High-Rise Buildings

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					   High-Rise Buildings
           7- c
List the benefits and drawbacks of
locating a command post at a high-
rise fire in the lobby area, or on the
     exterior of the fire building.

       High-Rise Buildings
           Defining a high-rise building
•   One that is over 75 feet tall and constructed
    for human habitation.
•   Where there is a dependency on the
    building systems.
•   Part of the building is beyond the reach of
    the fire department's longest ladder.
•   The building would have an unreasonable
    evacuation time.
       High-Rise Buildings
          Defining a high-rise building
•   High-rises have changed from heavy
    concrete buildings to lightweight core
    constructed structures.
•   The high-rises built in the first half of the
    20th century contained large masses of
    masonry material.
•   The second half of the century represented
    a drastic change to lighter-weight core-
    constructed buildings.
       High-Rise Buildings
                  Core construction
•   The core area is the location through which
    the utilities, shaftways and elevators reach
    up through the building.
•   The core may be located in the center,
    front, rear or side of the building.
•   A core-constructed building built today can
    weigh less than 10 pounds per square foot.
•   Compare that to the Empire State Building
    in New York City, which completed in 1931
    and weighs over 24 pounds per square foot.
       High-Rise Buildings
                  Core construction
•   This reduction in weight is due to the
    changes in the construction material.
•   Exterior walls in the past were constructed
    of marble and granite; today, they are
    comprised of lightweight materials.
•   These changes in material create problems
    for firefighters.
•   The older material absorbed the heat of the
    fire and the fire tended to be more localized.
•   The newer construction materials allows a
    fire to generate much higher temperatures.
         High-Rise Buildings
            High-rise considerations
•   A high-rise fire often has many problems
    occurring simultaneously.
•   This presents a tremendous challenge.
•   The basis for success will depend upon:
    –   Organization.
    –   Preplanning.
    –   Applying experience and training.
       High-Rise Buildings
            Operational guideline
•   The high-rise operational guideline
    should spell out initial assignments.
•   Most important is to ensure that a
    sufficient number of firefighters are
    sent to the fire area.
         High-Rise Buildings
               Operational guideline
•   The first unit to arrive at the fire area must:
    –   Do a quick size-up and decide on the best way
        to attack the fire.
    –   Determine the need for specific operations.
    –   Estimate the number of personnel that will be
    –   Decide on the correct stairway from which to
        attack the fire.
    –   Give a comprehensive report and request
        additional units if needed.
    –   Initiate an attack on the fire.
       High-Rise Buildings
            Operational guideline
•   An initial status report will permit the
    Incident Commander to prioritize the
•   The solution to many problems is often
    an adequate number of resources.
•   A high-rise fire will demand a great
    number of personnel.
       High-Rise Buildings
              Operational guideline
•   Working high-rise fires may show few signs
    from the exterior.
•   Upon entering the building, the initial-
    arriving units must make a determination of
    the location and scope of the fire.
•   Information can be gleaned from fire
    indicator panels in the lobby and verbally
    from those in the lobby and on the upper
      High-Rise Buildings
  Knowledge of the building and its systems
• The best way to protect life and control or
   extinguish high-rise fires is an automatic
   sprinkler system.
• Many high-rise buildings are not protected
   by sprinkler systems.
• Attacking and controlling fires in these
   buildings demands that firefighters have
   knowledge of the structure and the systems.
        High-Rise Buildings
    Knowledge of the building and its systems
•    Thorough inspections and familiarization
     tours are necessary.
•    Firefighters can identify problem areas and
     interact with the building engineer and
     security personnel in non-emergency
•    No one knows more about a building than
     the building engineer.
•    The engineer should await the arrival of the
     fire department in the lobby area or other
     pre-assigned location.
       High-Rise Buildings
                High-rise stairways
•   In return-type stairs, entry to and exit from
    the stair shaft is made from relatively the
    same location on each floor level.
•   Scissor-type stairs consist of two sets of
    stairs in a common stair shaft.
•   Stairways in high-rises are not designed for
    total evacuation.
         High-Rise Buildings
               High-rise stairways
•   Firefighters should have a working
    knowledge of the different types of
    stairways found in high-rises:
    –   The fire tower is a stairway that has access to
        outside air.
    –   There are stair shafts that contain a vestibule
        between the hallway and the stairs that will
        exhaust any smoke that enters into a vent shaft
        preventing the contamination of the stairs.
    –   The enclosed stairway.
