08-03-2011, 12:22 PM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
Popularity of VES
I have been reading a UL study on ventilation. It is over 400 pages and is extremely scientific so I have to read some parts several times to fully grasp it. One of the tactics recommended by the study is VES. They say it is safer than a coordinated search from the main entry since you are making entry at your emergency egress point and can isolate yourself simply by closing doors. You are also searching areas that are most tenable and survivable. They make a strong argument but my department has never taken an official position on this type of search.
For those who employ this tactic, how many personnel are typically assigned; what is the search priority (fire floor, above, etc). Are handlines deployed in support of VES?
08-03-2011, 02:02 PM #2
It CAN be more dangerous, because it can be done over the fire, or in advance of the nozzle. It is also not usually done with hoseline support. Doing so would slow down and get in the way of VES. It should be quick BECAUSE of those things.
It is also safer for the points listed above. If you sound floors, keep an oriented firefighter at the window, and close the doors to the rooms, it is very effective and can be safer. If your department has no SOG's on how search should be conducted, it's about time you write some and submit them.
08-03-2011, 02:55 PM #3
Do you mind sharing a link if it's online? I'd be curious to work my way through it.
thxNothing is as unimpressive as someone who is unwilling to learn.
08-03-2011, 06:14 PM #4
To echo what footrat said, you can't really assign a floor priority when conducting VES. Your point of entry is your priority. Search that room, maybe the hall to the immediate outside and get back out.
08-03-2011, 06:23 PM #5
I believe he means this one:
Edit: corrected the wrong links.
Kerber, S. (2011). Impact of ventilation on fire behavior in legacy and contemporary residential construction.
I have found it on cfbt-us and there also was an article about this research paper in a Belgian fire magazine.
I've spent some time reading the 'interesting' parts and I'm not even done with that. I've read chapters 6, 7 and 8 (but skip 8.6 and 8.7, part "8.8 discusion" is much more interesting). I'll read chapter 9, 10 and the first four in the next days. I'd say skip chapter 5 because there's no real usefull knowlegde for a FF, but I could be wrong.
I'll come back when I've fully read the paper.
About VES: in Belgium we don't usually throw ground ladders. Only when there are persons trapped at a known location or someone's at a window.
Effect of a PVV on a room fire:
Last edited by Theusje; 08-04-2011 at 05:51 AM.
08-03-2011, 09:45 PM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
Theusje - thanks for posting the link. Your link was much smaller than the full 405 page report that I have been reading and is more condensed but easier to read.
You mention ground ladders - our department doesn't throw ground ladders very often but I think we should, if nothing else as a secondary means of escape.
08-03-2011, 09:57 PM #7
08-04-2011, 02:05 AM #8
My Truck company implies VES techniques as our first due truck company assignment. It is more dangerous, as the only means of putting out any fire is our PW can that our can man has, but if done well, and if you pay attention to the things that could get you killed, it can be done. My company has not used any other technique in the last 30 er so years, and the guys I've learned from have done it even longer then that.
08-04-2011, 05:49 AM #9
This is the 400+ page UL study: Kerber, S. (2011). Impact of ventilation on fire behavior in legacy and contemporary residential construction. http://www.ul.com/global/documents/o...rt%20Final.pdf
Perhaps instead of reading the reports you could read the articles on cfbt-us. The articles are a summary of various research papers.
About ground ladders, I too think we should throw them to have secondary means of escape. At our last fire we were operating above the fire and I really thought "damn it would be nice to have some ladders up here, just in case".
08-04-2011, 11:39 AM #10
08-05-2011, 04:24 PM #11
While .."You are also searching areas that are most tenable and survivable..." you are searching the areas where people are in the most danger of being overcome and dying. People two apartments down (or two rooms down) from the fire have a great chance of survival even if they're on the floor above the fire. But people in or near the fire area or directly over the fire room/apartment need to be assisted first.
Ground ladders are a must. Many times in a 2 story frame W/ 2 bedrooms facing the front, a single 18ft ladder to the porch roof (easily thrown by 1 person) will cover both bedrooms. One ladder doing the work of 2.
08-05-2011, 11:46 PM #12
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
First let me state that VES is a sound tactic. That when performed properly is a safe and efficent.
my department will utilize VES in certain situations. We do not conduct them on every structure or on every fire. It is another tool in the toolbox that we have that we can use when needed.
