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  1. #21
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    they had tin ceilings and most guys on this department had little to no experience with them
    Tin ceilings suck. Most of my downtown area has them sandwiched between drop ceilings, sheetrock, and tongue an groove.
    "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?


  2. #22
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    Our bread and butter fires are the 2 and 3 story rowhouse. Most of them have a skylight/hatch directly over the stairs. This is usually all that needs to be hit at most fires. Tap 3 times real loud to warn the engine advancing and break the glass. Sometimes a place has had more than one fire and the glass has been replaced by a box made of metal and roofing material. Very seldom do we need to cut the roof on these homes.

    I worked in construction before getting hired and we built a 2 story brick mental health building back in 78'. Over the middle stairwell, the architect installed a hatch that was set to open automaticly for fire at a given temperature. They've never hosted a fire there but the same guy placed big AC units and generators on the roof of this building.

  3. #23
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    Another tactic I tried recently. Usually when we're going to take a window off a portable ladder, We drop the ladder into the window to break the glass, then re-position it and ascend it and finish clearing the window, and enter. Well Ive been cut (and burned once by hot glass) a few times while clearing the glass (falling glass) while on the ladder. This time, to avoid that from happening, after dropping the ladder into the window, I rolled it to the side, then climed it. I was able to clear the rest of the glass, without getting covered in it (also was able to vent the adjoining window better). I was then able to step into the window from the side (I know it is not the best way to get into a window), once inside the window, I reached out, grabbed the ladder, and rolled it under the window I was now in, in case I needed a quick exit. Took a bit longer to get in the window, but sure beat getting cut again. Always remember to remove the entire window (sash and all) if you enter yhe window. It is much easier to remove the sash if you unlock the window and "open" the window slightley, it becomes MUCH weaker.
    If theres an A/C in the window, push it in, so it doesnt fall down to the 2nd due OVM.

  4. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Default Enlightenment please...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Tin ceilings suck. Most of my downtown area has them sandwiched between drop ceilings, sheetrock, and tongue an groove.
    I've never seen a tin ceiling. Aren't they basically vanity squares attached to the ceiling? What makes them so much more difficult than, say tounge and groove?

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFD840
    I've never seen a tin ceiling. Aren't they basically vanity squares attached to the ceiling? What makes them so much more difficult than, say tounge and groove?
    There are many types...some are individual squares as you mentioned...others are complete sheets of decrotive pressed tin. They come in many different sizes 12", 24" squares, 2'x4' sheets. Or even larger.

    The old ones are firmly secured and depending on design interlocked with the adjoining pannels. One needs a sharp tin hook to puncture it and then begin slowly and methodically ripping or cutting a line in the pannel...much like using a can opener on a tin can.

    Often the tin is secured to tounge and groove planks above that run diagonally from the joists. Or heavy lath and plaster with wire mesh.

    Every truckie is beat dead tired and they usually can't lift their arms after a good job.

    Also making the situation worse...they are usually 8',10' or even 12+ feet high ceilings and require long hooks just to reach.

    FTM-PTB

  6. #26
    Forum Member nyckftbl's Avatar
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    Another tactic I tried recently. Usually when we're going to take a window off a portable ladder, We drop the ladder into the window to break the glass, then re-position it and ascend it and finish clearing the window, and enter. Well Ive been cut (and burned once by hot glass) a few times while clearing the glass (falling glass) while on the ladder. This time, to avoid that from happening, after dropping the ladder into the window, I rolled it to the side, then climed it. I was able to clear the rest of the glass, without getting covered in it (also was able to vent the adjoining window better). I was then able to step into the window from the side (I know it is not the best way to get into a window), once inside the window, I reached out, grabbed the ladder, and rolled it under the window I was now in, in case I needed a quick exit.
    Ive never thought of that. There are some buildings around me where this is the only way to get in a window, because the portables are just to long to sit under the sill, and the A frame just takes too damn long. I like the idea though.
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

  7. #27
    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Thanks FFFred. Maybe it is a regional thing, I've never seen anything like that down here. From your description I can see how it would be a pain to pull a lot of armored ceiling...

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFD840
    Thanks FFFred. Maybe it is a regional thing, I've never seen anything like that down here. From your description I can see how it would be a pain to pull a lot of armored ceiling...
    It was popular up into the 1930s to put into taxpayers, offices, banks, small factories and mercantile buildings. Many of our old firehouses also have tin celings.

    FTM-PTB

  9. #29
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    Sorry, last post was supposed to go under the VES steps forum!!

