Practical Training for Auxiliary Firemen

Practical Training for Auxiliary Firemen

THIS is the final installment of the series of articles on “Practical Training for Auxiliary Firemen.” Herein are discussed overhauling operations.

Q. What is meant by overhauling after a fire?

A. Overhauling is the procedure followed to make sure that all fire is out, to locate any hidden fire should such exist, and to extinguish same. Overhauling includes the working over or the premises and contents after the fire is under full control to prevent further damage from water and fire.

Q. In what way does overhauling differ from salvage work?

A. The chief difference between overhauling and salvage work is that overhauling is principally carried out to prevent the rekindling of the fire and further damage to the building, as well as the contents, while salvage work is designed principally to save property from water and fire damage.

There is some overlap in salvage and overhauling operations, such as cutting floors to drain water, draining water from floors, saving materials exposed to further water damage, etc.

Q. What steps are usually taken when overhauling after a fire?

A. When the fire is subdued sufficiently to permit men to make the floor, shut off the line and make sure that the floors are well ventilated.

Make a quick survey of the building to make certain that the fire is not getting away through different channels by which fire is likely to travel.

Examine all light and air shafts, pipes, speaking tube and wire recesses, belt holes, chutes and floor openings, and if the extent of the fire demands it, the adjoining building, especially where floor and roof beams rest on party walls. This survey must be made thorough and complete by officers and men when they receive orders to do such work.

Q. What is the next step?

A. If the extent of the fire has been large, it will be necessary to go systematically through damaged materials. Clear a space and work thoroughly through debris by shifting it to the cleared space, always working on a cleared floor. Use no water from hose line in wetting down unless size of fire remaining requires. Instead, fill fire buckets, bath tubs; pails or other utensils with water and dip the burning materials into the water.

Q. In overhauling after a fire on a floor on which a great deal of debris is encountered, should the firemen work from the center of the floor out, or from the walls towards the center?

A. The men working over the debris should start at the walls, clearing a floor space and moving the debris checked over toward the wall. A clean floor should always be maintained so that there will be no chance of any burning material being overlooked.

By working from the wall out, a safer procedure is followed. The weight is being continually moved toward the wall, where the greatest strength of the floor still remains.

Overhauling of Cotton Bales Can Best Be Done on the Street. Concealed Fires Make Necessary the Opening of Bales.A Floor, after a Fire, before Overhauling Operations. Debris Is Moved Toward Walls when Overhauling.

Q. In overhauling on a floor heavily laden with debris, what is the principal danger?

A. The principal danger is the possibility of a floor collapse due to the beams being weakened by fire, and the added weight of the water absorbed by the debris.

Q. Does the draining of water from the floor by cutting holes in the floor or otherwise, serve to reduce this hazard?

A. Yes. Every gallon of water removed from a floor by drainage means approximately eight pounds less load on the floor.

Q. What is the particular duty of a commanding officer when overhauling work is being carried out after a fire?

A. The duties of a commanding officer at overhauling after a fire are: looking after the safety of the men: directing work of overhauling so as to accomplish the work as quickly as possible and at the same time with as little damage as possible.

In looking after the safety of his men the officer should be sure that the premises are safe for operation before having men overhaul. He should also see that heavy objects are moved toward the wall or to other points where floor supports are uninjured so as to eliminate possibility of floor giving way under the concentrated weight. He should also see that the water is drained off floors in such a manner as to do the least damage to merchandise on floors below.

Q. What steps should the overhauling crew take to make sure that no concealed fire remains?

A. In addition to working over the debris after a fire, window frames should be opened up, ceilings pulled and walls opened where there is possibility of fire having entered. Thorough inspection of the fire floor as well as floors above and below should be made to guard against rekindle due to concealed fire.

Q. What is the duty of the commanding officer relative to protecting valuables. which may have been involved by fire, when overhauling operations are being performed?

