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  1. #1
    Forum Member RobbyJR307's Avatar
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    Default Positive Pressure Attack (PPA)

    PPA is a new thing in our area over the past couple years. My department has used it for the past 2 years. I was wondering if any other departments use it and how do you like using it and the advantages and disadvanges in your opionions??
    Rob
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    Engine Co 3
    Westmoreland City

    These opinions are mine and mine only nobody eles.


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    I'm pretty new the whole PPA theory, but recently within the last 2 weeks I took the class from Chief Garcia, and Chief Kauffmann, in wyoming. My suggestions to anyone who want to know more about it get into the class no matter how far you have to travel, its a great class, the theory is great, and its the way the fire service is going. We recently we to the drill tower to experienment and we found that we need more exhaust initally from the get go but once we got enough exhaust it works very well. Have yet to experience it in a true fire but we'll see how it goes when we do. I dont see any reason why it wont work.
    Ride together, Die together, Brotherhood forever

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    Default fires

    The quicker you put out the fire the quicker the situation is mitigated.
    PGFD

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    It makes everything considerably easier with PPA then the traditional methods.
    Ride together, Die together, Brotherhood forever

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    IF done CORRECTLY. If not,things get real interesting REAL quick. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 09-23-2009 at 08:49 AM.

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    Id agree with that statement which is the exact reason why its so important to train on PPA and make sure everyone is on the same page and understands it all
    Ride together, Die together, Brotherhood forever

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    Forum Member RobbyJR307's Avatar
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    Yeah we are having Chief Garcia and Kauffman come to our department in November and teach thier class. I have also heard that it is a great class.
    Rob
    FireFighter/EMT/VRT
    Engine Co 3
    Westmoreland City

    These opinions are mine and mine only nobody eles.

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    i am still skeptical on buying their attack method full out.

    however 2 points remember from their class that made me think alot
    1.) if you can lesson the steam from extinguisment, the victims' survivability rates increase. the two of causes of fire fatalities, CO and airway burns specifically. CO is something the medics and docs can rectify (in certain doses) but airway burns can not be rectified. Such as a fire where the EC shows up and stretches hose to the fire and applies water to the hot environment. regardless of stream type there will always be some steam. they say if we can channel (and forcibly channel) the steam away from the victims, we can possibly save some more of them. this is of course in areas like mine where a TC is still 3-5 mins out from the 1st due EC.

    2.) each time we reduce the fire environment by 17 degrees Fahrenheit ( i believe that is the # they gave) the possibility of flashover goes down by half. this is accomplished by the forced venting of the fire allowing heat to go out of the building and preventing it building near the origins room and hallway.

    like i said earlier, i have not bought into their methods but have been chewing on these two items since hearing their presentation. they make good cases but is not the "golden ticket" they paint it to be IMO.
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

  9. #9
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    Default Not the End All Solution

    I know this will be the proverbial "broken record" for some here, but I think you need to look at your geographic area to determine the suitability of PPA. There are lots of factors, but the geographic locale seems to be the one that comes into play most with whether or not PPA has been found effective.

    1. Here in the Northeast, we have tons of older wood frame buildings, quite often with balloon construction. In my book balloon construction is a contraindication of PPA until you can verify the compartment is still intact. We do this by letting out the heat/smoke and entering the compartment and adjacent space to see the extent of extension. (don't forget the attic and basement in the balloon frames)

    2. In many areas of the US we have different climates. In FL or AZ the homes are often tight and use AC or heat to regulate temperature. Here in the Northeast and I suspect elsewhere windows and doors are the primary way residents control their heat. In the summer windows are open, in the winter they're closed and so are many interior doors. This leads to us being unable to control the travel of the pressurized air/smoke/heat/fire and makes it difficult to control the exhaust opening. These are again contraindications in my book.

    3. Older parts of the country seen many rebuilds/re-uses of structures so the "typical" building may be far different than it appears from the outside, again making it very difficult to control the path of pressurized heat/smoke/fire/air.

