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Thread: A VES Scenario

  1. #1
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    Default A VES Scenario

    For those of you who still have your Essentials of Firefighting, 3rd Edition, check out the title page for Chapter 12, Fire Control for the picture of this scenario.

    You are called to VES (Vent-Enter-Search) the top floor of this structure. The ladder is to the porch of a two-story dwelling. Heavy brownish gray smoke is pushing out the window directly above the porch, and is moving across the face of the house. Another 2nd floor window to the right of the first has very light (if any) smoke coming out. Assuming the windows lead to separate rooms, which room do you search first? The one with the heavy smoke, or the one that has smoke, but will soon become "smokier."

    I do not work for a department that uses VES, so I'm asking this question to see what the thought processes are in choosing where to go. The most viable victims are probably on the right, but the most in-danger victims are probably on the left. What do you do?

    Thanks for your help. Any info on how you develop your immediate action thought processes will be appreicated.

    Tim


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    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Tim,

    Sorry it took me a bit to get back. I am looking at the picture right now. You are probably correct in your assumption that the window on the right is a different room than the window on the left.

    This looks like a 2 story row frame. The building that is on fire looks like it is on the end of the row. Where the front porch overhang ends and the building continues I assume to be the start of exposure 4 or D. A few other features that helped formed this opinion are: different color siding, no front porch roof, another bay window and a very different smoke condition showing from the top floor window.

    The window above the front door is what we call a "dead-man's room". It is basically a very small bedroom in the front of the building found in most brownstones & many row frames (since many row frames are laid out like brownstones). This room is a priority for searching members.

    I was taught that the dead man's room is named such because the only door to the room usually is off of the stairs. As we know, the stairs are very quick to become untenable in a fire situation. This often leads to trapped victims in these rooms. Judging by this picture alone, it appears that the fire has started in this room and has extended into the structural members (brown smoke).

    Now for your question. If I am the member standing on that front porch roof deciding which window to enter I am factoring a few things:

    1) What is the velocity of that smoke pushing out of the window? Is the smoke boiling out under extreme pressure and ready to light up? If that is the case, me, you or no one else is going to get into that room to search the room before it lights up.

    2) Is there anyone in the front yard yelling or screaming that someone is trapped in either room?

    3) Which room is the most likely to have a victim present?

    4) Is the line ready to operate?

    Judging only by this picture, I think I can get in and make a quick search of this room very quickly and get back out. The smoke is pushing heavy, but it doesn't look like it has the velocity quite yet to light up on you. Knowing the building construction, this is the probably the dead man's room and that it is probably a bedroom helps me in the decision to enter.

    Some tips on this type of entry:

    1) Stand to the side of the window as you vent it. This way the initial blast of heat and smoke will not blow out in your face. Vent the top pane first, then the bottom, then clear the sash.

    2) ANY WINDOW YOU ENTER SHOULD BE MADE INTO A DOOR (BREAK OUT THE SASH) If fire chases you back out, which is not uncommon for a VES entry, you don't want the sash hanging your bottle up as you exit.

    3) Now put your mask on! If you already have it on due to conditions you have to wait a few seconds (count to 5) before entering. If it is going to light up, it's usually going to do it in the 5-10 seconds after you vent the window. This is called "letting it blow". Give it a few seconds to "blow" before you enter. If you wait to put your mask on until you are ready to enter, you are "letting it blow" as you mask up. That is more than enough time. When you get it on, head in

    4) Check for a floor. Find a routine for doing this. Drop a tool in, go in one foot first and tap the floor, probe with a hook, etc... Whatever you do, check for a floor before you enter.

    5) Search right below the window first. Many victims as we know are found right by exits, but could not get them open to effect an escape and have passed out right there. If you cannot enter the room due to heavy heat and smoke, probe with a tool to see if a victim is present. As Chief Brennan says, you will be amazed at how much more heat you can take if your probing finds that a person is under the sill!

    6) Before searching ANYTHING ELSE search for the door of the room. If the fire is in this room you are going to know it right away. Typically this room is only about 6x12. If the fire is in this room, just search what you can and get out. If the fire is in another room, get to the door to the room and close it. This will stop the fire from spreading to the vent point that you just created as well as allow the room you are in to "lift" granting you better visibility and increasing the victims chances of survival by removing the smoke. If a victim is found, chances are your best option for removal is to the front porch roof until the fire is controlled and you can come down the interior stairs.

