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    Default Residential Roof Work

    The roof work abroad thread got me thinking about this...How many departments are doing vertical ventilation at residential fires, why..why not?
    We regularly send truck crews to the roof on residential fires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by engine13A View Post
    The roof work abroad thread got me thinking about this...How many departments are doing vertical ventilation at residential fires, why..why not?
    We regularly send truck crews to the roof on residential fires.
    As with all things....Depends! I'm not opposed to it at all, but I've seen departments just finishing the roof cut and the engine company is backin out the line cuz the fires out. Did we need that cut or are we just going through the motions?

    If it's a room and contents, then no need.

    Where is the fire?

    How long has it been burning?

    What condition is the roof?

    etc.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Default ChiefKN nailed it

    The first thing an IC needs to ask themself about a roof is "what is it MADE of ". After that is known, (hopefully via pre-event survey) then why do we need to go there is the next one. If neither answer makes sense for people to be on it, then STAY OFF IT. We have old buildings with 4 x 12 roof joists topped with tongue & groove under built-up that will hold up for a while, and "new" construction (read trusses) that I would not send a feather to cut if there is ANY evidence of fire anywhere near the roof (so why cut it?)

    Each incident is different. Is a 32 sq. ft. (4 sections of vinyl siding down from the peak and from roof deck to roof deck) hole at the top of a gable end really that different from the same size on the pitched part of a roof? I have not yet seen an incident where a F/F has fallen through a weakened gable end. I know not everyone has gables, but I see a lot of pics of folks on pitched roofs in a lot of danger when a much safer position is a very few feet away.

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    Vent it. Why? There are enough inside and that's what the truck does. Go through the motions? Yeah why not? Good practice.

    I can see arguments against it but our truck arrives exactly when the engine does. They can vent it before the fire is out.

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    I agree that the situation and construction will dictate whether a team is sent to the roof. For top floor fires, we will open the roof; otherwise it is the IC's call. Remember, that with light weight construction in a peaked-roof SFD, an alternative is to cut a ventilation opening on one of the gable ends. It is fast and can be accomplished more safely.

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    Default Oops

    Sorry, Binaroundawhile, I missed your response earlier. Sorry for being redundant all over again!

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    In my still area, PPV is just done more often than not. Also taking the gables is just as effective. I am a firm believer in knowing how to vertically vent, but you must be proficient at it to realize the best outcomes. If you get a crew that sucks at doing it, it can be disastrous as well as take too long. When you have superb truck companies who either do it for real or practice a lot, it is VERY effective. In some older neighborhoods, vertical may be the only option. I don't think many smaller departments (even some large) put enough emphasis on quality truck work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCFD53 View Post
    Remember, that with light weight construction in a peaked-roof SFD, an alternative is to cut a ventilation opening on one of the gable ends. It is fast and can be accomplished more safely.
    I would argue and be the devils advocate that with a peaked roof, that horizontal ventilation with a VES approach would be the faster more efficient ventilation technique.
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    If neither answer makes sense for people to be on it

    I guess in that case, there's no need for ventilation since you haven't committed people underneath it, either.

    While I realize the need to act cautiously on roofs, it always makes me wonder just why something too dangerous to be on is acceptably safe to be under. Especially when the reason to be on it for a brief amount of time is to vent the heat and fire that's weakening it.

    an alternative is to cut a ventilation opening on one of the gable ends

    Why?

    In my mind that would be second worse to doing nothing in terms of exposing the trusses / rafters to heat and fire. It would draw the fire horizontally the maximum possible distance, rather then a vertical vent hole. Depending how you cut it, it could also introduce more fresh air then a hole near the peak would.

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    Default CAF's and ventilation

    Anyone using compressed air foam knows that you must have adequate ventilation. I am huge roof ventilation fan. CAF's requires it. I know a lot here don't use CAF's, but its great (almost makes firefighting no fun!).

    Timing is everything to avoid steam burns. Open the roof, then open the hose line with CAFs.

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    Cutting the roof at a residential frame building with an attic seems pointless to me, unless the fire is located in the attic area. The roof is generally the most poorly maintained part of any structure, it gets fixed when we get wet. Roofs are designed to protect the contents of a structure from the elements, not carry the load of firefighters. Most attics if not used as living space are to some degree or another used for storing life's crap, and that crap is usually sitting on some type of floor in the attic, so to vent the house by cutting the roof is kind of pointless becuase you only vent the attic and not the fire area.

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    Ventilation of the roof for a private dwelling room and contents fire should not be a priority unless conditions indicate vertical ventilation is necessary (backdraft/preflashover). If fire has ventilated out of the room through a window and has exposed the soffets to fire, or you suspect any exposure to the attic space through a scuttle, or burn through, I would say that it becomes an immediate priority to stop rapid horizontal fire spread. The majority of our construction here is lightweight truss, so when it gets to the attic it goes fast, and your opportunity for viable roof ops is very limited. So get on early and make a hole so you can isolate horizontal spread. In cases of isolated common attic fires you may not be able to make the roof, and gable vent is required, but i dont think venting the gables is as effective as a hole at the peak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfTL41 View Post
    Cutting the roof at a residential frame building with an attic seems pointless to me, unless the fire is located in the attic area. The roof is generally the most poorly maintained part of any structure, it gets fixed when we get wet. Roofs are designed to protect the contents of a structure from the elements, not carry the load of firefighters. Most attics if not used as living space are to some degree or another used for storing life's crap, and that crap is usually sitting on some type of floor in the attic, so to vent the house by cutting the roof is kind of pointless becuase you only vent the attic and not the fire area.
    Thats why a good truck crew if proficient in making a cut and completing the hole through whatever surface is in the attic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfTL41 View Post
    Cutting the roof at a residential frame building with an attic seems pointless to me, unless the fire is located in the attic area. The roof is generally the most poorly maintained part of any structure, it gets fixed when we get wet. Roofs are designed to protect the contents of a structure from the elements, not carry the load of firefighters. Most attics if not used as living space are to some degree or another used for storing life's crap, and that crap is usually sitting on some type of floor in the attic, so to vent the house by cutting the roof is kind of pointless becuase you only vent the attic and not the fire area.

