Back it Up, Open it Up, Vent it Up

Hello from the injured reserve seat, still. As I countdown the weeks until my return to the jumpseat it's time to focus on fighting hoarding fires again.

With my upcoming presentation on fighting fires in hoarder homes at the Ohio Fire and EMS Expo in Columbus, I am trying to cram a half days' worth of information into a 90-minute session. It's tough, but  I thought it would be great to share some "key points" here on the Views blog.

Hoarder fires are happening everyday - barely a week goes by without my Google alert sharing another story of a fire in hoarding conditions. Since taking on this topic, fires in these conditions continue to happen and seem to be on the increase. Without a doubt, each of us have one of these houses in our first due territory. My question is, are you prepared?

These fires are not bread and butter fires that require you to incorporate many tactical changes. Fog versus smooth-bore and vertical versus horizontal are questions that come to mind when facing a home full of stuff. The question is, will you know when to make these changes?

Don't get bored, train for a hoard - when you have your next training evolution, "spice" it up with some reduced profile spaces and tight pathways with falling objects. Warning…just as in real life, the falling objects can hurt firefighters. The object of this evolution is to give an interior crew the senses to get out. Yelp, I said it!

If you encounter a hoarding condition, the best option may be to back the truck up! Back it up, open it up, and vent it up to clear the area of smoke and heat so you can determine the best mode of entry while examining and stability of the belongings to continue the firefight.

Be safe everyone and always remember: Bunker up, buckle in, and remember we all start in the jumpseat!