    Anytime we fail to control the path of travel of smoke/heat/fire we have a problem. This is basic ventilation. Now we arrive and add velocity to the smoke/heat/fire without control of where it's going? Where are the victims? The one significant issue is not knowing for certain if victims are between the fan and the exhaust opening? Sure we may be able to get in faster and see better, but what if we've pushed the fire toward a victim? I'm not ready to take that chance.

    I do believe PPA has merit where it meets the criteria for use, but we we seem to be seeing FD's making wholesale tactical changes based on it's use, with far less time spent ensuring the PPA is indicated.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 09-23-2009 at 08:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    We use Positive pressure(with CAUTION)on a lot of buildings.As Adam says,before you throttle up,you better know where your problem is(Fire). I've used it in Balloons as long as the above criteria are met. I find it lowers temps and makes it easier for the crews to work,they can see better and work longer if you employ PPA.That being said,if you DO NOT pay attention,you'll build a parking lot.Extensive training is required for best results. T.C.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    I do believe PPA has merit where it meets the criteria for use
    Can't say it any better than that.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I know this will be the proverbial "broken record" for some here, but I think you need to look at your geographic area to determine the suitability of PPA. There are lots of factors, but the geographic locale seems to be the one that comes into play most with whether or not PPA has been found effective.

    1. Here in the Northeast, we have tons of older wood frame buildings, quite often with balloon construction. In my book balloon construction is a contraindication of PPA until you can verify the compartment is still intact. We do this by letting out the heat/smoke and entering the compartment and adjacent space to see the extent of extension. (don't forget the attic and basement in the balloon frames)

    2. In many areas of the US we have different climates. In FL or AZ the homes are often tight and use AC or heat to regulate temperature. Here in the Northeast and I suspect elsewhere windows and doors are the primary way residents control their heat. In the summer windows are open, in the winter they're closed and so are many interior doors. This leads to us being unable to control the travel of the pressurized air/smoke/heat/fire and makes it difficult to control the exhaust opening. These are again contraindications in my book.

    3. Older parts of the country seen many rebuilds/re-uses of structures so the "typical" building may be far different than it appears from the outside, again making it very difficult to control the path of pressurized heat/smoke/fire/air.

    Anytime we fail to control the path of travel of smoke/heat/fire we have a problem. This is basic ventilation. Now we arrive and add velocity to the smoke/heat/fire without control of where it's going? Where are the victims? The one significant issue is not knowing for certain if victims are between the fan and the exhaust opening? Sure we may be able to get in faster and see better, but what if we've pushed the fire toward a victim? I'm not ready to take that chance.

    I do believe PPA has merit where it meets the criteria for use, but we we seem to be seeing FD's making wholesale tactical changes based on it's use, with far less time spent ensuring the PPA is indicated.
    This advice is spot on. We've been using PPV coordinated attack for over 15 years and it works well for us, given the proper conditions. We do not have balloon frame construction in our area (in fact, we have very few two story structures at all), so that is not an issue for us. You do have to have a relatively intact structure where you can control the exit points...again, most houses are closed up tight with A/C so this usually works for us.

    It does take some training and practice to apply properly. Choosing an exit or exhaust point as close to the seat of the fire as possible is crucial. Also, train your people on how to place the fan in the doorway...some who don't understand how PPV works want to stick the fan right in the doorway instead of 6 to 8 feet back from it like it's supposed to be. The idea is to create a cone of air that encompasses the entire doorway.

    Also, it's important that the initial hose team is ready to make entry as soon as the fan is applied, because the fire will intensify fairly quickly as soon as the fan is cranked up. As long as the entry team is ready to go they should be able to get a knock on it before it becomes a problem. Visibility and heat conditions will be much improved, allowing them to find the seat of the fire quickly.

    Departments just starting out with PPV should get to a burn building or acquired structure and smoke it up, and get comfortable with it before using it on the fireground.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Default

    Nice to see a calm discussion on a controversial subject for a change

    IMHO, which is based on actual real time incidents not just reading a book/internet forum or a training burn, PPV or PPA is a great tool. The previous advice is all pretty good. However, just because you have closed interior doors, or open windows does not mean you can't use PPA, it simply means you may have to change your tactics slightly.

