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Thread: Popularity of VES

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    I highly doubt you would share this opinion if you were operating on the inside.
    I highly doubt I would be operating as an interior team before handling a potential rescue. There isn't a whole lot of VES that gets done well into the incident. It is usualy a tactic used by the first or second in company, meaning there aren't any interior crews to worry about.

    If you have crews inside operating close enough to the area where the victim could be, just perform a regular search.
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    I like to take the window from the ladder not with the ladder. I always try to gauge the conditions first, and take the window from the top down. Punch one or two sections out then if it looks ok clear the rest.
    Bring enough hose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by L-Webb View Post
    I like to take the window from the ladder not with the ladder. I always try to gauge the conditions first, and take the window from the top down. Punch one or two sections out then if it looks ok clear the rest.
    Exactly how I was trained.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    Well call me crazy...but I would rather not see it at all!

    Why would you disregard the safety of those operating on the inside by not at least LOOKING into the room you are about to vent? Their safety isn't worth a few extra swings of a halligan?
    Actual use of VES nullifies your point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    I highly doubt I would be operating as an interior team before handling a potential rescue. There isn't a whole lot of VES that gets done well into the incident. It is usualy a tactic used by the first or second in company, meaning there aren't any interior crews to worry about.

    If you have crews inside operating close enough to the area where the victim could be, just perform a regular search.
    If this is really what you think, then you truly don't understand VES nor the consequences within a building when you ventilate windows.

    And if you are a first due company, and you are dedicating members to VES prior to stretching a line to the interior when you have the ability to do so, you have strategic and tactical errors in your procedures.

    If you have crews that are cut off by fire to the occupied rooms of the building, how do you propose they just do a "regular search" to get to those room? That is the entire point of VES. Getting into rooms that would otherwise be impossible in a timely fashion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    Actual use of VES nullifies your point.
    Not in the least.

    There are many windows and many rooms in fire buildings. Just haphazardly picking one and taking the window without thinking through the consequences of your actions with regards to your own safety and those operating on the inside is what makes VES so wildly dangerous to those that don't actually understand the tactic.

    I am beginning to think you may be one of those firefighters that doesn't quite understand it.

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    I highly suggest you read the latest NIST study on VES and speak to guys who utilize VES frequently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    Not in the least.

    There are many windows and many rooms in fire buildings. Just haphazardly picking one and taking the window without thinking through the consequences of your actions with regards to your own safety and those operating on the inside is what makes VES so wildly dangerous to those that don't actually understand the tactic.

    I am beginning to think you may be one of those firefighters that doesn't quite understand it.
    We are discussing PROPER VES. "Haphazardly picking windows" has nothing to do with that. I understand VES quite well and have taught it enough to feel competent in it. I am by no means perfect but don't take my disagreeance as being ill-informed. Likewise, you seem to know plenty of book knowledge on the subject but it seems you haven't had much in the way of actual real world experience. While I'll gladly eat crow if you prove otherwise, your counterpoints only make me question your experience with it and not your knowledge on it.


    You are echoing our repeated statement that fire behavior is of the utmost importance when being placed in a VES situation. On the other hand, your scenarios are examples of when VES is futile. In all due respect you are discussing YOUR departments operation while completely ignoring the fact that others, such as myself and gtr, do not have the fortune of operating in sync with an attack team. Sometimes VES is used as a last resort to get any survivable parties out and nothing more. If we had time, and conditions allowed, to deploy an attackline then we
    Had time for a normal primary search.

    I'm not trying to offend, I'm sure you have more fire ground experience than myself but we aren't exactly connecting on real world situations that necessitate either VES or certain methods involved with VES.
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    Per our S.O.P.'s VES is primarily used earlier on in fire ground ops. Or in instances when there is no other way to reach a victim.

    Example: You pull up on scene and the home owner states I can't find my kid! Oh God they must still be in the house, maybe in their bedroom. You ask, where is their room? 2nd floor third window from the left! You take your ladder, take out the window from the ground, Enter the room, make for the bedroom door, upon finding same, check just outside and then close the door. After closing the door, search the room. If you find a victim, rescue same. If not you still leave.

    Just just don't randomly pick and window and ves it for the heck of it, that is just stupid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    Per our S.O.P.'s VES is primarily used earlier on in fire ground ops. Or in instances when there is no other way to reach a victim.

