On Tuesday West Mead 1 members reviewed and practiced longer hoseline deployments into multi-family residential buildings. The highest-occupancy buildings in our first-due district are located off Arthur Street in Forest Green Estates and Woodland Heights. Members inspected the entryways and stairwells of one apartment building at Forest Green, noting fire door operation and egress options. Then they stretched a 200-foot 2 1/2″ preconnected line from Engine 28-13, placing a gated wye outside the fire doors and two 1 3/4″ hand lines for interior attack and backup. Following a more deliberate evolution to calculate appropriate hose lengths, a smaller crew practiced the deployment in “real time” to evaluate the plan.
After the practice evolutions at Forest Green, members toured another multi-family building at Woodland Heights and planned a longer hoseline deployment. One 2 1/2″ preconnected hoseline was laid to the landing, where a gated wye fed 1 3/4″ attack and backup lines. Again, a crew practiced the planned deployment in “real time.”
Since life safety is our highest priority, multi-family dwellings present a unique challenge with their increased potential for entrapment. Our first-alarm response to Forest Green and Woodland Heights includes mutual aid companies West Mead 2 and Meadville Central, with tankers from additional fire companies as a backup to their private hydrant system. This drill prepared our fire company for a more effective response to any fires in these residences.