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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm relatively new to the forum, and wanted to ask if I was the only one looking into this. I've got a BOL if need be, but would like to try and stay put if we could rode out a tempoarary interruprtion in everyday life. I live in a condo complex with shared roofs, and if a place catches fire, it could easily spread to the entire complex. Do you have any firefighting/prevention preps, or do yiu plan just to bug out at that point?
 

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Warlord of the wastes
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You wouldn't be able to fight a fire that had gone beyond the put it out with a small extinguisher stage without real firefighting equipment. Never try to stop anything but an extremely small fire, you are more likely to die fighting it than you are to put it out. I've had to put out a few where I was very glad the fire department showed up since the best I was able to do was contain it, and had they been indoor I wouldn't have tried to fight. Remember fire danger in a multi-family dwelling increases dramatically when the power goes out due to people being unfamiliar and unsafe with candles, etc.

My advice is to be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Have BOBs ready and near you and a plan for escape that doesn't include the front door. Keep plenty of fire extinguishers at your place just in case a fire starts in your condo. If your vehicle(s) is parked in the same structure, think about parking it in a space that is not near a building so that if a fire were to happen it won't be trapped and unusable to you. If you are on anything above the ground floor have a means of egress to the ground (rope ladder, etc) that you know will work.

Since you're in a multi-unit dwelling, if you have an attic of some type check to see how tough it is for someone to enter your place from another unit. I lived in a townhouse once where it would have been simple work to cut a hole and come across units and down through the ladder in the attic.
 

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there are low pressure high volume pump systems that can draw from a pool. A system like that can put out a regular house fire.
 

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It would be worth while to learn some basic fire fighting skills .
Instant action is required, not a lot of discussion .
All to often smoke is seen an people panic rather than investigate with a fire extinguisher .
During a SHTF event and the fire department is unavailable, having alternative solution is important.
Having a pressurized water source is not impossible ,I have my own set up including using garden spray units that can be filled with water and left indefinitely.
Also have a number of fire extinguishers as well.
I check them and roll them from time to time.
Make sure the pressure is up and the powder is loose.
I have old water heater tanks I repaired and use as resivours I can pressurize for fire protection.
 

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If it's not too big of a complex, go talk to every single one of your neighbors about the dangers of an uncontrolled fire. Make sure they're doing the right and smart thing about keeping warm, heating food and water, and lighting.
 

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Since you live in a condo, I'd recommend getting out of it if/when possible. Yes, that's easier said than done. I know because I live in a condo too and hate the situation it leaves me in, but the price of housing where I am is basically almost unreal.

Having said that, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Namely the age of the complex, style, and location of your unit. It depends somewhat on area, but AFAIK most newer townhouse-style condo units are built with solid firebreaks, usually of concrete block or brick construction, which also provides soundproofing. If you live in an older complex, those firebreaks might not be present. If the building or complex style is more like an apartment building where some condo units are above others, the look into or ask your local fire department about the construction of the building. Some condo and apartment buildings are arranged so that each individual unit is fireproof. A fire could of course break out and damage or destroy an individual unit, but not spread to neighboring units.

I definately recommend taking any fire safety courses which are available to you. Having done so myself along with EMT training, there are a few things I've picked up. One of the first things is that unless you're a veteran firefighter, or someone with a comparable level of experience in fighting fires, you can't really do much with a fire extinguisher. Basically any fire large than a dinner plate is going to be more than a 'regular' person can handle. A fire extinguisher might put a dent in the size of a larger fire, but it almost certainly won't go out. And having two or more fire extinguishers are no better, because of the rate of growth for most fires. Fire generally grows in size geometrically, doubling in size at a very rapid rate. If the fire appears small and you have rapid and easy access to a working fire extinguisher of the appropriate type and you know how to use it, you can certainly try to put it out. However, if that one attempt fails, get out and get to safety. Continued attempts without the proper training and equipment aren't going to succeed and are just going to put yourself at risk.

I've included a link to a NFPA Test Burn simulating how quickly a dropped cigarette can cause a room to be engulfed
.

Also note how quickly the smoke fills the room and begins to bank down. The smoke is usually the 'real' killer in house fires, since the smoke contains hydrogen cyanides from the combusting synthetics.

This is one of the reasons why having BOB's near an exit is a good idea. That way if something like a fire breaks out of control, you can grab those and go.
 

