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At a fire in a multiple dwelling with a flat roof, is it more important to send the first ladder to the roof to open the building up or to work with the hose team and search the fire area first? What are your thoughts?

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I'll stick with my first response, the roof has to get opened to get out the heat and smoke. A three FF truck.....an officer (or Actor) and a FF to the roof to do as much as possible, you could send all three as long as the ladder wasn't your only way off right away. You need to insure that you roof team can get off if it hits the fan. The driver can stay on the turntable to make sure the ladder stays where it was when they got off onto the roof. The second due 3 FF truck can also ladder the roof (2 ways off) and send it's crew either inside if good progress is made venting, or go help on the roof.
If you were only my assessor........I don't do as well talking to cameras....
not a big fan of leaving a guy at the turntable
this makes it a 2 man truck, doesn't it?
he can be bertter utilized at the roof making the job go quicker and safer and allowing the officer to supervise a little more than he operates
This works if you have good IC's who don't move the ladder away from where you left it. It's happened to me once, and that's all I need. I was on a flat roof, doing the vent thing, and saw the ladder disappear from the horizon. It got moved to "look" at a window that "seemed" to have someone in it. It didn't. I was in no immediate danger (yes I was alone on the roof, a 2 FF truck)> I had no other way off other than going down the bulkhead. Not a good idea. I do agree that you need at least 3 on the roof to do a safe and effective job, just don't move my ladder. I have seen some higher ranking officers too easily re-directed, and not remember that they have a crew on the roof, move the ladder, all with good intentions, but maybe not notifying the roof of the move, hoping to get the ladder back if needed. If we all operated as we trained and were taught all the time, the answer would be simple. Unfortunately. I am used to working on a truck with just the two of us most of the time. The Mutts need to get a huge dose of reality. We really do need to have minimal manning standards, not just in Jersey, but country-wide, at least then we could set procedures to work with a set value, and get things done, hopefully in a safe manner. But we don't live in that fantasy world yet.
In our department, we did a lot of debating over keeping the ladder crew together or splitting the crew up. The way it used to be done was the officer and guy behind him went in for a search while the driver stayed outside. The drivers of the two ladders would work together on the roof, while the officers and their firefighters did search. At the time, we still had our rescue company to either search or help with ventilation based on what the chief needed them to do. If you were running with four on your truck, you split up ; 2 inside, two outside. That worked well because noone worked alone. Then we went through a period where the chief wanted crew integrity to be strictly maintained. During this period the first due ladder would park their truck and go in as a crew to search leaving the second due ladder to be the vent crew. This failed on a couple of levels. First of all, by the time the second due ladder got there they couldn't get near the building to get a set. If the first due ladder was parked in front of the building, the second due ladder company would be trying to use an unfamiliar apparatus to get tothe roof. It was a mess!! The chief compromised and said we could split the crew if the driver stayed on the turntable. Unfortunately, this still means ventilation is delayed. Since our department seems to have an issue with creating SOGs, the decision is in the hands of the first due officer to make assignments. In my mind, I would assign the first due ladder as the vent crew and assign search to the second due ladder. Oh yeah, we lost our rescue company due to budget cuts so now we have three less people on scene. I'll go back to the "known" life hazard thing. Once you put firefighters in a building you have a "known" life hazard, and ventilation is key in protecting those "occupants".
Chris,

I agree, I've been saying all along, pop the top, and things get better inside. If you do have a occupant in direct peril, you have to make that grab. and on the lighter side...if the guy (or Gal) you rescued is in good shape....take him to the roof to help...the hoseheads always say...anyone can do truck work.
Chief,

