Occupancy Risk and Operational Concerns
With the variety of occupancies and building characteristics present, there are definable degrees of risk potential with recognizable strategic and tactical measures that must be taken.Although each occupancy type presents variables that dictate how a particular incident is handled, most company operations evolve from basic strategic and tactical principles rooted in past performance and operations at similar structures.
Empirical insights and test data needs to be integrated in the developing and emerging fire suppression models and improved firefighting theory.
Technological Advancements in building construction, design, materials and methods have exceeded conventional fire suppression theory & practices.
- Start thinking in terms of Occupancy Risks versus Occupancy Type and align your operations and deployments to match those risks. It’s much more than just the Five Fundamental Building Types of the past.
- Suggested Building Construction Type
- What about Building Vintage, Age and Inherent Characteristics?
- Suggested Occupancy Type and Projected Occupancy Risk Profiles?
- Construction Systems: Expected, Projected or What might be different or unexpected?
- Operational Risks and Hazards,
- Fireground concerns if there was a fire within a Compartment/Building Floor area
- What is Obvious about the building and What is Not?
- What needs to be further assessed or identified?
- What Inherent Building Profile and Performance Concerns area there?
- What does the Company Officer need to know abouth this Building | Occupancy | Construction System | Compartment?
- Are there unique tactical operational concerns for Engine |Ladder/Truck | Rescue |Support?
- What about Command Operational concerns
- What are the defined or projected Operational Risks?
Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety
Know your World
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Understand the buildings and occupancies not only in your jurisdiction, first or second-due areas, but also in those areas that you may be called upon to respond to for greater alarms or mutual aid.
Remember Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.
Understand and improve upon your skill set levels and those of your company, battalion, division, department or region.
- Keep apprised of different types of building materials and construction used in your community.
- The operative question is this: “What do you “really” know about the buildings in your district?”
- As you drive about your response district, coming back from an alarm, heading to the firehouse tonight or running errands around your community, take a good look around. Ask yourself a simple question; “How well do you know the buildings, structures and occupancies in your response jurisdiction?”
- Be honest, do you really understand how those “older residential” structures were built and understand how fire travels and impacts your fireground operations?
- Are your aware of the newest features of engineered structural support systems being constructed within that new set of homes going up in your second-due area?
- Are you aware, that vacant office building is being converted into a light manufacturing and assembly business?
- How about those unoccupied store fronts and businesses that have recently closed up due to the tough economic times…. any special hazards or operational concerns to your company should you get a dispatch to respond?
- Have the senior members of your station or department shared their stories of operations and incidents at various buildings around your district or community?
- Did you listen to them, or were you quick to dismiss those “old war stories”. There’s a wealth of “pre-planning’ nuggets hidden in those stories. Take the time to listen, remember or postulate
- Take a good look around….think about any given building, the one across the street that you’re looking at while you waited for the traffic light to change; Think about a fire in that same building.
- Do you really understand how it will truly perform under combat structural fire conditions?
- What’s the building’s collapse profile?
- How much operational time will you have? Will you need?
- What’s the fire load package size?
- What are your concerns for rapid fire extension, extreme fire behavior and vent path issues that may affect firefighter safety?
- What dynamic risk assessment factors will you have to deal with?
- How safe is it for you to engage in interior operations upon your arrival?
- How can this building, its occupancy and structural system hurt, my team, my company, my firefighters, my department, me?