    Example: You pull up on scene and the home owner states I can't find my kid! Oh God they must still be in the house, maybe in their bedroom. You ask, where is their room? 2nd floor third window from the left! You take your ladder, take out the window from the ground, Enter the room, make for the bedroom door, upon finding same, check just outside and then close the door. After closing the door, search the room. If you find a victim, rescue same. If not you still leave.

    Just just don't randomly pick and window and ves it for the heck of it, that is just stupid.
    The "close the door" element seems to be completely missed by some posters here. I know I mentioned it in at least 2 posts I made here. Simply stated, if you take out the window from the ground with the ladder, and fire blows out the window before you even get up the ladder, you would have had no chance to control the door.
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    Dont forget to feel just outside the door..
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The "close the door" element seems to be completely missed by some posters here. I know I mentioned it in at least 2 posts I made here. Simply stated, if you take out the window from the ground with the ladder, and fire blows out the window before you even get up the ladder, you would have had no chance to control the door.
    I agree fully and lets be honest if the room going to flash over, I much rather it have flash while I'm standing on the ground than a brick mold away!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    If this is really what you think, then you truly don't understand VES nor the consequences within a building when you ventilate windows.

    And if you are a first due company, and you are dedicating members to VES prior to stretching a line to the interior when you have the ability to do so, you have strategic and tactical errors in your procedures.

    If you have crews that are cut off by fire to the occupied rooms of the building, how do you propose they just do a "regular search" to get to those room? That is the entire point of VES. Getting into rooms that would otherwise be impossible in a timely fashion.
    You sound like you would make a great safety officer. The beauty of the matter is that usually the first in company can get the VES performed before the S.O. arrives on scene.

    Like Taj said, talk to some guys who have actually done this instead of reading from a book.

    Even though Bull spelled it out to a T, I will do it again anyway, in steps:

    We will assume this is a second story VES.

    1. Arrive on scene.
    2. Occupant states victim is inside, at a specific location.
    3. Throw ladder to desired window, taking the glass in the process.
    4. Position tools on the highest ladder rung while watching conditons inside room. If it flashes or shows signs of immediate flashover, abandon VES and move on to another task. If conditions allow, move to step 5.
    5. Ascend ladder, take the rest of the window and sash.
    6. Look into the room and gather info on what you see. Look at the base of the window for someone who may be lying there.
    7. Sound the floor.
    8. Enter the room, leaving one tool propped out the window. This gives a reference point that can be seen from across the room as to where the exit is. It also lets other firefighters know you are searching the room. Now would be a good time to scan with a TIC if you have one. If a second firefighter is availabe, he should be waiting at the window on the tip of the ladder.
    9. Begin your search. Make your way around the room, eventually coming to the door. When you get there, search just outside it, and then close it. Make your way around the entire room.
    10. Once the search is complete, either exit with your victim or exit alone.

    Notice the steps that weren't mentioned:
    - Wait for 2 in 2 out manpower to be available.
    - Wait for a charged hose line.
    - Consider how taking thw window will affect fire spread.

    If taking the window causes the entire house to eventually burn, but we made a rescue in the process, OH WELL. If you honestly have to debate whether life safety or ventiliation effects are more important, I suggest you turn in your gear.
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    While it is true that venting the window does influence the fire dynamic of a given "box", this only serves to prove that time is needed to observe the behavior in the box. VES isn't any more dangerous than a primary search, not understanding WHY you do what you do is.

    The basic knowledge of what a flash over is would make the "opening a window and killing everyone inside" scenario laughably pedantic. Unless your attack crew teleported into a completely sealed structure, they've got fresh air coming in from whatever door they've entered through. If you are sucking fire through the window, it was there before you were.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    You sound like you would make a great safety officer. The beauty of the matter is that usually the first in company can get the VES performed before the S.O. arrives on scene.

    Like Taj said, talk to some guys who have actually done this instead of reading from a book.

    Even though Bull spelled it out to a T, I will do it again anyway, in steps:

    We will assume this is a second story VES.