Personally I like to utilize VES in conjunction with the inside team conducting there searches. This speeds up the search and targets areas that the people are in the greatest danger and have a high chance of occupancy. For example a fire in a SFD cape cod style house. Fire on the first floor. The inside team is going to search the fire area first and one man of the outside team can VES the upstairs bedrooms. This speeds up the search by searching both areas at the sametime. The two highest areas of danger the fire area and the floor above. The added bonus is bedrooms have a probablity of victims.
Another option that is a great use of VES is when an area has a high probablity of survival however other areas are untentable. For Example a ranch house with heavy fire on the garage, kitchen, and livingroom. If we conduct VES to the bedrooms on the other end of the house we can search quickly and safely search the areas of the building that are tentable and have high likelyhood of occupancy. That other wise could not be search until a line knocks down the fire enough to enter.
However, One of the things that concerns me is that IMO VES has become one of the latest buzz phrases or fade tactic recently in the fire service. the part that concerns me is not the tactic itself. It is that many people do not take the time to completely understand and properly train on the tactic. They do not understand that just like conducting a rope search, oriented search, L or R handed search each has certain situations that they can be safely and effeciently applied. They do not understand that the simpile act of closing the door to the room that is going to be search is priority number 1 during VES, before you start your search. As with any tactic it needs to be researched and drilled on before implimentation. You cannot safely and properly conduct VES by just reading an article about it.
ok rant over.
As for you questions.
We conduct VES using one man. He typically has a six ft hook and halligan.
No line is used for "protection" The protection is gained by compartmentlizing the room that is being searched.
See examples above for search priorites.
08-17-2011, 12:48 PM #13
There is a whole presentation about that UL research paper here:
If you go to module 4 then instrumentation and then video results you can watch some burns.
08-19-2011, 09:57 AM #14
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
We only conduct VES for a target location for a known victim or probable victim - meaning we only do VES for specific location where we know there is a victim or there is a high probability of a victim being in that location.
It's a 2 FF maneuver - if the smoke is below the windowsill, both FFs enter the room - if visibility is better, one stays on the ladder and one does the search.
08-19-2011, 10:41 AM #15
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
Similiar to what we do.
VES is pretty much an unknown concept in this part of the state. When I discussed it with my department, they had significant concerns about a firefighter operating without a partner, so it has been modied to a 2 firefighter search as compared to a single firefighter search.
We have trained on it several times.
That being said, it's still a selective tool to be used in some very selective situations.Train to fight the fires you fight.
08-20-2011, 09:11 PM #16
So if your under staffed and can't do both do you get a line to the fire or search?Bring enough hose.
08-20-2011, 10:50 PM #17
When there aren't enough people to handle both extinguishment and rescue at the same time, the priority should go to rescue. In your hypothetical, though, you didn't say, "rescue," you said, "search." Rescue implies KNOWN victims, especially those that are in IMMEDIATE danger. And really, when it comes down to it, you do what does the most good for the most people the fastest. If putting out the fire saves 10 people above the fire while one on the fire floor died because you didn't pull him out first, I'd call that the better choice, even if the one that died was a known victim in immediate danger. If you dilly dally with a single rescue while the fire spreads and kills more people, you might've made the wrong choice, assuming that you could've made good progress on fire attack if that had been your pick.
08-21-2011, 12:09 AM #18
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
08-21-2011, 09:36 AM #19
08-21-2011, 11:17 AM #20
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
The fact is in our department, as well as every other department that I know of in this part of the state, the SOP is to search through the building. Searching from the outside - VES - is a deviation from standard procedure that needs to be specifically ordered by the IC.Train to fight the fires you fight.
08-21-2011, 12:28 PM #21
Committing to VES, or any aggressive search operation for that matter, is to follow sound principles and a clear departmental order of operation. Having the means, motive and opportunity does not simply mean we have permission. We need to follow a plan that everyone on the fireground understand, expects and allows. Not adhering the proceeding, basic steps and principles of VES will surely place a searching firefighter and victim in harm’s way. That is definitely not part of the plan, however, proper training in VES will ensure the benefits most often outweigh the risk. What should be part of the plan is as follows:
1. Let everyone on the fireground know what you are doing. This is based upon the motive for your aggressive search decision. Choose the correct ladder for your target-specific objective (window). Enroute to your window, monitor the fire building for any changes in conditions since you made your decision.
2. Place the ladder’s tip below the window sill for rapid entry and egress.
3. With full PPE donned, ascend the ladder with a six-foot hook or pike pole and a Halligan.
4. Climb the ladder until you can reach the glass of the top sash with the hook. Now is the time to make your intentions clear to everyone on the fireground. If it’s a go, take the glass with your hook.
