Hey folks. Been a while since I've been here but visit the site quite often. Does your dept. utilize PPV? If so, how often. What conditions in your mind must be met before PPV is used? I've seen some disasters if used incorrectly. But seen some very good results. Seems some departments are still on the fence with the tactic. Your thoughts and insight are appreciated!

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John Crabbe said:

What we get are general questions, EXACTLY, as we see in this post..."

This quote is lifted directly from your post on page 3 of this thread. So yes, I do care to point out where you said it.

Yep, you're right, I did say that, but did you just decide to pick on that part or look at the context as whole, because I also said:

"Yet at the same time we see such studies and research out there, what we don't see is similar research and scientific data from those who are against the research. What we get are general questions, EXACTLY, as we see in this post, but yet where is the time, research, and data that explicitly debunks what is being proposed? Yeah we see the questions and so forth and the search for answers, but yet, where is your research, your data, etc?"

That was also in response to talking about several different tactics and research. The paragraph before it I mentioned the Gov Island NIST study and how after that we see comments made out there of pushing fire and so forth. We see questions about the validity of that research from some, but what we don't see is the research to debunk. So when looking at the aforementioned quote, it is about throwing questions/comments out there (in general) without providing their own research etc that debunks what is out there. If you don't like the tactic, don't use it (how can I be anymore clear about that?) but, if there is an honest inquiry if the tactic could be an option, then that is up for the individual dept to decide and research and train with to make that decision.

You accused me earlier of being disingenuous in stating that I care about firefighter safety. Now you say I'm being disingenuous in stating that firefighters in some departments don't have much experience in fire ground size-up. Make up your mind. If you're going to call me a liar you should at least decide what it is that you think I'm lying about.

Huh? Where do you get I'm calling you a liar? I said I find it disingenuous to be concerned about FF safety without having an understanding about an individual dept. You said you are concerned about lower call volume and that there are depts that use this tactic. I countered that it is up to individual depts to know their limitations, resources, etc and you are essentially painting with a broad brush, there should be some benefit of doubt too. Just because a dept that chooses this tactic as an option doesn't run a lot of fires doesn't mean they are unsafe or untrained to recognize their limitations.

Is there a reason to care about FF safety? Absolutely, but one can only do so much, because the true onus of safety is upon the individual and the individual dept. We see many FFs killed in POVs or running water tenders hot when there is no need. Is there concern there? Yes. Who is really going to make a difference? You? Me? or perhaps an individual dept looking in and taking it upon themselves?

Are you now saying you do not endorse this tactic (PPA)? Forgive me for thinking you do. You stated that you use it. Is this a departmental decision that you disagree with? You've argued that the tactic is valid under certain circumstances. Why did you do that if you don't endorse it?

There is a difference between using and endorsing. I own a Chevy Silverado, but I do not go around and tell others how great I think the vehicle is and encourage them to also get one for themselves. I could care less what they drive. Just as in this case, I could care less if one uses the tactic or not. We tried it, trained on it, and left it as an option. If another dept chooses against it, then so what.


You stated the following concerning my concerns over the limitations of exterior size-up:

"Yet, you're right that exterior size up has serious limitations, so it all again falls back on what is being dispatched for and what you see on arrival."

How is "what you see on arrival" any different than exterior size-up? What you see on arrival is part of your size-up. I have no clue what you are saying here.

Information received from dispatch cannot, IMO, be relied upon when making tactical firefighting decisions. It's just not reliable enough. Are we letting the occupant or the guy who lives next door do our size-up for us?


Look at the bigger picture. Size up begins with knowing your district. When a call comes in and dispatch tells you that there are multiple calls on this, then it is a good chance you have a job. What do you see on arrival? Smoke showing? OK, where, what? One could make that report even before arriving if they have that info. One could be a half mile away and see a black smoke plume....radio that info out or wait until you get on scene? I know what I'm doing. Exterior size up can have limitations, but maybe my mindset is not on pace with yours. You may be thinking big city and I'm thinking my city. Either way, one may not be able to account for everything given the nature of the structure responding to. A typical SFD could have a 360 easily done by a company officer. A SFD set back from the road with steep terrain behind etc, can offer significant limitations.


As far as the North Las Vegas incident goes, I don't know who "Mr. Duffy" is. I'd love to know his explanation of events.


Stephen Duffy, the FF from the UK who was on this forum and already answered your questions on this a page or so ago.


Do you contend that the size of the exhaust opening does not matter? Or does it matter? Regardless of who I quoted, it seems to be a big point in all this. Instead of addressing the issue, you deny saying it. How about responding to my point? My point was that if PPA turns out to be ineffective time has been wasted, fire conditions have worsened and occupant survival has been further endangered


Yes, exhaust size matters, yet you already know, or would know that if you did the slightest research on this topic whether pro or con. Exhaust needs to be bigger than the inlet. As for your point, you are assuming that there are occupants inside. Sure I can understand that prospect given where you work. Where I work, I can have a better understanding of the word of the occupants who are out. Asking if everyone is out is the first question I will ask and can make a good assumption based on that info. As for fire conditions worsening, perhaps, but depends upon the situation. I can't speak as an expert, but only from what I know. The last couple times we used this, one was a kitchen fire where the dining room door was much bigger than the front door and the other was a back bedroom with windows on 2 sides. I even said this is a tactic we have an option to use but has not been used often. We don't use this for basement fires.


Furthermore, would you personally enlarge an opening to get 2-3 times the size of the entry opening or would you just not use PPA under those circumstances?