    With that logic I guess we shouldn't vent anything vertically?

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    It all comes down to knowing the buildings in your district.
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    We cut a lot less roofs than ever before. Like I have said before, it seems roof ventialtion is an often overused tactic (maybe the most overused). It seems to be on many IC's checklist of things to do at a fire. We now opt for the more realistic approach of only using it when absolutely necessary. Basically the fire has to be in the "A". Its senseless to vent a roof when the fire is one whole floor or more below the attic/top floor space. Take a look around if you don't think its an issue, there are plenty of fire pic websites, most will have pics of fires with vent holes 2 or more floors above any smoke damaged windows! Or pics of vent holes with clean wood on all four sides. Venting high is still valid where indicated, people just need to know the proper indications as well as the contraindications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BKDRAFT View Post
    With that logic I guess we shouldn't vent anything vertically?
    Not unless fire is directly beneath it. (With the obvious exceptions of balloon frame and the like)

    With most peaked roof private dwellings, horizontal ventilation is often much easier, quicker, and accomplishes just as much.
    Last edited by nyckftbl; 09-10-2007 at 11:59 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    Not unless fire is directly beneath it.

    With most peaked roof private dwellings, horizontal ventilation is often much easier, quicker, and accomplishes just as much.
    ...and this allows the focus to lie where it should with these fires...PRIMARY SEARCH...

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    I don't feel there are any real hard fast rules on this. Knowing the construction, fire location, fire spread rate and direction (including smoke movement) are some of the factors we used. Usually on first floor fires there will be no vertical ventilation, even in a house with no stops but a crew will go to the second floor to check possible fire spread through the walls (yes they will have an attack line with them). In a lot of the older homes with no fire stops and it is on the second floor and spreading to the attic is a very likely occurrence, vertical ventilation will be done as quickly as possible upon confirmation of spread. A house with stops, the crew will again open some walls and check for any fire spread. You get on cut your hole/holes and get off. At times it also depends on the percentage of involvement while also taking the above into consideration. Horizontal venting is my preference but always check for fire extension that may require a vertical operation. Most of the time it just comes down to having a good officer who understands fire and smoke dynamics along with experience and the specific construction in deciding when and where vertical ventilation is needed.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 09-10-2007 at 12:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    Not unless fire is directly beneath it. (With the obvious exceptions of balloon frame and the like)

    With most peaked roof private dwellings, horizontal ventilation is often much easier, quicker, and accomplishes just as much.
    We operate by the same logic.
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    We just don't want to lose the whole block. We found it better to vent, and trench if needed. There are many areas by me that have 80+ year old buildings 5-7-10 in a row 2 and 3 story frames attached with a common cockloft,or attic as some places call them. If we don't get a saw or two going it's going to look like burning dominos.
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    Default Residential roof work? yes or no?

    Len 1582 has put up the most convincing argument [and nice pics too! ]
    In a situation where you have a multliple dwelling row with a common cockloft then vertical ventilation may just save the whole damned block!

    Here in Sydney, similar rows [called terrace houses over here] are joined but each unit has a separation achieved by fire stopped walls within 12-18 inches of the roof line. Consequently Vertical venting is rarely needed as they just don't travel the whole block easily.
    All the rest of our construction is usually lightweight truss construction tiled roof which is a damned death trap waiting to happen!
    Our Salvage /Rescue crews over here [the equivalent of your truckies] hit the floors above the fire to check Fire spread, do evacuation/Rescue, and knock holes in walls when and where required to effect horizontal ventilation.
    Fortunately attics aren't a regular feature over here,but Joe Public sometimes uses the roof void to store all sorts of cr*p.
    Lotsa fun when the trusses give way and all the family secrets come down on your head!!
    Incidentally the best I ever saw was the collection of female garments that came cascading down when the truss and ceiling gave way....apparently Dad liked to dress up occasionally! Didn't hang around to see the reaction from his wife!

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    FIRESTOPS

    Many of the older 2 story buildings have none. You can look into the cockloft right down the entire row. Alot of the older buildings that do have them have deteriorated or been pierced by contractors for pipes or wires when rehabing the building.

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    Except for a trench, I cant recall the last time we cut a roof. PPV is the norm around here and has been for years...
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    Like alot of people have said, "It depends on the call". If we get to a residential, and it looks like it is getting into the attic, or if it rolling real good with heavy smoke and high heat, we will usually send two guys up to get a hole. I am lucky that our outside guys can get a good size hole quick.
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