What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire? - www.ifish.net

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Old 08-08-2004, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Just curious, what the difference between a 1 alarm and a 4 alarm fire is? Is the amount of calls out for additonal resources or just the size of the fire involved?

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Old 08-08-2004, 07:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

I believe the alarms refer to each fire house that gets called to work a fire. If a firehouse has two engines and they send both, it's still a one alarm fire. If they call in a second firehouse, it's a two alarm. I could be very wrong though.
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Old 08-08-2004, 07:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

The Number of trucks responding I think but don't quote me in a bet!!

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Old 08-09-2004, 05:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

In my area on the first tone for a structure (Residential) fire you will receive
2-engines
1-ladder
1-medic
1-b/c

Now if the fire is a 211(commercial) you will get at first tone
4-engines
2-ladders
2-medics
1-b/c

Each additional alarm is set for 1-2 engines (each engine carries 3-4 f/f) depending on what the run cards say or what you request from dispatch.
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Old 08-09-2004, 07:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

I'm assuming this question is in reference to the tire fire the other day in Gresham? I was in on the first alarm on that one, what a mess! We were operating on the south side of the fire right in the smoke, and we'll be cleaning our rig for weeks inside and out because of the oily residue and goo that was in the smoke. Gresham and Portland Fire both lost lots of hose and turnouts because that oily, sticky goo just doesn't wash out.

Alarm assignments are pre-designated, and vary depending on the department, whether it's a residential or commercial fire, available resources, mutual aid agreements, response times, etc...

Generally speaking, an "alarm assignment" goes like this: First alarm gives you "X" number of Engines (pumpers), a Ladder Truck, and "X" number of Chiefs. Second alarm assignments will give you "X" more Engines, "X" more Ladder Trucks, more Chiefs, and possibly an Air Unit or Squad. Third alarm will again give you "X" more Engines, maybe another Truck, and any other equipment that may be pre-designated or specially requested.

Again, generally speaking, on a commercial fire in the Portland/Gresham area, a first alarm assignment will give you 4 Engines, a Ladder Truck, and a Chief or two. A second alarm will give you 3 more Engines and another Truck, and so on down the line with other specialized equipment also thrown into the mix. As areas of the City are emptied out of fire apparatus due to a large fire, other Engines and Trucks from other parts of the city and surrounding areas will move in to fill these areas. I think we had Engines from Clackamas and possibly Portland staffing some of the Gresham stations during this fire, but there was so much going on I don't know the specifics.

Hope that helps!
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Old 08-09-2004, 08:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

WMB, has it. Except for a Portland Commercial fire you get 4 engines, 2 trucks and 2 Chiefs. Then goes in the same sequence mentioned before.

Like he also mentioned that fire cost a lot just in ruined equipment. I know all the Portland guys had to have turnouts replaced. Also a lot of hose that was ruined by sitting in that sludge water. Glad our rigs stayed out of the smoke, takes a lot of washing and waxing to get that stuff off.
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Old 08-09-2004, 08:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

I'd just like to add that in most cases, a "multi-alarm" fire usually triggers automatic "move-ups" by other engines.

This means that the dispatch center will continuously pull in engines from other stations, and even other jurisdictions to fill in the gaps in coverage.

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Old 08-09-2004, 10:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

What's a "turnout"?
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Old 08-09-2004, 11:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

The clothes we wear are called Turnouts (The Firefighting Coats and Pants) They are also refered to as Bunkers. The nice heavy warm stuff that is so much fun in this type of weather :smile: They are not cheap so that fire was rather expensive.

Here is a link with a picturehttp://www.lionapparel.com/psg/SuperGear.html
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Old 08-09-2004, 12:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Each number indicates the number of fire engines and additional resources that are summoned and necessary to fight the fire.
I asked a friend who researched this before and just passing on the info...
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Old 08-09-2004, 12:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

So, dsilvery are you a firefighter??? Did you even read what the pros wrote???
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Old 08-09-2004, 01:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Thanks for the replies and thank all of you who man those lines and fight the fires!!!

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Old 08-09-2004, 02:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

In brief, laymans terms...the number of the alarm is the number of times manpower/equipment had to be allocated to the fire suppression effort. the first call is the first alarm, the call for more help goes out and the "second alarm" is given and so on.

BTW- hose and turnouts(bunker gear) are NOT cheap! My last set of turnouts looked almost like the picture Firedog linked and they were over $1000, not including helmet, boots, gloves, hood,etc. can you imagine having to outfit several COMPANIES of firefighters after an incident like this...that a budget hit!!

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Old 08-09-2004, 04:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

The way iv'e always seen it is....okay we're at the fire, its big..woah we deffinetly can't handle it with the people here..second alarm...later on...uh oh, we still don't have enough people here...third alarm! bring more stuff!

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Old 08-09-2004, 05:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Firedog, Truck 2 was parked pretty close to us, and was looking pretty nasty when it left. :depressed: We had to use our booster hose on their windshield (as well as our own) just to get it clean enough to see the way back to the station to where the REAL cleaning could begin. I feel sorry for the Truck 2 probies, because they'll be working a long time to get that stick looking white again. Unfortunately our rig got the worst of it, and I'm not sure we'll ever get it totally clean again. Even with the windows rolled up, the inside of the cab got coated with that stuff somehow.
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Old 08-09-2004, 05:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

WMB, Yeah I heard that, first thing I thought of when I saw the fire on the news was " Man I hope that isn't our stick there in the smoke" Our Truck never Made it to the fire they ended up moved to 41's, the engine did and was lucky enough to be parked far enough away none of our hose ended up being used. On one of the big fires last year our rigs ended up in the smoke all day it took us about a week of waxing to get them clean again. Not fun but part of the Job I guess. They eventually come clean, might take a year or two of inspection work though :smile:

Glad to see your back on the line, how is the shoulder?

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Old 08-10-2004, 01:24 AM   #17
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Holy Smokes! I never realized we had this many firefighters.

I have nothing really to add but want to say thanks to all of you. You guys define what more of us should try to be.

I'm assuming you are all talking about the tire warehouse fire, right? :whazzup:The pictures of that were amazing. That smoke had to be really nasty. A few times while the news helicopter was taping that ladder all but disappeared in the smoke. :shocked:
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Old 08-10-2004, 04:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Here's a couple pic's of the rubber/tire fire the other day. What was actually burning was pallet after pallet load of big bricks of rubber. These pictures were taken fairly early in the fire before everybody looked like they rolled in a tar pit. There was a lot more water going on the fire than it looks like (2000+ gallons per minute), you just can't tell from these pictures. (I should add that these pictures are from http://www.firephotosgfd.com/Index.html



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Old 08-10-2004, 08:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

woah
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: What makes up a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Alarm fire?

Good Pictures Neal, We ahve a Bureau TV guy that shows up on big fires so we get pretty good video once in awhile that isn't nes footage.

We were down at our Shop yesterday getting our rig worked on and I asked the Clothing officer if they had to throw the turnouts out from that fire or if they were able to clean them. He said that our cleaners were still working on them but hoping they would come clean.
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