  10. #30
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    Use the EK hook on the tin or wire mesh...RIGHT TOOL RIGHT JOB. Like the brother from DC stated, our bread and butter are the 2 or 3 story row homes. First floor fire just venting natural openings is plenty. Second floor with 1 or 2 rooms going the natural openings are also probably enough. Really depends on fire load and your need for an aggressive attack. Reports of people trapped, we cut anything and everything. We cut for fire, but we also cut to vent heat, smoke and gases which improves searches. Key is to stay in contact with your engine company. I usually know when pullying up if I need to cut. But you must always be mindful of conditions you cant see. Call your engine officer and find out conditions. Did opening the natural vents help or is more needed. Remember just cause you arent cutting a hole doesnt mean you dont need to open the cornice or barge board. Like has been said, its our job to put the fire out. There is no such thing as a re-kindle, its a fire you never put out the first time.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

  11. #31
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    Our city is almost entirely 2 1/2 story balloon framed peaked roof houses. We have few flat roofs, so the basic "opening up" (skylights, bulkhead doors, etc.) are not available to us - it's pretty much cut or not.

    We usually put people on the roof at almost every fire, because every fire has the potential to be an attic fire, especially if it starts in the basement. We'll get prepared to cut a hole, but we don't always cut one, depending on how the attack is going, whether the fire is found to be extending, and whether or not the BC wants us to.

    Depending on fire location or severity, the roof duty may get passed to the second in truck if there are other things that need to be done first.

    Most of our houses were built 1900-1960, and so are rafter-and-ridge construction, but a spate of recent urban renewal projects have given us lightweight construction to deal with. Common sense says that these roofs are a no-go, but I don't think we have anything written down about it yet.


    Philly, what is an EK hook? Never heard of it before.

  12. #32
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    I would'nt be cutting a peaked roof PD (any variety) unless fire is underneath it. The very act of cutting the hole, for a fire anywhere other than directly underneath the roof, may be what causes the fire to extend to that spot. Use the manpower to knock the fire down quickly, open up the walls, check for extension on the upper floors, and stretch a 2nd line to control extension.

    We cut roofs only to give the fire an escape path (rather than have it spread laterally) The only exception is when in a flat-roofed building, the skylight over the interior stairs is tarred over or removed. The purpose in this case is to relieve the interior stairs of smoke and heat so our guys can get to the 2nd floor (the hole will open up directly over the stairs, with nothing in between) Other than that, we use the saw only to vent fire.

    I dont think Ive seen a job yet where taking the windows on the 2nd floor of a PD was'nt sufficient to ventilate the building. In other words, take the windows on the upper floor, and you shoul'dnt need a hole. Try it...you'll see what Im talking about.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 03-23-2006 at 09:22 AM.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ
    I would'nt be cutting a peaked roof PD (any variety) unless fire is underneath it. The very act of cutting the hole, for a fire anywhere other than directly underneath the roof, may be what causes the fire to extend to that spot. Use the manpower to knock the fire down quickly, open up the walls, check for extension on the upper floors, and stretch a 2nd line to control extension.

    We cut roofs only to give the fire an escape path (rather than have it spread laterally) The only exception is when in a flat-roofed building, the skylight over the interior stairs is tarred over or removed. The purpose in this case is to relieve the interior stairs of smoke and heat so our guys can get to the 2nd floor (the hole will open up directly over the stairs, with nothing in between) Other than that, we use the saw only to vent fire.

    I dont think Ive seen a job yet where taking the windows on the 2nd floor of a PD was'nt sufficient to ventilate the building. In other words, take the windows on the upper floor, and you shoul'dnt need a hole. Try it...you'll see what Im talking about.
    We do only cut holes when the fire is under it - it's just that in these houses, the fire is under it an awful lot. We knock the fire down quickly, open the walls, check for extension, and if it has extended to the attic, we vent it. We do take out the windows on the second floor, and it does a great job of venting the second floor, but it doesn't do much for the fifteen feet of structure that is above the second floor ceiling. If there are attic windows, we take them first, but often there is ten feet of attic above the top of those windows, so we vent at the highest point available.

    If the fire is on the first floor, we usually don't need to cut. If the fire is on the second floor and small/controlled, we usually don't need to cut. If it's in the attic, we need to cut. If it's in the basement, put it out really quickly, or it'll be in the attic and we'll need to cut. But since we often need to cut, we get people in position so that when we need to, we can do it quickly.

    You don't (usually) cut peaked roofs because your procedures tell you not to. Mine do, so I cut them and it works really well. I'm not saying you're wrong because you don't, any more than you would say that I'm wrong because I almost never open a bulkhead door.