First the three man truck. This is reality for most paid departments in the US. We split the crew with the officer and firefighter entering with the engine to start the search and the engineer acting as the OV or coordinating ladders, opening the rear etc. based on the building and conditions. As the "other" Art stated, we need to vent. The one man OV team is limitted; however, if he has some time and experience, we can expect alot from him. Open the bulkhead, skylight and natural openings at the very least. If a top floor fire extending into the cockloft, the roof will have to be opened. You may need the second truck to assist.
I'll throw in another wrench......your department only has 1 truck.....and it does have 3 guys on it when no one is on vacation. But you only have 2 engines respond with you with three members on each, a driver, officer and 1 FF. And today, that third guy off the truck is on vacation. And the city is real busy, you will have no help for at least 10 minutes, and the BC is waiting for a train to pass, he will be 5 minutes late. You arrive to a 5 story Class 3, with fire showing from 2 windows on the Div "A" side at the A/B corner on Div "4". You have a civilian at the far side of Div 4"A" in a window, no smoke showing from that window yelling "save my Baby!" You also have reports of a missing occupant, known to be in the building from apartment 501 (not the fire apartment). Two cops went up to help 5 minutes ago and haven't been seen since. There is a light wind coming out of the west (Div "A" faces west). You have no wires or other obstructions in front of the building. You are the first officer O/S and you are on the truck. How would you assign your crews?
This question really gets to the heart of an issue that Chief Tom Brennen used to talk about all the time. The area a couple if points that are key.
First, the only time we need to cut the roof is if this is a top floor fire. If the fire is on the lower floors then all the Ladder Co. will definitively achieve is doing damage to the roof and wasting valuable time. In this particular instance the Truck Co. would be better off performing an aggressive search and venting horizontally. Far to many Truck members like to automatically go to the roof and look around when in fact many times this evolution can wait.
The fastest and most definitive ventilation that we can do for fires on the lower floors is to start taking some windows and, if your FD uses fans then evaluate PPV.
Secondly, in larger FD's the Ladder will generally need to and have adequate staffing to be able to split the company; one group performing forcible entry for the engine, supporting the engine stretch and performing an interior search while the second group performs a vent size up and formulates a rescue profile for the scene and evaluates v.e.s. For the understaffed Ladder Co. priorities need to be evaluated based on urgency and which tactics will become time intensive.
It appears of late that, unless someone is standing out front screaming that little Bobby is still inside, firefighters will forego the search until they have reflexively stretched the 1 /3/4, made an aggressive interior attack and performed some cursory ventilation, before the search is ever initiated.
We must all remember our tactical priorities stated in the acronym L.I.P. Life safety, Incident stabilization, Property conservation. This is another very often overlooked Brennen-ism. The suppression activities of the engine co. are to first and foremost facilitate a search effort in a residential setting. After the search is complete, THEN AND ONLY THEN do suppression efforts take priority.
Does this mean we ignore all suppression efforts at every residential fire? Of course not. What it does mean is that the suppression efforts of our engine Brothers must take in to account the Rescue Profile of the given incident and the on going rescue evolutions and adjust their tactics accordingly to support them.
What is the Rescue Profile? Are people hanging out windows and/or jumping? Are people outside screaming about someone trapped inside? Is the structure vacant? Do we search vacant buildings? (YES, vacant buildings do not set themselves on fire)
The moral is that we always search unless it would unnecessarily endanger firefighter lives. ALL structures are occupied until firefighters get inside and perform a search. Don't rely on bystanders telling you it's ok.
Be a thinking firefighter and not a reacting one. Stay safe.
Mike,

I agree that cutting the roof is not always needed, unless as you state that the fire is on the top floor or cockloft. But I do think that the opening of skylights over the stairwells and removing the doors on bulkheads is an important part of the whole fire attack. I've been on jobs where I was either searching or helping to advance a line and you can actually "feel" when someone has poped the openings. The heat will rise and clear the common areas. Horizontal vent is also a great way to vent, but only if that apartment is opened to the common areas. It will work great in the fire apartment, but if all of the doors are closed to the other apartments, no venting will occur. The single windows that are sometimes found at the end of hallways won't do much, but could be opened. But only after you make sure that that window does not open into an airshaft, and provide potential extension to another part of the same building, or exposure building which is far too common for us in the northeast. I think that geography can dictate some of our tactics, because 18" is a common width for most of our spaces between buildings here in Jersey. Most of the time they either touch, or share a party wall. I think this so far has been a great forum for all of us, and we can all continue to learn from all that is printed here, lets keep on sending in stuff.