    1. Arrive on scene.
    2. Occupant states victim is inside, at a specific location.
    3. Throw ladder to desired window, taking the glass in the process.
    4. Position tools on the highest ladder rung while watching conditons inside room. If it flashes or shows signs of immediate flashover, abandon VES and move on to another task. If conditions allow, move to step 5.
    5. Ascend ladder, take the rest of the window and sash.
    6. Look into the room and gather info on what you see. Look at the base of the window for someone who may be lying there.
    7. Sound the floor.
    8. Enter the room, leaving one tool propped out the window. This gives a reference point that can be seen from across the room as to where the exit is. It also lets other firefighters know you are searching the room. Now would be a good time to scan with a TIC if you have one. If a second firefighter is availabe, he should be waiting at the window on the tip of the ladder.
    9. Begin your search. Make your way around the room, eventually coming to the door. When you get there, search just outside it, and then close it. Make your way around the entire room.
    10. Once the search is complete, either exit with your victim or exit alone.

    Notice the steps that weren't mentioned:
    - Wait for 2 in 2 out manpower to be available.
    - Wait for a charged hose line.
    - Consider how taking thw window will affect fire spread.

    If taking the window causes the entire house to eventually burn, but we made a rescue in the process, OH WELL. If you honestly have to debate whether life safety or ventiliation effects are more important, I suggest you turn in your gear.
    If throwing insults is your way of debating this topic, then you have already lost.

    I have never posted anything that would make you think ANY of what you just wrote about me true, but lets not let the truth get in the way.

    Many of your opinions on the topic seem to come straight out of a book, yet lack the depth to truly understand what I am saying which makes me questions how many times you have actually performed VES as opposed to simply reading about it.

    This began as a discussion about the downsides of taking a window with a portable ladder as opposed to climbing it and SEEING the conditions prior to taking the window. I fail to see what is so difficult to understand here and you have failed to make a compelling argument about why you would skip this critical step.

    With regards to turning in my gear, I would suggest that YOU should be the one turning in your gear if you think that taking a window from the outside without ANY regard for the occupants and firefighters INSIDE the building is a sound firefighting practice.

    Taking the window from the ground without first looking into the window is simply unjustifiable. Burning firefighters and other civilians operating inside is unjustifiable when there is a better way to do what you are suggesting.

    As far as communicating with the IC before you take a window...what good does that do? Is he inside making a push on the fire? Is he getting the line into position? Is he in the hallway with fire rolling over his hed trying to make it to the bedroom you are about to VES? NO!

    But one of your officers or other firefighters just may be! You should be communicating with those operating INSIDE about your VES intentions. Not doing so is reckless much the same way taking the window from the ground is reckless.

    And if you work/volunteer for a department that believes in having its first company VES prior to sending members INSIDE with a handline and to begin a search, then you are worse off than I thought.

    VES is done in conjunction with interior operations...not in place of.

    This is why it is so critical that the effort be coordinated. If this concept is not clear to you, than it is obvious that you have performed this task minimally at best and it is not a part of your routine operations. Also, if you are only performing VES ONLY when someone tells you specifically that someone is in a particular room, then it is not a part of your routine operation.

    If you VES routinely at every fire as a standard tactical procedure then you would understand what I am saying to you.

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    Allow me to step in and suggest you might both be right given your area, SOPs and staffing levels.

    We'll conduct VES with a first due crew prior to an attack line being pulled when we have reports of people trapped or missing. Otherwise we'll pull an attack line first and have the second due engine (we don't run trucks) perform VES or search off the line, depending on the circumstances.

    As far as taking the window with the ladder or not, there are obviously pros and cons to each method and nothing is always or never in this business. Let's not get to the point of name calling over it, eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    While it is true that venting the window does influence the fire dynamic of a given "box", this only serves to prove that time is needed to observe the behavior in the box. VES isn't any more dangerous than a primary search, not understanding WHY you do what you do is.

    The basic knowledge of what a flash over is would make the "opening a window and killing everyone inside" scenario laughably pedantic. Unless your attack crew teleported into a completely sealed structure, they've got fresh air coming in from whatever door they've entered through. If you are sucking fire through the window, it was there before you were.

    I am trying to be respectful to you, but this post makes me question whether you have :

    1. Ever operated at a fire
    2. Been inside a fire in the hot smoldering stage and have a window fail or be taken unexpectedly
    3. Witnessed in person or even watched a video of what happens to a hot, enclosed fire room when a window is taken.
    4. Searched without a handline in your possession
    5. Performed VES on anything other than a training ground

    Agreed, the physical act of performing VES is no more dangerous than performing a primary search...but changing the air flow in a given space, drawing fire towards the opening and introducing oxygen into the fire area when performing VES is! Dangerous to those operating INSIDE.