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Can you get up in the attic and put 5/8" sheetrock in the rafters between your condo and the neighbors. Some in California are built with fire breaks between units.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Wow, some great info and interesting ideas, thanks. The complex I ive in is kinda strange. No attic, and no cellar. Literally we share walls and the roof. They're also single story only.
 

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Insurance, and smoke alarms. Short of that there is very little you can actually due if the fire is caused outside your apartment.
 

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Hating the new Amerika.
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I work as a firefighter. If you notice the fire right away and you catch it while it is small, you can put it with an extiguisher. Old statistics state that a fire used to double in size every minute. Newer construction materials and methods have allowed for fires to grow much faster than that. Fires grow exponentially. Synthetic materials burn quicker, hotter, and produce dense toxic smoke. There are also different classes of fire. You need the right kind of extigushing agent for what is burning. Class A is ordinary combustible materials (wood, paper, etc) and water or an ABC type extinguisher work very well to extinguish. Type B fires are flammable liquids fires (grease from cooking) Type B fires can be fought with a CO2, ABC dry chemical, water with a foam (ie type K extinguishers). Type C fires are electrical fires. These can be fought with CO2, ABC dry chemicals, or the power can be disconnected and then the actual material (Type A or B) can be extinguished with an appropriate type of extinguisher. Class D is flammable metals. If it gets to that point, you will never put it out. Never put water onto a flammable metal fire as the fire is so hot it will cause the water added to break down and burn which will literally make the fire intensify. It will be a brilliant flash of light.

It is a good idea to understand how different extinguishing agents work.
Water cools burning materials beyond there ignition temperature. Straight water should not be used on flammable liquids fires as most flammable liquids float on water, and water will cause that type of fire to spread.

ABC dry chemical/baking soda interferes with the chemical reaction taking place in a burning material. It is not the best for deep seated embers.

CO2 excludes oxygen from the fuel and provides a very limited amount of cooling. Caution must be used with this agent as flashbacks can still occur. For example, you use a CO2 extinguisher to put out a large grease fire. The grease does not get cooled off and reignites as soon as the CO2 cloud from the extinguisher dissipates. You don't need an ignition source when a material is hotter than its ignition temperature, and all that needa to happen for something to ignite is to add oxygen.

Foam Water/K extinguishers- utilize water for cooling burning materials and a foam blanket that forms over the top of the fuel to exclude oxygen. Foam can have different ratings (polar solvents alcohols, ketones, or for Nonpolar hydrocarbons-gasoline, oils). An extinguishing agent for polar solvents is better as it can be used on either type of fire while the Nonpolar foam is only good for hydrocarbons/cooking grease, ect.

The best advice I have for you is to leave unless you can quickly put it out. Things like baking soda can serve as a cheap dry chemical extiguisher. Place some in every room so that it is quickly accessible. I would not rely on others to be fire safe in an apartment building.
 

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Other posters mentioned fire breaks. Those breaks are only as good as the people that built them to be. If there any holes from pipe chase, air vents, or electrical conduit, those chases are null and void. Smoke from a typical residential can reach 1500 degrees. When this smoke banks down and pushes through holes, it will eventually find holes in defective fire breaks. This smoke will be hot enough to eventually ignite wood remote from the actual fire location. Fires also bust windows and can ignite exterior siding materials. You can have flying embers that land beyond on oyher sections of roof beyond the fire walls. Yes, those are pretty much a false sense of security.
 

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Other posters mentioned fire breaks. Those breaks are only as good as the people that built them to be. If there any holes from pipe chase, air vents, or electrical conduit, those chases are null and void. Smoke from a typical residential can reach 1500 degrees. When this smoke banks down and pushes through holes, it will eventually find holes in defective fire breaks. This smoke will be hot enough to eventually ignite wood remote from the actual fire location. Fires also bust windows and can ignite exterior siding materials. You can have flying embers that land beyond on oyher sections of roof beyond the fire walls. Yes, those are pretty much a false sense of security.
A poorly or improperly constructed firebreak of course can be breached. They aren't so much security as something which can slow down or stop a fire. Realistically it's going to be the fire department's call on whether all the adjoing units need to be evacuated or not. And usually the fire department will know just how viable those firebreaks are going to be, or whether a tower block has been built so that a fire is contained.

It's certainly worth looking into to see how close (if at all) one's home is to current code. The further it is, perhaps the greater the inspiration to fine someplace else.
 
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