    –   There may be unprotected open stairs.
    –   Access stairs that connect floors of individual
        business concerns.
    –   Some stair shafts may be pressurized.
       High-Rise Buildings
             Stairwell pressurization
•   The basic premise is to introduce outside air
    to create pressure within the stairway.
•   This pressure will prevent the smoke from
    entering the stairway.
•   The outside air can be introduced at various
    levels throughout the stair shaft.
•   The system can function in a variety of
       High-Rise Buildings
              Stairwell pressurization
•   Too much pressurization in a stairway
    would make it difficult to open doors.
•   If too many doors are propped open to fight
    the fire or evacuate floors, the stairwell
    pressurization can be negated.
•   There has been success in using positive-
    pressure fans to pressurize stairwells.
      High-Rise Buildings
              Use of elevators
•   The only practical method of
    movement in a high-rise building is by
    using elevators.
•   During a fire in a high-rise building,
    this can be dangerous.
•   Many fire departments forbid the use
    of elevators.
       High-Rise Buildings
                   Use of elevators
•   A common rule is that the elevator should
    not be used by firefighters if the fire is
    located on the first seven floors.
•   If a fire is located above the seventh floor
    the use of the elevators is at the discretion
    of the Incident Commander.
•   If using an elevator, the elevator should
    have firefighter's service.
•   In taller buildings there are often split banks
    of elevators.
       High-Rise Buildings
                   Elevator safety
•   Requires members to have their self-
    contained breathing apparatus ready for
    immediate use.
•   Ensure that hand tools are carried by
    firefighters in the elevator cars.
•   When ascending in an elevator, it should be
    stopped at random floors to check that the
    controls are operating properly.
       High-Rise Buildings
                  Elevator safety
•   Firefighters should exit the elevator at least
    two floors below the fire floor.
•   Portable radio transmissions may affect
    electronic controls.
•   In extremely high buildings on windy days
    the elevator may be programmed with a
    safety feature of built-in intermittent stops.
•   If any doubt about the safe use of the
    elevator exists, climb the stairs.
      High-Rise Buildings
            Freight elevator usage
•   Some fire departments forbid the use
    of freight elevators.
•   Many departments, however, rely on
    the freight elevators.
         High-Rise Buildings
            Communication systems
•   The large amount of concrete and steel can
    hinder radio communications.
•   Fire departments can use other
    communication systems:
    –   Stationary telephones.
    –   Cellular telephones.
    –   Hard-wire systems.
    –   Public address systems.
    –   Elevator intercoms.
    –   Built-in emergency telephone.
       High-Rise Buildings
             Communication systems
•   Some departments automatically set up a
    secondary phone link.
•   Cell phones can also be used.
•   Hardwire systems can be utilized by an
    exterior command post.
•   Public address systems keep the occupants
•   Many elevators have state-of-the-art
      High-Rise Buildings
           Communication systems
•   Built-in phone systems, both stationary
    and plug-in can prove beneficial in a
    large-scale operation.
•   The use of multiple means of
    communications provides versatility,
    reduces radio communications and
    facilitates the overall operation.
         High-Rise Buildings
               Computer systems
•   High-rise buildings have a strong
    dependency on computers.
•   They control fire-protection systems,
    security systems, elevators and other
    building systems. They can:
    –   Identify the locations of alarms.
    –   Indicate doors that are being opened.
    –   Unlock stairway doors.
    –   Pinpoint elevator locations.
    –   Identify the activation of any component in the
       High-Rise Buildings
                Computer systems
•   The computer can provide a printout, or
    history of what has occurred in the building.
•   Since each detector, fire or security door,
    etc. must be programmed individually there
    is the possibility of human error.
•   To minimize mistakes a process to certify
    the building's systems must be in place.
       High-Rise Buildings
            Sprinklers and standpipes
•   An adequate and continuous water supply
    needs to be delivered to the standpipe and
    sprinkler systems.
•   The firefighters should know the size and
    capacity of the building's standpipe systems
    and the pumps supplying these systems.
•   The building's fire pumps may directly feed
    these systems, or water tanks may be used.
•   A dry-standpipe system may be provided in
    fire towers.
       High-Rise Buildings
            Sprinklers and standpipes
•   It should be noted whether the dry
    standpipes are interconnected.
•   Fire department pumpers can pressurize an
    interconnected system at any siamese
    standpipe connection.
•   If independent risers are installed, then the
    specific standpipe being used must be
•   The department should preassign units to
    pressurize these systems.
