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View Poll Results: Primary Attack Line?

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  • Through the FRONT

    56 93.33%
  • From the REAR

    4 6.67%
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  1. #21
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a
    Paul,

    People would have had no reason to contimplate the wind conditions at the beginning of the thread. I believe it was addressed however by including
    "Without any other special circumstances we "always" attack residential dwelling fires throught the primary entrance."
    I think they should have every reason to consider WIND at the beginning of this thread. The primary objective of this was to get some views on 'size up' and 'attack hose-line placement'.

    It is always difficult to get the feel for a real incident from a 'table-top' exercise. However, you had more information at hand than the on-scene crews in some ways and you could ask questions or read additional info as it progressed.

    The KEY learning points at this incident were , in my mind,
    1. Taking the obvious opportunity of a 360 and;
    2. Mentioning the potential for WIND direction to influence the placement of the primary attack line.

    In my view Trojan was the only one to come close.

    I was asking all through what 'special circumstances' would influence the approach and WIND should be right up there at the front. If there is ONE thing you learn from this thread it is that! Take the 360 and THINK WIND!!!

    I could list you 10 fires NOW where multiple firefighters were killed or severely burned when a window failed on the upwind side of the structure as the line was being advanced on the fire.

    erics99 is right in stating that PPV will not overcome a 30mph gusting wind.

    As for committing crews for interior search .... the neighbour was assuring firefighters that noone would be home if the car was missing from the garage. In the exercise I was also assuring you that this was not an issue and that fighting the fire was the main objective. However, on-scene they were unable to establish the status of the garage early on. Yes, in a risk versus gain decision you will consider an interior search along with the primary line. But without reliable reports of any occupants being inside & their likely location .... mid afternoon .... where to start?! I would say that knocking the fire down is the priority here.

    Do the 360 .... take the wind factor into account at EVERY fire.

    I say a REAR APPROACH in this situation. Why work from downwind when you have the choice? I agree that the front door is normally our first approach.
    Last edited by PaulGRIMWOOD; 10-09-2005 at 05:15 AM.


  2. #22
    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    I have never really cared for scenarios but here goes. When you do your 360, the one thing you'll notice is that there is a backdoor and window at the rear of the kitchen. By looking at the diagram, natural horizontal ventilation will be difficult as there are no easy exit avenues (windows) to the left and right in the kitchen. If you have no fire in the attic area, vertical ventilation would not be advised, as it would more than likely spread the fire to the untouched attic area.

    I would bring the first line through the front door, followed by my search teams and second line. As the search teams (one team left, one team right) check the rooms they close all doors behind them. I've known nieghbors to be wrong on many occasions night or day in relation to occupancy. Set up the fan as you enter to push the fire products out through the rear door (not open yet) and window (not open or broken yet)of the kitchen (although this is in conflict with erics99's statement, my honest opinion is that the fan can overcome the wind coming from the rear because I've seen it succeed many times with winds up to 40 mph but needs to be cooridinated with the opening of the kitchen window, door and entrance of attack lines). With a good coordinated effort and quick attack it should be a fairly quick knockdown with little property destruction. Now this is based on my inability to actually see and hear the interior conditions and just going from the drawing and information given (this is one reason I dislike scenerios like this). A lot of what you would do would also depend on your staffing situation.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 10-09-2005 at 09:07 AM.

  3. #23
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    We pretty much always pull up from the "address side", which in this case I would assume would be the front. Therefore, as usual, we would advance our line through the front door.

    How would this go here? First due engine to side "A" (front/address side), pulls past to allow aerial access. Engineer takes the PPV to the front door. First FFtakes forced entry tools to the front door. checks to see if forced entry is needed. Second FF pulls 200' 1 3/4" foam/water line (class A foam).

    Lt does 360, takes out window side "C" (rear) for PPV exaust, returns to side "A". By this time, door will have been forced (if needed) and line stretched. PPV is started and the 2 FFs and Lt. advance to search/attack the fire.

    By this time, first due aerial and second due engine should be on scene. Aerial (quint) to side "A", crew gathers RIG equipment and stretches back-up line. Second due engine lays 5" LDH from the hydrant to the first due engine.

    When third due engine arrives, they take over RIG from the aerial crew, who then enters to assist first crew with search/fire attack/pulling ceilings etc.

    Oh, and the Chief would find and out of the way place to park while keeping the building in view.

