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Old 03-30-2012, 03:25 AM
dougie_monty is offline
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Poles in fire stations--dangerous?


It's probably due to space constraints that agencies such as the F.D.N.Y. design their fire stations with poles for the firefighters to slide down; the bunks, and sometimes other rooms, are upstairs. Suburban stations, of course, may be in one-story structures and not need poles.
However, in the 1960s there were two fatal accidents involving people using the poles; and the Department in New York considers them dangerous. Chicago's department disagrees--they have never had such accidents.
Who's right?
  #2  
Old 03-30-2012, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dougie_monty View Post
It's probably due to space constraints that agencies such as the F.D.N.Y. design their fire stations with poles for the firefighters to slide down; the bunks, and sometimes other rooms, are upstairs. Suburban stations, of course, may be in one-story structures and not need poles.
However, in the 1960s there were two fatal accidents involving people using the poles; and the Department in New York considers them dangerous. Chicago's department disagrees--they have never had such accidents.
Who's right?
Really, its all shades of grey.
2 guys died in 10 years? That's a shame. But how many firemen were there in that decade? How many times were poles slid down? Now figure out what the likelyhood of death from that activity and I'd bet money its pretty Damn low .

With that in mind, *walking* is dangerous. Driving is dangerous. Eating is dangerous. Where is the arbitrary line we are going to draw today?

Of course its dangerouse, there is a real danger that a missed grip breaks a neck or worse. By that logic NY *HAS* to be right. That doesn't mean its not an acceptable danger. At the very least, these are guys for whom the very nature of their jobs requires putting themselves on threatening situations.

This whole question is, to me, as silly as asking if the police really have a dangerous gig.

Last edited by eldowan; 03-30-2012 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:52 AM
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This thread ought to go right next to the one called "bungee cords: too dangerous to exist?" Every time I pick one up I'm cautioned about how easy it is to put out your eye.

Regarding fire poles, I'd be willing to bet there have been more broken limbs and general accidents by having people rushing down stairs in an emergency.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:39 AM
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Space constraints can't be the answer, because the building has to have a stairway anyway, for the firefighters to get back up to the second floor.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Space constraints can't be the answer, because the building has to have a stairway anyway, for the firefighters to get back up to the second floor.
I'd also bet the fire code requires something other then a pole and a window for egress from a second story.

Last edited by Joey P; 03-30-2012 at 09:43 AM.
  #6  
Old 03-30-2012, 09:48 AM
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if there were space constraints it would be down a pole and up a ladder.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:57 AM
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I think the poles are just legacy. Back in the days of yore, when fire engines were carts pulled by horses, the fire station was both a bunkhouse and a barn, where the horses and firemen shared sleeping quarters. They couldn't put in regular staircases, because horses would try to climb the stairs. At first they tried slides and spiral staircases, but descending either wasn't very fast. They settled on the "sliding down a pole" system in the late 1800s; at that time I believe the firemen would usually use ladders to ascend to the second floor, which were impossible for the horses to climb.

The pole is still much faster for getting everyone to the ground floor than everyone stumbling over each other on the stairs.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:35 AM
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I think the poles are just legacy. Back in the days of yore, when fire engines were carts pulled by horses, the fire station was both a bunkhouse and a barn, where the horses and firemen shared sleeping quarters.
i bet the horses always won the fight for the comfy beds.

free roaming horses made a mess of the kitchen too.

Last edited by johnpost; 03-30-2012 at 10:36 AM. Reason: spelin
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:38 AM
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The realreason for poles has nothing to do with speed or getting downstairs. It's:


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:40 AM
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Wait, are we talking about whether or not sliding down a pole is dangerous for people who run into burning buildings for a living?
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:43 AM
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Hmm...no Polish punning joke yet? Good job, guys.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:52 AM
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Hmm...no Polish punning joke yet? Good job, guys.
I was trying to come up with something about Stosh Kowalski always leaving the hose out so people would trip over it, but I couldn't quite get it right. You've saved me the trouble.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:56 AM
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Poles are not dangerous in firehouses. Czechs are another matter.
  #14  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:13 AM
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The realreason for poles has nothing to do with speed or getting downstairs. It's:


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, then, a spiral playground slide would work.
  #15  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:16 AM
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Some firehouses do have slides - safer than poles and just as quick. I was watching a video with my kids featuring the Ontario, CA fire department. At least one of their firehouses has a slide.
  #16  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:29 AM
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Do the holes around the poles have guard rails? I would think that one major danger would be having a big honkin' hole in the floor.
  #17  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:38 AM
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The realreason for poles has nothing to do with speed or getting downstairs. It's:


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I used to work in a building that was a converted firehouse. Yes, it still had the poll. Yes, we used it for fun. Yes, Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
  #18  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:39 AM
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There is a pole in my fire station, and I consider it one of the most dangerous things we have in the building. There is a railing around the hole upstairs, but is only a horizontal rail about three feet above the floor, with three uprights holding it up. When my daughter (or any other small child for that matter) has visited, I become overprotective crazy dad keeping her away. One misstep near that pole and its a 16 foot plummet. The 2" landing pad at the base barely absorbs a controlled descent, let alone a fall.

That being said, I cannot think of a faster way of getting four or five people downstairs. It takes about a second and a half to slide and clear the pole. Five of us tumbling down the stairs is going to slow us down or roll an ankle. Being an overgrown kid, I use it every chance I get. For practice, of course.

