Special Feature
[ Features ]


Tuesday March 30, 2003
Liberty Commons Nursing Home
Route 28, Chatham


Engine 185 and Rescue 184 responded to an AFA at Liberty Commons.
Calls for a fire in the nursing home followed the initial dispatch and the first alarm
assignment was filled.  This began a two hour drill involving 6 lower Cape fire Rescue

High rise pack goes in with first crew.  There is heavy smoke
in one wing with multiple patients trapped and injured.

A 2-1/2" handline was advanced on the 'fire' as a second alarm was transmitted for a
fire and mass casualty incident.

Chatham Fire Chief William Schwerdtfeger (right) assumes
Command as Deputy Chief Richard Hunter puts on the
'Operations" vest and makes entry to command the
interior operations.

The nursing home was occupied and the staff participated in the drill evacuating and caring for
'simulated' patients, as well as the real patients.  The lobby was the staging point for the operation
with fire alarms sounding and crews of fire rescue personnel entering.

'Walking wounded' were moved out first from the smoke filled "B" wing to the lobby area
where triage and initial treatment was conducted.  Soot covered faces and redden skin indicating
burns made the patients look real.

In the "B" Wing, a heavy smoke condition and alarms ringing made the scene very realistic.
A fogger provided the simulated smoke conditions with limited visibility.

Walkers in the hallways represented 'walking' patients and had to be moved out to safety.

Other patients were found confused or unconscious in rooms and hallways.
Some were burned or injured.  The challenge of first in crews was to attack and
control the fire, while also assessing and rescuing victims.

Thermal imaging cameras were used to locate some patients in thick smoke.




Britton Crosby