    PS: The wind isnt really an issue. Being right on the coast a 15mph wind with gusts is a daily occurance. We are used to operating in these conditions. The PPV should easily over come this. HOWEVER, if you change the figures to say, 40 mph steady with gusts to 60, then we would probably cut the roof and not open up the windward side or use PPV.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 10-09-2005 at 09:09 AM.
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  4. #24
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Paul,

    You certainly made your point and I agree with as the thread progressed more information became available. I merely meant that had your initial post included the wind condition from the rear, your poll may have not come out as skewed.

    Early on however, individuals did include "without any other special circumstances."

    Additionally, you yourself conceded that "...the front door is normally our first approach."

    I am guilty of doing always doing so well on table top exercises. I fall guilty to the fact of believing that if something is important the information will be provided on the front end. Its not like you are stepping off the rig here and feeling the wind in your face.

    To me adding stuff as you go or at the end would be no different than now saying that this house was in America; the occupant was frustrated with high gas prices; and as a result has mutiple 55 gallon drums of gasoline being impinged by fire as you arrive.

    If we're gonna make it up as we go....lets make it good!!
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  5. #25
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Airflow speeds from PPV units vary from 6mph to 30mph at the FASTEST part of the stream, which is only a very small percentage of the entire radius of the PPV air-cone. It is not physically possible for PPV unit/s to overcome 30mph winds in practical use! Scientific testing has suggested that winds around 6MPH are not likley to be overcome by a PPV unit unless the vent point (where the wind is entering) is less than half the size of the air inlet (doorway for PPV).

    Further .... why are you attempting this in the first place! The rear access in this situation is perfectly accessible. You have a natural (and very effective) PPV airflow from the wind on your back! By siting PPV against an opposing wind makes no tactical sense whatsoever!

    Memphis ....

    If I had listed wind right at the beginning it may have been too obvious and my intention was to leave a thought process in place in people's minds at the end of the scenario .... I would like to think that when readers of this thread get off the unit tonight, and from now on, their 360 will take WIND speed and direction a into account as a PRIME consideration and not just a second thought.

    Interestingly, the arguments for front door entry and hose placement have INCREASED in the poll by 10% since I made the NIOSH link available!

    Are we learning anything here? A brother has died .... a major reason (not the sole reason) was the choice of entry point ....

    It is not only the fact that the fire and heat will head in your direction if you enter downwind. The most important factor is that FLASHOVER - BACKDRAFT & SMOKE EXPLOSION's are enhanced, and far more likely, where a wind is entering a fire compartment if the fire is severely ventilation limited (as in this case).

  6. #26
    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    Paul,

    Your statement is right in relation to the tests done for fans but I have seen this tactic used successfully on numerous occasions. As I watched this I noticed that it would at best push smoke and heat to the rear and at worst I saw it just simply help keep the fire in place during attack and actually making it more visible to the attack crew. As far as the neighbors stating no one is home, I can't put any validity to the statements most of the time. This has to do with the fact of the area covered. Here we have a very high poverty rate and high unemployment. Day or night we have found many individuals inside even though the neighbors stated the opposite. This is one reason I would make the attack from the front and have the search crews checking all rooms (also closing all interior doors) while lines are advancing. I don't want to push even more heat, smoke and fire into uninvolved areas forward of the kitchen because of possible victims. The fan and the effective (nozzelmanship) use of the streams will definitely help keep the fire in check (coordination of ventilation and attack). The above statement on occupancy is one reason everyone needs to know and understand their response area, construction (we have VERY little of the light weight construction here) and it's population (I looked at it in relation to the area of my own response district). In the 33 years I spent fighting fires and the 15 as an officer, I never had any of my crew seriously injured or killed. I feel that my experience in Detroit has given me some excellent opportunities to learn a lot about the firefighting process and allows me to have made valid decisions that don't always go along with the books.
    This is the reason I don't care for scenarios that are on paper. My decisions are made because of what I see, hear and my experiences (which don't always mesh with the books). I wish all departments could have effective burn buildings and acquired structures in order to practice various strategies used during actual fire operations. I still can't really figure out the percentage of involvement from the graph but it doesn't look like a large percentage of the kitchen itself or any extension beyond that kitchen area. I haven't read all the posts and just responded to the scenario as put forth.

    I'll add this. Would I consider a different tactic in the suburbs of Detroit? With the majority of lightweight construction used there, yes I may very well change my tactics depending on the differences in population and structures (distance between structures that interrupt air flow) along with amenities (trees, fences etc that will also interrupt air flow) in the back yard leading to the rear entrance.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 10-09-2005 at 12:24 PM.

  7. #27
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Lt 1951.

    Tip of the hat to your experience and knowledge. I agree with you that table-top 'scenarios' fall someway short of realistic training etc as I feel this is what you may be implying. However, this is a forum and an educational process where we do all undoubtedly learn some things.