    7) If you find no one, get back to the door and open it. Remember the 1st part of VES is Vent. You didn't vent if you entered the room, closed the door and got right back out. Open the door back up to allow the smoke to vent, and get out of the window you came in. Move to the next window and repeat. Remember, you are doing a primary search, not searching for lice in your kids hair. Get in, close the door, search, open the door, and get out. It should take no longer than a minute.

    The rule of thumb that I have always used (and many guys use) is to hit the bedrooms first if at all possible. You can enter the bay window that is pushing lighter smoke, but the people that need the help the most are going to be located in the room on the right. You have a better chance of making a grab and there is a higher probability of a victim being in a bedroom than a living room.

    A couple more points with this picture:

    1) Common cockloft. Most of these buildings have a common cockloft. Along with old, cheap and shoddy construction they make for serious multiple alarm fires where a few of these might go up in a row. Call help early. It looks like the fire in this picture has already extended to the cockloft and possibly to the top floor of exposure #4 or D. Aggressive roof ventilation and hose line operation is the only thing that will stop fires in these buildings.

    2) The line is not yet charged. Rest assured it will be soon though. If you are searching ANYWHERE as a VES team and you hear the Engine calling for water, it's time to make your way back to your exit point. They are going to be pushing the fire directly toward you and the vent point you just created. Remember, you are to vent and search behind the fire. When the engine gets water, they push it toward you.

    3) It looks like the inside team (or someone) has broken the bottom panes of the bay windows in the room on the left (living room?). They have probably already searched it. Try to get in on the room on the right. That is just another tip for VES decision making. If you are the inside team and you are only going to break one part of the window, break the top half. It will clear more heat and smoke than just breaking the bottom 1/2.

    4) If fire blows out of the window on the right, beware of the power lines burning through. You will probably be ok on the porch roof, but members in the yard will be in danger. A lot of these buildings have steel or iron fences around them. The fences will become electrified if a power line falls on them. BE VERY CAREFUL. Many times these lines are down before we get there. One touch of a fence to open the gate could be your last move, even if you are trying to get to the rear of the building through an exposure, if the fences are connected, all of the fences on the entire block might be electrified. Always keep an eye out.

    Well, I think that is about all I have. Sorry for the lengthy response, you know how I get when I get a size-up picture to work with! :-) I hope it helped.

    Nate DeMarse

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    Default Thanks, Nate

    Thanks, Nate...I always enjoy hearing from you. It's good to see a nice long post, because you explained everything so well. I'm trying to get this Fireground Tactics forum reinvigorated...with your help, it might happen!

    We might need to see a few of those awesome pictures that you've been taking...

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    Default

    I think that may have been the best post I've ever seen on here. Thanks Again.

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    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Smile

    Wow,

    Thanks for the compliment Tyler & likewise for you Tim.

    It might take me two hours to write the post, but I'll get it done.

    I am going to scan and post the picture so others who might not have access to the photo can also comment.

    Nate

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    Default Extra question for Nate

    Nate...I know that the training provided to you in FDNY's Academy is second to none. Here is my question in reference to all of the information that you provided in your post...Do you learn VES and all of the decision making skills in referene to your post in Recruit school, or does FDNY have the Company Officers after you are assigned to a rig provide this info. I know that the CO's are awesome there, and that you do a lot of drilling, but was wondering how much is taught in school and how much is on the job...

    Thanks again, stay safe...Tim

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    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Default

    Here is the photo from the IFSTA Essentials 3rd Edition Chapter 12 that we are discussing. I did not take this photo, I just scanned/posted it for the tactical discussion we are having.

    Lets talk it up, anyone else have anything on these buildings, work in them, know anything about them? I'd love to hear it!

    Even if it's only a few sentences, throw it out there.

    Stay Low & Stay Safe
    Nate DeMarse
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Default Your Question

    Tim,

    Believe it or not we do not do ANY live fire training at the Rock (Academy) when we are there. We only have propane burn buildings and fake smoke. The most live fire we do is smoke appreciation when they burn some hay and make us breathe it for a few minutes. It really isn't much at all.

    I felt that "The Rock" taught us a lot of book stuff, and most of the instructors gave us some "street knowledge" that they passed on. All the intructors were good!

    For the most part, when you get out into the field the job is what you make of it. There are good bosses and senior men that will explain some things to you. For the most part though YOU have to be the one asking the questions so they can provide an answer.

