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Chris was asking me about starting a forum on VES so, here it goes. VES is definately a great addition to your search strategies. It needs to be performed though by "experienced" members. Too often we get caught up in the "conga" effect. Take the 2 story PD, we follow up the stairway attempting to gain access to the bedroom area to search. What about a 2 prong attack. You do need an inside team making a push with the engine, finding victims near the means of egress but what if fire prevents the access to floor #2? An outside team can use a portable, aerial or bucket (nice for getting the victim down in) to gain access to the bedroom areas. Once inside the bedroom (yes, we checked below the window for victims and holes) our first move should be to get that bedroom door closed.Closing that door buys us time , buys the victim in the room time by holding back fire and smoke and allowing smoke conditions in the room to vent. Where is my partner? How about the tip of the aerial or portable. He checks my status (nothing like another voice to keep you cool headed) , monitors conditions, and aids in my removal of the victim if found. Once the room is done, we move onto another room. Now, I become the guide and my partner does the search. Think of this option, search teams coming from both directions to effect the rescue. One of us has to make it. What do we think...........

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I do agree with your points. My personal preference is not swinging the tool but, using it as an extension of my arm. I find I am able to move quicker and have used the tool to help move a victim eg: putting halligan under victim's arms and across chest to move across the floor.
To be honest, I think VES is an underused tactic on the fireground. Some fluff it off as a big city only tactic but it has merits anywhere. I do agree with the tool selection of a hook and halligan. My two cents on that is not only check the floor before entering the windown but check the cieling above with the hook also. The hook also serves as a makrer to the windown by hooking it over the top rung and as you search around the room when you hit the hook handle, you have your way back to the window. I think everything else has been covered.

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