Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Leadership

Operations in Sprinklered Buildings

Issue 1 and Volume 161.

Question: What are your operational considerations when responding to an alarm or a fire in a sprinkler-protected occupancy? Has a sprinkler system ever created unique challenges for your department? When I first came on the job, we had quite an extensive emergency procedures manual. I gave assignments to the responding units on their arrival, a system known as preincident assignment. When we established our incident command system (ICS) in 1988, we eliminated all procedures that diminish from the first-in officer’s prioritizing assignments based on the situation (incident-specific assignments) and not on who arrived first. In the old manual, a procedure stated that the first-due engine took the sprinkler connection on any fire involving a protected building. The second-in engine then took the standpipe connection if there was one. Today, we allow the first-arriving officer to determine who will secure the sprinkler system according to the situation. Under most circumstances, we…

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