Reprinted with Permission

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the North Charleston Fire Department said they are committed to safety in the face of recent citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration stemming from a July 5 fire.

In that fire three North Charleston firefighters sustained burns battling a house fire on Purity Drive near Rivers Avenue.

This month, the city and fire department received two citations from OSHA stemming from the house fire. Both citations claim the department put their men in a dangerous situation.

A statement released by OSHA said, "The employer knew or should have known that on or about July 5, 2010, firefighters performing interior structural firefighting were exposed to the hazard of being trapped in a burning residential building."

OSHA contends there were three rules that were not followed while trying to extinguish the fire.

The department must have at least two people in contact with each other at all times while inside a burning structure, two firefighters must be outside the structure at all times and everybody must be wearing a self-containing breathing apparatus.

Copyright 2010 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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History MUST educate and influence our actions now. And the present must educate and influence those who come after us. I wish this industry was more progressive with rules staying current to present systems and issues of firefighting.
Of course there's time you wouldn't go in, but if the house is still savable why not?
How about this story about a vacant that just happened? An innocent little boy was inside. http://www.firefighternation.com/forum/topics/new-york-boy-dies-in-...
Pretty sure when Jeff Chavis died in '01 we were hit with a total of $3k in fines. Partially because of the incident, partially because of other deficiencies discovered during the investigation, like the fact we were using purple power cleaner without eye protection and a splash apron. When it was brought up about the minuscule fine it was stated that was pretty much the maximum fine available.
I am not saying you are wrong. I just wish both the innocent could live and the firefighters.

Maybe a quick search ... then exit to exterior fight ???

Maybe some guys stay in long after the search, even when some of the building is already collapsing.
It isn't all about safety, even though it is covered that way.
So what is it about????
If you're inside to search, shouldn't you just put the fire out? You're already in there so why not? You did agree to protect property when you took this job right?
What's the point of this discussion? Are we arguing whether or not the 2in-2out rule is a good idea? Or if OSHA is being heavy-handed or too lax? Or if Americans are too agressive and unsafe about fire-fighting?

The rule is when you have a crew inside you also have a crew outside for safety. I hear little argument that RIT isn't a good idea. Yes, we risk our lives to protect life and property, but we're also tasked to minimize that risk.

I think the fines aren't the point: it's just to get your attention that you have a problem.
If you're inside to search, there's a good chance that you won't have a hoseline.

Any fire that exceeds the extinguishing capability of a 2.5 gallon water can isn't going to be put out by the search team under those circumstances.
"We all know our job is dangerous, our leaders need to make sure we get training that applys to us, not bull crap we aren ever going to use."

What would that be, Cory?
What would that be, Cory?
C'mon Ben- you know, that stuff like hydraulics, friction loss, pumping, drafting, SCBA, size up and all that other BS safety stuff!!!!!

In South Carolina, the 2-In, 2-Out rule has been redifined by SCOSHA as 2-In, 1-Out under the following circumstances: (These are off the top of my head - I'll dig up the exact wording if I can find it)

The fire is incipient (not flashed over, confined to the compartment of origin, and not spreading rapidly)

The IC has reason to believe that either a potential rescue situation exists or that a delay will make the situation untenable.

The IC believes that an immediate interior attack can resolve the situation.

The IC has sized the situation up and has determined that the risks are manageable with the manpower present.

To respond to your scenarios...

If the house is destroyed by a flashover 4 minutes after we arrive, it's going to be very, very iffy for most of our undermanned departments to deploy an attack line, force entry, locate the seat of the fire, make the stretch, and extinguish the fire in less than 4 minutes if there aren't at least 4 or 5 firefighters present, much less do the ventilation required to help prevent the flashover.

If we wait 3 minutes until a second company arrives and it flashes because we waited to long - then I'd answer as I did above, but it's a worse situation because you have a minute less and the same inadequate manpower.

If the residence is lightweight construction and you have to wait for the next company, you have time to do a good 360 size-up, hopefully aided by a TIC as well as time to get a good read on the smoke. That will tell you whether this fire is a good candidate for an interior attack or not. If it's lightweight engineered construction and you have to wait for enough manpower to meet the rule - or you don't have enough manpower to make the stretch with the first company, then it's probably a good idea to make this fire a defensive one anyway. For departments that don't have the manpower to make the initial hose stretch efficiently and effectively, why should they risk killing themselves for property? After all, the people who live there get what they pay for.

There's nothing wrong with taking calculated risks, but we need to re-thing the well-intentioned suicide attempts, particularly when only property is involved.

As for sticking the nozzle in the window when shorthanded, if you use a smoothbore and pencil the upper layers, you won't drive the fire anywhere, and you may be able to get extinguishment with less risk. If you don't drive the fire anywhere, then the only potential problem is a little more water damage, and water damage dries right out.

Unburning the structure is a little more difficult.

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