       High-Rise Buildings
             Dedicated water supply
•   Water tanks supply the domestic and fire-
    protective systems in some buildings.
•   These systems may have a dedicated water
    supply for the standpipes and sprinklers.
•   High-rise buildings may contain pressure-
    reducing valves.
•   They may be adjustable or nonadjustable.
•   If adjustable, the tool to adjust them must
    be readily accessible on the premises.
•   Firefighters need to be familiar with the
    pressure reducing valves in a high-rise
     High-Rise Buildings
What procedure does your department
     utilize to check that standpipe
   outlets are closed on all floors to
  ensure an adequate supply of water
   is provided to the fire area and to
       prevent unnecessary water
       High-Rise Buildings
                    Water supply
•   To gain control of a high-rise fire requires
    an aggressive interior attack with hose-lines
    of sufficient size to achieve a quick
•   In non-compartmentalized high-rise
    buildings 1¾-inch hose may be unable to
    accomplish this task.
•   Fire departments should consider utilizing
    2½-inch hose with a smooth bore nozzle.
       High-Rise Buildings
                    Water supply
•   The use of automatic nozzles that require
    100-pound nozzle pressure may be
    ineffective if reduced standpipe pressures
    are encountered.
•   If necessary, supplemental water supplies
    can be secured by stretching hose-lines via
    the stairs or attaching to outlets from tower
    ladders or other elevated devices.
•   Either of these can present operational
       High-Rise Buildings
                 Floor separations
•   The two basic design concepts for
    horizontal floor separations in high-rise
    buildings are: compartmentation and open
•   The compartmentation concept divides
    each floor into small units.
•   To truly be compartmentalized the walls
    must extend from concrete floor to concrete
    floor and not end under the suspended
       High-Rise Buildings
                 Floor separations
•   The open-space concept is utilized in
    today's modern high-rise office building.
    Each floor is basically wide open.
•   Movable partitions may be-used to separate
    the floor area into workstations.
•   Under fire conditions this wide-open
    concept lets a fire spread rapidly throughout
    the entire floor.
        High-Rise Buildings
                  HVAC systems
•   Air is supplied to high-rise buildings through
    air intakes that service a bank of floors.
•   Outside air is brought into the building,
    filtered and sent to various floors where it is
    heated or cooled.
•   The air is then re-circulated back to the
    HVAC unit.
•   The finished ceiling is lowered from the
    concrete above by installing a suspended
•   The space created is called a plenum.
       High-Rise Buildings
                   HVAC systems
•   The plenum is used for wiring, ducts and
    other utilities.
•   It is often used as an air return to re-
    circulate air to the HVAC.
•   No material should be in the plenum that
    can supply fuel to a fire.
•   The recirculation of air can spread smoke
    throughout a building.
•   The HVAC system may be used to assist in
•   The building engineer's knowledge of the
    system will be necessary to assist the fire
    department in the proper use of the system.
       High-Rise Buildings
                  Fighting the fire
•   Some normal firefighting procedures may
    not apply.
•   There will be a strong reliance on the
    building's systems.
•   Time plays a critical role. How long will it
    take to reach the fire?
•   What will be the reflex or lag time?
•   How much additional damage will occur
    from a free burning fire?
•   Firefighters should attach their own hose-
    line to the standpipe on the floor below the
    fire and stretch up the stairs to the fire floor.
       High-Rise Buildings
                   Fighting the fire
•   Hose-lines stretched to back up the initial
    line can be attached to the standpipe
    connection at the fire floor.
•   Firefighters must be prepared for high heat
    and heavy smoke.
•   They may experience difficulty in advancing
•   After the initial hose-lines are in place, other
    hose-lines can be stretched to check
    adjacent areas for fire spread.
•   Whether progress is being made in
    controlling a fire in a commercial high-rise
    can be difficult to assess.
         High-Rise Buildings
                Fighting the fire
•   Hose-lines may be unable to advance due
    –   An intense fire that has had a long preburn.
    –   Large amounts of combustible material feeding
        the fire.
    –   Hose-lines too small to cool and extinguish the
    –   Opposing hose-lines.
    –   An insufficient water supply.
    –   Wind blowing into the fire area through failed
        windows, pushing heat and fire onto the hose-
        line crews.
    –   Ventilation systems pulling a fire toward the
        ventilators and onto the firefighters.
         High-Rise Buildings
                    Fire spread
•   Predicting fire spread will assist in
    attempting to control it.
