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    Default Vent Control at Entry Door - 'SNATCH RESCUE'

    It doesn't happen .... rarely if ever!

    It is absolutely vital that firefighters enforce an element of control wherever they are able to over a developing compartment fire. The importance of controlling the amount of air feeding the fire cannot be emphasized enough. This is a role for the door assignment firefighter. As firefighters enter the structure, building or compartment, the door they have entered by should be closed, if not fully then at least to 1-2 inches from closed. Firefighters operating internally should close all doors as they locate and pass them, leading off of hallways etc, and attempt to confine the fire to the compartment of origin wherever possible (once located) by closing the room door.

    PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE and comment here

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    While closing the door to rooms as you go makes sense, we have always been taught to leave the entry door open. Secure it open in fact, as thats the primary means of egress.
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    Paul,
    that's an interesting idea, I never thought of it that way. from what i read, if the first company on scene is searching without a handline, they should close the door of entry to prevent air from getting to the fire, while leaving a man at the door to control the door (and assist in finding the means of egress should the search crew need to leave in a hurry).

    i guess the only time it wouldn't work would be when the engine company got on scene first, and had a hoseline in the doorway preventing it from closing completely.
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    Would that open door possibly be bringing air into trapped victims as well? Would that open door possibly help with ventilation in other rooms besides the fire room? What about if the fire is already self-venting? Closing the door to the fire room (if possible) makes sense, trying to keep the entire building closed up tight worries me. Starving the fire of oxygen may lead to backdraft situations. I'd agree it's something to think about, but I'm not jumping it's everyday use.
    "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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    Originally posted by Bones42
    Would that open door possibly be bringing air into trapped victims as well? Would that open door possibly help with ventilation in other rooms besides the fire room? What about if the fire is already self-venting? Closing the door to the fire room (if possible) makes sense, trying to keep the entire building closed up tight worries me. Starving the fire of oxygen may lead to backdraft situations. I'd agree it's something to think about, but I'm not jumping it's everyday use.
    Good points! And I missed the part about searching without a hose line. And thats safe how??? Sounds like we have more issues here then a door being closed.
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    we have always been taught to leave the entry door open. Secure it open in fact, as thats the primary means of egress....

    Yes precisely Dave! I personally think this is an error of judgement and presents an incorrect SOP.

    Would that open door possibly be bringing air into trapped victims as well? Would that open door possibly help with ventilation in other rooms besides the fire room? What about if the fire is already self-venting? Closing the door to the fire room (if possible) makes sense, trying to keep the entire building closed up tight worries me. Starving the fire of oxygen may lead to backdraft situations.

    Bones - Your points are valid and well thought. However, 1) air to trapped occupants - yes an open door may well be doing that. However this is a 'snatch' rescue situation - a quick primary 'sweep'. We don't wanna be in there long without water and maybe we will locate victims quick enough to bring them out safely. 2) Worried about creating potential backdraft conditions? - We can deal with this more effectively once the building is clear of all occupants.

    I'd agree it's something to think about, but I'm not jumping it's everyday use.

    You need to! If a fire is self venting we can still possibly reduce it's burning rate by closing the entry door. On reviewing past incidents there have been multiples of firefighters killed under such circumstances .... working ahead of any hose-line placement to undertake primary search .... sometimes, this hose-line has taken several minutes to lay in whilst the door remains open, feeding masses of air into a dangerously developing fire. The vent control firefighter sited at the doorway should be specially trained to read the conditions. He/she will be experienced enough to recognise any formation of an active air-track. As this itself develops, the fire will move closer to flashover.
    Last edited by PaulGRIMWOOD; 04-20-2005 at 10:58 AM.

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    I missed the part about searching without a hose line. And thats safe how???
    Dave it's not safe but it happens every day in every town in every part of the world....and its killing firefighters! If you are placed into such a situation where it may take 4-5 minutes to lay-in an attack line but a mother is screaming that her babies are in there .... do you wait those 4-5 minutes .... or do you attempt the primary search?

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    While not the ideal situation/practice, it would be difficult if not impossible to not try and make a grab in that situation.

    Where I work, an engine co. is usually quick to arrive on scene and start an interior attack, but there are times where the squad(ambulance) is already on the air and close to the scene(we are Firefighter/Paramedics at my department and on the fire scene all work on firefighting tasks). If the squad is on scene with confirmed civilians trapped, we would pack up and search immediately, but would also radio this information to incoming units and command to alert them of this situation and any other size up information that was obtained.
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    Primary searching (a quick snap?) without a hoseline is a common practice in my area. Entry and search usually begins before the handline is in place and in operation.

    Again, it's an option, but not an every house fire routine.