    The scenario is an actual fire. It is well worth you following the link to the NIOSH report and I hope you will all do this before furthering the debate.

    Although the 'scenario' was aimed solely at firefighting actions I accept that the task of locating occupants remains of prime concern. However, without firm reports or any likelihood of trapped occupants we must tip the balance of our approach in the 'risk versus gain' connundrum towards firefighter safety above everything else.

    We have a single storey structure .... no attic .... no basement .... all sides accessible .... a working fire inside .... a moderate wind gusting.

    All I am hearing here are reasons why we 'normally' take the front door approach. That's what they did at this fire and a brother is dead. I am suggesting a good reason to take this one from the rear. Like I said, 30mph winds have killed firefighters in multiples before.

    The ONLY good reason I have seen to take the front approach comes from Lt 1951 .... to search rooms behind the advancement of the hoseline and 'push' fire away from these areas, or at least prevent it from spreading there in the first place. However, this is exactly the approach taken at this fire and within 4 minutes of entry it 'flashed over' and killed a firefighter.

    If they had taken the rear entry .... would the firefighter still be here? I think maybe, yes he would.

    If you are a proponent of PPV .... I cannot accept the tactical approach where you would attempt to oppose a wind!

    If you search EVERY structure on an incalculable risk, without basing your approach on a reliable string of evidence that is weighted towards occupants actually being there in the first place .... confirmed reports .... time of day .... etc then any officer may well be placing their firefighters in harms way without good reason.

  8. #28
    Forum Member Station2Capt's Avatar
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    Without adding my method of attack on this scenario I would like to thank Paul for starting this tread. I wish we could have more like this instead of some of the useless threads that get started on here. Excellent discussion, and excellent lessons learned. I too try to read most of the NIOSH reports that are listed and when I find one like this one I will sit down and have a round table with the men I work with to discuss what happened and what we can do to prevent the incident from occuring again. Again thanks Paul for the thread keep up the good work.
    A "Good" fire is not measured by how big it is, but by the fact that everyone is going home safe, and that we possibly learned something new about firefighting. Member:IACOJ

  9. #29
    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    Paul,

    I just read the report and the following are questions I would have about that report.

    The question I would ask is this. WHY was the probationary firefighter allowed to disconnect himself from the officer or his assigned partner? I always made sure that my trial firefighters understood one thing (the trial firefighter is MY responsibility). YOU NEVER EVER leave me or the partner I assign you to, period! This was an inexperienced firefighter! The report did cover this.

    The second question would be this. If the crew understood their district, why would you not have tools with YOU that allow for entry into a barred home (we use the Detroit Ripper, the saw, halligan and sledge hammer works great too)? Time is of the essence and you can't have your crew's running back to get tools they should have had with them. Here we have many, many homes that have these bars and we always carry tools for this purpose and don't leave them on the rig. This (bars on windows and doors) should have been seen upon arrival and size up.

    The third question would be this. I saw no mention of a coordinated ventilation and attack (unless I missed it). Why was this not covered in the report?

    Fourth question would be this. Why would you shut the pipe down? That's the last thing you would ever want to do inside a structure while fighting the fire. Even if you have to back out, keep that pipe flowing. A second line operating to the opposite side of 1st attack line would have helped the situation. The report also touched on this.

    As I mentioned earlier Paul. Here, we've had some serious incidents because of individuals stating no one's home but in reality (here at least) it is usually NOT valid and we don't take it at face value. This has caused some civilians their lives because the first officer on scene took the neighbors statement as fact and was wrong. We now take it with a grain of salt.

    I think there were more serious (as I see it) mistakes made that caused this tragedy other than just the entrance of the attack crew.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 10-09-2005 at 01:50 PM.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    If you search EVERY structure on an incalculable risk, without basing your approach on a reliable string of evidence that is weighted towards occupants actually being there in the first place .... confirmed reports .... time of day .... etc then any officer may well be placing their firefighters in harms way without good reason.
    So are you saying that you don't search at working fires unless you have reason to think it is occupied? Even a board up should get a quick primary just to check for bums or squaters. One more question - you suggest a 360 at every working fire. Do you mean the officer should walk around the entire building before the crew makes entry? And if that is what you are saying, what would you suggest for row housing, barred gangways, fenced lots? I would guess a 360 walk around would be time prohibitive at 70% of our fires. 90% of the time, barring anything too out of the ordinary, if we have very heavy smoke or fire showing we are leading out through the front door (or side door if this is the main entrance). The truck will have 1 FF going to the rear to force entry and he can report fire conditions there.

