11/29/07 39 W - + 16 - 11 Raleigh Fire Alarms

The Raleigh Fire Department has changed its response to fire alarms, as you may have heard on your scanner. One engine and one ladder are now dispatched. As before, only the initial engine responds emergency traffic.

Has the high response changed as well?
BEdriver243 - 11/29/07 - 11:14

very similar to the medical squad car scenario. not sending enough equipment, appears that your (raleigh) department is going this route.
carter - 11/29/07 - 11:15

Compare the Two Blogs: Winston Salem squad car program and Raleigh fire alarms, explain the difference to me Raleigh folks
Carter - 11/29/07 - 11:17

You did notice, we are still sending TWO (2) FIRE APPARATUS, FULLY STAFFED, to fire alarms, right? It’s not like we said; “Ok, on a fire alarm, two guys hop in a mini pumper, leaving the engine staffed with 1 or 2 (which is obviously fine in your eyes). Another guy hop off the ladder company and get in a Crown Vic, then respond to the alarm”.

Also, I do believe that either D.O.I. of O.S.F.M. (someone who knows 100% correct me please) changed the recommended responses to fire alarms. Like I said earlier, it’s a game of numbers. We have the numbers in this county to support what we’re doing with our EMS program and how successful it is. One of the above mentioned state organizations saw the stats, in turn, realizing that most fire alarms are repeat and/or false alarms. Therefore, the response recommendations to said alarms was reduced.

Now, “Carter”, let’s get back to your comment that splitting crews and leaving understaffed units in service wasn’t stupid. This also goes back to numbers. Have you ever researched NIOSH reports and how many of them recommend that staffing levels (being understaffed) might have contributed to the death of a brother or sister? Probably not, BUT I HAVE. Let me put it to you in the simplest possible way:

Silver - 11/29/07 - 12:11

Silver, yes you are right. It is also my understanding that ISO has relaxed its requirements on what is needed for a fire alarm response, hence the change by RFD. From what I was told, the ISO took into account that in excess of 90% of fire alarms are either false or repeat alarms. And when they asked departments why they were sending full alarms to fire alarms, most answered by saying it was due to the requirements of ISO purposes only. So this does not appear to be related at all to the squad car scenario as someone incorrectly presummed.
RFD574 - 11/29/07 - 13:19

I think the comments comparing the two were smarta$$ comments by someone trying to justify the car concept.
Silver - 11/29/07 - 13:23

These are two totally different situations. Carter, you’re comparing apples to oranges here. As already stated, most fire alarms are false. You’re still getting the minimum number of personnel to investigate the situation and to cover the very basic fireground operations while waiting for the remainder of the box to arrive if you end up finding something. Carter, if I may ask, what department do you work at?
Rides an Engine Now - 11/29/07 - 17:01

Quoted: “most fire alarms are false.” Should you have that mindframe?
carter - 11/29/07 - 17:40

out of county
carter - 11/29/07 - 17:46

I think sending one engine and one ladder to all fire alarms is asking for BIG trouble. I don’t care what percentage of fire alarms are false, a fire alarm is the report of a fire in a building and should be treated as such.
The thought that after all this time begging people to heed a fire alarm when it activates and not to write it off as a false call, and here we go and do exactly the same thing…...what are we thinking????
firedriver - 11/29/07 - 20:36

That’s what I figured (to Carter’s answer)....is it Scott?
Silver - 11/29/07 - 23:16

We respond 1 Engine & 1 Ladder to every fire alarm; even the high-rises in Uptown. A battalion chief is added to the box if it is a high risk property. We have been responding this way for about the last four years due to the high number alarm activations, and the high number of them being false or accidental activations. We treat every alarm as a true emergency and investigate the source. All personnel have PPE on the necessary tools (irons, can, hook, TIC, standpipe kit in the high-rises).

If an alarm is received from the alarm company and there is a call from the premises advising there is a fire, smoke in the building, or odor of electrical or smoke, the box gets filled out with our standard response to a structural fire, which is 3 engines, 1 ladder, and 1 BC. The box can also be filled at the discretion of the company officer or BC if additional info is received. Have we been sent to alarms with our response and found fires? Yes we have, and we have the box filled for a working fire. Just today we had one of these situations. We still have enough personnel on scene to start operations and get the ball rolling until reinforcements arrive. In most parts of the city, the companies are not spread out as much as Raleigh, so the next due companies aren’t too far out.

A lot of major cities respond in this manner or even just a single engine company. To list a few: DCFD, Houston, Phoenix. This decision also helped keep companies in-service to protect their 1st due area instead of having a box alarm going to a false automatic alarm.
Rides An Engine Now - 11/30/07 - 20:05

Carter, I feel like if you want to throw stones, at least provide us with a little more than “out of county” to justify these stones. So I’m not a hypocrite, I work for the Charlotte Fire Department for 3 years, and was born and raised in Wake County with 5 years in Wake County fire service.
Rides An Engine Now - 11/30/07 - 20:14

Lee is this you that now rides and an eng? If so email me brother.
Mike (Email) - 11/30/07 - 22:49

Oh yeah, here you go Carter; 10 years paid (8 in Raleigh, 2 in Durham), and 12 years as a vollie.
Silver - 12/01/07 - 09:26

For those that do not know, OSFM has changed it’s requirements and the City is still above the minimum. The state requires a one engine company response with 4 personnel.
[righton] - 12/01/07 - 15:16

Yes, OSFM has changed its requirements, but ISO is who gives Raleigh its rating. Has ISO changed its position on F/A’s?
A few years back(maybe the late 90’s), Raleigh cut back to one engine on routine alarms like 509 Glenwwood, 116 St Mary’s, etc. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) the ISO office is or was near one of these addresses and after seeing one engine respond the the bldg across the street several times, they advised RFD that we had to send the appropriate equipment to an alarm and one engine was not going to cut it, so we went back to 2 & 1 and a BC.
firedriver - 12/01/07 - 18:01

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