Tactical Safety for Firefighters
By Ray McCormack
Pulling Double Duty
When searching for extension and possible hidden fire in ceilings, firefighters must discover a ceiling’s true identity. Many ceilings come in pairs – a newer one below an older one. This can take the form of similar materials or modern components versus legacy construction. While not exactly a double ceiling, double thickness drywall is another tough pull.
Removing drop ceiling tiles is the easiest ceiling to pull. Many times they are just added as a modernization of the space. While they can collapse, their weight doesn’t compare to plaster or other materials. Often drop ceilings hide old tin ceilings, plaster and lath, drywall or all three.
The point is, if you discover an additional ceiling, you must open it up after you remove enough of the first one. This second barrier is typically more difficult to pull due to still in place supporting member of the lower one and space restriction. Let’s not forget the materials such as tin which, in a deteriorated state of rust and decay, can really be frustrating to remove as small pieces litter the floor. We want our ceilings to come down quickly and completely in sections, not mini bites so that there is no longer any hidden voids or embers remaining unseen.
So when you stick your hook way up high and hit a second ceiling, get ready for a workout. By removing both thoroughly, you can be assured that all that destruction equaled preservation. Without a proactive examination and subsequent exacting overhaul, more will be lost. Save property and improve tactical safety by pulling double duty when it comes to ceilings.