I'm confused, maybe somebody can help explain this.  When I took my level 1 (recently) we were told roof ventilation would not increase fire intensity and on an interior entry sounding the floor while searching is what you need to do while searching in zero vis.  Was just reading testing conclusions from UL and they say none of this stuff is accurate and in some cases more dangerous then helpful.  While reading there were other techniques taught in level 1 that are contradicted and possibly dangerous or wrong.


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Would that not be drawing the fire towards them trying to get at the fresh air?


When it does come to using a power blower, there are issues that can intensify a fire and can drastically hinder operations and put personnel at risk if not done appropriately. As Don mentions, there is a time and place and it comes down to training and so forth.


What you are seeminly talking about here is positive pressure VENT (PPV). It works fine to clear out a structure of smoke, but one should have the fire out before using it. A power blower should never be used to "locate" a fire. So if there is significant smoke conditions and there are crews inside, a fan should not be used. This also leads on that a fan should not be placed between a crew and a fire, because this can intensify a fire and can overtake a crew.


When it comes to positive pressure ATTACK (PPA) this is a completely different tactic. Essentially, a blower is set up, turned on and pointed away from the structure. Say you have smoke coming from the back bedrooms, etc, you know where the fire is. You would have your hose team ready to go, there would be a vent crew to take out the windows where the fire is, and then the fan is pointed into the entry and vents for about a minute prior to crews going in. This can help cool the conditions, improves visibility, isolate the fire, etc. However, this is just another tactic and one that people should be educated on before employing.

 or even learning about it in an organized fashion. There have been many failures, some documented in places such as YouTube. It's risky



Why wouldn't you want to learn about something? Like Don mentioned, there is a time and place and one needs to know the applications and conditions before deciding upon the tactic. Yes, if used improperly can increase the fire dramatically, but then again, if used properly can significantly improve conditions and make the workload of the fire crews that much easier, and can potentially improve the outcome of victims that could be alive before crews can get in.

Sure there can be doubts and sure there is risk........there is also risk involved with sending crews to the roof for verticle vent, as well as video and documentation of that too. How is one tactic considered "more risky" over another if one doesn't pursue the proper training?

That being said, for the typical house fire I don't see a real need to even try it. Just go get it the old school way. Less variables that way

Depends. Given some significant cuts to the fire service and the "doing more with less" approach, is where such tactics have been developed and studied. Same thing with industry "safeguards" like 2 in 2 out and so forth, in many places around the country the old school way doesn't necessarily apply.

The old school way essentially says to send a crew to the roof for vert vent, a crew for search, a crew for attack, one for backup......now we have RIT, etc, etc. Fine and good if you have all crews showing up on time, etc, but for most places, gien an increase in call volume, the chances of companies being out elsewhere is increased, further exasperated, with things like closures, brownouts, etc. So when looking at a typical house fire, the PPA tactic could be a useful tactic and applicable to the staffing, resources, conditions and so forth.

Now, I'm not advocating the widespread use of PPA, nor  saying this should be learned, but it can be a solid tactic and good option. Yes it does take some learning and discipline to know it, but should that be something to hinder people? Do you want people to evaluate and think about things and understand why they are doing something.....or better.....to have the where-with-all to question an unsafe order? Or do you just want zombie or robot FFs who don't question a thing, but just follow orders?

There is a time and place for such a tactic. I disagree with those who consistently swear by it, those who think the tactic can be applied in every situation and so forth. It does come down to size up and using the right tool for the application, but it also comes down to knowing options.

There is a lot more to it then I thought.  Why the hell don't they teach us this crap at least tell us about the dangers and not just the good points.  I am almost positive that nobody chiefs included has the know how to use this tactic without causing bigger problems.  You guys are scaring me now, more so of the people I work with then the fire itself, lol.

I understand staffing can be a real challenge for some. But most of what you mentioned still needs to be done whether it's PPA or conventional attack. You'll still need to search and vent. You'll still need a line and a backup line. You'll still need RIT.


It shouldn't be about scaring, but awareness. Why some aren't teaching dangers could be a lack of overall knowledge of the tactic and one is teaching. Sometimes it a matter of having personnel who don't ask questions or care to understand something fully. Sometimes it is a matter of urgency to incorporate the "latest" without regard to having a full understanding etc.

On the positive side of things, there is more known about the proper uses of such vent and improvements to identify the right conditions and times to deploy and those circumstances when not to. There is more immediate access to such information now than when PPV was first introduced and so forth.


The intent isn't so much to scare, having some questions and awareness only keeps one looking at the situation before looking to deploy. I find that a better mindset than one who believes such tactics can be used at any time and any situation and focus only on good points without an understanding of the bad. Essentially it is another tool, there is a time and use for it and isn't a universal tool.....just know when and how to use it.

I understand staffing can be a real challenge for some. But most of what you mentioned still needs to be done whether it's PPA or conventional attack. You'll still need to search and vent. You'll still need a line and a backup line. You'll still need RIT

Very true, hence the reason the tactic has come about. When there is limited staffing or staffing re-utilized to meet requirements like RIT, etc, this is a tactic that has come about to answer those issues. Whereas instead of sending a crew to the roof to cut a hole, vent can still take place by having one person open the exhaust, freeing up personnel to perform another task, etc. The tactic can also be used to transition tasks even quicker. IE, you can have a couple guys perform the vent (open windows, etc) and then can perform a search after the attack team makes entry, etc.

Should the search team take a charged or uncharged line into the structure with active fire not anywhere near where search team is looking?  During training in the burn house I found the charged line to be to heavey to go upstairs and just searching in general.  Was hard to enter rooms and turn around to exit the room.

A search team doesn't even need to take a line. It depends upon the dept and what the protocols and SOGs say, but a line isn't needed to search. IMO, I would prefer no line because it will slow you down. If encountering fire and you have a line, then you no longer are a search team, you are now a suppression team. If protocols state to search with a line, then dry is going to be easier than charged.

The purpose of a primary search is a quick, systematic, search for victims. A secondary search is a more methodical and tends to be after the fire is out. Personally, having a line can slow the process of a search and I'm not a fan of using one for the task.

General rule is never enter the fire area without a charged hoseline. For private dwellings, unless they're very large, I would consider the entire house as the fire area. Charge the line outside and then advance it in. The distance involved will be short. The last thing you want is to really need water and have to wait for it.

If the search team is totally separate from the hose team, I don't see why they would have a line at all. And dragging it in and out of rooms, charged or uncharged, is entirely unproductive. I really don't see why they are teaching you this.

One positive about a search hose is if you get disoriented in a structure you can follow your hose back out.  Does that work or still not a good idea, I guess a search rope might be a better idea less cumbersome, yes?

You CAN follow a line out but the line's main purpose is not for getting you out. search rope is a better choice.

We don't generally use search rope in residential due to relatively small areas involved. Members of search team should be going in on a wall and staying on that wall for the most part. To get out just turn around and follow wall back out. You will recognize door openings, furniture, etc as you leave. We call these" landmarks". If you passed a china hutch on the way in, you should pass it on the way out. If you don't, you may be lost. You can probe with a tool , hand or foot outward into middle of smaller rooms. Stay in voice range of partner(s), who can guide you back to wall if you have to leave it in bigger rooms.

We save the search ropes for the bigger commercial type occupancies. Wouldn't mind hearing some other departments' policies.

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