Continuing a proven reputation for ongoing training, the West Grove Fire Company used its Monday drill night to familiarize crews with various methods of ventilation.
When attacking a fire, crews need to move smoke, heat and dangerous gasses out of the burning room (or any enclosed hazardous space) where they are working. A number of methods can be used for ventilation -- some involve mechanical means, others may be simple like opening windows and doors, or more intensive like opening up walls or cutting holes in roofs.
During this week's training session, the WGFC training reviewed mechanical methods of ventilation. These include several types of powered fans and the use of hose lines. In the case of fans, these devices -- powered by generator, gas engine or battery -- are used to create a positive pressure or negative pressure to vent a space.
The Fire Company has made an investment in battery-powered, positive-pressure fans. These are used to drive fresh air from outside a burning building into the interior, creating a positive pressure that drives smoke out of spaces that need to be cleared. These fans are portable and flexible for different operations. West Grove also has so-called "negative pressure" or exhaust fans -- designed to be put in a window, door or confined space and use the fan to pull smoke and heat from a space and eject it to the outside. These fans are typically powered by a generator on one of the fire trucks.
Lastly, firefighters can also use their attack hose lines to move smoke, heat and gasses out of a fire room, by flowing water out of a window or door. The flow of water, typically with a fog pattern, creates a vortex that pulls heat/gasses/smoke from the fire room to the exterior, and is a fast way for a hose line crew to vent a room in the immediate aftermath of knocking the fire down.
WGFC crews trained on each of these methods at the New London station, where the Company’s Fire Simulation Trailer was used for the class. The trailer creates safe, chemically-made smoke to allow firefighters to train in safe but realistic conditions.