    First of all, several closed interior doors allows your main hallways--insert firefighter ingress/egress--to clear more quickly, allowing you to reach the fire seat faster. Also, since alot of victims are found in hallways/points of exit you may find the victim more quickly as well.

    Secondly, open windows allow more exit ports for the bad stuff. Sure, it may go slightly slower, but it'll get the job done.

    Third, while it does create the possibility of "speeding up" the actual fire, if you're hitting the seat of the fire with the proper GPM/stream/hoseline, you should still make adequate progress. Regardless of PPV use or not, you should be sending later arriving crews to check for extension, and you should be checking for the possibility of basement fires upon initial entry that if present could cause problems from PPV.

    The biggest problem we tend to see is people like to "set it and forget it." If you're going to use it, have communication in place so that if conditions begin to change someone is alert and can shut off the fan immediately.

    Overall though, it's just another of the long list of hotly debated topics in the fire service. Some of our crews/shifts swear by PPV, other crews/shifts just swear AT PPV! For every "it almost killed us" story you hear, there is an equal story of "it really made things alot better and safer." Weigh the pros and cons, use it, try it, practice it, understand it. Know when and where to apply it, know when and where to skip it.

    Firefighting is a constantly changing no two fires the same kind of job. The use of PPV/PPA is no different. I like it and call for it when it applies. But when I'm working under the BC who absolutely hates it, I know that the fire will still get vented, just the more traditional way. You have to choose for yourself, but always know what the alternative method for doing something is.

    Take care all my brothers and sisters.

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    First, let me say I think you're experience is similar to ours with likely more opportunities to see it work or not. My FD tried PPA/PPV for many years, and basically failed to see it's benefits regularly enough to make it more standard. We still carry blowers and use PPV when it's indicated, but rarely as part of the attack. It is generally smoke removal after control. A big part of our decision were the factors I listed in the previous post combined with too few officers having been adequately trained during the years we tried it. As I said, I think the controversy is often misplaced by failing to account for the types of structures and climate issues many cities face. Looking at some of the larger proponents, they tend to be from areas with newer housing stock, and more controls of the potential exhaust outlets. I'm thinking Phoenix, CA, Salt Lake City, many FL Fd's. On the opposite side, we see numerous traditional ventialtion "purists" from the Northeast, Great Lakes areas, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by YFDLt08 View Post
    First of all, several closed interior doors allows your main hallways--insert firefighter ingress/egress--to clear more quickly, allowing you to reach the fire seat faster. Also, since alot of victims are found in hallways/points of exit you may find the victim more quickly as well.
    Agreed, except how do you know where the heat, fire and smoke are being pushed too? If the wrong door is closed, we may push the fire into voids, occupied spaces, ceilings or just pressurize the first few spaces and having the soup blow back on us. This was our concern when faced with heavy smoke conditions in the winter time. Many residents up here close off whole section of their homes to keep heating costs down. It's not uncommon to see rear rooms, second floors or unused bedroom sealed up with insulating board during Jan, Feb and March.
    Quote Originally Posted by YFDLt08 View Post
    Secondly, open windows allow more exit ports for the bad stuff. Sure, it may go slightly slower, but it'll get the job done.
    Again, no doubt that this will overall assist with ventilation and merely lessen the efficiency of the PPV but you'll likely see a net gain in overall smoke movement. Again, our concern is actually controlling the direction of the accelerated bad stuff. For some reason I just feel like if I speed the movement of the heat and smoke, I need to be in control of where it's going. I guess the same can be said for taking windows or popping the top.
    Quote Originally Posted by YFDLt08 View Post
    Third, while it does create the possibility of "speeding up" the actual fire, if you're hitting the seat of the fire with the proper GPM/stream/hoseline, you should still make adequate progress.
    I can see this is the real benefit most of us would hope for. Our staffing fails to ensure we can adequately do this. Here, search is often done while the limited crew on the stretch contains the fire. Actual extinguishment may not be readily achievable while ensuring the safety of the crew above, so the fan could create more problems than it solved. Sadly, I don't see the staffing issue being properly addressed for a while.
    Quote Originally Posted by YFDLt08 View Post
    Regardless of PPV use or not, you should be sending later arriving crews to check for extension, and you should be checking for the possibility of basement fires upon initial entry that if present could cause problems from PPV.
    Ensuring the basement is not involved is part of our initial size-up and is preached more and more every day with trusses and lightweight construction dominating the new building and renovations market. Good points for PPV/PPA use or not. Where is the fire? Where has it been? Where is it going? All must be constantly checked.

