Coordinated Ventilation – Part II by Nate DeMarse

I stumbled upon a couple videos that drive home points made in the earlier Coordinated Ventilation post. These videos clearly show answers to previously asked questions, and bring up some new discussion tips as well. This is precisely how we should be training at drills and training burns. I don't know where this department is, but they are a class act in training!

Video #1 – The OV Position:

In the first video, we see an Outside Ventilation (OV) firefighter in the correct position to horizontally vent the building opposite the attack line's advance. Note that at the very beginning of the video, the Nozzle Team is advancing the hose line THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR and to the seat of the fire. The door is forced, and they are moving in when the windows are taken.

The firefighter is off to one side of the window, and takes the window located furthest from him first. This assures that he will be able to vent both windows without delay. If the window closest to the firefighter is vented first, and fire vents from the opening the second (furthest window) may have to be abandoned. This is especially true if operating on a portable ladder or fire escape. 

Video #2 – Points & Pointers:

I am not certain, but I think the video below is another angle of the same video above (a very rare occurance in our profession). If it is not the same fire, we are going to use it like it is for the purposes of driving home a point.

As I stated in the comments in Part I, "We should also wait if the line is delayed in getting into position, charged and READY TO MAKE THE PUSH on the fire. There is a vast difference in a line being there, a line being charged, and all of the members masked up and ready to push in." This video starts with a charged attack line, but the door hasn't been forced. If the OV takes the windows prematurely, this fire will continue to spread and grow as the line is not ready to advance. After entry is gained, you can hear the officer telling the OV to "take that glass".

Entering the Building Side-Note:  At the :35 second mark, you will see the camera move to the front stoop of the house. Note the visibility at the floor level! You can see nearly ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE HOUSE. Yet nearly every single firefighter that entered the building entered either standing or slight crouched with their head in the smoke, unable to see ANYTHING! I will reiterate at this point that I am not beating up on this department, THIS HAPPENS EVERYWHERE!!

Take a second after the door is forced to put your face piece directly on the floor and look UNDER the smoke. This requires you to get on your knees to accomplish. The nice thing about taking a look at the floor level is that you have to physically, consciously make a decision to stand-up to enter after you look.

Here are a few other benefits that stem from taking a few seconds to get low and take a look:

  • You allow the heat and super-heated gases that have built up in the sealed building a few seconds to "blow" and push over your head. This in turn will cause the smoke to lift off of the floor, and allow for the following:
    • You will be able to see a victim lying on the floor 10 feet or further inside the doorway, at that point you can say you conducted a rescue instead of tripping over someone and pretending that you rescued them! The Medal Ceremony will sound supurb, but you will know the truth!
    • You will be able to get a room, floor or apartment layout.
    • You will be able to see the glow of the fire on the floor, or the fire itself. You will know that it is on the right side of the hall, three doorways down.
    • You wlll see the large hole in the floor five feet inside the house and not fall into the basement and promptly call a "Mayday" within seconds of entering the building.

You will know all of this information at the front door, without walking (not searching) blindly. Then, because you are already on your knees conducting this vital size-up skill, you will enter the building safely on your knees, crawling towards your objective(s). When we couple the skills listed in this side-note with the OV performing those tasks in the correct position and the correct time, you will have the opportunity to gather vital information before entering.

(and yes, those words can be used together)!

Forcible Entry Side-Note: The Forcible Entry team did a good job on the door. If you look closely, on the fourth swing the Striking FF nearly misses high with the axe. With hand placement so close to the axe-head, just a little more of a miss could have caused a crush injury. Believe it or not, in our travels this is the most common cause of injury in forcible entry (almost always resulting in at least one broken finger). To remedy that concern, This video (one of our first created nearly 2 years ago) shows safe striking techniques. Additionally, Brotherhood Instructors, LLC axes now have our company markings (colored electrical tape) 6"-7" below the head of the axe. Any firefighter using our axes know that if they place their top hand where the tape is, their hands are in the safe zone. Again, this is a very common injury and very rarely do we get a chance to catch forcible entry tools and members practicing their craft.

I think this fire department is doing a great job in getting their training done as we operate. Far too may training burns just walk members through the motions, leaving them with a false sense of security of what a real fire will be like (i.e: setting themselves up for failure). This department has their members on the radio, and conducting coordinated ventilation and fire attack. These videos left some open some great discussion points using realistic training and errors that occur on EVERY fireground!

Feel free to post comments, questions or concerns. We are all here to learn so let the learning commence!

Nate DeMarse
Co-Owner, Brotherhood Instructors, LLC.


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