others to take a moment and share what they would say. We can all learn from one another and this type of incident is labor intensive. And for my aussie friends down under... nothing over two-stories? You must be in the outback?

Other questions...

* Would you automatically request an ambulance to respond and standby... just in case?
* Do you have the responsibility to call for what we call a Code 20, what LAFD and Phoenix call a sigalert or what most of us know as a media callout.
* At what point do you call a third alarm and have them stage... just in case?
* Can you and have you passed command, ie. arrived on scene and handed over command to the next arriving engine so you can get to the fire floor asap to keep the fire small; if possible?
* Who do you assign passport responsibitlies too? First in engine's driver or engineer? Someone else?
* RIC Team(s), Safety Officer, PIO, Medic, 3rd Alarm, Traffic Control... it's endless!

Stay safe, Mike

"Failure to prepare is preparing for failure..."

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