  14. #34
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    I dont cut them because our procedures tell me not too,....but I also happen to strongly agree with them, the Boro of Brooklyn has a huge number of balloon frame private dwellings (Queen Annes) so I am very familuar with them; which is why I share my views on this topic, on this forum.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 03-23-2006 at 08:38 PM.

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    Vertical ventilation of peaked roofs may be very necessary, especially if it involves the attic. As everyone knows, the reason to vertically ventilate is to release the heat, fire, smoke gases out of the "compartment" and up into the atmosphere to provide for better rescue, fire attack, prevent lateral spread, etc. and other interior ops. If your policy is to never vertically vent a peaked roof, what happens when the attic is completely charged with "flashover conditions?" The engine company will begin pulling ceiling in order to put their hose stream into the attic space...there is a great possibility of the fire flashing down onto the interior firefighters because there is no where else for the heat, smoke, fire, etc. to go because no one vertically vented to release these fire gases into the atmosphere instead of down onto the interior firefighting crews. Sure, many of these attic fires may be put out without vertically venting, but why take the chance, especially if not working for a dept who gets many fires and lacks true experience. There are documented cases of fires flashing down onto interior fire attack crews because they did not vertically ventilate.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ
    I dont cut them because our procedures tell me not too,....but I also happen to strongly agree with them
    I didn't ask you to cut anything. I would never expect anyone to change their tactics on my say-so. hr1corl8304 asked how different departments approach vertical ventilation, and I told him.

    Matty, I've been reading these forums for a while, and I have a lot of respect for you and what you say, as well as for your department. I don't criticize your tactics, because it's not my place, and what I think about them really doesn't matter. Why criticize mine? You don't fight fires here, why do you even care?

    I'm not by any means bashing you or trying to argue, I'm just wondering why make a thing out of it?

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    How am I making a thing out of it? I dont blame you for your departments tactics, in fact at least you seem to have a thought out reason for doing it, where often it seems many dont. But this topic was about vertical ventilation, and my response is on my opinion and experience with vertical ventilation, as well as my departments operating proceedures. Fire and buildings burn the same no matter where you go, and in my opinion,(which was shaped by those who saw enough fire in their days to have a good idea what works and doesnt) is that cutting a peaked roof private dwelling as a matter of habit, or when not really needed, just because we "always do", is not a proper tactic (to be honest, I dont even know if that is your tactic). Im not attacking you. I am not telling you to change, or do it "our" way....but again, the topic is about vertical ventilation, and thats how I see it.

    Keiran: Go back and read the posts on this.....I think everyone agree's that if fire is in the attic, the roof should be cut.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 03-24-2006 at 09:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ
    cutting a peaked roof private dwelling as a matter of habit, or when not really needed, just because we "always do", is not a proper tactic (to be honest, I dont even know if that is your tactic).

    Gotcha - I guess I read what you said the wrong way. Sorry.

    and just for clarification on my part, in my original post I said that we put people on the roof for pretty much every fire, but whether or not we cut depends on the knowledge and experience of the roofmen, the decisions of the operations chief, and how much the engine yells.

    Take care

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    This is what we call an EK hook.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Default venting

    all responses to the vent question have been outstanding ,very helpful and thank you. we all realize that working above is dangerous work regardless of the construction types or wether it has a pitched or flat roof. Our primary mission being that of victim rescue and survival of our own makes me believe that for those 2 reasons alone warrant us to adequately vent all fires substantial enough to create a hazardous environment. When we look into the statistics and see that Approx. 48 % of our fireground fatalities are due to getting lost and perishing due to asphyxiation it creates a concern that we are not doing enough to release the smoke that is of such a great concern. Many agencies consider that there is no need to vent sfd fires which happen to be the cause of over 54 % of our fireground fatalities. coupled with a significant rise in occurences with flashovers due once again to inadequate venting in many areas as well as increases in protective equipment. Considering the average height of a sfd window is 24 to 30 inches and the bed and common household furnishing are approximately the same height is horizontal venting alone adequate enough to get the levels to the point that we can prolong life giving us time to save lives of civilians and that of our own? we have all been in fires and seen the smoke rise to the lower window sill due to the heat conditions created by an extensive fire. From what I have read on this post this doesnt really apply to any in here but many feel that the way to increase firefighter safety is to attack fires from an exterior vantage point writing off all and whom may be inside. I feel as though maintaining aggressive tactics which include that of aggressive ventilation practices to release the heat and smoke is a better choice. we all realize and know when there is a chance to make a difference or considering the circumstances and conditions when it is time to maintain a defensive posture. I think the Key to maintaing this balance is discussions such as here and extensive training to operate the safest we can even in times of peril. Thank all of those who have posted SAVE A LIFE>>>>>>VENT

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