    In the 5000sq foot house I'm looking at out my window for example, fire in the back room, entry going in the front door. There's a good 60-70' of rooms before you get to that fire room, including stairway to second floor. I can close the door to that fire room and search the 1st and 2nd floor with that front door open while still limitting the effect on the fire room itself. When the hoseline is ready, open the fire room door and attack the fire. If the entire 1st floor is burning, ladders in the 2nd floor windows, search and get out.
    "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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    Originally posted by PaulGRIMWOOD


    Dave it's not safe but it happens every day in every town in every part of the world....and its killing firefighters! If you are placed into such a situation where it may take 4-5 minutes to lay-in an attack line but a mother is screaming that her babies are in there .... do you wait those 4-5 minutes .... or do you attempt the primary search?
    In my little part of the world, we would pull a pre-conneted line and do a primary search with the protetion of said line. The only situation that would be different is one that the pre-connected line wouldnt reach. Ive been lucky, in my 22 years I have yet to arrive at such a situation.
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    If I'm doing a search, I don't want a hoseline with me. Slows you down too much. Especially if you are doing a quick primary.....
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    As I say .... The vent control firefighter sited at the doorway should be specially trained to read the conditions. He/she will be experienced enough to recognise any formation of an active air-track. As this itself develops, the fire will move closer to flashover.

    If there is a situation where air flowing through the structure's main entry doorway is clearly not feeding the fire then this can be recognised by the vent control assignment and indeed, may not be a major issue in such a large structure.

    It is clear that not all primary searches are undertaken with the protection of a hose-line. For logistical reasons, rather than tactical, it is not always possible to lay-in alongside the primary search. Therefore, we should have an SOP. It should apply to all structure fires .... the vent control firefighter should be a pre-determined assignment. If it becomes obvious that the fire's burning rate is not influenced by the main entry door's status then this can be reported. at that time. Circumstances may change however as the fire develops.

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    Paul, well researched, excellent article as usual.

    I like this idea, however, if I was limited to a search crew of only 3, I would rather have the third member in the hallway as the oriented man so the other two could search one room each to really speed things up and get out of there. If a fourth member with a radio was available, then door control would be a possiblity. I would feel more comfortable with the door partially closed as opposed to sealed up tight though.

    I agree with Brian, I do not want a hoseline with me on the primary search as it is too cumbersome. If that's what works for your department and you're comfortable with it, more power to you. I know on my department it would slow us down tremendously and we'd probably be doing alot of body recoveries instead of rescues.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    agree with Brian, I do not want a hoseline with me on the primary search as it is too cumbersome.
    Let me clear something up before this gets completly out of hand

    Our seach teams(s) doesnt have to carry the line, but one has to be in place. And the way we are set up, by the time you would climb out of the rig, open the compartment and grab you search tools (whatever they me be) and walk (run, jog) to the front of the building, the line would already be there or almost there.
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    Problems with the hose-line are -

    a) might be a single pump arriving .... crew of four .... what's first? Water or 'snatch' rescue?

    b) might be high-rise or difficult access for hose-line .... what's first? Water or 'snatch rescue'?

    There may be other situations where the lay-in is delayed and a choice has to be made between primary search either with or without water.

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    a) might be a single pump arriving .... crew of four .... what's first? Water or 'snatch' rescue?
    Water. This is routine for us. First pump on scene with crew of 4. One FF pulls pre-connected hose line, 2nd FF with tools and officer, 4th operates the pump. Once inside, two search while 3rd protects with hose line.

    b) might be high-rise or difficult access for hose-line .... what's first? Water or 'snatch rescue'?
    We have a lot of hi-rise buildings, so we are well versed in hi-rise operations. Again, routine would be the same as above, except all 4 FF's go to the fire floor. One hooks to standpipe, 2nd advances line to door, other 2 force entry (if needed). Once line is charged, 2 search while 2 protects with hose line.

    There may be other situations where the lay-in is delayed and a choice has to be made between primary search either with or without water.
    Very possible, and in that case I guess it would depend. This would not be routine for us. We have spent a lot of time checking our area for buildings that cannot be reached by our normal pre-connected attack lines. For these, we have a larger pre-connected line with a gated wye set up. This would be pulled, along with our hi-rise packs. So while we would have a slight delay as compared to our normal lines, it still would not be in the 4-5 minute range.

    Like I said before, in my 22 years, I have yet to be on a scene with any extended delay in a hose line being deployed. Just been lucky I guess
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    Good discussion and thoughts here! Interesting seeing the different ways people attack the "same" fires.
    "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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    Yes it's a good debate and I appreciate your input and description of the varying approaches. I would hope there are other firefighters reading this post who may feel compelled to join in!

