Back To Basics: Effective Ventilation


c. If cockloft is not vented when skylights or scuttles are opened, the boxed area below them will have to be opened

d. Exposure fire should be completely vented with a roof opening over the hot spot

F. Shopping Centers, Row Stores, and Other One-story Buildings

1. Roof operations

a. Assume no fire walls between stores or building sections

b. Roof should be opened for venting first

c. Use natural roof features for first opening only if close enough to hot spot

d. If natural roof feature not close enough, cut opening over or near hot spot

e. After making one opening over main body of fire, natural openings can be used

f. Roof venting operations must be effective because buildings are practically windowless

g. Be aware of roof areas which might be particularly hazardous

h. Steel roof girders and joists are exposed to heat from below with no protective layer between steel and heat of fire

i. Avoid areas if roof is spongy or sagging

2. Attached occupancies

a. Once fire building roof is properly opened, roofs of attached buildings should be opened through natural roof features

1) Determine whether fire has spread

2) Allow accumulated gases to escape

b. If fire is found in attached exposure, roof should be opened over fire

3. Ground-level ventilation

a. When necessary, store can be ventilated through front display windows and through rear windows and doors

b. Window lights may be easier to remove

G. Basement Fires in Large Structures

1. Basement venting

a. Any opening into basement can be used for venting

1) If possible, ventilation openings should be away from those being used for fire attack

2) If single entrance, ventilate though basement windows

3) With single entrance, if fire is extinguished quickly, venting first floor may suffice to clear basement

4) First floor should be cut to open it to basement just inside front window if first floor venting does not suffice

5) Open front window on first floor to remove or draw smoke and gases from basement

6) For basement windows below ground level, knock out glass and remove grates if needed

b. Storefront walls

1) If no basement windows or doors in front of fire building, open low wall below display window to vent basement

2) Knock out display window before opening low wall - procedure used depends on material involved

3) Basement ceiling may need to be removed

4) May need to open display window floor to vent

5) If store has two display windows, both display window walls or floors should be opened

c. Other openings - any opening that will help ventilate basement should be used to permit fire attack and lessen chance of fire spread

2. First-floor venting

a. Vent through windows to remove products of combustion

b. Venting increases effectiveness of search and reduces change of fire spread

3. Roof venting

a. Shafts running through building must be opened at roof

b. Helps vent basement and prevents smoke accumulation and ignition of upper part of building

H. Fire Resistant Structures - cannot be vented in same way as more standard structures

1. Window venting

a. Best way to ventilate

b. Prop doors open and open as many windows as possible on both sides of corridor

c. If necessary, smoke ejectors can aid in ventilation

e. As soon thereafter as possible, vent floor above fire and search for victims

f. Hose lines should be advanced to floor above fire to keep fire from extending vertically

2. Stairway venting

a. If building is unoccupied or completely evacuated, doors from corridors to stairways can be opened

b. Stairway shafts will draw smoke from corridors and provide vertical venting

c. Remove heat and smoke as quickly as possible to relieve physical strain on engine crews


NOTE: Review the skills and techniques covered in the Fire Fighter I program. This section should be an opportunity to practice previously learned skills rather than a session where new skills are learned.

A. Full protective clothing including eye protection is required for this section.

B. It may be appropriate to review the handling, use, and operation of the tools to be used prior to any student demonstrations.