A. The commanding officer should be on the alert to prevent the removal of valuable objects either by civilians or by members of the department. Officers must insist upon men working in one place and not permit them to wander about building. If a salvage corps, or salvage officers, are at hand, this responsibility should be delegated to them.

Q. When opening up a concealed space, during overhauling operations, what signs may be considered as proof that the fire has not reached the concealed space?

A. The absence of any blackened or scorched surfaces or rubbish, or the presence of cobwebs, will be sufficient evidence that the fire has not reached the point in question.

Q. What are the principal steps followed in overhauling a bedroom, or bedrooms after fire?

A. If the fire has been in a bedroom, or if it has extended to another room or two, care must be exercised to avoid unnecessary damage to articles of value which may or may not have been involved by the fire.

Utilize wash tubs, sink or bathtub partly filled with water to dip burned or smouldering bedclothes or wearing apparel in: take the bed apart, stand it against the wall or pass it to another room. This provides room to rip out any woodwork that may be necessary, or to open the ceiling or side walls; it also provides room to pass the contents of the other rooms damaged by fire to the first room or hall.

Q. How are overhauling operations performed following a fire of considerable extent and involving more than one floor, in a building stocked with paper, rags, hay, vegetable fiber or fabric material?

A. Such an overhauling job is a difficult one because of the extensive overhauling required. This merchandise is generally baled, bulky, heavy, tiered up from floor to ceiling and with little space left for passageway.

The necessity for making room to do the work in such a case is evident and it will probably be necessary to pass enough of the material out of the building to give room to start the overhauling without causing additional loss or damage. If working above the first floor, use elevator or hoistway if serviceable, and window openings. Very often this sort of industry, or business, is carried on in buildings old in style and construction and it may be found practicable to cut the window openings of the floor on which the force is working down flush with the floor. By so doing, the necessity of lifting the bales, etc., up and over the window sill to toss them out of the building is eliminated.

Excess Water Used in Firefighting Operations Must Be Conducted out of the Building Through Channels where it Will Do the Least Damage.Fire-Weakened Floors Plus Water Load May Cause Collapse of Building. Five Floors Dropped into Basement at This Fire.Concealed Spaces Must Be Inspected for Concealed Fire during Overhauling Operations. Here Lath and Plaster Is Being Removed for Further Inspection after Evidence of Concealed Fire Was Encountered.

Practical Training for Auxiliary Firemen


Practical Training for Auxiliary Firemen

IN this installment of the series of articles on “Practical Training for Auxiliary Firemen” are discussed salvage operations.

Q. How are shelves, filled with merchandise, covered?

A. Shelves, filled with merchandise, are covered by fastening the salvage covers on the wall above the cases, so that water coming down will flow over the tops of the cases and down the salvage covers to the floor.

Where stock is piled on top of shelving to the ceiling, a difficult problem is presented. It may be necessary to remove material from the top shelf in order to properly attach or place the covers.

Q. What other obstacles to efficient salvage work may be encountered?

A. Other obstacles to efficient salvage work include shelves attached to walls, making it impossible to protect stock in contact with the walls; stock piled on floor without skids; covering of drains in basements of piled stocks, making it hard to locate the drains when water has collected in the basement.

Q. What is the procedure followed when it is desired to discharge water out through a window when salvaging?

A. Where large amounts of water are present on upper floors, and it is necessary to sweep long distances to elevator shafts, a hole may be cut in the floor near a window and a chute placed under this hole and extended through the window on the floor below. In this manner water is diverted to the outside of a building. While chutes are ordinarily made of salvage covers, if a great number of chutes are required they may be built at the fire out of whatever material may be found on the premises, together with the use of the regular covers.

Q. After the larger part of the water has been removed from the floor by chutes, or has flowed down stairways or other vertical shafts, what is the next step in dewatering the floor?

A. By use of brooms or squeegees. Squeegees, when properly designed, are efficient for removing small quantities of water.