  11. #31
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    Paul, I agree.. a far more useful post than the usual.

    Some points...

    The wind in and of itself may or may not be an issue, our observations of what is occurring could change how we work. Options might include
    Opening up out front and observing conditions briefly before entry or delaying vent to the rear until water is on the fire. The wide open floor plan would indicate that a good stream could make that fire as soon as they got by the fireplace

    I agree that the fan is not going to make a dent when confronted with that wind.

    Barred windows and doors on the FRONT would generally indicate a much worse condition to the REAR. We are slowly getting more urban style security here and it seems that stronger and less attractive measures are taken in the areas not seen readily from the street.

    One thing that could be a major issue, what was their flow rate and stream type? Not to start a fog / smooth debate, but I think we'd have a better shot with 200 gpm straight than 125 fog.

  12. #32
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Firstly thanks to everyone who has posted on this thread. I feel there are some genuine reasoned answers and there is never (rarely) any ONE way to approach an incident. I think the debate is healthy and based on approaches being made on our fire-grounds.

    Chicago ....

    If I were to attempt to complete a 360 at every fire I had attended then yes it would have been a long walk! I can probably state that the fire-grounds I served offered some of the largest ranges of buildings in the world in terms of area. However, this scenario under discussion is typical of suburban and rural risks where there often is good access and a 360 must form the basis of a good size-up. Having said that, even in the inner city we are able to complete an all-round size-up by locating crews on roofs looking down light-wells and to the rear of structures to observe and report to the IC.

    Yes, I sincerely believe - don't commit to search AHEAD, BELOW OR ABOVE the hose-line unless their are good reasons to believe it is occupied. Having said that, as the Lt points out, local risks may present a high likelihood that an area is likely to be so. However, even then, I would never wish to assign firefighters to search dangerous areas in the off-chance there might be someone there. This is a culture that is now commonly accepted in the UK and many other parts of the world. It all depends how you define your terms of acceptable risk, which interestingly are the same here in the UK.

    Lt. 1951 ....

    Your points are all extremely valid indeed. I don't believe though that points 2 or 3 would have had any impact on saving that firefighter's life. The venting would not have taken effect within the 4 minute time frame it took to 'flash'.

    Keeping the 'pipe' flowing .... I know what you're saying but our own firefighting methods would not support that approach (another story). In this case, it may, however, saved his life yes.

  13. #33
    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of PPV but I would probably have used it as an offset for the wind direction and speed (considering 14 mph with gusts of 31 mph). The reasoning behind this is that in my area the homes generally have small yards, 8' wood fences with large trees and bushes in the back yards, along with structures not far behind the involved structure. The alleys also have large major vegetation growing in them. This tends to cut down on the effectiveness of the wind coming from that direction. It wouldn't have the same effect if the back yard was large and wide open and therefore I probably wouldn't use PPV. I would have also made sure that it was coordinated with rear ventilation and attack. It's interesting to see the differences in tactics suggested by different departments. My answers are based on the situation in Detroit.

    ChicagoFF,

    I know we never take for granted that a structure is not occupied and it just has to do with the population itself. The fire I mentioned above happened about 15 years ago and we found a 14 year old that had skipped school that day and no one knew he was home. So in reality, you never know and you're totally right about bums and vagrants.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 10-09-2005 at 02:30 PM.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD

    Lt. 1951 ....

    Your points are all extremely valid indeed. I don't believe though that points 2 or 3 would have had any impact on saving that firefighter's life. The venting would not have taken effect within the 4 minute time frame it took to 'flash'.

    Keeping the 'pipe' flowing .... I know what you're saying but our own firefighting methods would not support that approach (another story). In this case, it may, however, saved his life yes.
    I would have to say that I personally feel it may have helped. In 2 I covered the neccessity to have your tools with you for quick access. The time it took to go back and get a tool is a waste of precious time.

    On 3, I would have to say that had they done a coordinated ventilation along with an attack of 2 lines (1 right, 1 backup line left), it would have greatly lessened the probability of a flashover or caused the crew leader to realize the fact that a flashover was probable while making the initial attack at the point of entry.

    I know these may not be directly related to the loss (good ventilation techniques may have proven otherwise) because the loss itself was a direct cause of an officer not keeping crew integrity but I still feel they are valid questions that should have been brought up in the investigation.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 10-09-2005 at 03:14 PM.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    If you are a proponent of PPV .... I cannot accept the tactical approach where you would attempt to oppose a wind![/B]
    Sorry you cant "accept" that. But, I know what I know, Ive seen what Ive seen. Done it many times in this type of situation with great success.