    If you have never been in a hot, banked down hallway performing a search without the protection of a handline and had a window be vented or fail, than I would not expect you to understand the dynamics of fire behavior in that hallway, which can rapidly become untenable.

    But for those of us that have, the lesson is all to clear. And for some, the lesson has been fatal.

    Monitoring the conditions inside prior to taking the window has very little to do with the safety of the person performing VES, but it has EVERYTHING to do with the safety of those other members operating on the inside.

    Surely this is a concept you can understand.

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    1. No, I'm just a cyborg from the future sent to kill John Conner.
    2. Yes, plenty of times. But never went in one to perform VES. Maybe your citizens can survive a fire till it gets to that point but I have to work with mortals. I can see what you're talkin about though, it must be nice at mount Olympus fire department.
    3. Again, a hot, involved fire room has nothing to do with operating or partaking in VES. We only utilize it to pull out people who are alive. Do we allow some air in? I'm sure. Enough for A ROOM TO SUDDENLY FLASH OVER THAT UP UNTIL THAT POINY CONTAINED A NORMAL HUMAN LIFE? No.
    4. I've never pulled a line to search while performing VES nor while conducting a primary search on a truck company. Have I searched with a line? Of course. Have I searched either without or ahead of a line? More than I'd like, yes.
    5. I'd say I've done it enough to know that rooms with people in them don't flashover. Quick question, do you hermetically seal the door you make entry into when you're on an attack team?

    I'm sorry but I can't take your questions seriously when you're counter point is a fire in the smoldering stage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    1. No, I'm just a cyborg from the future sent to kill John Conner.
    2. Yes, plenty of times. But never went in one to perform VES. Maybe your citizens can survive a fire till it gets to that point but I have to work with mortals. I can see what you're talkin about though, it must be nice at mount Olympus fire department.
    3. Again, a hot, involved fire room has nothing to do with operating or partaking in VES. We only utilize it to pull out people who are alive. Do we allow some air in? I'm sure. Enough for A ROOM TO SUDDENLY FLASH OVER THAT UP UNTIL THAT POINY CONTAINED A NORMAL HUMAN LIFE? No.
    4. I've never pulled a line to search while performing VES nor while conducting a primary search on a truck company. Have I searched with a line? Of course. Have I searched either without or ahead of a line? More than I'd like, yes.
    5. I'd say I've done it enough to know that rooms with people in them don't flashover. Quick question, do you hermetically seal the door you make entry into when you're on an attack team?

    I'm sorry but I can't take your questions seriously when you're counter point is a fire in the smoldering stage.
    It is painfully obvious that you don't understand this point in the slightest.

    Venting a window in a fire building does more than just effect the room you vented the window in.

    What is it about that concept that you are having such difficulty with?

    So again, when you vent the window in a bedroom, it DOES effect conditions in the hallway and in the rooms within that hallway. So those that are operating in that hallway or in those rooms are in turn subject to the conditions that result from your venting of the window.

    Forcing the front door on the 1st floor of a single family dwelling and entering through that door to attack a second floor fire does little to the fire conditions on the second floor. Venting a second floor window DOES.
    The same holds true for a lobby door in a multiple dwelling. So while the building is not sealed, the fire area may be. And any venting of a window DOES have an effect on that fire. Some positive. Some negative.

    And believe it or not, fires DO smolder. This is basic fie behavior. Not an incipient fire. A smoldering fire. Look it up if this is a concept you are unfamiliar with. I am sure there are plenty on here that can explain what happens when fresh air is introduced to a smoldering fire and how quickly a fire area can become untenable under such conditions.

    All I am suggesting is that those members be given consideration when venting whatever window it is that you decide to vent when performing VES.

    Is that also a point you'd like to argue?
    Last edited by jakesdad; 12-21-2011 at 02:58 PM.

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    VES here is when you pull up as 1st in and someone says my child or whoever is in THIS room. The conditions that can be seen from that point are considered, Is the fire showing if so how much? Can the fire be controled or knocked down fast for a normal search?