    I firmly believe you have to be a student of this job as probably do most people that are on the forums. If you are asking questions, picking up something to read, drilling, and using every run as a learning tool even if it's a pesky EMS run (what kind of building am I in?, where are the bedrooms?, how do I get out?, where is the front after I just came up a 6 story stair?, how am I going to get through this door?) then you are bound to learn something.

    If you sit on a couch, do nothing or watch TV all day, and just go through the motions on the runs you go on, you really aren't going to learn anything.

    As I said before, the job is what you make of it. I have a feed for this job, so when I get to a 2nd floor window of a row frame and I am asking myself the same question you asked me about the smoke condition, I hopefully don't have to think about it too much after taking in the information provided to me by the fire.

    That is just me though. I like to think I am doing the right thing for myself and the job by being the best that I can.

    Hope that answered your question

    Stay Low & Stay Safe

    Nate DeMarse

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    Default Ranch Homes

    Nate...

    Would it be safe to say that you guys use VES for two-story residences and rarely in one-story and ranch style homes?

    Does anyone else use VES regularly as a tactic like FDNY?

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    Tim,

    I am not sure if I've ever seen a 1 story ranch home out here. I think they have them in Staten Island and maybe in parts of Queens. I have never seen a 1 story ranch in the areas that I work though.

    You are 100 percent correct on the VES on 2 story PDs (Private Dwellings). Since we do not respond to 1 story PDs, I am not sure what they do on those buildings. I would imagine that the OV and Roof do VES, but not sure.

    We rarely operate on the roof of peaked roof buildings. If the fire is in a peaked roof PD, the OV and the Roof FF team up to do VES on the 2nd floor bedrooms in the rear or sides of the building (best location is determined by them). The chauffeur will normally VES the 2nd floor side 1 by using the aerial or portable ladder.

    This all changes if you pull up and it's a flat roof PD. The roof man will go to the roof and effect vertical ventilation via skylights, scuttles or whatever is afforded to him. The OV will tackle the VES on the bedrooms, and the Chauffeur will usually assist in the front.

    Hope that helps
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

    Nate DeMarse
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    I must second Tyler's comment- that truly was an excellent response, Nate. Also thanks to Tim for opening the question. Ya gotta love this tactics forum.

    I will continue to read with interest. Keep teaching, Guys! Doc

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    Default Ranch Homes

    Nate...

    I made my assumption based on the fact that you guys use the Inside/Outside Team concept. I figured that your inside team would be able to get inside, find the fire, and work their way out faster than an Outside Team. In addition to this, a hose team, especially a proficient FDNY hose team, would probably have their line stretched to the seat of the fire in pretty short order.

    I should have known that you don't have any ranch homes...that would look silly in the Bronx They are probably the most common type of construction here next to split-level or split-foyer homes. There probably are situations where a large ranch home with fire cutting off the hallway would benefit from VES, I don't know. Like I said, the only experience I have is from training with Captain Dugan and the Late Lieutenant Lund (May He Rest in Peace).

    I can see where VES may work well for basement/garage fire in a split-level home. There may be full involvement of the garage (under the bedrooms, typically) and no way to get up the stairs in the entrance. Nate, do are familiar with split-levels? Didn't know if you had any in NY or with your previous dept in IL....

    doc...welcome...I've seen many of your posts before and you're info is always useful. Chime in, if you'd like. I may have some Medical questions for you in another forum later on....

    Everyone have a safe day

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    phyrngn, we utilize basically the same inside/outside positions and tasks as above. We also have a fair number of ranchs. Our OV and Roof will do VES when necessary on a ranch. It's much easier at (or near) ground level, and it's done when needed.
    "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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    Thanks, Bones...

    To all who VES....how far do you usually get before the inside team has met up with you? Do you get to all of the rooms, or do you only get about halfway through your search?

    Are you more likely to use two people together and trade off searching by rooms, so that one person gets a quick break, or do you split and work your way around until you meet....

    Good to see some discussion on something other than Fire Truck Colors and what flashing light is best for a Yugo

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    Originally posted by NDeMarse
    Tim,

    Sorry it took me a bit to get back. I am looking at the picture right now. You are probably correct in your assumption that the window on the right is a different room than the window on the left.

    This looks like a 2 story row frame. The building that is on fire looks like it is on the end of the row. Where the front porc.......................... .blah blah blah blah
    Nate DeMarse
    yeah bro I realize that you probably have some good info in this post somewhere but ummm its just to long so it cant be worth it
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
    Always Remember *343*

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    Does anyone know this CDeMarse character? What a dick!

