Here is the scene. You are the officer in charge here and when you arrive this is what you see.

You have reports of possible victims in an early morning fire.

Now, this house is approximately 1600 square feet with a basement. Single story about 25-30 years old.

Based on your tactical priorities, start assigning these crews where it is most appropriate. Explain where and why you sent your crews there. Keep in mind you are a medium sized department that is a suburban island. Meaning that basically you have three trucks on the scene with this number of personnel.

Your next truck in is 10 minutes away. You have public water supply.

The neighbor got up to go to work and noticed smoke coming from the house next door. Exposure B and D are about 15 feet away on both sides.

What do you do?

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ok so you dont think that would work even with the hole in the roof?
Vic, with this fire I'm not sending anyone to the roof. We can either get the knock with just cooling the fire and a direct attack if it's near a door, or with PPA help if it is deeper in the house. From the look, it's near the front door.

Hit it with PPA from the back, push it out the front, add water from the back, find the victim, get the victim out, then cut the PPA off if the fire isn't quickly controlled.

Either way, with this small group of personnel, roof work will have to wait - it's a lower priority than rescue, protecting the rescue team, horizontal ventilation, and a second line. If you have to wait 10 minutes on the next company to arrive with the manpower to do the roof work, either the fire is going to be knocked or it will be so deep-seated that roof venting probably won't help.

Vertical exhausts for PPV work much better on commercial structures where the vent hole can be cut directly over the fire so it isn't spread horizontally through the overhead voids.
OK, I don't usually post on these educational threads, as I enjoy reading them and absorbing the experience of much more seasoned folk than myself. However, I have a few questions on this one.

First, what is PPA, I'm familiar with PPV, just not getting the A.

Second, I've heard both sides of the PPV argument in this thread, those saying putting a fan at the door will burn the house down, others saying you're going to cool the fire, provide fresh air to victims, and improve visibility. This is an area I always wonder about. The general consensus around here is that PPV is great, unfortunately it often seems to be used in the overhaul, and not in primary attack like we TALK about. When do you make the choice between the benefits and the negatives? I.E...when are you more worried that PPV will spead the fire uncontrollably.

Going off the second question....what is a ventilation-controlled vs. fuel-controlled fire....I'm either unfamiliar with the term, or know it by another name...please explain.

Fourth....nobody mentioned this....what about along with the OVM (outside vent man, don't know how universal that term is)...what about sending in 3 guys with a line....find a window on the A side....leave one guy to hydraulically ventilate out an A side window, while the other two conduct a primary search. What do you guys think about that approach? I've found in my (short, limited) structure fire experience that hydraulic ventilation works like a charm.
Well is my thinking. I would rather have a 2 man hose team a 2 man search team also with a hose and a man outside throwing ladders and breaking windows. i also have a pump operator and myself as ic. so as lonmg as the pump operator and the ic are in full gear with airpack. ready to go they could be my pic until i get more people there. go in hit the fire let my search team try and find any vics then have them turn to fire attack after they do the primaery. that was i have 2 1.75 hose lines inside. i am venting and have a second means of egress and I have a rit.
I know that this sounds far fetched but when you are from a volly dept you have to think out side the box when you aint got manpower
well based on what we have there and saying i am watching this..based on 2 in and 2 out rule of thumb we have 2 on the attack line ...2 on search and rescue..so they are going ahead with there assignments (which we assume is in the door)..the FF with brighter gear looks to be an Officer so i might pull him away and have him take a second line to the next door nieghbors exposure and be ready maybe a few peppering sprays to keep the exposure in check..and hope the next due sees a plume and cuts time to 5 mins
The 2-in, 2-out rule does not apply if there is a known or suspected victim in the burning structure.
Hydraulic ventilation is a post-knockdown activity done from inside the structure.

The venting we're talking about here is pre-knockdown tactic to improve conditions for both the victim and the attack team.
Blair - PPA is "Positive Pressure Attack" and describes using a PPV fan prior to a hoseline entering the structure.

A fuel-controlled fire is a fire that has plenty of ventilation, so the fire is limited by the type, size, and arrangement of the fuel. Those fires tend to be flashed over and autovented.

A ventilation-controlled fire does not have adequate ventilation to free-burn all of the available fuel. Those fires tend to have heavy, dark smoke due to the incompletely-combusted fuel.

As I told Bradley below, on this fire, both the hazards and the limited manpower indicate that outside venting prior to the attack is probably the best tactic. Interior hydraulic ventilation takes at least one firefighter away from other duties and it unnecessarily exposes the vent firefighter to the interior atmosphere.
Thank you for the good answers chief.
I based my reply on exactly what was given...a staff of 5, no mention of an apparatus operator OR IC/OIC. No offense to the originator of this post. It actually made it assignments easier!

I understand, and have had training in PPV/PPA both in theory and concept and application. I do not advocate the tactic for every event, and conditions must indicate using it, and that means having enough information and personnel on hand to locate the fire, as well as having enough personnel on SCENE to mitigate any undesired, unitentional fire spread. Considering most departments that do have adequate personnel on scene on the initial response do not use this tactic, at least in my section of the woods, I would not consider it with a crew about a quarter, maybe a third the size of what I need to operate safely and cover the tactical situations.

Certainly I understand many of you will disagree. I uaually work with a shift of 4 to 6, with an initial response at best of 10 firefighters and 2 officers, and 4 at the worst. And any number in between, depending upon what, and how many EMS units are committed at time of a fire. Of course there ARE more coming in on a 'box' alarm, but the times vary, as do the amount of personnel who respond.

So the initial tactics are based off of what is present at the time, or at least on radio, enroute. With this scenario, we were told initially we have 5, with the rest coming 10 minutes later. That is a long time in my book. A long time to wait for help should things take a turn for the worse.

Block, cement, etc, without fire on the second floor and presence of a cockloft, PP may be indicated. However it's not the PP concept that is the big negative factor in this situation, but rather the the lack of enough firefighters, and the delay in the arrival of additional crews that has the most adverse effect on control of this fire, and the ability to hold it where it is. Anyways, with regards to some of the PPV/PPA training and seminars I have found that both the pro side and the negative sides on this tactic each have valid points in argument. It just has to be something your department practices, and USES on a routine basis. Taking a class in this tactic, and then deciding to implement it arbitrarily at the next structure fire may have disasterous consequences.

It's one picture that we are taking and using to justify our replies. In reality, we all know that time is the biggest factor. What we see now should prompt us to make plans to control this incident as we anticipate where it will be by the time it takes to initiate, and complete our tactical objectives. And each of us may invision something different in our minds as to fire spread, and time line of events.

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