5. Start with the top sash glass and clean out the rest in the window thoroughly.
6. Give the room you are venting a few seconds to “blow”. That is, let the heated air, smoke and fire do what it wants to do, escape via the top portion of the window.
7. If conditions still permit, ascent up to the window sill itself and determine what obstacles may obstruct victim removal and firefighter egress. Consider what’s in front of the windows in most dwellings, furniture and beds. Determine if either will prevent your rapid egress should conditions deteriorate.
8. Make sure there is a floor with your hook and be mindful of potential victims who may have succumbed to smoke conditions before you probe.
9. Enter the window one leg at a time. This way you can step back out onto the ladder if conditions deteriorate. Have a second member on the ladder to assist you with victim removal and self-evacuation if necessary.
10. Place the hook’s head on the window sill, the shaft angled down into the room. This becomes a reference point, or beacon back to the window. Stay low and take a look around the room.
11. If there is visibility, look for the bedroom door. Make a bee-line for it and close it immediately. This provides you a margin of safety should fire make its way to your position. Most bedroom doors in dwellings are directly in line with the room’s window. Now conduct the search.
12. If you come across the victim before the door is closed, you must ensure the bedroom door is closed before you attempt to remove the occupant. Victim removal always takes more time than anticipated so keeping the room as tenable as possible may afford us this time.
13. When you find a victim, make your radio transmission alerting everyone on the fireground. Remove the victim the way you came in if possible to prevent interior companies from having to leave their assigned positions. The engine company should ensure the hose line is able to darken-down the fire area(s) and protect the interior stairs if window removal is impossible.
The above thirteen steps or operation always require that the searching firefighter continuously monitor conditions and listen for radio transmissions affecting same. The above steps were sequentially numbered to allow for specific training to ensure your VES operations follows a plan every time.
Finally, incorporate the following into your VES or aggressive search operations, as they become benchmarks to measure your personal safety inside the room:
1. Smoke beings to lift and visibility improves
2. Smoke lightens due to steam.
3. The feel of a hose line stream hitting the ceiling beneath you.
4. Any decrease in heat.
1. Smoke does not lift and changes density and color
2. ‘Rolling’ black smoke moving down from ceiling to floor level.
3. Any increase in heat.
4. Visible fire in room or extension to your area through the floor.
5. Weakening or ‘spongy’ floor.
6. Engine company(s) having difficulty locating the fire or ANY type of water problem.
Searching for fire and life are operations that must be conducted at every fire. However, when searching for life, determine what sub-category of search can be safely conducted based upon evidence gathered on arrival. Law enforcement does it, so should firefighters. If you determine that you have the means, motive and opportunity for aggressive search operations, ensure that you follow the plan and declare your intentions to everyone. Aggressive search operations are not haphazard or reckless attempts to rescue trapped victims. Rather, it becomes a sub-category of search that, when done safely in a specific target, can afford fire victims a greater chance for survival."I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey
08-21-2011, 12:30 PM #22
^The post above is not my own work but a main source material for the classes we teach on it, I feel it condenses a day of learning into a small quick read format."I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey
08-21-2011, 01:21 PM #23
You don't search from the outside, nor does it have anything to do with the OVM position.
08-21-2011, 01:27 PM #24
Just ignore him, he has a habit of jumping into threads pertaining to topics he neither utilizes nor understands, then proceeds to discuss how and why his little village doesn't use it hoping that someone, somewhere will care."I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey
08-21-2011, 02:35 PM #25
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
I stated no. I also stated that I am not aware of any department that assigns such a position in this part of the state, career or volunteer.
I do understand VES. I used it to a limited extent up north.
When I introduced the concept of VES here, there were major concerns regarding a single firefighter operating without a buddy inside a structure. Because of that, the member at the window makes entry with the firefighter so they search together.
A third man is assigned to the window either on the ground first floor window entries) or at the tip of the ladder, preferably with a handline.
As far as a deviation from normal search procedure, it is deviation here that must be expressly ordered by command. Searching through the structure via a doorway with a handline is still our standard search procedure, unless for some reason we cannot make access through the structure or cannot knock down the fire in the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Command needs to decide if VES will be used and must transmit that order on the radio.
To date, we have not used it since it was implemented as an alternate search procedure last year. We have had only one fire since then where the status of the residents were not known, and our standard search procedure of making entry through the door, knocking down the fire in the hall and accessing the bedrooms via the hallway was used.
It could have been a situation where VES could have been used, but command decided to use our standard procedure.
So yes, for us, it is a deviation from our standard search method.
Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-21-2011 at 02:42 PM.Train to fight the fires you fight.
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