    Im sorry to hear of the Brothers passing.
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  16. #36
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Dave,

    Your opinions and experience using PPV is acknowledged. I would never teach using PPV (attack mode) against an opposing wind as my own experiences have shown it to be ineffective. I have also used computer monitored test houses to record the effects of PPV ventilators against simulated opposing winds and these have also demonstated the inability of the ventilator to overcome even the smallest of simulated wind speeds.

    It is also against our UK SOP for PPV (attack mode) to be used against a fire that is demonstrating 'backdraft like' conditions. I cannot comment in this particular situation other than 'smoke was seen to 'roll' out of the front door at mid level on entry'.

    I am interested to hear other views on what is considered 'acceptable risk' in terms of the primary search .... what defines a needed search in hostile areas of a structure .... ie;

    ∑ Firefighters will take a calculated risk, and provide for additional safety, to save valuable property or reduce the potential for civilian and firefighter injuries?

    How far do you go in defining that statement?

  17. #37
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    Paul,

    I think you may have discounted a major factor in this incident by stating there was no attic. Based on what I have seen in the construction here in the South, and from what I could see in the pics I would say that there was indeed an attic and it very likely was a lightweight truss.

    Another point is that most residential structures in the urban areas have some type of security fence around the back yard, usually a 6' wood privacy fence. This would mean access problems on top of the presence of the bars for the rear of the structure.

    With these points in mind my plan of attack would be a quick walk around of three sides and then an attack line through the front door. We would immediately check the attic for signs of fire and then proceed on to the seat of the fire. We would not advance beyond the front door if we found fire in the attic. The point was made by Lt.1951 already, but I think the indicated lack of flowing water from the initial attack line is IMO a big reason this fire got out of control (I would be interested in hearing your hinted alternative tactics at some point ).

  18. #38
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    Dave,

    Your opinions and experience using PPV is acknowledged. I would never teach using PPV (attack mode) against an opposing wind as my own experiences have shown it to be ineffective. I have also used computer monitored test houses to record the effects of PPV ventilators against simulated opposing winds and these have also demonstated the inability of the ventilator to overcome even the smallest of simulated wind speeds.

    It is also against our UK SOP for PPV (attack mode) to be used against a fire that is demonstrating 'backdraft like' conditions. I cannot comment in this particular situation other than 'smoke was seen to 'roll' out of the front door at mid level on entry'.

    I am interested to hear other views on what is considered 'acceptable risk' in terms of the primary search .... what defines a needed search in hostile areas of a structure .... ie;

    ∑ Firefighters will take a calculated risk, and provide for additional safety, to save valuable property or reduce the potential for civilian and firefighter injuries?

    How far do you go in defining that statement?
    Point taken. I cant comment on your tests, other then to say Im sure they are welll done. I can only speak to our experianes with PPV here. Like I said earlier, we have a decent wind pretty much every day, and have noticed very little effect on our operations as it pertains to PPV.

    I will admit, its a thin line between the wind speeds that PPV will work and when it will not. 15mph steady is fine although gusts to 30mph would be at the upper limit. Once you hit say, 20-22 mph steady, we start rethinking our ventilation tactics.

    Then again, it all depends on what speed that wind is reaching the area in question. Are there trees blocking it, another building perhaps? A house which backs up to another through short yards with trees, shrubs out buildings and such would have a lower exposer to the wind then a house that backs to the beach.

    I think one reason we have success with PPV in our normally breezy local is our size of exaust hole. I belive one mistake many departments make when deploying PPV is to open a large exaust hole. We keep ours small, usually one window only.

    And dont forget, if needed you can always place one PPV fan behind another to boost the CFM. I have seen this done several times on very large structures with good effect.

    Oh and Paul, thanks for starting another FANTASTIC thread.
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  19. #39
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Dave .... Yes I have heard a bit about your Florida 'winds' even from this side of the pond and you are right (and Lt 1951 also made the point) about remembering where the surrounding terrain etc works to your advantage in slowing wi speeds - good point!

    You are right there with the exhaust vent and a 2-1 inlet to vent ratio is generally advised in UK if working (post fire) against a wind. There are other thoughts on this I know where wind is not a factor .... another discussion!

    Cowtown .... point taken I think the US definition of an 'attic' is different to that in UK where an attic is a actually a loft space I think that's right! A room usually for storage, sometimes for living.

  20. #40
    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    A room usually for storage, sometimes for living.
    In Detroit a lot of the attics have been converted into living space, tight living space mind you but living space just the same.

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