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Chapter 20 Salvage, Overhaul, and Fire Cause Determination.

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1 Chapter 20 Salvage, Overhaul, and Fire Cause Determination

2 Introduction Salvage and overhaul operations are not viewed as critical tasks –Not associated with excitement of fire attack, rescue, or ventilation Firefighters should: –Be involved in fire cause determination –Watch for potential signs and conditions that will assist the fire investigator 20.2

3 20.3 Figure 20-1 (A) Good and (B) bad salvage operations. (A)(B)

4 Salvage Tools, Equipment, and Maintenance Fire incidents have a potential loss of material goods Company officer must “triage” entire scene Basic premise of salvage operations is to remove harmful atmosphere from material Always use proper tools Some operations require complex equipment 20.4

5 Salvage Covers Mainstay of salvage operations Made out of several different materials Plastics covers have advantage of weight and water resistance Canvas covers durable; water resistant if treated –Size of cover can vary –Visqueen or heavy plastic used to supplement Other tools needed: knife or scissors to cut desired length 20.5

6 20.6 Figure 20-3 Firefighter carrying Visqueen roll.

7 Floor Runner Made of lightweight canvas-type material for easy deployment Protects the floor down a hallway or along a traffic area Important not to damage floors unnecessarily Customer service makes the difference –Sign of professionalism 20.7

8 20.8 Figure 20-4 Floor runner in place.

9 Water Vacuum Two basic types –Worn like a backpack –Larger and moved around on wheels Backpack cannot be worn with SCBAs Used to quickly drain catch-alls Limited capacity: around 5 gallons Another option is a pump –Submersible pump dropped directly into water –Float-a-pump floats on top of the water 20.9

10 Miscellaneous Salvage Tools Some other tools: –Hammer –Nails –Staple guns Visqueen can be left with the structure with little cost to the department Doors and windows need to be secured Salvage covers can prevent a leak from damaging other items 20.10

11 Maintenance of Salvage Tools After use, tools must be cleaned and inspected Tools often exposed to hazardous materials –Place damaged tools out of service Reimbursement for damaged tools should be claimed from property owner’s insurance company Do not allow debris to spill from salvage cover –Loose fold and roll –Wash cover with soap and water –Drying the cover can be difficult –Inspect cover for holes 20.11

12 20.12 Figure 20-7 Loose fold and roll.

13 Salvage Cover Folds and Rolls Covers are either rolled or folded Available compartment space dictates which method to use –Sprinkle the cover with baby powder and spread with a broom to prevent cover from sticking Two firefighters are needed to roll a cover Fold cover neatly like a bed sheet 20.13

14 Salvage Operations Safety considerations Methods of protecting material goods Stopping water flowing from sprinkling heads Arranging of furnishings and salvage cover deployment Water removal Post indicator valve and outside screw and yoke valve Sprinkler stops 20.14

15 Safety Considerations Basic goal is property conservation Salvage group members must be aware of their surroundings Forcible entry tools may be necessary One of the most common hazards of salvage work is ceiling collapse Know what other operations are going on and where they are taking place 20.15

16 Stopping Water Flowing from Sprinkler Heads Several types of sprinkler stops available Most common is the sprinkler wedge Be careful not to break head off sprinkler Wear eye protection and full protective clothing Lock the ladder 20.16

17 Methods of Protecting Material Goods Can an item be moved more quickly than it can be covered? If yes, go for it –Patio furniture –Items in garage Items in the way of fire attack crews should be moved 20.17

18 Arranging of Furnishings and Salvage Cover Deployment Cover item when it is too large or time consuming to move Two firefighters should deploy Visqueen Take extra care with breakables Working with Visqueen is the same as working with folded cover Consider by-products of combustion 20.18

19 20.19 Figure Furniture arranged for salvaging.

20 Water Removal Water can leak through the floor Critical to capture, divert, or remove water If no drain exists, create one Use salvage covers to create dike Catch-alls used to contain water Water chute diverts water 20.20

21 20.21 Figure Catch-all end folds.

