Safety Officer Chpt 5

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What is the primary responsibility of an Incident Safety Officer (ISO) in the context of building collapse?

To communicate building construction considerations to the Incident Commander (IC)

Why is it insufficient for firefighters to rely only on their experience to predict building collapse?

Because Francis Brannigan recommends relying on theories and principles of building construction

What warning signs for structural collapse does the Incident Safety Officer (ISO) need to understand?

Signs found in the ISO's ability to understand building construction and the effects of fire

How does relying solely on experience to predict building collapse put firefighters at risk?

It leads to a situation where a building collapses without warning

What did Francis Brannigan emphasize as essential for firefighters regarding building construction?

Understanding theories and principles involved in building construction

How does the prediction of building collapse differ from firefighting based on the text?

Relying on theories and principles is crucial for predicting building collapse

What was Francis L. Brannigan passionate about teaching firefighters?

Hazards and traps of fires in buildings

Which edition of Francis L. Brannigan's book is considered a must-read for any firefighter?

Third edition

According to the Ol’ Professor, what should the slight indication of column failure cause?

Immediate clearing of the building

What is the primary focus of an incident safety officer (ISO) at the scene of a structure fire, according to the text?

Assessing building construction and condition

What are considered loads in the context of building construction?

Forces applied to buildings such as wind, snow, and gravity

What is meant by a 'dead load' in building construction?

The weight of the building itself and anything permanently attached to it

In building construction, what is an 'axial load'?

A load delivered through the centroid of another object

What is the main purpose of identifying and analyzing buildings attacked by fire according to Brannigan?

To predict and communicate collapse potential

What forces must buildings be constructed to resist?

Wind, snow, rain, and gravity forces

What is meant by 'imposition of loads' in building construction?

The application of forces on building materials

What are the three types of forces created within receiving materials due to resisting loads?

Compression, tension, and torsion

What fundamental knowledge base do ISOs use to help them 'read' a building?

Building construction concepts

Which type of force causes a material to be stretched or pulled apart in line with the material?

Tension force

What type of force causes a material to be torn in opposite directions perpendicular or diagonal to the material?

Shear force

Which characteristic of a material directly affects its fire resistance?

Mass of the material

What reaction is created when a material attempts to resist forces?

Twisting reaction

What kind of material fractures or fails as it is deformed or stressed past its design limits?

Brittle material

Which building material is described as a ductile material that has marginal resistance to forces compared to its weight?


What type of wood develops a surface char when exposed to flame, slowing its burn rate?

'Native' wood

Which material is a mixture of carbon, iron ore, and alloys and is heated and rolled/extruded into structural shapes?


What provides excellent tensile, shear, and compressive strength?


Which material has resistance to forces compared to its weight?


Which type of wood burns and gives away its mass when exposed to fire?

Native wood

What materials are found together or separately and each react to fire differently?

Wood, steel, concrete, and masonry

What can cause the loss of bond in a masonry wall, leading to instability?

Age, water, or fire

Which materials are used to create lightweight wooden I-beams?

Laminated veneer lumber and oriented strand board

Why does the wooden I-beam fail quickly when heated?

Ambient heating causes the failure of the binding glue

What is the primary load-bearing function of columns in a building?

Transmitting a compressive force axially through their center

What is the purpose of beams in a building?

Supporting a covering for a space such as floor or roof

What type of beam is supported at only one end and extends well past the support?

Cantilever beam

Which type of beam spans an opening in a load-bearing masonry wall?


What type of column is typically used as the vertical supports of a building?

Wall column

"Squares and circles are preferred shapes for columns because..."

...the load can be transmitted more equally around a center of axis with that shape.

What is the purpose of a truss in construction?

To provide support for floors and roof sheeting

In truss construction, what forms the sloped portions of the truss?

Top chords

Which type of truss is the most common for forming a peaked roof?

Triangular truss

What is the purpose of connections in structural elements?