    Dave, I respect your 22 years service and experience but might make the suggestion that yes, you have been very lucky I can recall several hazardous operations in tall tower block residences where the location of the fire has caused many problems and multiple firefighter fatalities. These have occurred in the USA; the UK and other places.

    When reviewed these situations generally involved firefighters working ahead of the primary attack line being laid to try and reach trapped occupants.

    If all your high-rises are fitted with reliable standpipes, not subject to vanadalism, with water at the outlet on every occasion, you live in a perfect world (not sarcasm bro) and to accept that two firefighters could lay that line across to the furthest point (say) before the other two are tempted to make a 'snatch' is .... well .... difficult for me. Applying this approach to previous fires has resulted in firefighter deaths. However, I wholeheartedly go with the 4-person approach, 2 & 2 as stated.

    You seem to imply a policy of 'fire attack' ahead of 'primary' search. That's great and I preach that. Its just that many don't and they go with the 'snatch' attempt where needed, often with great results. Its for these instances that I want to establish a 'vent control' firefighter at the doorway.

    Your deployment of a 4 person crew on sole first arrival to low-rise is interesting. I would suggest that the 3rd firefighter/officer on the hose-line is better placed as the vent-control. For one firefighter to operate alone (fire may be downstairs and search may be upstairs) is unsafe. It is also sometimes difficult/impossible for a lone firefighter to lay-in and handle a hose-line effectively.

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    Points well taken Paul. While it could be a bit of luck, I tend to belive the real reason we have'nt faced this kind of situation is we have pre-planned our area and know what locations will require something other than our normal lines. This information is included both on call print outs and verbal from dispatch. This way, mutual aid companies are aware as well.

    Yes, it would be fair to say we conduct fire attack first, with a search as soon as possible, most times together. The feeling is here, depending on the situation of course, that it may better serve the occupants if we rapidly knockdown the fire. This follows along the lines of the "protect in place" tactic employed in hi-rise fires.

    Im sure your aware that this means you protect ocupants by closeing doors and such as well as placeing lines between the occupants and the fire, and make a rapid attack, instead of evacuating the building first and allowing the fire to increase. Its how we operate on hi-rises, and have taken it another step by useing the tactic in non hi-rise buildings. Seems to work well.

    As for the staffing, keep in mind we design our operations and use equipment based on our staffing (as do others). Thats why we use 1 3/4" handlines, not 2 1/2". That our lines are pre-connected. Purchasing lite weight hose and equipment when possible. And why we drill and drill and drill, then drill again. Which is why that "temptation" to make a snatch and grab isnt there. One, our hose deployments are very fast and two, its drilled into you not do so (FF safety first!). Everything here is very "fast paced" as compared to other areas.

    As for standpipes, we take great pride in our inspection efforts. These things are checked frequently. Pretty much every time we respond to a false alarm, we conduct a quick "look around" once the alarm is called as false. By this I mean, walk around, checking the connections and pumps, the valves. There are some of us that do this even on EMS runs, oonce the patient is taken care of. This is in addition to our normal inspections and walk throughs. We cover a middle to upper class area anyway, so we dont have much vandalism of any kind, be it hydrants or standpipes

    Thanks Paul, what a fine thread. Everyones being civil so far
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    Dave - you demonstrate great pride in your department's approach to these issues and I find that most commendable. You clearly state your case and emphasise all the right points. Primary attack over primary search, or at the same time, relies on a disciplined approach, an effective training program and adequate crewing and resources. That's where you are lucky

    I would suggest that not all departments are as fortunate or as professional. I am constantly promoting 'take the fire first' but recognise that in some situations, insufficient crewing on initial arrival (in some areas) creates deployment conflicts. SOPs are often written with the presumption that 12-15 firefighters will arrive together.

    Limited crewing operations must also be SOP'd and it is here that some departments are forced into that decision of all decisions .... hose-line first or children?! If you go for the children .... and there's no water .... please think about the 'vent-control' assignment. It may save your crew's lives one day.

    Stay safe bro ....

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    Originally posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    .... please think about the 'vent-control' assignment. It may save your crew's lives one day.

    Stay safe bro ....
    Like many good ideas I find here on the Forums, I will certainly pass it on. We are always reviewing new tactics and ideas.
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    Dave,

    With these long single company stretches, when do you go on air?

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    Originally posted by oldman21220
    Dave,

    With these long single company stretches, when do you go on air?
    Right before you make entry
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    I assume you mean entry into the fire compartment?

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    Originally posted by oldman21220
    I assume you mean entry into the fire compartment?
    Yes, before entry into the building. Except for a hi-rise, then its before entry onto the fire floor.
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