•   In addition to horizontal extension, fire
    spreading vertically to the floors above can
    occur by:
    –   Auto extension via the windows.
    –   Lack of fire-stopping where the curtain walls
        meet the concrete floor.
    –   Poke-throughs in the concrete floors.
•   Auto-extension of fire occurs when fire laps
    out of windows of the fire floor and attacks
    the windows on the floor above.
       High-Rise Buildings
                    Fire spread
•   Fire can extend to the floor above through
    spaces existing between the concrete floor
    and the exterior curtain wall.
•   Fire can also spread vertically through
•   Tests performed on poke-throughs have
    shown that high temperatures in the fire
    area are quickly equated on the other side.
•   Fire that has taken control of a floor area in
    excess of 10,000 square feet is beyond the
    control of hand-held hose-lines.
       High-Rise Buildings

                   Fire spread
•   Most standpipe systems cannot supply
    multiple appliances even with fire
    department pumpers supplementing the
•   A fire on a lower floor of the building that is
    past the point of control by an interior attack
    may be controllable with an exterior attack.
•   Through close coordination with interior
    units, outside streams can be utilized to
    knock down the fire.
       High-Rise Buildings
                      Fire spread
•   After the fire has been knocked down from
    the exterior, interior hose-lines can move
    onto the fire floor.
•   These actions can mean the difference
    between control of a fire or total loss of the
    floors above.
•   If the fire starts to auto-extend and gains
    control of the floor above, it may be too late
    to stop the spread to additional floors.
•   The highest floor on which outside streams
    will be effective depends on the reach and
    height of the exterior apparatus.
      High-Rise Buildings
                 Wind dangers
•   High-rise buildings are built to
    withstand high winds.
•   Wind can be a dangerous component
    at a high-rise fire.
•   We must be concerned with how wind
    will affect a fire on an upper floor.
         High-Rise Buildings
            Breaking windows for ventilation
•   Ventilating a fire by breaking a window in a
    high-rise must consider the wind.
•   It will be detrimental to break out a window if
    the wind is being driven into that opening.
•   Proceed to the floor below the fire floor and
    remove a window directly beneath the
    intended one on the fire floor.
•   If the wind is blowing into the building, then
    removal of the window in the fire area will be
    detrimental to the fire attack.
•   Falling glass can travel up to 200 feet from a
    high-rise building.
         High-Rise Buildings
                     Time factors
•   The climbing of stairs in a high-rise is a time-
    consuming task.
•   Firefighters report that after climbing heights
    over 15 floors they need an initial rehab
    before engaging in a firefighting assignment.
•   Time frames depend on the physical
    condition of the firefighters.
•   Company unity is critical for firefighter safety
    and accountability.
        High-Rise Buildings
    Staffing hose-lines for extended periods
• To operate a hose-line for an extended period
  of time requires a sufficient number of units.
• The minimum number of crews or companies
  to accomplish this is three units per hose-line.
  The units are deployed as follows:
   – One crew will operate the line.
   – The second crew will be standing by in the fire
     tower, waiting to relieve the first crew.
   – The third crew will restore its SCBA’s and then
     move up to a standby position.
• Other factors could require that the minimum
  be four or five crews.
         High-Rise Buildings
            Air cylinders of longer duration
•   The use of 45-or 60-minute air cylinders
    should be considered.
•   A drawback to the use of these cylinders is
    the physical effect it can have on firefighters.
•   It is important to have medical screening
    adjacent to staging.
•   When crews are operating on floors above
    the fire floor each firefighter should carry a
    spare SCBA.
•   Consideration should be given to establishing
    a remote cascade.
      High-Rise Buildings
                Life safety
• What is the best way of protecting the
  occupants of a high-rise building when a
  fire occurs?
• Should they be evacuated or protected
  in place?
         High-Rise Buildings
                       Life safety
•   Firefighters should be familiar with the
    building's evacuation plan.
•   Evacuation should neither endanger
    occupants nor interfere with control efforts.
•   A fire that has control of a large floor area will
    necessitate some evacuation.
•   Initial evacuation considerations should target
    the fire floor and one or two floors above.
•   Other occupants can be protected in place.
•   Stairways should be designated for
    firefighting and for evacuation.
        High-Rise Buildings
•   Primary and secondary searches consume
    time and energy.
•   A list of building occupants is helpful.
•   Obtaining master keys will facilitate the
•   When performing a search, doors with hinges
    protruding indicates that the door will open
    into the hallway.
