Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Common Occupancy, Uncommon Response: Firefighting in Places of Worship, Part 2

Issue 5 and Volume 173.

By FRANK LEEB A recent National Fire Protection Association report stated that 1,570 fires occur annually in places of worship in the United States. These low-frequency, high-consequence fires challenge the best-prepared and well-staffed fire departments and have resulted in structural collapse of part or all of the structure and, at times, have injured and killed firefighters. Part 1 of this article (“Common Occupancy, Uncommon Response: Firefighting in Places of Worship, Part 1,” Fire Engineering, April 2020) presented architectural and general features of places of worship. Understanding the architectural and general features provides the foundational knowledge building blocks for understanding fire strategy and the procedures presented below. RELATED FIREFIGHTER TRAINING Fires in Gothic-Style Churches Fighting the Church Fire PROTECTING HOUSES OF WORSHIP Most fires in places of worship that are quickly discovered and reported can be extinguished using one or two handlines. However, strategically, the incident commander (IC) must always be preparing…

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