One of the important tasks at a fire is to get heat and smoke out of the fire building so interior firefighters can do their work and the fire can be put out. This is called the ventilation, and it is a critical skill in firefighting -- done right, it can help speed fire suppression. Done wrong, and it can risk firefighter safety and the success of the operation.
Because heat rises, the most efficient and preferred method of ventilation is "vertical" ventilation -- opening up the building in a way that the heat and dangerous gases naturally rise out of the building. To accomplish this task, firefighters open up holes in the roof over the fire rooms. At Monday night's training, West Grove firefighters worked on vertical ventilation skills and tools. Two training areas were set up for the evening training session in New London.
A group of exterior firefighters gained instruction on the procedures to start, clean and operate specialized saws for use in vertical ventilation. Fueling, adding bar oil, changing blades and overall maintenance were a focus.
A second group of firefighters were trained on the roof of the fire company's training trailer which is parked behind the station. The training trailer provides realistic heat and smoke training for a variety of training evolutions, including standard room & content fires, basement fires, second story training, and roof evolutions.
The roof evolution is very realistic, allowing firefighters to practice cutting roof materials to learn vertical ventilation. These skills include understanding how to safely test the roof for safety; how to hold and position the saw while on a pitched roof high above the ground wearing full turnout gear and breathing apparatus; how deep to penetrate the roof materials with the saw working around roof trusses; and hole size and techniques. The training trailer supplies smoke that demonstrates actual ventilation when the hole is completed. Multiple firefighters were able to complete the training, under the guidance of experienced officers.
Frequent training is a hallmark of the West Grove Fire Company with volunteers and career staff taking thousands of hours of in-house and external classes each year. The company runs training drills every Monday evening as part of the annual training program. Interested in being a firefighter? Join us at wgfc.org/join