    As i said, I'm certain it works in many places, for many reasons and likely could work here with the right conditions, but for now we're sticking to after knockdown. It is definitely a tool in our toolbox, albeit the one right next to the Detroit Door Opener.

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    Default Ppa

    After using PPA for 2 decades I have found that if I follow the basic premise of having enough exhaust and educating all members on the department in the theory and then train on the tactic, that if the fire situation is conducive to PPA, everything gets much better. I have also found that if you do not have enough exhaust and if everyone on the fire ground is not educated things can and do go wrong.
    Departments need to do more than just buy fans. There is nothing on your apparatus (with the exception of water) that will impact the fire more than a fan. To simply place them in service with little or no training is irresponsible. We invite everyone to take a look at our website positivepressureattack.com and look at some of our articles that we have published over the last few years, The newest information out there is in these articles. If anyone has anything to share (good or bad) that would help this movement let us know. Challenge is good. This is your website.
    Due to increased demand we are also doing an additional instructor academy in December or January. This one will be in Southern California.
    Keep the discussion going,,,,if nothing else try to prove us wrong.
    Thanks
    Kriss

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Agreed, except how do you know where the heat, fire and smoke are being pushed too? If the wrong door is closed, we may push the fire into voids, occupied spaces, ceilings or just pressurize the first few spaces and having the soup blow back on us. This was our concern when faced with heavy smoke conditions in the winter time. Many residents up here close off whole section of their homes to keep heating costs down. It's not uncommon to see rear rooms, second floors or unused bedroom sealed up with insulating board during Jan, Feb and March.
    Very true. We haven't had too much problem typically with "fire" spread into voids, but we of course do get "smoke" spread. So yes, the soup as you put it does come back at times, but at least it's soup minus the meat/fire. I also agree with the cold weather ops, as quite typically you quickly lose some ability to tell smoke from steam/vapors from the temperature changes. It has a way of just kind of hanging around doesn't it?

    Again, no doubt that this will overall assist with ventilation and merely lessen the efficiency of the PPV but you'll likely see a net gain in overall smoke movement. Again, our concern is actually controlling the direction of the accelerated bad stuff. For some reason I just feel like if I speed the movement of the heat and smoke, I need to be in control of where it's going. I guess the same can be said for taking windows or popping the top.
    I can see this is the real benefit most of us would hope for. Our staffing fails to ensure we can adequately do this. Here, search is often done while the limited crew on the stretch contains the fire. Actual extinguishment may not be readily achievable while ensuring the safety of the crew above, so the fan could create more problems than it solved. Sadly, I don't see the staffing issue being properly addressed for a while.
    We are quite often able to have a ladder company or other company fairly quickly getting in and opening/closing interior doors/windows etc to help maintain some control. In cases we don't have that ability, we still have generally seen enough improvement of heat and smoke conditions that even when we push it further along we're still improving the overall situation.

    We don't have enough staffing in a perfect world either, we've just found ways to better utilize what we have. We pretty much always get an attack going before any kind of true ventilation. Sure we take some initial heat, but we're making the fire less right off the bat so it's worth it. Our ventilation is still pretty close behind the first line.

    Ensuring the basement is not involved is part of our initial size-up and is preached more and more every day with trusses and lightweight construction dominating the new building and renovations market. Good points for PPV/PPA use or not. Where is the fire? Where has it been? Where is it going? All must be constantly checked.
    Very true. If we determine a potential for basement fire or rapid pre-arrival extension then PPV/PPA may be sidelined for that particular incident.

    As i said, I'm certain it works in many places, for many reasons and likely could work here with the right conditions, but for now we're sticking to after knockdown. It is definitely a tool in our toolbox, albeit the one right next to the Detroit Door Opener.

