Fire Following Earthquake:

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1 Fire Following Earthquake: Planning, Strategic, and Tactical Considerations Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Deputy (Acting) David R. Richardson Jr.

2 Fire Following Earthquake: An Overlooked Dilemma

3 Los Angeles County in 1857, When the Last Big One Struck (Fort Tejon Quake, Magnitude 7.9)

4 Los Angeles County Today Over 10 million people (23 Million in Southern Cal) Fastest growing areas are close to the San Andreas Most communities are built out which supports a Virtual Forest of Wood-Framed Structures and other combustibles from the Desert to the Ocean

5 Los Angeles County Today SoCal is notorious for Santa Ana winds and subsequent conflagrations Aging water systems and infrastructure Topography concerns

6 Los Angeles County Fire Department Serving 2,305 square miles 58 incorporated cities & all unincorporated communities 4,850 total personnel 3,000 Firefighters 1,800 support staff (Dispatchers, Lifeguards, Admin, Pilots, Mechanics, etc.) 302,960 annual responses

7 The 2008 Shakeout Earthquake Scenario Illustrated the Fire Following Earthquake Urban Conflagration Potential in Los Angeles County & Southern Calif.

8 Risk Assessment A Fire Service Multi-Agency Taskforce was formed to: Identify Challenges Determine Readiness Provide Recommendations

9 Taskforce Focus Response Issues Conducting USAR Operations EMS Operations Mutual Aid Logistical Challenges Communications Care for Personnel & Their Families Control of Fire/Urban Conflagrations

10 Fire / Urban Conflagrations Challenges

11 Studies predict 1,600 Post-Quake Ignitions Across Southern California Requiring a Fire Department Response

12 Fire Department Delayed by Volume of Simultaneous Emergencies, Gridlocked Traffic, Damaged Routes, etc.

13 Small Fires Will Grow Rapidly With No Suppression

14 Some Residential Fires That Would Normally Be Confined to One Room Will Involve Several Homes on FD Arrival

15 1,200 Urban Fires Cannot Be Controlled By The First- Due Fire Engine

16 Some Commercial Fires Normally Kept Small Will Now Involve Entire Buildings

17 Damaged Water Supply Systems Will Hinder Firefighting Efforts

18 Fire Branding Will Spread Fire

19 Direct Flame Impingement Will Spread Structure Fires

20 Dozens of Urban Conflagrations Will Develop, Each Burning Tens of Blocks

21 Some Urban Conflagrations Will Merge as Super Conflagrations

22 Some Wildland Fires Will Ignite and Spread to Cities

23 Many Will be Trapped Alive Inside Buildings Exposed to Fire

24 Hundreds to Thousands of Deaths from Fire

25 This is Modeled With No Santa Ana Winds!

26 Santa Ana Conditions Could Result in Unfathomable Conflagrations

27 Task Force Recommendations: Revise policies, guidelines, and training o Clarify post-earthquake operational priorities and a strategy to save the most lives in urban conflagration situations o Assume widespread water supply interruption and limited resources.

28 Improve Identification of Alternate Fire Suppression Water Sources Immediate need to clearly identify alternate water supplies for the control of fires in the urban and suburban areas. Immediate need to improve rapid identification of alternate water supplies in rural and wilderness areas. o Bot dots in the street in front of homes with swimming pools o A system of signage indicating alternate water sources. Update GIS layering of remote inland waterways where dive operations may be necessary Some of these bodies of water also can be used for fire suppression, and should be noted as such on maps.

29 Identify and using additional alternate water supplies Existing fire suppression water storage in high rise buildings Existing water supply for fire suppression at refineries and other industrial occupancies A system to rapidly identify all alternate water systems Including mapping and GIS support Unusual solutions like water tanks with retractable roofs to allow copter snorkel operations

30 Develop Urban Conflagration Strategic Plans o Wildfire Strategic Plans are a proven effective tool o A similar system (adjusted for environment) would be useful in the event of a major earthquake or any other cause of urban conflagrations. -Assess each jurisdiction or battalion for conditions that could result in post-quake conflagrations. -Assign personnel to develop Urban Conflagration Pre- Attack Plans for each affected jurisdiction or battalion.