To transfer loads between structural elements

What type of connection uses nuts and bolts, screws, nails, or rivets?

Pinned connection

In which type of connection are the elements bonded together to form a solid union?

Rigid connection

What is the purpose of gravity connections?

To hold an element in place by gravity alone

What are parallel chord trusses commonly engineered for?

To form flat roofs or floors

What is the function of top chords in parallel chord trusses?

To resist tension forces within the truss

What do bottom chords in parallel chord trusses primarily resist?

Tension forces

What type of truss can be engineered using a combination of wood and metal?

Parallel chord truss

What is the alternative name for a true bowstring arched truss?

Rigid-arch truss

What is the specific range of temperatures at which cold-drawn steel loses 55% of its strength?

800°F (427°C)

In a fire, at what temperature does extruded structural steel used for beams and columns lose 50% of its strength?

1,100°F (593°C)

What is the main reason for adding steel as reinforcement to concrete?

To improve tensile strength

How does concrete crack or spall when exposed to heat?

It expands due to moisture content

What happens to reinforcing steel in concrete when exposed to fire?

It expands and causes catastrophic spalling

Why is cooling structural steel with fire streams as important as attacking the fire?

To prevent loss of shape and load orientation

What is a characteristic of concrete that makes it a heat sink?

It absorbs and retains heat slowly

When does steel soften, elongate, and lose strength when exposed to heat?

$800°F (427°C)$ for cold-drawn, $1,100°F (593°C)$ for extruded

Study Notes

Incident Safety Officer (ISO) Responsibilities

  • The primary responsibility of an ISO is to identify potential hazards and predict building collapse.
  • Relying solely on experience to predict building collapse puts firefighters at risk because it can lead to oversight of critical warning signs.

Warning Signs for Structural Collapse

  • ISOs need to understand and recognize warning signs such as:
    • Cracks in walls or foundations
    • Unusual sounds or noises
    • Swaying or sagging of buildings
    • Visible damage or deterioration

Building Construction Fundamentals

  • Buildings must be constructed to resist various forces, including gravity, wind, and seismic forces.
  • Loads in building construction refer to the weight of people, furniture, and other objects, as well as external forces like wind and snow.
  • Dead load refers to the weight of the building itself.
  • Axial load refers to the weight or force applied directly along the length of a column or beam.

Materials and Their Properties

  • The fundamental knowledge base of ISOs includes understanding the properties of various building materials, such as:
    • Wood: ductile, marginal resistance to forces, can develop surface char when exposed to flame
    • Steel: excellent tensile, shear, and compressive strength, loses strength when heated
    • Masonry: resistance to forces compared to its weight, can lose bond leading to instability
    • Concrete: heat sink, can crack or spall when exposed to heat, reinforcing steel can lose strength

Columns and Beams

  • Columns are primary load-bearing elements, providing vertical support to a building.
  • Beams are horizontal or sloping elements that span openings and provide support to floors and roofs.
  • Types of beams include:
    • Cantilever beam: supported at only one end
    • Arch beam: spans an opening in a load-bearing masonry wall

Trusses and Connections

  • Trusses are triangulated structures that provide support and stability to roofs and ceilings.
  • The purpose of connections in structural elements is to transfer loads and provide stability.
  • Types of connections include:
    • Mechanical connections: use nuts and bolts, screws, nails, or rivets
    • Bonded connections: elements bonded together to form a solid union
    • Gravity connections: resist gravity loads

Fire Resistance and Safety

  • Francis Brannigan emphasized the importance of understanding building construction and materials to predict building collapse and ensure firefighter safety.
  • The primary focus of an ISO at the scene of a structure fire is to identify potential hazards and predict building collapse.
  • Cooling structural steel with fire streams is crucial to prevent weakening and loss of strength.

Explore the properties of steel and its various applications in construction and fabrication. Learn about how the shape of steel is engineered for specific applications such as compression forces and beams.

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