Michael Bricault said:
This question really gets to the heart of an issue that Chief Tom Brennen used to talk about all the time. The area a couple if points that are key.
First, the only time we need to cut the roof is if this is a top floor fire. If the fire is on the lower floors then all the Ladder Co. will definitively achieve is doing damage to the roof and wasting valuable time. In this particular instance the Truck Co. would be better off performing an aggressive search and venting horizontally. Far to many Truck members like to automatically go to the roof and look around when in fact many times this evolution can wait.
The fastest and most definitive ventilation that we can do for fires on the lower floors is to start taking some windows and, if your FD uses fans then evaluate PPV.
Secondly, in larger FD's the Ladder will generally need to and have adequate staffing to be able to split the company; one group performing forcible entry for the engine, supporting the engine stretch and performing an interior search while the second group performs a vent size up and formulates a rescue profile for the scene and evaluates v.e.s. For the understaffed Ladder Co. priorities need to be evaluated based on urgency and which tactics will become time intensive.
It appears of late that, unless someone is standing out front screaming that little Bobby is still inside, firefighters will forego the search until they have reflexively stretched the 1 /3/4, made an aggressive interior attack and performed some cursory ventilation, before the search is ever initiated.
We must all remember our tactical priorities stated in the acronym L.I.P. Life safety, Incident stabilization, Property conservation. This is another very often overlooked Brennen-ism. The suppression activities of the engine co. are to first and foremost facilitate a search effort in a residential setting. After the search is complete, THEN AND ONLY THEN do suppression efforts take priority.
Does this mean we ignore all suppression efforts at every residential fire? Of course not. What it does mean is that the suppression efforts of our engine Brothers must take in to account the Rescue Profile of the given incident and the on going rescue evolutions and adjust their tactics accordingly to support them.
What is the Rescue Profile? Are people hanging out windows and/or jumping? Are people outside screaming about someone trapped inside? Is the structure vacant? Do we search vacant buildings? (YES, vacant buildings do not set themselves on fire)
The moral is that we always search unless it would unnecessarily endanger firefighter lives. ALL structures are occupied until firefighters get inside and perform a search. Don't rely on bystanders telling you it's ok.
Be a thinking firefighter and not a reacting one. Stay safe.
i still feel based on my experience that everything gets better for everyone, ff's, victims, escaping occupants who are not yet victims, and the fire if u can believe that by opening the naturals on the roof
if u r not sending a team to the roof, then u r working in lots of smoke, complicating your issue
in a buildings with multiple stories, if u r going to rely on horiz vent, you will be breaking a lot of windows, most of them on the top floor b/c that is where the smoke is going. if u open the roof, u don;t need to break as many windows except in the fire area
if u look at what brennan said in the random thoughts book, he talks about opening the naturals on several occasions as a way to clear the building and make ALL operations safer. Even guys searching for fire and victiims (sometimes (usually) it is that order by virtue of conditions) will benefit from vert openings being vented. I ahve seen people fumbling around in the smoke and falling all over each other and also being pushed out of an area b/c the vent was not sufficient.
More buildings are burned down, more people become victims, and more FF's are inhjured by ;ack of ventilation than any other tactically-related oepration -- that is a quote from brennan also by the way
be safe
VENT