•   A marking system must be in place to avoid
    duplication of effort.
       High-Rise Buildings
             Rapid intervention teams
• Rapid intervention teams (RIT’s) report to the
  Operations Officer and will generally operate
  on the floor below the fire.
• Should more than one stairway be used for
  fire attack, then consideration for more than
  one RIT should be made.
• The RIT’s should study the layout on the floor
  below the fire.
       High-Rise Buildings
            Rapid intervention teams
• They should monitor radio messages for
• Once a team is committed due to a firefighter
  being down, another team must be
  immediately put in place.
• Crews above the fire floor must maintain
  communications and keep Operations
  apprised of their current location.
       High-Rise Buildings
          High-rise command structure
• High-rise building fires require
  implementation of specific functions or duties.
• The basic system does not change; it
  includes additional positions or functions.
• The main components of Command,
  Operations and Logistics are always
  important, but success will also depend
  heavily upon functions specifically associated
  with high-rise fires. These include Lobby
  Control, Stairwell Support, Elevator Control,
  Base and remote cascade systems.
         High-Rise Buildings
•   The position of “Operations Officer” on most
    assignments is at the discretion of the IC.
•   A working high-rise fire however, demands
    the immediate implementation of this position.
•   Operations will be directing suppression
    activities in the vicinity of the fire floor.
•   Operating in the fire tower achieves a
    measure of control.
       High-Rise Buildings
• It allows Operations to find out exactly what is
• To prevent from becoming overloaded
  delegation must occur.
• The implementation of
  Divisions/Groups/Sectors will enhance control
  of units operating at a high-rise fire.
       High-Rise Buildings
• The idea is to move personnel and equipment
  to the staging floor to have them available for
  immediate deployment.
• The staging area in a high-rise building
  should be a minimum of two floors below the
  fire floor.
• Under conditions where a reverse stack effect
  occurs, staging will need to be located in a
  smoke free environment.
       High-Rise Buildings
• Staging is an assembly location for personnel
  and equipment.
• To control these personnel a Staging Officer
  must be assigned.
• When selecting a location for the staging
  area, it should be large enough to handle the
  large number of personnel with adjacent
  areas for rehab, a first aid station, SCBA
  refilling if a remote cascade is established
  and changing of air cylinders.
         High-Rise Buildings
•   The movement of resources and equipment
    up into the building will determine the
    success of a high-rise operation.
•   This becomes the responsibility of the
    Logistics Officer.
•   It is not unusual to utilize two logistic
    companies for every company engaged in
    suppression activities.
•   Logistics will be responsible for most activities
    occurring on the exterior of the building.
       High-Rise Buildings
• Base is established on the exterior a
  minimum of 200-feet from the fire building to
  prevent injury due to falling glass.
• Base is an area that is utilized for the
  marshaling of apparatus, resources and
• Units entering the building need to take
  equipment with them to the upper floors.
        High-Rise Buildings
                    Lobby control
•   The fire department must control the lobby
•   A Lobby Control Officer must be assigned.
•   An immediate priority of Lobby Control is
    clearing the area of civilians.
•   Police and building security can be utilized.
•   A secure area should be found for relocation.
•   Keeping those evacuated at one location until
    a list of names can be secured will assist in
    finding anyone reported missing.
•   Lobby Control must determine the status of
    all elevators.
         High-Rise Buildings
                      Lobby control
•   The movement of firefighters and equipment
    to the upper floors is the responsibility of
    Lobby Control.
•   Lobby Control must initially track all units
    entering the building and note their
•   This task will become the responsibility of the
    Safety Officer.
•   Control of the HVAC will come under Lobby
•   He/she will need to gather information on
    people still in the building.
       High-Rise Buildings
                  Elevator control
• Once the safe use of elevators has been
  established, Elevator Control can be initiated
  and assigned by the Lobby Control Officer.
• This position oversees the movement of all
• A call letter should be assigned to each car.
         High-Rise Buildings
                   Stairwell support
•   Stairwell Support enables the movement of
    equipment from the lobby to the staging area
    via stairwells selected for firefighting.
•   This is a very laborious and tiring assignment,
•   Discipline is needed to maintain this vital link.
•   Frequent relief will be needed for this
       High-Rise Buildings
                  First aid stations
• A first aid station should be established
  adjacent to staging that can monitor
• This medical treatment area can attend to
  occupants removed from the fire floor and
  those above.
