This post is a contribution form Ryan Brotherton. He is a young firefighter who takes every class he can. The points in this post are a summary of his training regarding VES so far. Not bad for a young savage. The video linked in the middle of this post is of a successful VES performed by FF Bob Swick of the Fairborn (OH) FD back in 2002. Several of us did some live fire training with FF Swick a few years back that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
VES can be very beneficial when used properly on the fire ground, however, it can be very dangerous if done incorrectly. We constantly train on fire ground tactics and operations, some more than others. This is a skill that can contribute to a successful operations if done properly. You are encouraged to train with both hands on and classroom sessions to safely learn the VES techniques. This training can easily be done in the fire house or any dwelling that you and your company have available for use in your districts.
-Go or No Go: You must quickly determine when and where to VES. Time is of the essence. Ask yourself “Can I make the room and safely conduct a search? Do I have time?” If you’ve completed your quick mental size up and determined GO then…
-Throw the right ladder to the right window and make sure you have a hook and a halligan.
-Clear all the glass, the sash and any blinds on the inside to avoid getting tangled up. KEY POINT: Once you take the window your time is limited, if the door is open you must enter quickly and close the door.
-SWEEP the floor before you SOUND the floor, in case a victim is lying down just inside the window.
-Straddle the window keeping your head low while entering, some people teach you to go in head first, this can be done however you do not have as much control over your body and your body weight. By straddling the window and entering with your hand on the ladder the entire time you are entering you can still get back out quickly if needed. If you chose to enter the window head first you would have to get up off of the ground turn around and then exit the window thus using vital time that you may not have.
*If you experience extreme heat while entering it indicats that the door to the room is still probably open and you must locate it and close it immediately. When you enter the room get as low as possible and try to locate the door by looking under the smoke.
-If when you locate the door it is already closed open it slightly to see if you can locate a victim directly outside the door and this will also give you an indication of the conditions in the hallway. *remember once you break the window if the door is open and remains open this creates a flow path for the fire to go, the door is your lifeline.
-Conduct your search and leave the room as fast as possible. Remember check closets and be aware of bunk beds the top of the bunk bed is easy to miss in zero visibility conditions.
Remember practice like you play, thanks for reading.
Pass it on!