FDTN's 2016 Fall Live-Fire Training Camp was held last week and from all accounts was a great success. Hopefully you can make it out next year. In the meantime, here's a glimpse of what went on. #FDTN#fdtraining#firetraining
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SCBA knowledge…it doesn't get any more basic than this! Take a few minutes to review a tool that most of us take for granted.
Ventilation on the fireground has been going on since firefighters fought their first fire. Over the course of time the reason for ventilation has remained the same but we seem to have lost our focus on why it’s done. One term that’s fallen out of our fireground vocabulary is “coordinated attack,” and that’s a great place to start talking about ventilation.
Ventilation on the fireground is done for two main reasons; to let firefighters work (venting for fire) or to help civilians hang on a bit longer (venting for life). The priority or urgency for ventilation is tied directly to one of those reasons. In simple terms, if firefighters can make their push into the structure they’ll most likely be able to extinguish — and if they can’t then the fire will grow and consume more of the structure. If civilians are trapped inside, or firefighters are searching for civilians, then lifting the environment—even a couple of inches—may mean the difference between reaching (or not reaching) the civilian. A critical factor in either of the above examples is fireground ventilation.
When you think about fires of the past, when we didn’t have full bunker gear and we were using 11/2-inch (or smaller) attack lines, the only way firefighters could make the push into the structure was if somebody created a vent opposite of the firefighters’ push. This vent allowed the interior environment to escape on the opposite side of the advancing firefighters. As they pushed in and operated the line the fire and other products exited (for the most part) on the opposite side. Because the firefighters weren’t fully encapsulated in gear they could only push in as far as conditions would allow. Basically, the conditions stopped the attack until the needed ventilation was performed. If no ventilation was performed then chances are the team had to back out.
With increases in technology, both in bunker gear and lightweight hose and nozzle combinations, the current fireground has become a place where firefighters can penetrate deeper into the structure without coordinating the vent—simply because the gear and equipment masks the environment. Nothing has changed, as it relates to coordinated attack or the success it had, it’s just that we’ve fallen victim to technology. The end result is that we oftentimes cause more damage to the property or ourselves because we haven’t stuck to the basics of coordinating attack and ventilation and created the easiest environment to extinguish the fire. We’ve allowed technology to determine the tactics we use—unfortunately at the expense of sound fireground operations....
Second-due truck company operations are only a discussion in many fire departments—they simply don’t have the staffing on the fireground to consider splitting first- and second-due truck work. In reality, second-due truck work is a continuation of the truck work that the first-due truck (or crew assigned to truck work) must accomplish.
In an ideal world, the fireground is staffed with multiple engines and trucks. With multiple companies, crews can simply fall in and perform the task that’s next on the priority list. Unfortunately, we don’t work in an ideal setting, and the jobs that must be performed are determined based on the fireground size-up and staffing.
In our last edition we talked about the priority list of jobs that the first-arriving truck company (or crew assigned to truck work) must perform: truck company size-up, forcible entry, search, initial engine company ventilation and laddering. To continue the discussion, let’s look at the jobs normally assigned to the second-due truck company (or the crew assigned to continue the truck work on the fireground).
The duties of the second-due truck company may include ventilation, checking for extension and performing overhaul (support of the engine company), laddering, search and support of the first-due truck company. The priority of these duties, as with first-due operations, is based on the overall fireground size-up that the second-due truck performs as well as the progress of the first-due truck company (one of the biggest factors that must be considered)....