• Another first aid station should be established
  in the vicinity of the lobby to handle building
      High-Rise Buildings
               Safety Officer
• The assignment of a Safety Officer is
  necessary on all working high-rise fires.
• There will be a need to assign additional
  personnel or companies to assist the
  incident Safety Officer in the tracking of
       High-Rise Buildings
                 Command post
• The command post (CP) is the nerve center
  of every operation.
• It can be established in the lobby of the fire
  building. Some FD’s situate their CP a
  minimum of 200-feet from the building.
• Both locations have benefits and drawbacks.
      High-Rise Buildings
               Command post
• The lobby CP allows for:
  – Improved communications. Hand held radios
    operate better and the IC, Operations, or Sector
    Officers can use building phone systems.
  – The IC has first-hand knowledge of the events as
    they occur.
  – He or she can have face-to-face contact with the
    Lobby Control Officer.
       High-Rise Buildings
              Command post
• The drawback of the lobby CP is that:
  – A fire on the first floor or basement levels, or one
    in which smoke migrates downward to the lobby
    can make this position untenable.
  – Some high-rise buildings only contain an elevator
    lobby area, which can be too small to operate a
    command post.
  – Access to an interior CP can be impeded if entry
    into the building is hampered by falling glass.
      High-Rise Buildings
             Command post
• The benefit of an exterior CP is that:
  – It may permit a view of the fire building.
  – The location of the fire will not interfere
    with CP operations.
  – Access is easily obtained.
       High-Rise Buildings
              Command post
• The drawback of the exterior CP is that:
  – Communications with interior units is often not as
  – Face to face communications must be replaced
    with radio messages, hard-wired systems or
    cellular phones instead of the buildings
    communication systems.
  – Problems can arise if no feasible locations are
    available for a CP. The exterior command post
    can be restrictive in cities that have a high density
    of high-rise buildings and few locations to set up a
    functional CP with a good view of the building.
  – Severe weather conditions can impact on the
    efficiency of the CP functions.
       High-Rise Buildings
•   The need for implementation of a
    comprehensive command system is critical
    at a high-rise fire.
•   Yet there is an urgent need for personnel to
    quickly respond to the reported fire location
    and attempt to quickly resolve the problem.
•   Don’t prioritize implementing command
    system functions at the expense of a rapid
    assessment and attack on the fire.
       High-Rise Buildings
•   A fast attack on a fire in the early stages
    permits control and extinguishment with one
    or two handheld hose-lines.
•   Implement those parts of the system that are
    needed, and not the whole system because
    of the large size of the building.
  Size-Up Factors for High-
       Rise Buildings
• Dependency on the building’s systems will be
• Pressure reducing or pressure regulating
  valves can reduce water flow and pressure.
• If additional water supply is needed on the
  lower floors of a building, hose-lines can be
  stretched from the exterior. For fires on
  higher floors stretching hose-lines via the
  stairs will be demanding and labor intensive.
    Size-Up Factors for High-
         Rise Buildings
•   Large floor areas can be found in commercial
    high-rises and places of assembly.
•   Stationary or movable partitions may be the
    only separation within some areas.
•   Residential high-rises often are
                       Life hazard
•   The life hazard in an occupied high-rise
    building fires will most probably be severe.
•   Buildings are not designed for total
    Size-Up Factors for High-
         Rise Buildings
                      Location, extent
•   Smoke may be spread via the heating,
    ventilation and air-conditioning system.
•   It is difficult to ascertain the location of the fire
    floor from the exterior.
•   Use the building’s fire indicator panels for
    information on fire location and areas from
    which alarms have been triggered.
•   Obtain master keys for access to locked
  Size-Up Factors for High-
       Rise Buildings
               Apparatus, personnel
• High-rise fires are resource intensive. Ensure
  there is an adequate initial response.
• Contact the building engineer and utilize his
  or her knowledge of the building and its
• Changes in high-rise buildings that removes
  fire resistant protection from structural steel
  allows it to be exposed to the high heat of a
  fire and can lead to failure of structural
    Size-Up Factors for High-
         Rise Buildings
•   Curtain walls can create a space between the
    wall and the concrete floor through which fire
    can spread to the floor above.
•   Fire can extend to the floor above by lapping
    out of windows on the floor below.
•   Poke-throughs can allow a fire to extend to
    the floor above.
•   Higher winds will be found as you ascend
    within a high-rise.