    LOL

    Thank you for your continued support brother!
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

    Nate DeMarse
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    I do what I can
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
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    Tim,

    I am familiar with split level homes from my Illinois experience. We did quite a bit of work in them, but normally we didn't use VES except for the rear door. We have split level homes in NYC but I don't think they are called that, nor have I had a fire in one of them.

    I would say that the line is in operation on most PDs as you are making your way to your search area. Many times you are doing the search after the main body of fire is knocked down. For 2 story private dwellings the inside team normally works on the 1st floor and the outside team works on the 2nd via portable ladders. From what I have learned, this thought process keeps members off of the open interior stairs. Many times in VES searches the member coming through the window might be searching an already searched area (by the inside team) just because it's easier and quicker for them to get there.

    Other times, the inside team might be cut off at the door by a kitchen fire or living room fire and cannot pass the fire to get a search done. In this case, you are the only hope for victims trapped behind the fire.

    For VES searches, from what I have seen one member will take a blow or hit another room off of a separate ladder while the searching member searches. If it's the inside team, both members enter, search in opposite directions, meet, cross paths and search back towards the exit using the other members path (double search). When you meet, you do a quick "exchange of info" (Hey, there is a fire escape 2 windows back, etc...) They continue, and meet back at the entry point.

    A quick Engine note:

    You will be surprised to know that lines here really don't get stretched that fast (at least where I work). Many parts of the country teach a rush the line, hurry the line, get the line up here quick type of thing. While learning Engine work out here, you find that they spend more time finding a viable hydrant, setting up the stretch, finding the correct entry point, chocking doors, stretching, flaking, charging, and chasing kinks than most departments do. This causes the line to get in to operation a little slower than probably most departments in the country. However, when we do get in to operation we feel very confident that a smooth and steady advance will be made to the seat of the fire to extinguish it. I think this is the right way to do things. Take some time, set up your stretch and everything else will fall in to position.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

    Nate DeMarse
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    Default Re: Ranch Homes

    Originally posted by phyrngn
    Nate...

    Would it be safe to say that you guys use VES for two-story residences and rarely in one-story and ranch style homes?

    Does anyone else use VES regularly as a tactic like FDNY?
    First off, I’d like to thank Nate for sharing his experience and knowledge with us – sign of a true professional.

    phyrngn – short answer yes, but not often in single story ranch style homes.

    Central/South western Nassau County as well as Eastern Queens has a pretty good architectural mix of single-family home designs that include ranches (single story). Oops, they were single family when originally built. These days who knows, they could have multiple families or been broken into SRO’s.

    My Opinion,
    Is VES in a Ranch Style home performed? Yes, but not very often. It depends upon the fires location and overall square footage (size) of structure. Most Ranches that I have experience with (my area) have fairly limited square footage -- average 700-900 sq feet not including the basement if present. Keep in mind my average sq footage may not be yours. In my travels, I’ve seen quite a few very - very large ranch style homes, but not to many in my area due to lot sizes averaging from 40x80 to 60x100. It’s much cheaper to build up rather than out.

    My statements below are based upon a 5-man crew not including the officer.

    Fire on the first floor of an avg size ranch in my response area ----- chances are we’d get to seat of and have water on the fire very quickly due to small footprint of the structure. Proper and timely ventilation is imperative to limit steam production (victims -- search team). The Can-man and FE will complete the 1st floor primary search as the engine knocks down the fire. The OV, Roof and Chauffeur will perform exterior ventilation, open soffits, check roof, check utilities and ?primary search of basement. There would probably be no need for VES unless the house was drastically modified and/or partitions installed to compartmentalize the structure into additional isolated rooms (SRO’s).

    Fire in basement of an avg size ranch in my response area. Locating and getting water on the fire will take a bit longer than the first scenario with fire located on the first floor. FE and Can-man will enter the basement with the engine and perform a primary search while the engine gets water on the fire. OV and Roof will get the primary done on the first floor. In most cases VES will not be required. Chances are OV & Roof will be able to rapidly access the entire structure from the front door to perform their searches. Side door inward opening to the kitchen will most likely be inaccessible due to the proximity of the outward opening basement door which is usually in very close proximity to the side door in this style home (similar to the Dutch Colonial style home). Chauffeur will perform exterior ventilation. 2nd due truck and engine will back up 1st due units and perform uncovered tasks/assignments.

    Please, feel free to question or offer alternative tactics.
    Last edited by tny; 09-26-2011 at 04:39 PM.

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    Great points Tjsnys,

    Thanks for your opinions and experience.
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

    Nate DeMarse
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