Identifying, Establishing and Managing Collapse Zones

Vacant Structure Fire-Three Alarm, Type III Construction

Identifying, Establishing and Managing Collapse Zones

I mentioned in a recent post about on-going research and recommendations being developed for a significant report.

A notable issue that seems to resonate and surface on a reoccurring bais is the identification, establishment and management of collapse zones.
Building type, construction systems and materials, initiating, apparent or contributIng factors have an influence on collapse zone management (CZM).
Perimeter wall compromise and collapse of Type III and IV buildings continue to represent the leading types of collapse that contribute to significant firefighter injuries and line of duty deaths.
The ability to Read the Building, identify obvious and subtle features, conditions and indicators leading to collapse or compromise or the management and control of post collapse conditions is imperative.
Another critical operational factor is managing collapse zones and restricting access with consideration for degraded building conditions and the potential for multiple secondary collapse.
  • Are you up to speed with criteria for recognizing pre and post collapse indicators?
  • Do you have SOP/SOGs for collapse OPS?
 Collapse Zones
At a minimum:
Establish and maintain at a minimim a perimeter Collapse Management Zone (CMZ) of 1.5 x the building height.

Based on building type, height, materials of construction and type of projected collapse type – the potential for materials to travel beyond the CMZ is probable and should be assessed.

Safety Officers MUST maintain control to restrict access and to ensure companies are aware of potential for secondary collapse of compromised building features, assemblies or materials.

Maintain an acute high level of Situational Awareness, know your surroundings and don’t get tunnel vision on your task assignment.

Managing Collapse Zones

Great footage from Birmingham, AL at a three-alarm fire in a vacant building at 1811 1st Avene North with the peel away collapse of the upper wall on the Delta Division. Screenshot of collapse below with video link…

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