Before the Hurriquake hit here in Va I was on a series of Roof venting posts, if you have not read them yet take a look at them here: http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/truss-and-stick-built-roof-burn-tests/ , http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/more-roof-venting/ , http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/yes-even-more-vent-stuff/ You all caught up now? Good lets continue.
Like I have said in the posts depending on a ton of factors (some we can control, and some we can not) roof venting may or may not be a tactic that we can do in our individual departments. However if you do choose to do it you still have to contend with the dangers of fire loading, and building construction.
Look lets face it even after all of the reading, about self assessment for your department I know there are still people out there who are not buying it. It’s human nature to rebel and to succeed were others see a failable situation, so instead of continuing to drone on and on with that it is time to give you the reader a tangible skill that you can employ in your department. So without further a due I give you the “Aerial Ladder Vent”
There are some fires out there that do need to have the roof vented, it is still the most effective way to ensure that the smoke and super heated gases leave a structure by utilizing the natural characteristics of fire, however by the time we arrive the roof itself may be in no position for us to operate on. This leads us to a dilemma so how can we accomplish the task of venting the roof, and maintaining relative safety.
In the situation described above, we can still accomplish venting the roof with relative safety from the stability of the aerial ladder. This allows us to minimize our exposure to the possibly unstable roofing material, and still accomplish the goal to provide the relief of smoke, gases, and fire from the structure.
Here is another view, there are several variations to this technique that can increase your safety. One thing is that you can clip into the ladder with a ladder belt, this will keep you tethered to the ladder in case of a sudden movement, or accidental fall.
Another tip is to place the tip of the ladder at your target and to lay down on the ladder, the point being that you can not fall if you are laying down. Utilizing the tip of the ladder you can still cut a decent sized hole, or cu the hole in sections. Starting with the cuts you can reach, then signaling to the aerial operator to move the ladder over so that you can finish the cut.
Lastly if you have an aerial device that has a basket (platform, bucket, whatever you call it) you can still utilize the lay down in the basket technique (just like the lay down on the ladder technique) but place another fireman in the basket with you and have them utilize the basket aerial controls to allow you to seamlessly cut the hole with only having to change saw position.
Now I will say that these techniques may sacrifice some speed for increased safety, and they do take actually getting out on the drill ground especially utilizing the basket cut technique. However they do allow you to accomplish the goal, and remain safer in the dynamic fire development terrain the fire service finds itself in.
I am still tirelessly searching for basket cut photos to demonstrate that technique, but I literally have thousands of pictures to look through and it takes time. If anyone has some pictures, or other thoughts on this or any other topic on the blog send them on via email, and I will feature them on the blog (be sure to send all of your info so I can give the proper credit). You can always leave comments in the comments section, and also contact us via twitter @averagejakeff.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!