Objectives• Define high-rise office buildings• Describe various construction methods• Describe hazards associated with these structures
Objectives (continued)• Describe the building systems present in high-rise buildings that can be of use to firefighters• Describe the strategic goals and tactical objectives related to high-rise building fires
Case Study• One New York Plaza• New York City• Fifty-story high-rise office tower – Fire on thirty-third floor• Several deaths• Two floors severely burned• Local law 5 in New York City
Special Note• September 11, 2001• Claimed lives of 343 firefighters• Questioning tactics of command post in lobby – Necessary to control elevators, HVAC, and communications systems
Introduction• High-rise building – Highest floor beyond reach of available ground or aerial ladders• Heavy emphasis on utilizing building systems and resources• Full commitment of resources• Most challenging fires
Construction• Good size-up required to determine construction features• Older buildings – Steel enclosed in concrete walls – Concrete floors – Windows can be opened from inside – Lack of central air conditioning or plenums – Compartmentalization
Older High Rise Construction Figure 15-2. An example of older high-rise construction.
Construction (continued)• Newer buildings – Steel-and-glass – Central HVAC systems – Plenums – Large, uncompartmented spaces – Central (or center) core construction – Windows fixed and inoperable
Central Core Floor Plan Figure 15-4 An example of a central core floor plan.
Building Systems• Standpipes • Fire command station• Sprinklers • Communications• Heating, ventilation, systems and air-conditioning • Fire pumps systems• Elevators
Hazards Encountered• Sheer size of building• Number of building occupants• Building features
Strategic Goals and Tactical Objectives• Seek out fire safety director, building maintenance person, or building manager• Establish lobby command post• Verify fire floor• Use separate stair for evacuation• Establish forward staging area
Firefighter Safety• Elevator use – May be necessary – Firefighter service features• Communication systems – Interior building systems – Radios• Firefighter fatigue• Accountability
Communication Systems Figure 15-7. A communications hook-up in a building’s stairwell at the standpipe.
Search and Rescue• Assign sector officer – Evacuate two floors above fire through rest of height of building• Floor-by-floor search of building – Bring extra SCBA bottles – Start on fire floor• Elevator should not be left unattended
Search and Rescue (continued) Figure 15-10. Firefighters searching floors above the fire without hose lines should use a rope for safety purposes.
Evacuation• Initial evacuation – Fire floor and floor above• Evacuation stairwell – Secured – Free from smoke
Exposure Protection• Internal – Protect unburned areas from extension – Watch for autoextension• External – Difficult due to elevation – Advance hoseline into exposed building and operating them onto fire building
Confinement• Performed by effective, timely extinguishment• Accomplished by – Advancing interior hose lines to fire area – Attacking from unburned side• Know paths of fire extension
Extinguishment• First engine – Initiate fire attack – Supply both standpipe and sprinkler systems• Second engine – Relieve first engine on handline• Third and fourth engine – Operate second handline• Defensive attack
Ventilation• Extremely important• Stack effect and stratification Figure 15-12. An example of stratification. Figure 15-13. An example of stack effect.
Overhaul• Labor-intensive• Preincident plan important• False ceilings
Salvage• Commercial office buildings• Residential buildings• Redirection of water from upper floors – Use of water chutes, salvage covers
Summary• Sector officers – Responsible for own distinct parts of operation• Use and knowledge of building systems• Understand theories behind smoke movement• More than sufficient help needed
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