Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Standpipe Operations

Picture a fire in a multistory building and the stairwell is already compromised by the blaze. How do you get firefighters into the upper stories to fight it? With a ladder, of course! But the task is complicated by having to bring hose along with you to fight the fire. That’s why Hillsboro firefighters this past week have been drilling on what’s called “standpipe operations.”
Standpipes are normally water pipes built into multi-story buildings to help supply firefighting water to the upper stories. In cases where they are installed in buildings or parking structures, firefighters bring hose bundles with them and attach to the pipes. The pipes are either fed by the municipal water supply or by the fire engine attaching to an “FDC” or fire department connection on the exterior of the building. Once attached to the standpipe, they can charge their hoses and advance on the fire.

In multi-story buildings where there are no standpipes, firefighters have to essentially create their own by bringing a larger diameter hose up the ladder to their floor of entry, attaching a gated “Y” valve to split the larger line into two smaller attack lines for maneuverability, and advancing to the fire’s location. The process is not complicated, but requires several critical steps to ensure a smooth fire attack, one of which includes securing the larger diameter hose to the ladder to ensure it doesn’t fall and pull the smaller lines down with it when the lines are charged with water.

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