I did an internet class yesterday at the fire station on PPA (positve pressure attac). I have been around the fire service for many years and alot of this class goes agianst everything I have learned over the years. I would love to implement what I learned but I would like to know if anybody is activly using PPA and how is it working for you.
I appreciate your point about the training situation in non-paid departments. I came from the non-paid sector so I have been there, done that and got the tee-shirt. However, I'll tell you, after teaching this subject for a major university for about the past 18 years, I have found that the non-paid departments are the most successful in using the tactic. True, it takes a lot of training, but based on my experiences and feedback that I get from former students, they have solved that problem. I had a person working for me as my Deputy Chief who was also the Training Officer for a small non-paid department. He trained and trained his firefighters to use PPA and they were good at it!! In my view, this tactic is extremely useful for the small department, paid or non-paid with limited resources as the procedure only requires three persons to be effective. Why do I know this? The department that I retired from only ran with three personnel and my firefighters were surperb at using the system. Of course training was the key.
I think in addition to adequate training, and I agree with Art that a handful of yearly trainings and refreshers is insufficient, you need to have an SOP in place as to the when's and why's of using it....You need someone who is highly trained at the site and who has the ability to size up the scene and make the judgement call as to whether it's prudent to use or not.
How was it conveyed to students that the introduction of forced air into a structural fire was to be done in very limited circumstances? In other words, not used in EVERY circumstance?
In Delmar's Firefighter's Handbook, it states: PPV has been employed with some success during the attack stage of fire suppression. Because of the narrow applicability of the practice during the attack phase, some officials are skeptical about introducing the practice to their operations.
They also state: Misuse of positive pressure ventilation can severely accelerate fire growth.
So; you have an attendee that leaves class, has been told that it has limited use, but implements the practice as SOP and before you know it, they find the body by the window who might otherwise had survived had they not fired up the fan.
And then you have DHS telling you that you don't need a PPV fan, because you don't have enough structural fires to justify one in your grant?
I have added bold in the quotes for emphasis.
I'm trying to understand.
I will not reply to anyone who thinks because a firefighters mortgage is paid by the department that they are better. Please discontinue any further response to me as you degrade volunteer firefighters. I cannot be apart of anything so short sighted. have a good and superficial life.
Read my response again. I AM with a volunteer fire department. Our mortgages are paid by carpenters, farmers, truckdrivers, city workers, welders who volunteer for our local fire department.
And I make valid points.
It's not superficial; it's real.
We bought a gas-powered PPV fan about 10 years ago and we do use it on occasion - for ventilation after the fire is out, not before. The reason is that we're just too afraid to use it in fire conditions. We've used it a few times during training fires and such but not enough to become convinced that it is a tactic we want to employ.
I agree that PPV can be a tremendous benefit, but only under ideal conditions. My experience has been that no two structure fires are the same, nor are they "ideal". Factors such as limited water supply, limited manpower, and mutual aid resources providing ventilation functions tend to destroy the ideal rather quickly. Just trying to coordinate basic firefighting functions can be a chore unto itself.
We also found out earlier this year that positive ventilation with our gas fan results in a 10 to 15 ppm CO concentration due to its exhaust. Something to consider when overhauling and using PPV.
It's not as hard as you think and i don't know what ideal conditions are. In fact you create ideal conditions by taking control of the interior fire environment making the attack much more safe for you and your victims.
Keep an eye on our web site, positivepressureattack.com for the possibility of a class in your area. We don't do many because we still work as full time battalion chiefs. I know we are in Kansas, Virginia, California, Utah and Indianapolis later this year with more to come.
There are many free resources and information on our web site that may also be beneficial to you.
Stay in touch. Take the challenge of introducing PPA in your area. you will never fight fire the same way again. You owe it to yourself and your fellow firefighters.
Regarding the CO, it is no big deal during the fire attack as you are bringing the levels from 1200 ppm to 50-100 ppm while making the area safe to operate in. During clean up (overhaul is part of an aggressive attack) often times we turn the blowers off and allow HVAC or natural ventilation to assist us. Tempest also make a great electric blower, not okay for attack but great for clean up. You may also be interested in our webcast we did for fire engineering.
Allow me an attempt to address some of your concerns. You had mentioned in one of your comments about an authority making a guarantee about the safe use of PPA. No one can give you that guarantee. However, if I was going to look to someone for valid information on the use of PPA then I would turn to Kriss Garcia. I have been in the PPA business for a long time, was introduced to it by John Mittendorf from LA who at the time was as we say in the Marine Corps, the "duty expert". Larry Hughes from North Carolina was another who surfaced as someone who knew what they were talking about. You have never heard of me until now, but I introduced the idea into the State of Missouri and parts of Illinois. Today however, the "duty expert" in my view is Kriss Garcia. I would strongly recommend that if possible that you or your local area training group invite Kriss to teach PPA to your Firefighters and Officers.
Using PPA to find the fire is an interesting tactic. I was involved in a church fire in a mutual aide area. They could not locate the fire, I suggested to the IC to pull everyone out, allow my crew to use PPA and we will find the fire for you. His response: No, you will spread the fire. My response: The fire is already spreading becasue you don't have a clue where it is. End result: They filled the chuirch up with water until the pews floated out the front door. Yes, PPA does work for finding the fire, but it should only be used by a compentent IC.
When any of us who teach the PPA, we provide some very basic but concrete rules that must be followed if using PPA. I am going to attach a part of my instruction that covers Size-Up and a riding position SOP for implementing PPA. This is the same SOP used by my paid department and the non-paid department that I mentioned in my previous post, however, the department must train on using it. A 15 minute drill when firefighters are "hanging" out at the engine house would certainly help . You might be surprised how smart fireifghters are in understanding this concept as it is nothing more than basic high school physics. The Fire Chief has the ultimate responsibility whether to allow PPA to be used. The Fire Chief must evaluate their Company Officers and decide if they are competent enough to make the appropriate decisions for using PPA. In order to do this though, the Fire Chief must have a thorough understanding of PPA.
One last thought, over the past year of so, NIST has done some very important tests in using PPA in high rise buildings. Reading the reports that they have submitted have in my view supported the teaching of people like Kriss Garcia, myself and others. Between NIST and the testing that Salt Lake City has done, we now have scientific data to support what we knew all along, that PPA is s useful tool when used correctly and it works. If you have any more questions or would like to privately discuss this issue, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time and patience.
Garcia indicated in a previous post that he won't discuss it with me, because I didn't pay my mortgage or something like that. I don't know why it's so hard to recognize that, in the volunteer fire service culture, there are those who want to do things half assed. Training and meeting attendance are two of the biggies. Not on MY VOLUNTEER fire department, but on others.
See; now you caught my attention by mentioning John Mittendorf. I took some of his classes, but it's been over ten years ago and he was still using an axe for venting demos. Of course, he showed the saws as well, but he didn't mention it in his class, nor in the book that I purchased. Now; I'm talking about on OFFENSIVE tactic. We have discussed positive and negative ventilation for years, but not in conjunction with an attack. That is what I'm saying here.
But if Mittendorf and Hughes are on board with it, then I should take a serious look at it.
I appreciate your time, your tone and your expertise.
I'm not trying to be a hard ass or a smart ass. I am trying to learn.
That is done through discussion. Not from getting up from the table and ending the dialogue.
And I will send you an email on a personal experience with PPV that almost cooked SIX of my firefighters. Involves a neighboring department who was using it. We weren't. We were the "recipients" though.
Thanks again, John.