22 Post Indicator Valve and Outside Screw and Yoke Valve Two types of valves used to shut down a sprinkler system: –Post indicator valve (PIV) –Outside screw and yoke (OS&Y) PIV usually located near sprinkler connection for building OS&Y valve located on exterior wall or just inside building 20.22

23 20.23 Figure Outside screw and yoke valve.

24 Sprinkler Stops Use sprinkler stops if no valves can be located A-frame ladder will reach most ceilings Firefighters must use caution 20.24

25 The Importance of Salvage Operations Can be as important as any actions performed on emergency scene Make something good out of a bad situation Preserve as much property as possible 20.25

26 Overhaul Tools and Equipment Process of overhaul is as important as the initial extinguishment Tools used for overhaul built for following tasks: –Tearing into building –Cutting through floors –Pulling ceilings –Search for hidden fires 20.26

27 Common Tools Common overhaul tools: –Pike poles –Pitchforks –Rubbish hooks –Shovels –Axes –Chain saws –Carry-alls –Wheelbarrows 20.27

28 Carry-All 6-foot-square piece of heavy canvas Rope strung through grommets for handles Used to carry debris out of building Used where wheelbarrows cannot be used 20.28

29 Overhaul Operations After fire investigation concerns have been met, overhaul investigations can begin Look for obvious signs of hidden fire Thermal imaging cameras find fires and hotspots in areas firefighters cannot see Observe wooden structural members Insulation must be removed if area has been breached 20.29

30 Overhauling Roofs Long tedious process There can be multiple roofs Pitched roof may be built over flat roof –Creates two attic spaces –Overhaul nightmare 20.30

31 Electronic Heat Sensors Relatively new way to check for hot spots Determine where heat is higher compared to surrounding areas Sensor’s alerting mechanisms differ Some used to find people through the smoke 20.31

32 20.32 Figure (A) Helmet with thermal imaging camera attached. (B) Firefighter using a handheld thermal imaging camera. (A)(B)

33 Revisits of the Involved Structure Important to revisit scene of incident Wise to make additional checks Good rule is to visit 2 hours after last company or personnel leaves and again within 10 hours Crews from the next shift can go by the incident Business owner can hire a security company to maintain fire watch 20.33

34 Debris Removal Removing debris while searching for hidden fires is important Loose material must be removed and further extinguished Place material in a pile and lightly hosed down When material removal completed, cover debris with Visqueen to reduce the eyesore 20.34

35 The Importance of the Overhaul Operations Customer service aspects of overhaul are many –Search for hidden fires –Limit amount of uncovered debris left behind –Leave building in a safe state for owners Overhaul work is often the only thing owners get to see the result of Make sure overhaul works in concert with fire investigator 20.35

36 Fire Cause Determination Concerns Be aware of possible clues as to how the fire started All firefighters should listen to the reported information –All available information should be documented During response, additional information may be gathered by questioning Firefighters must ensure that investigator pre-approves removal of any part of structure 20.36

37 Preservation of Evidence Preserve items that seem out of the ordinary Leave items where they are found and protect and preserve area Cordon off area Compromised evidence and areas because of carelessness can lead to legal actions 20.37

38 Basics of Point of Origin Determination Can be a very scientific pursuit Investigators employ scientific approach –Watch for basic clues Fire travel the path of least resistance Determine fire’s starting point and where it spread is the depth of char Damage can be influenced by many factors 20.38

39 20.39 Figure “V” pattern in a structure fire.

40 20.40 Figure Depth of char.

41 The Importance of Fire Cause Determination Assisting fire investigator should be second nature Every detail should be noted and passed along Fire investigators are just another member of the team Firefighters’ actions can help or hinder investigation 20.41

42 Securing the Building Make sure the building is secure after completing all operations Some jurisdictions rely on board-up crews or restoration companies Prior to leaving an incident scene, consider: –Where will they stay or do business? –What are they going to do for clothing? –Do they have insurance? –Does the Red Cross need to be contacted? 20.42

43 20.43 Figure Building that has been boarded up after a fire.

44 Lessons Learned Salvage and overhaul duties are vital Salvage and overhaul have a direct impact on success of incident These duties are a great customer service for the homeowner, even if they are never recognized 20.44


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