Turners Falls Fire Department

Turners Falls, MA 01376

Pre-Incident Planning

Firefighters familiarize themselves with a sprinkler control room

What’s that fire truck doing out on the Avenue? Over the next few months you may notice one of our Engines parked along a side street and our duty crew visiting local businesses and apartment buildings. Not to worry though, there’s no emergency! What we are doing is making observations and taking note of things that will make our efforts more safe and effective in the event of a medical or fire emergency. Often times, the first chance we get to explore a building is unfortunately AFTER something has gone wrong. At that point either visibility is limited, or time is of the essence so there’s no chance to be learning the layout of the building. When things go from bad to worse at an emergency scene it is often the result of not having the right information, so it is imperative for us to make these “pre-incident plans” while things are NOT going bad.

There are a few critical elements we are looking at during these pre-incident assessments. The most important one is the general layout of the building and the access to the building. Some buildings have a “Knox Box” which allows access to the building only by the fire department, and many do not. Knowing if there are multiple entrances to the building and where they bring us, is very helpful in the event of an emergency. Having a general knowledge of the building’s construction, and the materials that might be stored in the building will also help us immensely in the case of a fire, when we have only seconds to develop a tactical plan.

Another very important detail we need to know is whether or not a building has sprinklers or any other type of built-in fire suppression system. If it does, we’ll be able to hook into that system to keep it functioning to aid in fire suppression efforts. These are only a few of the many details that we are looking at and taking note of during our visits. In the process we’ll of course also note any expired extinguishers, non-working smoke alarms, and hazardous conditions we observe, and communicate that to the owner or manager to remedy the situation.

So if you see us around town, feel free to stop and ask us questions, or invite us into your business or residence for a tour. We love to see new places and meet new faces!