Art Bloomer said:
Mike,

I agree that cutting the roof is not always needed, unless as you state that the fire is on the top floor or cockloft. But I do think that the opening of skylights over the stairwells and removing the doors on bulkheads is an important part of the whole fire attack. I've been on jobs where I was either searching or helping to advance a line and you can actually "feel" when someone has poped the openings. The heat will rise and clear the common areas. Horizontal vent is also a great way to vent, but only if that apartment is opened to the common areas. It will work great in the fire apartment, but if all of the doors are closed to the other apartments, no venting will occur. The single windows that are sometimes found at the end of hallways won't do much, but could be opened. But only after you make sure that that window does not open into an airshaft, and provide potential extension to another part of the same building, or exposure building which is far too common for us in the northeast. I think that geography can dictate some of our tactics, because 18" is a common width for most of our spaces between buildings here in Jersey. Most of the time they either touch, or share a party wall. I think this so far has been a great forum for all of us, and we can all continue to learn from all that is printed here, lets keep on sending in stuff.

Michael Bricault said:
This question really gets to the heart of an issue that Chief Tom Brennen used to talk about all the time. The area a couple if points that are key.
First, the only time we need to cut the roof is if this is a top floor fire. If the fire is on the lower floors then all the Ladder Co. will definitively achieve is doing damage to the roof and wasting valuable time. In this particular instance the Truck Co. would be better off performing an aggressive search and venting horizontally. Far to many Truck members like to automatically go to the roof and look around when in fact many times this evolution can wait.
The fastest and most definitive ventilation that we can do for fires on the lower floors is to start taking some windows and, if your FD uses fans then evaluate PPV.
Secondly, in larger FD's the Ladder will generally need to and have adequate staffing to be able to split the company; one group performing forcible entry for the engine, supporting the engine stretch and performing an interior search while the second group performs a vent size up and formulates a rescue profile for the scene and evaluates v.e.s. For the understaffed Ladder Co. priorities need to be evaluated based on urgency and which tactics will become time intensive.
It appears of late that, unless someone is standing out front screaming that little Bobby is still inside, firefighters will forego the search until they have reflexively stretched the 1 /3/4, made an aggressive interior attack and performed some cursory ventilation, before the search is ever initiated.
We must all remember our tactical priorities stated in the acronym L.I.P. Life safety, Incident stabilization, Property conservation. This is another very often overlooked Brennen-ism. The suppression activities of the engine co. are to first and foremost facilitate a search effort in a residential setting. After the search is complete, THEN AND ONLY THEN do suppression efforts take priority.
Does this mean we ignore all suppression efforts at every residential fire? Of course not. What it does mean is that the suppression efforts of our engine Brothers must take in to account the Rescue Profile of the given incident and the on going rescue evolutions and adjust their tactics accordingly to support them.
What is the Rescue Profile? Are people hanging out windows and/or jumping? Are people outside screaming about someone trapped inside? Is the structure vacant? Do we search vacant buildings? (YES, vacant buildings do not set themselves on fire)
The moral is that we always search unless it would unnecessarily endanger firefighter lives. ALL structures are occupied until firefighters get inside and perform a search. Don't rely on bystanders telling you it's ok.
Be a thinking firefighter and not a reacting one. Stay safe.
-Hi Anthony. I know lots of Ladder Co like to open the roof right away and I agree ventilation will definatly change things for the better.
-I never said nor implied that ventilation should be delayed. What I said was that ROOF venting is not always appropriate, that it is time consuming and manpower intensive, and that horizontal venting is faster and can be more definitive than roof venting. In fact, horizontal ventilation usually provides relief immediately into the living compartments where victims and firefighters will be.
-And right from Random Thoughts, Brennen said, and I agree with roof venting usually being reserved for top floor fires and generally not for pitched roof occupancies due to the clutter and crap located in the attic space that will impede access to the floor below.
-Again it gets back to tactical priorities. Remember the acronyms, RECEO, LIP..... they all place rescue efforts and as a consequence the search... FIRST.
-Is it possible to perform both evolutions simultaneously? Sure. There are plenty of Truckies out there that know what I'm talking about; venting as you go. But that will be dependent on your available manpower and their experience level.
-Be safe

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