  Size-Up Factors for High-
       Rise Buildings
               Auxiliary appliances
• Sprinklers will exist in newer and some older
  buildings. Standpipes should exist in all
• Special extinguishing systems may exist in
  selected areas. Computer rooms, kitchens in
  restaurants, etc.
• The HVAC can spread smoke to uninvolved
  areas. It can possibly be utilized by the fire
  department to remove smoke from the
  building and to pressurize areas to prevent
  the spread of smoke into those areas.
   Size-Up Factors for High-
        Rise Buildings
                   Special matters
• The plenum area in older high-rise buildings
  can contain combustibles that can add fuel to
  a fire. A plenum fire can spread to other
  areas of the fire floor by dropping down
  through missing ceiling tiles. The plenum can
  also spread smoke to other areas.
• The higher the fire is in the building, the
  longer it will take for firefighters to reach the
  fire area to assess and mitigate the problem.
    Size-Up Factors for High-
         Rise Buildings
•   High-rise buildings contain residential, office,
    mercantile, places of assembly and other
•   Vacant high-rise buildings can be a problem.
    A major concern is whether the buildings
    systems are being maintained.
•   The impact on time can vary depending upon
    the type of occupancy. The critical time is
    when the building is occupied.
•   Reflex time or lag time will impact on the
    overall operations.
     Strategic Goals for an
        Offensive Attack
• Obtain an assessment of the fire and fire area
  as soon as possible.
• Ensure that an adequate number of
  firefighters are sent to control the fire.
• Call for a sufficient amount of resources
  immediately if a working fire is found.
• Fire towers should be designated for
  firefighting and evacuation.
• 1½-inch or 1¾-inch hose-lines may be
  ineffective. 2½-inch hose-line with smooth
  bore nozzles may be needed.
• Floors above the fire floor must be checked.
     Strategic Goals for an
        Offensive Attack
• Evacuate occupants from necessary areas.
  Consider protecting other occupants in place.
• Perform search and rescue.
• Ventilation will be difficult. Opening the fire
  tower doors at the roof may ventilate the
  smoke in the stairs. Try and utilize the
  heating, ventilation and air-conditioning unit
  to remove the smoke. Breaking of windows
  can be dangerous. Wind conditions should be
     Strategic Goals for an
        Offensive Attack
• Positive pressure can be effective under the
  right conditions.
• A high-rise fire will be labor intensive.
  Logistics will need a sufficient number of
  resources to move tools, equipment and air
  cylinders to the staging area.
• Overhaul can be extensive and resource
• Salvage can be tremendous in a commercial
  occupancy especially if a computer room is
  involved. It may involve water removal from
  lower floors due to water runoff.
    IMS Considerations/Solutions
       for an Offensive Attack

•   Incident Commander
•   Safety Officer /Safety company
•   Rapid Intervention Team/s
•   Operations Officer
•   Logistics
•   Base
•   Staging Officer
•   Lobby control
    IMS Considerations/Solutions
       for an Offensive Attack

• Elevator control
• Stairwell support
• Ventilation Group/Sector
• Search and Rescue/Evacuation
• Division/Sector 10, 11, 12, etc.
• Medical Group/Sector or Branch
• First aid stations
      Strategic Goals for a
        Defensive Attack
• Complete a primary and secondary search of
  the entire building.
• If changing from an offensive to a defensive
  attack ensure that a PAR is taken.
• Get technical advice from structural
  engineers and set up a collapse zone.
• Utilize master streams.
• Supply the sprinkler systems if sprinklers
  protect the fire floor or any floors above.
• Protect exposures if necessary.
    IMS Considerations/Solutions
       for a Defensive Attack
• Incident Commander
• Safety Officer
• Operations Officer
• Staging Officer
• Logistics
• Base
• Divisions/Sectors on the exterior on Sides A,
  B, C, D or 1, 2, 3, 4.
• Exposure Branch/Divisions/Sectors (if
• Medical Group/Sector, or Branch
      Discussion Question 1
Discuss the importance of ventilation at a
                cellar fire.
     Discussion Question 2
Discuss the basic considerations for the
  first hose-line when descending cellar
          steps to fight a cellar fire.
       Discussion Question 3
Discuss the location of garden apartments
    in your response district. In adjacent
             mutual aid districts.
     Discussion Question 4
What access problems can be found at
  garden apartments in general? What
 specific problems can occur at garden
 apartments in your response district?
     Discussion Question 5
What problems are associated with the
     newer type of row houses or
 townhouses that have garages built
          under the houses?