31 Fire suppression Surge Capacity. o Possible models include a Brigade approach, with multiple surge centers where a fleet of fire engines and other apparatus would be housed in a warehouse and maintained in a state of readiness by a combination uniformed and civilian staff. o Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

32 Multi-agency training in the control of urban conflagrations o Success is dependent on a clear understanding by Chief Officers, Company Officers, copter and pilots o Need to train personnel on the best practices being developed. o Establish a primary training program and a continuing education module on the control of urban conflagrations from earthquakes and other causes (Critical Thinking). -Example: 7.8 Exercise Booklet, used by the L.A. County Fire Department to orient/train all personnel in the hazards of a San Andreas Fault quake and post-quake conflagrations

33 7.8 (2010) Shakeout 2010 Tabletop Booklet L.A. County Fire Department (Following are Sample Pages of Exercise Booklet)

34 October 15, 16, 18, :00:30 hours (30 SECONDS AFTER the earthquake began) In Riverside County, emergency generators are shifting, computers are overturning, and airport runways are cracking. Fires are igniting across Imperial and Riverside counties. TVs and home electronics are shattering, creating treacherous carpets of glass and cords. Older building are suffering structural damage and trapping occupants. The eastern part of Riverside County is now cut off from the western part due to the dismantling of the Interstate 10 freeway. The rupture is racing toward San Bernardino. At your fire station in Los Angeles County, there is no warning of the quake that will strike in one minute.

35 October 15, 16, 18, :01:30 hours (90 SECONDS AFTER the earthquake began near the Salton Sea) NOW the shaking begins in Los Angeles County as the damaging S Waves arrive. The shaking will last more than 2 minutes in places! In the L.A. Basin, 55 seconds of prolonged very strong shaking is collapsing hundreds of buildings, commercial, industrial, concrete, wood frame and up to 8 high-rise buildings. At this level of shaking, every additional second causes exponentially more structures to collapse There was only 5 seconds of this strong level of shaking in Northridge! Tens of thousands of injuries are occurring. Thousands Are at Risk of Death from Collapse, Fire, Injuries. Buried water mains and sewer pipes are rupturing. Roads are buckling and freeways are coming to a halt Trains are derailing Hazardous materials are being released Personnel should Drop, Cover, and Hold On During Shaking

36 October 15, 16, 18, :02 hours (2 MINUTES AFTER the earthquake began) In L.A. County, the shaking began 30 seconds ago. Everyone look at your watches and time it out. You still have another 90 seconds of shaking left in this earthquake! In Bakersfield, Oxnard and Santa Barbara the shaking is just beginning. Over 10,000 aftershocks will be felt in the next couple months (some large enough that they would be disasters if they occurred separately, but now they are causing additional damage to infrastructure, victims and rescuers. Some bridges and overpasses have collapsed due to retrofitting not completed. No hospitals have seen complete collapse, but many have suffered partial collapse or other otherwise non functional and will be out of service. Electricity & phone service is out across Southern California Hazardous Materials releases are happening in many places Nearly 2,000 structure fires are beginning simultaneously

37 Your Fire Station Has Been Seriously Damaged Apparatus Doors Are Inoperable

38 This is happening in your first-in district

39 This is one of many columns of smoke already visible in your first-in district as you roll out of the station

40 --Right away, you come across this fire:

41 Hydrants are Dry Because of Water Main Breaks in the Area

42 All You Have Is 500 Gallons of Water in the Fire Engine s Tank

43 Conflagration Conditions Are Developing in Multiple Locations. What is your Strategy now?

44 There are Light Variable Breezes (But Fortunately No Santa Ana Condition)

45 Decision Point: You Come Across Both Situations on the Same Street. Are You First Going to Fight Fire (at left) or Will You Start Rescuing Victims in the Collapsed Structure (on right)?

46 Decision Point: You Arrive to Find A Weak Water Supply in the Hydrants, and People Trapped in the Collapsed Apartments (Exposures C and D). What Will Be Your First Priorities and Actions?

47 Another copter crew informs you that there are many fires, and now your district looks like this: Does this report change your priorities? How?

48 What Are Your Priorities Now?

49 Now the fires in your district look like this:

50 The Time to Prepare is NOW

51

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