So what constitutes a five, six, or seven-alarm fire?

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slipslope

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I found this interesting and thought I would post it FYI.
http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_4559.aspx

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So what constitutes a five, six, or seven-alarm fire?

David Sheen of Toronto Fire Services outlined the staged response to blazes. These numbers are only meant to be a guide and fire officials noted that different blazes require different responses, so the number of crew and equipment that are called out for these staged responses can vary.

1st Alarm

2 pumpers, 1 aerial truck, and 1 district chief

If it's downtown or involves a highrise building, a highrise truck is used. If it's a working fire an air supply truck, which provides breathing cylinders, and a heavy rescue squad are called.

2nd Alarm

5 pumpers, 2 aerials, 1 squad, 1 hazardous materials truck, 2 district chiefs, 1 platoon chief, 1 air supply vehicle, and 1 incident command vehicle.

3rd Alarm

8 pumpers, 3 aerials, 1 squad, 3 district chiefs, 1 platoon, 1 air lights, 1 hazard, 1 command vehicle, 1 division commander,

4th Alarm

11 pumpers, 4 aerials, 1 squad, 4 district chiefs, 1 platoon, 1 air supply vehicle, 1 hazardous materials truck, 1 command vehicle, 1 division commander

5th Alarm

14 pumpers, 5 aerials, 2 squads, 5 district chiefs, 1 platoon, 1 division commander, 1 command vehicles, 2 air supply trucks, 1 hazardous materials vehicles

"Plus, at that level you're also getting other support staff," he said.

6th Alarm

17 pumpers, 6 aerials, 2 squads, 6 district chiefs, 1 platoon, 1 division commander, 1 command vehicle, 2 air supply truck, 1 hazardous materials truck.

7th Alarm

20 pumpers, 7 aerials, 2 squads, 7 district chiefs, 1 platoon, 1 division commander, 1 command vehicle, 2 air supply trucks, 1 hazardous materials.
 

daleduke17

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They must do it a little different up in Toronto. Around here about the most I've seen is 5th alarm.

There was one call in this area that would have been trumped the "7th" alarm. They were using semi tankers for water, and pumper/tankers were being ran as pure tankers (very bad factory explosion in a rural setting).
 

edwardscott

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This was actually just posted on here a couple of months ago, with lengthy discussion. Indeed Toronto does things differently, and in a rural area like mine, the amount of alarms is simply the number of halls called.
In our case, a minimum of three in a confirmed structure fire. We had a seven in the summer, a large part of the downtown.

Cheers,

ES
 

plaws

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daleduke17 said:
They must do it a little different up in Toronto. Around here about the most I've seen is 5th alarm.
As we've discussed before, it's all based on the running cards or box cards that correspond to the fire alarm boxes that *used* to be at every corner. See, for example, http://plaws.net/fire/box.html and the Slate story linked elsewhere. The cards weren't usually very big (think library card catalog cards) so by the time you added the change of quarters companies, you only had enough room for 5 alarms or so.

Most places have long since gone to CAD (even if they wisely kept their street boxes) so the actual physical cards are long gone, but the system lives on in the assignments.

Boston is another that has more than 5 levels, with the city itself going as high as 9 alarms and Metrofire (the mutual aid compact) going to 10. Chicagoland's MABAS only goes to a "5-11". Montreal, now, only formally goes to 4 alarms, with a 5th alarm being "Au spécification du chef".
 

EricCottrell

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plaws said:
As we've discussed before, it's all based on the running cards or box cards that correspond to the fire alarm boxes that *used* to be at every corner. See, for example, http://plaws.net/fire/box.html and the Slate story linked elsewhere. The cards weren't usually very big (think library card catalog cards) so by the time you added the change of quarters companies, you only had enough room for 5 alarms or so.

Most places have long since gone to CAD (even if they wisely kept their street boxes) so the actual physical cards are long gone, but the system lives on in the assignments.

Boston is another that has more than 5 levels, with the city itself going as high as 9 alarms and Metrofire (the mutual aid compact) going to 10. Chicagoland's MABAS only goes to a "5-11". Montreal, now, only formally goes to 4 alarms, with a 5th alarm being "Au spécification du chef".
I heard Lynn (part of MetroFire) go to 10 alarms and beyond once. It went to conflagration. It was scary to listen to the events on the scanner. This web pages gives a account of events and responses. http://www.box41.com/1981fire.htm

Since Toronto is so big do they have a Mutual Aid compact? It seems like the size of Toronto is the size of a Mutual Aid district like MetroFire.

