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False Alarms and Temperature


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I've attended more FADAs this week that any other time and at places that aren't the usual suspects. No apparent cause other than the low temperatures during the night. I've looked through the incidents in GMFRS and it appears a common trend across the board, especially tonight.

Have many others experienced similar patterns this week?

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Not in a AFAs Carl, but quite a few more rescues from water/ice.....dogs - and stupid owners ! Our Rtcs have gone up as well- other than that no real trends. 

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Could the AFA increase be connected with condensation?

I would imagine an occupied colder building would be more vulnerable.

I will make a few enquiries with the AFD technicians at work

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Its been mad with the usual run of winter type calls this week. The past two days LFB have had 700+ calls which is about 200 up on a regular day this time of year. Now the thaw is in, it has gone absolutely manic with flood calls. Just looked, we are on 549 calls already at 10am. Without doing an analysis, looking down the screen it appears 3 out of every 5 calls are B4's (floodings). It'll be interesting to see where it ends.

I had a miserbale Saturday like this, back in 1996 I think after a very cold spell (but no snow). I was T/Sub O at Plaistow and the whole miserbale cold dank day was spent at residential floodings.



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Now thats a screen I'm more familiar with...Vision 4!

Same here Steve but not to those numbers. I'm going to suggest to my Ops forum that the crews should have a couple of bags of push fit stop ends on the pumps following periods of freezing temperature? 



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In 1985 ish, we had 3 or 4 days  and nights with lists of flood calls. I learned a lot from those shouts

In an average house where we couldn't shut off the water we would; 

  1. Hammer the copper pipe flat on the feed side of the leak
  2. Cut the pipe with a hacksaw on the dead side
  3. The leak from the hammered flat section  would remain , but not so much that you couldn't work with it
  4. Cut some white overflow plastic pipe
  5. If possible, keep the end of the overflow sticking outside in place before bending the plastic  pipe towards the cut in the copper pipe.
  6. Slide the white plastic pipe over the dribbling flattened copper pipe and secure if necessary with insulation tape 

The leak has been slowed and redirected to outside.  Time for a cuppa!

In some circumstances it might not be possible to connect the overflow pipe as above. So cut and remove a complete long section of overflow pipe and tape it to the cut copper pipe as above.

Bend the other end of the plastic pipe thro the loft hatch and into a bath or loo or out of a window

Good luck as it' a miserable and cold job to do 10 to 15 of them back to back on a night shift ?

Sometimes I am very happy to be retired ?

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Steve, interesting the multi pump attendances if those are domestic flooding? Our PDA is single pump as generally can be dealt with by accessing  and turning something off, (crew of 4)

We carry the stop ends, and pipe cutters.

Vision 4 as well BTW.

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No, the multi pump attendances on that page are for Fires (A1) and an RTC (B1) the flood calls are the B4's which all have a single pump. (as do secondary fires, ,commercial AFA's, chimneys and all other minor special services such as shut in lifts, lock outs, washdown roadway's etc).

52 pages, 873 calls at the moment. I'll look again before midnight.


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To be fair mate, that is spread across 103 stations, so it isn't that many. If you take 400 per day as average, its only four per station.... that'd cause resignations at places like Wennington & Biggin Hill for being so busy, and also resignations for boredom at the Soho's and Euston's. xD if it were that easy to work out.

It slowed down in the end and topped out at 1075. I don't have any particular alogorithm, but in the early hours of yesterday, with 17 incidents visible on the screen at any one time, there was 10 minutes between the top and bottom of the page. During the afternoon evening/ this was around 20/30 minutes. on the last page, there was almost an hour on the page, so the call rate had slowed right down.

Looking back over the past four weeks, it seems to hover around 390-420 incidents per day, so yesterday was busy, around two and a half times the usual call rate for this time of year, in the spring/summer we are usually around 500 per day with anything you like on spate days.... 700, 800, 1000?

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Ok, so I just I just checked our mobilising for yesterday. Pretty similar to lfb in terms of numbers when you break it down pro rata.

109 calls, 49 flooding(special service ) related.

7 pages on vision boss .

We have 20 whole time stations.

Double the amount of the previous Saturday.

Edited by Becile
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As to the whether cold weather can be the  reason for an increased number of unwanted activations, I have spoken to some engineers who in the main, have not experienced significant rises in call outs. However they offer the following reasons in relation to cold weather shouts:

  • Sometime staff cannot close automatically opening vents, especially sprung loaded versions. Where they may just leave them for the engineer to close after the weekly test, there is no appetite to delay their closure when its very cold. This may be a motivation for dialling 999 (to get the fire service to close them)
  • In extreme cold (&hot) weather, buildings move - and in extreme or rapid variations of temperature enough for beam detectors not to like it!
  • Extreme weather tends to drive builders inside to do unplanned works causing false activations. In addition, after a extreme cold spell, contractors may rush to catch up with their schedule, thereby cutting corners which lead to unwanted fire signals
  • But the biggest cause is condensation in cold whether affecting electrics - This can be significantly difficult on wireless systems and where lots of exposed steel is apparent (portal frame warehouses  etc)
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