Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Check Out and Sign Up for the Tactical Building Blocks Group

  • Currently 4.66667/5 stars.

Views: 25300


You need to be a member of Fire Engineering Training Community to add comments!

Join Fire Engineering Training Community

Comment by Eric Hankins on October 22, 2008 at 4:17pm
Out here on the West Coast, this cut is called the multi-roll louver. It is a very effective cut and especially easy to make larger if needed.

Then first advantage to the MRL is that it is not neccesary to cut right up next to the truss (or rafter). The dice cuts split the difference making it faster to place the cuts. The normal 4'X4' louver cut takes 4 cuts. A normal MRL only takes 5 but the sequence moves faster.

As for which way to roll the louvers, it depends on the wind. You always want to roll them away from the wind, so the venturi (sp?) effect helps draw the smoke out.

I personally would have made the head cut first to identify where my trusses were. Another nice trick is to get that saw vertical or 90 degreess from the roof. use only enough bar to cut through the material and decking and you will feel the truss MUCH better. I'm not a fan of the "gauge" on the bar, but thats just me.

I agree that if the roof is sound, then working away from the roof ladder is safer than getting off balance by trying to stay on it. Keep extra personnel on the ladder to keep the weight distribution but the Saw man should be able to move freely around the ladder.

Frank makes a great point about overlapping the cuts. The more roofing material there is, the more likely cuts that don't have a 2"-3" overlap won't cut all the way through the decking.

To extend the cut, continue the head cut away from the fire side as far as needed then add dice cuts. Finish with the bottom cut and louver the new cuts.

Last thing I will offer, then I will shut up, is keep the saw running until the h*** is opened up and the job is done. Depending on smoke conditions on the roof, you may not be able to get it started again if needed.

I have added a training bulletin that our FOOLS chapter has put together on the MRL.

Thank you Frank for posting this video. I can only imagine the pressure of making a training video and then putting it on the net to be scrutinized.

Keep up the great work Brother,

Eric Hankins
Comment by Wesley Stephens on October 22, 2008 at 12:42pm
This follows the same concerns that the others have had. It appears to take alot of time and effort, both of which are in short supply on the fireground. There are several ways to open a roof if that is the tactic that you must use. (Not saying it should never be done it just puts your people in a very dangerous place in todays construction and should be considered carefully) I have found the coffin cut to be the quickest and safest. It also allows for a larger h*** than the typical 4x4 which I think is important. I was concerned with the way you had to lean out off balance to make the cuts. If their was a weak spot it would be difficult to keep from falling in. My answer to that problem is to use the roof ladder to get there and for a safe haven but work out on the roof with good footing. If it isn't in good enough condition to get off the ladder then you shouldn't be up their, which means that there shouldn't be crews working under that area either. I know I sound negative but I'm really not, your doing a thankless job and I appreciate it. I have just been taught to question everything. Keep up the good work.
Comment by Erich Roden on October 22, 2008 at 11:22am
I also have some reservations about this cut. It has a few fundamental flaws when considering safety and the time it takes to make the cut. I have never been a fan of standing on an axe buried into the roof boards. It takes away a tool of yours that could dislodge and fall off the roof and is not a safe (dependable) foot hold with fire under you. Have you considered placing two roof ladders? That would allow you to cut between the ladders and prevent having to stand and work over your cut(s) as was demonstrated in the video. Secondly, there where three more cuts made in the video than is necessary when you have roof boards. One across the top, and one down both sides of the cut is all you need to make (three cuts making a 4 x 4 h***). The bottom (horizontal) cut is unnecessary with roof boards as you will be able pull the entire vertical cut/span of the h***. It takes less time and the engine will thank you for it. Furthermore, it is always better to pull a h*** rather than push one in; similar to the rationale used to describe clearing out a window. This serves two purposes: it prevents obstruction of the release of fire/smoke; and will keep you away from fire/smoke issuing from the h*** as you are simultaneously pulling the h*** and descending the roof ladder(s) back toward the ground ladder. Another thought is to leave the chain saw on the Truck and use a rotary saw with a good 12 tooth blade. You'll get a much better cut in half the time.
Comment by Frank Ricci on October 22, 2008 at 5:57am
I am teaching this week I will adresss all questions tonight.
Comment by Brian Arnold on October 21, 2008 at 9:26pm
I've got some of the same questions as Kristopher. Was this meant to be the real time speed it takes to open the roof or was it slowed down for demonstration? If you are making several cuts like this and have to regularly work away from the roof ladder, what purpose does it serve? While you are tilting the roofing material, you are still punching out the ceiling and putting someone in close proximity to the heat and hopefully soon to be fire. How does this work with a 10/12 pitch or greater? Good topic....Brian
Comment by Todd McKee on October 21, 2008 at 5:51pm
Frank is that called a louver cut? Todd McKee
Comment by Kristopher Holien on October 20, 2008 at 7:01pm
Just a couple of quick questions from a hoser. First the time that it took to get the roof open versus a regular louver cut. The method shown here seemed like it would take longer, but I thought that you might have done it in that manner for demonstration purposes. Secondly, when using the louver cut, you have the added benefit of using the louver to protect yourself and your members from the escaping smoke and heat. With this method, it looked as if the member(s) using their tools to break through had to be closer to the vent h*** (therefore the heat and smoke). Have you guys tried this under fire conditions? What are looking like for time versus the louver cut? Finally, having had roof material fall on my head during an incident, how much material is actually going into the space below? Would you use this method over a converted attic? I love more tools in my tool box. Keep up the great work!
Comment by Frank Ricci on October 18, 2008 at 6:37pm
This cut works great and dosn't require the h*** to be pulled.

Policy Page


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2020   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service