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Unique Attic Challenges

Thu, 14 Nov 2013|

Paul Dansbach visits a unique space on a college campus, and details some of the challenges firefighters may face at a fire in the structure.



[BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] [SOUND]. [MUSIC] Welcome to Fire Engineering Training Minutes. My name is Paul Dansbach. Today we're in the attic of a three story ordinary constructed building located on the college campus. We're up in the attic, and as we look around, it appears the structure has a truss roof on the building. A closer examination reveals that the roof is actually a rafted roof with a ridge pole. With rafters that span half the distance between the ridge pole and the exterior walls. The roof system, the roof structure is built with substantial lumber. The rafters are constructed with 3 by 12's located 16 inches off center. Mid span between the exterior wall and the ridge pole is a beam. We're gonna take a look at that beam. This beam is midspan of the roof rafters. The beam is supported by a column that bears the weight of the roof in a diagonal dimension to another structural element on another floor possibly a bearing wall or a supporting column. The attic space is very large. If we look up, we're probably 20 to 25 feet to the ridge pole. As we pan around this space, we see that there's a tremendous amount of duct-work and other building utility present. Other unique features of this attic space include only one access stairway. Into this space. So what does that mean for a fire up in this space. Number one is a very large open area with a combustible interior finish. There is a large volume of space for fire to grow and develop. Number two. Access to the site for firefighting. Access to the floor for firefighting is via the one interior stairway. It's a long hose stretch. What is the Fire Department's reflex time to put a line in service? What size will the line be? Rules of thumb: two and a half inch line for each impenetration of the hose stream. One of the advantages of the wide open space is that there are no small rooms. [UNKNOWN] should be able to penetrate most areas of this floor without venturing too deep onto the floor from the stairway. As we look around this attic space, we discover that [UNKNOWN] Not all buildings. With this nature of construction, we'll have that fire protection built in. With the built in fire detection, the fire should be detected early and the sprinkler system should start to control the fire, prior to the arrival of the fire department. Not all buildings of this nature will have the fire protection that this building has built in. And firefighters are likely to encounter a large volume of fire upon arrival. Many fire departments across the United States, are responsible to provide fire protection for college campus'. The buildings on a college campus, may present some unique firefighting challenges. Including deep set backs from the street, which result in large hose pressure. Large hose structures result in long reflex times in getting the line in service. Fire departments should be encouraged to work with the colleges in their municipality to develop strong pre-plans so the fire departments are prepared to deal with whatever incident is presented to them. Thank you for watching this session of Fire Engineering Training MInutes.

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