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.
What I find disturbing is that we have people in the fire service who thinks that PPA is just another "cookie cutter" tool for the toolbox. It is not. This tactic should be weighed very carefully and especially on departments where casual attendance for meetings and training are typical, alcohol is allowed to a part of the culture, elections are popularity contests and they want to do it because everyone else is doing it.
This type of tactic requires THE RIGHT DECISION EVERY TIME.
Let's talk about decisions and why departments hesitate to put PPA into their arsenal of weapons.
We see today that we had another vehicle accident involving an ambulance at an intersection.
The ambulance driver made a very bad decision to run the red light that caused the wreck.
How many times did he run a red light before his luck ran out? How many BAD decisions has he made that didn't have a negative impact were it not for THIS time? Put that same idiot in charge of your PPA making the same careless decisions on when and when not to use it.
Believing that ANYONE can make the decision to employ PPA is what I find disturbing.
And I for one respect the departments who are NOT jumping in and buying these "hot air balloon blowers" just because they have read that it is a tactic that has worked.
Well you know what? That's what happened with Man's quest to suppress fire. First there was dirt. Then there was water. Then came the arguments on straight stream vs. fog.
What; did everyone take their dog out of this fight?
Are some of you still convinced that every department can employ this tactic correctly every time?
Are you still AMAZED that more departments aren't using it?
Yeah; me, too.
From what I see, by the time the first apparatus arrived on scene, the fire had already ventilated out the window. By the time entry was made with a hose line through the front door, the fire was already running in the attic. At around 2 min into the video, it had already broken through the roof. While I'm sure it was warm inside, I don't believe it was bad enough to warrant additional ventilation. But I wasn't there.
You didn't have to vent. The fire did that for you.
Upon first arrival, it appeared that the fire was already in the crawl space above the ceiling.
If the fire in the room of origin was already into the ceiling, then it stood a good chance of running across the crawl space. House appears to be built in the 60s, so I would guess that it had a wide open crawl space, just like mine does.
This is a very hard working fire company that has obviously trained well and has a lot of commitment and dedication. That being said,,,
The fire had not vented,,,it had an exhaust,,,the definition of ventilation is the systematic removal of products of combustion while replacing the toxic environment with one that is more tenable. Absolutely I would have placed a blower initially. Given the obvious fire behavior additional windows in that area of the structure should also have been opened. However the first in crew needs to access the attic before getting too far into the structure...They should have opened the attic from the front door and started an indirect attack in the attic. If they would of had tools this would have easy and would not have added to the time it took to extinguish the room of origin. Plus they would of had a good chance to knock down the attic fire. This was a large developing fire that the crews did a good job on,,,with a blower and ample exhaust they could have been working in a clean environment and keeping the bulk of the fire and smoke moving to the exterior and keep it in the attic.
Can we get a copy of this video?
I would of put a blower up to clear the living space and vent the fire floor after opening an additional exhaust. I would also have opened the attic from below from the front porch and started water application using an indirect attack (steam) to put the attic out. The initial crew could then have opened the ceiling as they continued to move in a clear environment towards the room of origin.
That's just me,,,No way would I have put someone on that roof,,,,7/16 OSB fails to support 200 pounds after 2 minutes of fire impingement.
Hi Tom...Great vids...thanks. As for the house fire. I have tackled 100's of single dwelling brick built fires and yes the rof space is probably the worse place to get involved due to lack of natural ventilation. The heat builds up untill there is enough of it to do the obvious.
Two ways I have used to deal with them. One is to get into the space from inside and use spray jets to cool the area. Second is to vent from the outside and apply the sprays from the roof. I have no experience of working with roof construction in the USA so I will bow to "local" advice when told that it would have been dangerous to put anyone on that roof. (I am used to tile or slate where wieght can be held for longer periods.)
So in this case I would have gained access from the inside as I am sure the teams were doing.
I have to say that the roof space was already building up heat as the first teams arrived on scene so I really believe that this space was always going to be lost. Once the smoke was forced out of the eaves, the pressure in there was close to breaking point and once fire did break through and air was dragged in then it went very quickly.
I would also have tackled the fire at the left end of the building which was being "dragged" upwards into the roof space. It appeaed that this was the only first floor area actually on fire.
Looks like the guys did a great job considering and hopefully saved a large area of the first floor from burning. Good Job.
By the way, who are the people around both fires in your vids, who don't have any protective gear on? In your first vid there is a guy in a baseball cap and Chucks and several guys in the second vid in close proximity to the risk area.
Having fire come out of an opening is not ventilation.,,,It is fire coming out of a window,,,Ventilation is the coordinated effort of the fire attack crew to remove products of combustion from the interior of the building while replacing it with a tenable environment. This doesn't happen unless you augment the environment with enough exhaust to localize the fire and then remove products of combustion as crews are advancing. If these brave firefighters ventilated the building with PPA,, they would of had a clear environment to work in due to pressurization. This pressurization would have kept most of the fire that was in the attic in the attic as crews worked and continued to open the ceiling periodically as they advanced towards the main floor fire.
Just because you have fire showing does not mean you have ventilation...You may have some,,,but you have not taken control of the interior environment
Allow me to share my view on the latest discussion on "ventilation" and "exhaust". I agree with the definition cited for ventilation, no problem. One of the tactics taught Firefighters in basic FF 1&2 school is to "ventilate" the building by breaking windows, opening doors, cutting a hole etc. In some cases the fire exits the building before firefighters arrive, to my recollection we always referred to this as the "fire has self vented itself". When we open a door for entry to the building, we emit oxygen/air into the building starting "natural cross ventilation". Today though, with PPA what we can do is supplement natural cross ventilation with the use of a power blower thus speeding up the process of "ventilation". Doing this opens up the path to the fire thus providing visibility. reducing the heat and simply making the enviroment more tenable for the crew. I agree with the tactics suggested by Kriss and Dave for getting into the attic space. I caution everyone reading these discussions to understand that the use of PPA is not the answer to all of your fire problems, you must be able to recognize when NOT to use it.