73 Eric
 

Jay911

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Calgary's system is limited to 5 alarms, which is 10 pumps 5 aerials 1 rescue 1 air-light truck for 'normal' areas of the city, and 12 pumps 6 aerials 1 rescue 1 hazmat 1 air-light truck for the high-rise-area. The highest they've gone is 4 "plus"; some commanders seem to like to just ask for an extra pump or an extra aerial instead of banging out another alarm.

Calgary's run orders:

First alarm, standard: 2 pumps 1 aerial 1 rescue 1 district chief, 1 fire inspector
Second alarm: 2 pumps 1 aerial 1 air-light 1 district chief (optional: 1 mobile command center)
Third thru fifth: (each) 2 pumps 1 aerial

High rise area has 3 pumps 2 aerials 1 rescue 1 hazmat 1 DC 1 inspector on the first alarm. Otherwise it's all the same.

Calgary can and does special-call all sorts of apparatus (Bronto tower, hazmat, HUSAR, etc) outside of the 'alarm' type responses.
 

plaws

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EricCottrell said:
I heard Lynn (part of MetroFire) go to 10 alarms and beyond once. It went to conflagration. It was scary to listen to the events on the scanner. This web pages gives a account of events and responses. http://www.box41.com/1981fire.htm
Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin, you never come out the way you went in! :)

Sorry - didn't mean to imply that they couldn't go higher than what's on the card, just that the cards themselves (and the CAD systems that now mimic them) only go so high. After that, the fire alarm operator has to work a lot harder since nothing is predetermined.

EricCottrell said:
Since Toronto is so big do they have a Mutual Aid compact? It seems like the size of Toronto is the size of a Mutual Aid district like MetroFire.
Good question - don't know. When Toronto was Metro Toronto, the boroughs (York, E York, N York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, Toronto) each had their own FDs and they presumably had a mutual aid compact. Now they're all the Toronto Fire Service. But that still leaves Mississauga, Markham .... Ottawa ...
 

plaws

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Jay said:
Calgary's run orders:

First alarm, standard: 2 pumps 1 aerial 1 rescue 1 district chief, 1 fire inspector
Second alarm: 2 pumps 1 aerial 1 air-light 1 district chief (optional: 1 mobile command center)
Third thru fifth: (each) 2 pumps 1 aerial

High rise area has 3 pumps 2 aerials 1 rescue 1 hazmat 1 DC 1 inspector on the first alarm. Otherwise it's all the same.
For every box? No variation other than hi-rise/no hi-rise?
 

Jay911

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plaws said:
For every box? No variation other than hi-rise/no hi-rise?
For all building/house/structure fires, yes. The only other things that even get alarm level designations in Calgary are catalogued alarms (automatic fire alarms) and alarm bells (called in from the site), and they follow the same run orders as the above. A three-alarm house fire is the same to the Calgary system as a three-alarm warehouse fire, essentially. There's no such thing, for example, as a greater-alarm rubbish fire (even though we've had essentially that happen!). Aircraft incidents don't follow the 'alarm level' type of response, but have different run orders depending on level 1 (light aircraft in trouble), level 2 (heavy aircraft in trouble), or level 3 (confirmed acft down).

Having said that, there is ONE other type of call that there is alarm levels for. Explosions and confined space rescues are a special call type all their own and get 4 pumpers, 2 aerials, 1 rescue, 1 HUSAR team, 1 hazmat, 1 tanker (tender, if you will), 1 district chief, and 1 investigator on the first bell, and then 2 pump 1 aerial after that.

Oh and if Toronto needs Ottawa for mutual aid, that'll be the day I'm glad I moved to Calgary from Pickering in 1990. :) Leave me out of that kind of mess! We sent rigs and people into British Columbia a couple years ago to Kamloops for the forest fires.. that was wild.
 
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IdleMonitor

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Still not sure how they do the alarm levels around here, but generally it's considering a working fire or general alarm, but I think Pembroke is a little different.

Here's what constitutes a 5th Alarm fire in The Upper Ottawa Valley.

This fire was this past Saturday night.

http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/weba...51880&catname=Local+News&classif=News+-+Local

On an unrelated story, here's the latest about a deadly accident on Hwy 17 just outside of Pembroke on Sunday that claimed the life of a 17 yr. old.http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/weba...51884&catname=Local+News&classif=News+-+Local
 
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