    If not then VES is performed, IT IS NOT DONE IN CONJUNCTION WITH FIRE ATTACK. If you have the staffing to do such then great.

    I will be honest here I don't like to perform VES because it scares the hell out of me, But it is a good fireground tool and it has it's place.
    Bring enough hose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    It is painfully obvious that you don't understand this point in the slightest.

    Venting a window in a fire building does more than just effect the room you vented the window in.

    What is it about that concept that you are having such difficulty with?

    So again, when you vent the window in a bedroom, it DOES effect conditions in the hallway and in the rooms within that hallway. So those that are operating in that hallway or in those rooms are in turn subject to the conditions that result from your venting of the window.

    Forcing the front door on the 1st floor of a single family dwelling and entering through that door to attack a second floor fire does little to the fire conditions on the second floor. Venting a second floor window DOES.
    The same holds true for a lobby door in a multiple dwelling. So while the building is not sealed, the fire area may be. And any venting of a window DOES have an effect on that fire. Some positive. Some negative.

    And believe it or not, fires DO smolder. This is basic fie behavior. Not an incipient fire. A smoldering fire. Look it up if this is a concept you are unfamiliar with. I am sure there are plenty on here that can explain what happens when fresh air is introduced to a smoldering fire and how quickly a fire area can become untenable under such conditions.

    All I am suggesting is that those members be given consideration when venting whatever window it is that you decide to vent when performing VES.

    Is that also a point you'd like to argue?
    It's painfully obvious you aren't even paying attention. You lost me at a "smoldering fire" being incipient. I've lost all hope in listening to you. I'd be willing to debate with you had you actually given any thought to what everyone else is saying. Have a good day and best of luck to you.
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    I'm interested to see how many seem to only see VES as an immediate tactic when an interior search will be delayed? Why limit yourselves to one or the other? Why not make multiple attempts at accessing victims if and when manpower and conditions allow? There is a chance that your outside crew or OVM can access a space adjacent to the fire area faster than the interior crew. While our VES experience is somewhat limited due to the lack of fires, our training stresses it be used in conjunction will typical interior search and fire attack tactics, not exclusive of them. We too stress hitting the floor and going to the door first to close off your box, but there are some that stress leaving the door open upon exiting to help natural ventilation occur. The when and how VES will be employed must be known to the those personnel operating inside.

    Jakesdad: I understand what you're saying and likely you're pretty on track for telling the masses to stop and think. But I'd say that if any FD employs VES and is not ensuring all involved know the potential changes that may occur, they shouldn't be using VES in the first place. Does your FD allow interior search crews to take windows as they go?

    Some tactics such as VES, searching without a line in place, passing the fire, etc should not be undertaken by less disciplined or trained dept's or personnel. This isn't to say bad things can't or won't continue to happen to well trained highly disciplined personnel but you've got to crawl before you can walk.

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    I 100% agree. We've utilized VES during a coordinated fire attack a few times. The key word is coordinated. Communication is key in that situation. Nothing is opened without prior approval. My main argument is placing a ladder on the windward side and above the window, ascending, venting the window, observing, descending, placing the ladder at the sill, ascending, then making entry. It seems slightly counterintuitive when you could just do it in one fluid motion. We've discussed this before in this very thread. You bring up some great points that I fully agree upon. The breakdown comes in using examples (incorrectly) to discredit a method simply because it's not what your department uses. Want to vent from the ladder? Cool. Have at it. But if my method is wrong then at least provide me with real world examples.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but "smoldering" fires are typically fires in the decay stage. Ive never performed VES while a fire was in decay. Maybe it's a difference in terminology, I'm not sure. This totally ignores the fact "smoldering" fires aren't at risk for flashover but backdraft. If you're looking at a box (not just a room but a box) with these types of conditions, you need to rethink your desire to employ VES in the first place. All that time wasted ascending and descending and ascending could have been spent getting in and closing the door, effectively mitigating the problem of ventilating the window.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    I think he means a high heat low oxygen type of fire I.E backdraft like conditions.??
    Bring enough hose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by L-Webb View Post
    I think he means a high heat low oxygen type of fire I.E backdraft like conditions.??
    I covered that. I was just waiting for some one to say it. If we are discussing backdraft, do you want to be at the window and on a ladder should it occur?
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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