    Very pertinent comments and good discussion. I am not speaking across the board, simply what generally works for us with the type of fires we deal with. Hope I answered some of your questions/comments, if not email me. Always happy to bounce ideas around with someone who can have a constructive learning conversation.

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    I have read the book positive pressure attack written by the guys from salt lake city. I understand the concepts however have not had the oppertunity to conduct hands on training on the tactic of PPA. we currently use PPV for post knock down smoke removal when needed.

    I understand that from the exhaust point you are going to get a large amount of heat and fire blowing out. My question is how great of a concern is the auto exposure to upper levels and the attic area? I would think that with vinyl sofits it would easily travel up the sofit and into the attic. causing your r/c fire to turn into a more severe fire. This is one of the questions i had whilie reading the book and veiwing vids online.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    I have read the book positive pressure attack written by the guys from salt lake city. I understand the concepts however have not had the oppertunity to conduct hands on training on the tactic of PPA. we currently use PPV for post knock down smoke removal when needed.

    I understand that from the exhaust point you are going to get a large amount of heat and fire blowing out. My question is how great of a concern is the auto exposure to upper levels and the attic area? I would think that with vinyl sofits it would easily travel up the sofit and into the attic. causing your r/c fire to turn into a more severe fire. This is one of the questions i had whilie reading the book and veiwing vids online.
    Full disclosure I am not familiar with the book from Salt Lake you're referring to, although now I'm curious. I can only speak as to what my experiences have been, what I've discussed with others, what I've read/viewed in text and online.

    We have alot of heat and smoke blowing out from the exit point. We don't tend to see any real greater volume of fire than what was already present. I believe this is basically due to attacking the seat of the fire at the same time or prior to initiating ppv. By reducing the seat of the fire, you're reducing the "power" behind the extension. Sure, you may see flames licking out the window and approaching the soffit area, but it is typically just the fingers of the fire so to speak. There isn't enough "staying power" in the fingers to heat/raise surface temp/ignite the soffit. Melting? Quite possible. But actually having enough heat on the soffit long enough to start actual combustion, probably not.

    Regardless, you should be checking all levels of the structure for extension anyways. If you have reason to believe you may be compromising the soffit/attic area because of PPA/PPV, then get a crew in quicker to check for extension and monitor that area. Low on manpower? Shut off the fan, see what effect that has, then check for extension and restart as indicated.

    I still firmly believe that people try to use ppv as a "one size fits all" approach. It works great in the right situation. It creates a bigger hazard in others. Try it and if it begins to create a bigger problem, stop it before it becomes an insurmountable or completely untenable problem. You MUST have an attack line in OPERATION before you fire up that fan. Not still stretching, not stretched and waiting for water, actual operation. Flowing water? Not necessarily, but charged, bled, taken to where you're planning on opening up the nozzle...as close to the seat as is appropriate.

    Again, I'm not an expert. Our department is split as to whether to use it or not. The majority of my shift uses it regularly and finds it beneficial. But as some other people have posted, everyone has to be on the same page at the same incident for it to be beneficial. Not hard, just communication and experience.
    Last edited by YFDLt08; 09-25-2009 at 10:48 PM.

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    YFDlt08- here is the link to the book from firebooks.com

    http://www.firebooks.com/Catalog.asp...N&ProdNum=3099

    From my understanding they are advocating putting the fan inplace before entry is made into the fire building. The nozzleman pulls and streatches the line charged and bled to the entry door. the back up man cuts the fan on leaves it in the yard blowing away from the door. the officer during his 360 walk around makes and exit point for the PPA. Once he is done the fan is turned to the doorway. After about 30 secs the firefighters make entry to rapidly advance to the fire area and suppress the fire.

    I read the book about a year ago so the above might be alittle off. I think one of the authors has posted in this thread already, hence i asked the question.

    It is highly unlikely my department will make this a standard tactic. we are a very traditional old east coast department. That is why i have read about it and never tried it in real life. i just like learning how others skin the cat.

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    Would I be safe to assume that A) you have located the seat of the fire and B) vented the far side BEFORE you put PPV into place?

    Just asking because I've seen it "fan the flames" on more than one occasion but admittedly there was little startegy being employed in those cases.

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