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Chief Forbush talks about emergency response

ALPENA, Mich.– As Chief Forbush arrived at the scene of the fire on Tuesday, he already had an idea of what needed to be done. That’s because firefighting involves plenty of planning ahead.

“We do a thing called pre-incident planning,” Forbush said, “And when we do a pre-plan, we’re looking for where the exits are, where the utility shutoffs may be, any hazardous materials that may be there, any fire protection or sprinkler systems that may be there, so that we know ahead of time how to interface with the existing systems that are there.”

Pre–incident planning also includes things like construction surveys, examining floor plans, and estimating the amount of water necessary for different sizes of fires. With that knowledge already in mind, firefighters can quickly decide their plan at the scene.

In this case, the department knew the ceiling had already become weakened and they couldn’t send people inside.

As Chief Forbush put it, they had to use a defensive strategy, which meant stopping the fire from reaching the neighboring Thunder Bay Theatre. Thanks their planning and swift response, that’s just what they were able to do.