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**Keep your posts constructive with an intent to teach or learn**
This video is probably the most useful for showing the importance of pushing down ceilings after cutting the hole. Simply getting to the roof and cutting a hole does nothing to assist the interior crews if the fire has not entered the attic/cockloft area. It is clearly seen in several of these clips that there is a moderate to light smoke condition pushing from the ventilation opening until the members pushed the ceiling down. After the ceilings are pushed down in each clip, conditions changed drastically as the fire inside the building is successfully vented. Then and only then, will the members operating on the interior actually feel and/or see a difference in conditions. Note the wide-spread use of the “louver-cut” which is my preferred method when cutting a peaked roof. I have no idea how the videographer gets in position to take this footage, but we need a few more like him scattered throughout the country.
- Clip 1: 1 second – 25 seconds:
- Note the coordination between the members prior to pushing down the ceiling. One member turns around and appears to communicate that they are pushing down the ceiling.
- Keep an eye on the member with the saw. In my opinion (and it might be the angle of the camera) he comes dangerously close to the member’s leg. As a rule of thumb, chain brake on or not, I keep the blade/chain of a running saw touching the roof so it cannot spin/rotate. This assures that I will not come in contact with another member’s leg.
- Personally, I am uncomfortable if I sense or feel that someone is touching me while I am operating on a roof (especially a peaked roof and especially if I am operating a saw). I feel that I am more likely to be thrown off balance if I meet resistance or get more momentum as I move in a specific direction. The direction that I move may or may not be anticipated by the member “backing me up” and could cause an slight unintentional pull or shove in a direction that could throw me off balance.
- With that said, several members have learned roof and saw operations while being “backed-up” (hand on coat tail, cylinder or belt) by another member. I don’t feel that there is a right or wrong way. Figure out what works for you and if you are not comfortable as a saw operator being “backed-up”, don’t be afraid to tell the guys working around the hole with you not to touch you.
- If you are the firefighter on the roof that is expected to “back-up” a member operating a saw, NEVER touch the member operating the saw unless he knows your intentions. Your intentions are good, but many firefighters are more comfortable operating a saw without the “back-up” man in direct contact. Just because the member doesn’t want to be in direct contact, doesn’t mean that your job is complete. Conduct tasks such as: Assuring that the saw man does not walk off of the roof, monitoring radio traffic away from the saw so you can hear and assure the skylights, scuttles and bulkhead doors are opened up.
- Clip 2: 25 secs – 37 secs:
- This clip shows an excellent example of what conditions may be like on a roof. If the weather conditions are right, the smoke may hang low on the roof and obscure vision. If this is the case, as with any other case where you cannot see your feet, GET ON YOUR KNEES AND CRAWL! When operating inside a building, it is very easy to walk into a hole in the floor or fall down a set of stairs. If you are in front of a burning store with a heavy smoke condition, you may fall into an open exterior cellar entrance. If you are walking on a roof in conditions such as the conditions in the video, it could be very easy to walk off of an edge of a roof or into a scuttle or ventilation opening. Remember, not all flat-roof buildings have parapet walls on all 4 sides. Sometimes the rear wall will not have a parapet. Take your time and crawl when you can’t see your feet no matter where you are. Don’t worry about looking silly, no one can see you anyway!
- Clip 3: 38 secs – 50 secs:
- In this clip it appears that there is a scuttle in the bottom left of the video pushing heavy black smoke. Remember to open up ALL natural openings (skylights, scuttles and bulkheads) prior to starting a cutting operation. Interior companies are operating in the spaces served by the natural ventilation openings. They will directly benefit from those openings being ventilated first, and they are easier to complete. If you start a roof cutting operation prior to getting the natural vents, you may never get back to the natural ventilation openings.
- The ventilation cut is working very well at this fire. I am not sure of the layout of this building or even what type it is, but IF the building is a multiple dwelling, I may have placed the cut a little further in from the left wall in an attempt to ventilate another room. If it is a corner like this, my goal is to come four feet from each wall and start there. Your cut should then vent at least two rooms unless the room is very large. Their cut placement seemed to work for them in the video, just something to think about.
The clips between 50 seconds and 1:46, I find to reinforce much of what I have typed above. If anyone has anything else to add, please jump in with the time in the video and your comments.
- Last Clip: 1:46 – End:
- The members here may be operating on a bow-truss roof. It is hard to tell from the camera angle, but it appears that there is a slight bow in the roof. If it is a flat roof and I am wrong, I apologize but I would be remiss if I did not bring up the dangers of bow-truss roofs. If this is a bow-truss, a fire condition of this magnitude would be putting the members operating on this roof in extreme danger. Bow-trusses collapse with no warning and in huge sections.
- 6 FDNY firefighters killed in Brooklyn on August 2nd, 1978 at the Waldbaums Supermarket fire. For more information visit: http://stevespak.com/waldbaums.html
- 5 Hackensack, NJ firefighters killed on July 1st, 1988 at the Hackensack Ford Dealership. This fire was one month and a day short of being exactly 10 years later.
If anyone has comments or questions regarding anything that I have stated or have anything to add, we invite you to comment. We invite your constructive thoughts and comments to the thread for others to learn.
Going to FDIC? Come see Brotherhood Instructors’ Nate DeMarse present “Flat Roof Operations” on Thursday March 24th from 1:30 – 3:00 PM.