Our sleeping quarters are on the first floor, so we do not have recently awakened firefighters sliding down. That cuts down on a lot of potential problems.

Industry-wide, I remember quite a few pole related injuries in the 1990s and the early 2000s. I believe there was a fatality in Boston in the late 90s from a pole hole fall.

We also have a Pole. I will refrain from commenting about him.
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:41 AM
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The OP never explained just how the fireman suffered fatal accidents from poles.

It could have been their wives coming in and catching them with strippers.
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:56 AM
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My husband showed me how they slide down the pole without hands the other day. Takes some practice, I guess.

I agree, running down stairs is a bigger risk in this situation then sliding down a pole.

ETA: You should see how they quickly egress from a building down a ladder. Out the window head first and flip around once you're through.

Last edited by EmAnJ; 03-30-2012 at 11:57 AM.
  #21  
Old 03-30-2012, 12:05 PM
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Poles are not dangerous in firehouses. Czechs are another matter.
Only the good ones. The bad Czechs bounce.
  #22  
Old 03-30-2012, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
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Poles are not dangerous in firehouses. Czechs are another matter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie the Ocelot View Post
Only the good ones. The bad Czechs bounce.
then they wouldn't need a pole at all, just a hole in the floor.
  #23  
Old 03-30-2012, 12:12 PM
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Wait, are we talking about whether or not sliding down a pole is dangerous for people who run into burning buildings for a living?
There was a story on the Chicago news the other day, about a study on causes of on-the-job deaths for Chicago firefighters. Interestingly enough, the top two causes were not directly related to fire: they were traffic accidents while heading to fires, and heart attacks.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:27 PM
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I used to work in a building that was a converted firehouse. Yes, it still had the poll. Yes, we used it for fun. Yes, Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
Were you a Ghostbuster?
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:45 PM
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Poles are not dangerous in firehouses. Czechs are another matter.
They work for the post office. Or did you forget the Czechs are in the mail?
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:54 PM
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They work for the post office. Or did you forget the Czechs are in the mail?
They also work in government. We have a system of Czechs and balances.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:07 PM
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Were you a Ghostbuster?
Or Balki from Perfect Strangers.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:24 PM
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There was a story on the Chicago news the other day, about a study on causes of on-the-job deaths for Chicago firefighters. Interestingly enough, the top two causes were not directly related to fire: they were traffic accidents while heading to fires, and heart attacks.
See what I'm saying? Poles and pole-related accidents didn't even make the top three!
  #29  
Old 03-30-2012, 01:36 PM
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My husband showed me how they slide down the pole without hands the other day. Takes some practice, I guess.
I've seen that done, but not in a firehouse...
  #30  
Old 03-30-2012, 05:35 PM
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When my daughter (or any other small child for that matter) has visited, I become overprotective crazy dad keeping her away. One misstep near that pole and its a 16 foot plummet.
I think it was Chris Rock who said that your only job as a father is to keep your daughter off the pole.
  #31  
Old 03-30-2012, 06:48 PM
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I think it was Chris Rock who said that your only job as a father is to keep your daughter off the pole.
One of the two reasons I will do my damnedest to keep her from taking up firefighting as a career.

Not only do I work at one of two places where poles are commonly found, but unlike the other place, there are also beds. Its just a bad idea all around, really.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:53 AM
dougie_monty is offline
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Originally posted by Tom Tildrum
Quote:
Space constraints can't be the answer, because the building has to have a stairway anyway, for the firefighters to get back up to the second floor.
That's not what I meant. Space constraints would require that some rooms of the station be on the second floor, as in any building; the fast exit is what requires the pole or some other special means.

Originally posted by Scumpup
Quote:
Poles are not dangerous in firehouses. Czechs are another matter.
Nierozumim.

I once met an L. A. City Firefighter and I asked him what was the most dangerous part of his job. Rather than carrying victims out of a burning building, he said it was driving to and from work every day!

Last edited by dougie_monty; 03-31-2012 at 02:54 AM.
  #33  
Old 03-31-2012, 03:15 AM
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However, in the 1960s there were two fatal accidents involving people using the poles; and the Department in New York considers them dangerous. Chicago's department disagrees--they have never had such accidents. Who's right?
When I was in Kindergarten in 1966 we took a field trip to a small city fire department. A kid asked where the fire pole and we were told that they caused "lots of firemen to get hurt sliding down them". Don't know if they really consider 2 to be "lots" or if there were more injuries than mentioned in the OP. But as far back as '66 departments were getting rid of them.
  #34  
Old 03-31-2012, 03:26 AM
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What's the point of being a fireman if you can't slide down the pole? Why let strippers have all the fun?
  #35  
Old 03-31-2012, 03:44 AM
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What's the point of being a fireman if you can't slide down the pole? Why let strippers have all the fun?
Strippers? How did THEY get into the station?
  #36  
Old 03-31-2012, 09:58 AM
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ethnics, strippers, puns; this discussion is hosed.
  #37  
Old 03-31-2012, 02:00 PM
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Stippers use poles for their dances. Without firemen using poles all we would have left is strippers using poles.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:29 PM
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Good thread-I suggest you file a complaint with OSHA-they will write a 10 page analysis of fireman's poles.
I expect lawsuits too.
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