No, because that IMO is plain stupid. You say you have heard this mentioned, I never have. If one has the time to cut down a window to enlarge an opening, they could just very well go to the roof. No, we would not use PPA if the exhaust didn't allow.


Training does not equal experience. Period. I'm all for training as much as possible, but if you think it is a substitute for experience you are dead wrong. Especially when considering the limitations imposed by NFPA, as you pointed out.


I never said training was a substitute for experience. Yet, training does make a difference. When I was in the Navy we had a fire drill every day and every week (underway) we had a general quarters drill, typically starting off as a fire in the engineering space. Every day for the fire party and weekly for the whole crew you trained on firefighting. The number of actual incidents, and even those that were tended to be small, were limited. However, because of constant and consistent training you still had people able to operate when things did happen.


Same thing here. A dept can train and even companies can train and work on basics that build muscle memory. You can work size up training in at opportune times. I've worked several times where we had an officer stop the rig and have one of the FFs do a size up of a structure, then ask what they may do if smoke or fire was showing from a certain place. It took minutes to do, but makes an impact. I couldn't tell you the number of times that a radio was grabbed when there was a job and crews not on the scene had the structure up on the computer and looking and listening to the progress. Little things do make a difference. Yeah one may not be able to do live burns all the time, but they may be able to cut holes, do RIT training, etc, things that don't happen often (at least here) on the fireground, but when asked to perform for real, they can.


Yes, there is no substitute for experience, but if experience wanes because of better prevention efforts, call volume, etc, it also doesn't mean that FFs aren't prepared, ready, nor safe to perform efficently and safely.


I asked which set of rules I should follow if I were to train on PPA. You refuse to answer. (You don't owe me answers, but why participate in the discussion then?) You say it's up to the individual department. Shouldn't it be dictated by what works? ..............I've seen all of these published. Which is right? How do we get around the contradictions? Don't tell me it's up to the individual departments to figure out. Fire behavior doesn't change based on geography. There are right answers and wrong answers. At least I hope there are. Otherwise it's a total crapshoot


I participated in the discussion, initially, because the OP asked if there were dept's that used this tactic. I saw the gang up of those oppossed and looking to discredit anyone who does.As I stated originally, this is a controversial topic and it is up to an individual dept to evaluate, train on, and decide for themselves. You say don't tell me that, but it is the truth. How else does a dept know if this is right, or wrong, for them? I'm not answering the questions because I know you could give a crap less about this tactic. You already don't utilize it and you already are against it, which means, from my pov, is all you care for is looking at something more to rip at to show why this shouldn't be done. I also won't answer because I know what we utilize and do doesn't follow the "standards" you are looking for.

Should this be dictated by what works? Perhaps. Yet, then why is it that the FDNY doesn't vent peaked roofs as an initial tactic, yet with the Milwaukee FD, this is a routine practice? Wouldn't you say that such decisions were a result of dept research and training and evaluation? So if I can't sit here and say that it is up to an individual dept to figure out, then why do we see disparities like this?


Disingenuous is defined as "not truly honest or sincere". If you think I'm not being honest then you must think I'm lying. Pretty simple. It's one or the other.

I am not looking to "rip at" anyone. I posed several specific questions and or reservations concerning the tactic. Neither you nor anyone else here or elsewhere has answered them to my satisfaction. Many others share my doubts. "Ganging up" really has nothing to do with it. My concerns are the trial and error aspect, the possible vent induced flashover if size-up was wrong, the overall reliability of exterior size-up, the possibility of causing fire extension (as evidenced in North Las Vegas by some of the biggest experts in the field), the inconsistency in training parameters and the time factor involved if it doesn't work (causing a delay in line advance).

You can say use it if you want to and don't use it if you don't want to but that doesn't really add to the debate, which you seem to concede is a legitimate one. I hope the departments who use it have somehow addressed the above concerns. Personally I don't see how they can be addressed reliably.

You mention repeatedly that departments should evaluate and train on the tactic as they see fit. But how can they do that? The training fires just are not the same fires as real world fires due to the fuel involved. PPA has a much bigger potential ability to negatively impact fire behavior than anything else we train on (line operation, search, roof cutting, horizontal vent, forcible entry, etc.) So the type of fuel is a critical component. We can easily get a false sense of confidence in our ability to get the fire to behave the way we want it to.

There is no real down side to venting a peak roof private dwelling. It does not call for the handline to wait in the yard while it's done. So it's not really a good comparison.

We don't do it because we believe we can knock down the fire in conjunction with venting of the gable end windows and complete our searches in less time than it takes to cut a sufficient roof hole. Less damage too. Staffing does impact this decision. (As does a reliable water supply system.)

I don't believe staffing is an issue with PPA. Whether you use PPA or not, you will have a line advanced and a window taken. Plus, if you don't use PPA you don't need to marry a guy to the fan.

Well, I suppose a low timer who reads a lot might join the discussion.  

I got chewed out at the last training meeting for asking why we set up the fan at every fire.  I suggested that sometimes it might be better to leave the fan in the engine.  I was told that the fan was foolproof and can not make the situation worse.  WTF.  Of course it was an Ass. Chief yelling at me so,  what ya gonna do?  I guess I will stay out of the house.  

I am kinda against the dang fan.  I dont want to take the time to set it up.  Mostly we use it as a really expensive smoke ejector anyway.  

More and more I question when the fan would be useful.  We seem to respond to two types of fires.  Ones that are ventilation limited and ones that are fully involved.  

The small departments around here bought the hell out of fans because they were sold as a complete replacement for vertical ventilation.  Maybe in the early days with legacy furnishings and sturdy construction a fan was more useful for depts. like mine.    

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