Mayday Monday: Standpipe Operations

By Tony Carroll

As this month’s firefighter survival tip is being written, the staff here at Mayday Mondays is in Beavercreek, Ohio, participating in the latest UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute full-scale experiments. The crew is using several acquired structures to better understand firefighting tactics and coordinated fire attack–another research project conducted by the great folks at UL to help make the fire service smarter.

Speaking of research, this month we remember a fire from December of 1998 that resulted in the tragic death of three Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighters and became the subject of research done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) focusing on wind-driven fires. The Vandalia Avenue fire took the lives of Lt. Joseph Cavaleiri, Firefighter Christopher Bopp, and Firefighter James Bohan from FDNY Ladder 170. Here are links to the NIOSH report on Vandalia and a video which touches on FDNY’s experience with these fires :

NIOSH LODD Report   

Please review the report, watch the video and remember these brave firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.

RELATED: Bill Gustin’s 4-Part Webcast Series on Standpipe OpsStandpipe Systems: Stretching from the Street

Dave McGrail: Four Critical Points for Standpipe Operations

This month’s firefighter survival skill/drill comes to us from the NIOSH report on the Vandalia Ave. fire.  A recommendation from the report says:

“NIOSH investigators also concluded that to minimize similar occurrences, fire departments should ensure standpipe hookup is on the floor below the fire floor.”

Take your crews out to a standpiped building and practice stretching your standpipe rack/high-rise hose kit. Locate the standpiped stairwell and stretch to a “fire apartment.” Repack your hose and repeat the exercise. To add some spice to your scenario, use blacked-out face pieces.      

Thanks for visiting the December Mayday Monday. See you next year. Don’t forget to send in pictures of you and your crew performing th monthly drill/skill. Please send to Thanks.

Tony Carroll is a battalion chief with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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