     Discussion Question 6
Discuss ladder placement at row house
  fires. Can some of these methods be
used at townhouse or garden apartment
              fires? Explain.
    Discussion Question 7
What is the benefit of marking vacant
buildings to categorize their structural
 stability? What are the drawbacks?
     Discussion Question 8
Discuss why vacant buildings should be
        searched for occupants.
      Discussion Question 9
Discuss the pros and cons of an offensive
        attack in a vacant building.
     Discussion Question 10
How do large-scale building renovations
           affect firefighting?
   Discussion Question 11
 What problems are associated with
  lightweight roofs built over a timber
truss roof? Are there any benefits? To
   Discussion Question 12
What are the signs of a partition fire?
    Discussion Question 13
What procedures should be followed
when shutting down a sprinkler system?
      Discussion Question 14
What problems do overhanging canopies
 attached to the front of strip malls create
              for firefighters?
     Discussion Question 15
What problems are associated with entry
 into the rear doors of a strip mall store?
 Discussion Question 16
Discuss the types of malls in your
 response district and any unique
      problems they present.
     Discussion Question 17
What are the benefits and drawbacks to
    using a color-coded system for
 identification purposes at an enclosed
   Discussion Question 18
What are the most common causes of
      fires in houses of worship?
  Discussion Question 19
 Why is it so difficult to control and
extinguish church fires in gothic style
  Discussion Question 20
What are the dangers to firefighters
 associated with fires involving the
   hanging ceilings in a church?
   Discussion Question 21
In addition to religious services what
 programs do the various churches in
your community offer? What problems,
 if any, will these programs create for
 firefighters responding to a fire in the
    Discussion Question 22
 Discuss the lessons learned/lessons
  reinforced considerations with church
 fires. How would you attempt to utilize
these factors if confronted with a church
    Discussion Question 23
What initial actions would you take at a
 lumberyard fire involving a few piles of
   lumber burning alongside a frame
             storage building?
    Discussion Question 24
If operating at a lumberyard fire, what
 actions would you take if flying brands
were starting numerous fires throughout
   the lumberyard and the surrounding
  Discussion Question 25
What problems would be found in
evacuating different public assembly
 buildings in your response district?
   Discussion Question 26
Select at least three public assembly
 buildings in your local community or
 response district and list the various
   size-up factors that would apply.
     Discussion Question 27
Select one of the special occupancies in
 the preceding chapter and in reviewing
 the size-up factors add an additional 5
    potential problems that could be
      Discussion Question 28
How do the building and fire codes in your
  jurisdiction define a high-rise building?
 Be specific and note the exact language
       used in the codes that apply.
   Discussion Question 29
Describe a core-constructed high-rise
    building? Identify one in your
     Discussion Question 30
What are the responsibilities of the first
 arriving unit at the fire area in a high-
              rise building?
     Discussion Question 31
List the different types of stairways that
   can be found in high-rise buildings.
     Discussion Question 32
List the rules that should be followed for
   safe operation of elevators. What are
 the rules of your department pertaining
   to elevator operation? What changes
      could be made to improve those
     Discussion Question 33
Discuss the benefits and risks of utilizing
     freight elevators by firefighters.
    Discussion Question 34
What are the various types of alternate
 communications that can be used at a
             high-rise fire?
  Discussion Question 35
  Describe the difference in floor
       separations between
“compartmentation” and “open area”.
    Discussion Question 36
 Discuss the common ways that fire
extends to the floor above in a high-rise
    Discussion Question 37
List the causes that could prevent the
advance of hose-lines in a high-rise fire.
    Discussion Question 38
How would you break a window on an
upper floor to effect ventilation in a high-
   rise building? What factors would
negate proper ventilation through these
            broken windows?
    Discussion Question 39
Discuss a scenario where a hose-line
would be staffed for long period of time
at a high-rise fire. How many crews or
    companies would be required?
    Discussion Question 40
  List the duties and the location of
operation of a rapid intervention team at
             a high-rise fire.
    Discussion Question 41
  What is the ideal location for the
Operations Officer when fighting a high-
          rise fire? Explain.
     Discussion Question 42
Discuss the many and varied duties that
    could be assigned to the Logistics
 Officer at a working high-rise fire. Then
  decide on the approximate number of
 personnel needed to accomplish those
 assignments and how those resources
            would be obtained.
     Discussion Question 43
Draw up a high-rise command system to
    handle a working fire in the highest
     building in your response district.
  Assume that the fire involves the third
  floor below the roof and the building is