Brooms, while very satisfactory, may create some damage by spraying unprotected materials near the floor.

Stock Piled to the Ceiling Makes a Difficult Covering JobWhere It Is Impracticable to Cover Holes in Roof After Fire, Catch-Alls Are Placed in Attic. Should It Rain, Water Will Be Held on Attic Floor

Q. Are articles or merchandise, such as furniture, ever dried by salvage men after a fire?

A. Yes. Drying of wetted merchandise may reduce losses materially. For example, certain varnishes when exposed to moisture for a period of time may discolor; glued joints may separate if subjected to water. Drying of such articles by use of sponges, chamois, or rags, may cut losses down materially by increasing the salvage value.

Q. Why is it desirable to drain piping, tanks, and other water conveyors after a fire?

A. After a fire it may not be possible to provide heat in a building, and if the fire occurs in zones where low temperatures are encountered, rupture of the tanks or piping might result from freeze-ups.

Q. If basement drains cannot be located, what method may be employed to free the basement of the larger part of the water accumulated there?

A. If basement drains cannot be located, or if they are not provided, it is frequently possible to relieve the basement of water by breaking the soil pipe with a sledge hammer. The pipe should be broken off flush with the floor so that water may flow directly to the sewers.

Q. What steps should be taken where water is found travelling down a pipe through pipe recesses to floors below?

A. Water following pipes downward may cause serious damage to merchandise on lower floors. Such water may be caught by wrapping a cover around the pipe and tying with twine, which is part of the salvage man’s equipment.

Chute of Salvage Covers Carries Water Down Stairs. Salvage Cover with Sawdust Dikes Along Each Side Provides Channel for Flow of Water Over Floor

Q. Where large quantities of stock, in piles, are to be covered, what is the procedure?

A. When covering large piles of stock, the first cover is drawn from the floor upward and the second cover spread from that point back, giving the proper lap to prevent water running from the top cover underneath and onto the stock. Occasionally, stock can be arranged to permit coverage with a single cover, but the officer should know from experience and be able to tell exactly how many covers would be required to cover any particular stock or pile of stock and be governed accordingly. One cover spread lengthwise may not cover a pile, whereas if it had been spread in the width, the cover might easily complete the work.

Q. Where belted machinery is to be covered, what precaution is necessary?

A. In covering belted machinery, it is important to wrap a cover around the belt in such a manner as to prevent water following the belt and damaging the machinery. If it is possible to remove the belt, this should be done. Sometimes it may be desirable to cut the belt. If it is a rawhide laced belt, the lacings can be cut and the belt thus separated. If the belt is stapled, or joined with steel lacing, then the belt is usually cut about three feet from the lacing.

Q. In covering household furnishings, what is the usual procedure?

A. In covering household furnishings, rugs arc rolled and taken from the floor and placed upon tables or beds. Pictures, drapes and the contents of closets are removed and placed in position convenient for covering. In covering a bedroom, men find the room rather small to work in, and swinging glasses on dressers, etc., may knock down breakable articles which may be on the top of dressers. These articles are gathered and placed in a drawer. Dressers are backed up against the top ends of the bed. and in this manner one cover will generally perform the job of protecting the contents of an ordinary bedroom.

Q. What care should be given salvage covers?

A. Covers should be thoroughly washed and dried before being placed in service. They should be carefully examined for cuts and tears after return from fires. At fires, care should be exercised to avoid unnecessary tears due to pulling covers over sharp projections. Covers should be removed from floors and stairways as soon as possible, and walking over covers unnecessarily should be avoided. When baling water out of catch-alls, wood shovels should be employed. Nailing of covers except in grommet holes should not be permitted. Covers should never be spread on a floor or sidewalk over broken glass, or other sharp pieces of debris.

Factories Sometimes Present Difficult Jobs in Covering. Here a Series of Catch-Alls Prevent Water from Reaching Lower Floors