To Vent or not to Vent Essay

This essay has a total of 823 words and 3 pages.

To Vent or not to Vent

You are a firefighter and upon arrival at the scene of a working fire you have a lot of
decisions to make. One of the most key decisions a chief officer, or firefighter following
standard operating procedures has to make in the early stages of a building fire is
whether to ventilate or not? The strategy of venting fire buildings must be approached
from many angles. In the United States it has long been accepted that there are three
criteria for making that decision. Vent for life, safety or the fire with that in mind
firefighters must make themselves aware of the effects of ventilating structure before
making the that decision.

All fire departments should have a set of standard operating procedures (SOP's) that serve
as a frame of reference for firefighters when determining how best to handle a fire
situation. Venting for life is a situation that is routinely part of those SOP's. The
Jefferson Parish Louisiana Fire Departments SOP's relating to venting for life states:
"Firefighters may create openings, or break windows, to gain access from an exterior
position to carry out a primary search in a high-risk area of the structure." These
openings are most often windows that can be in an area adjacent to the fire or in another
area of the fire building that is deemed most effective. This method of ventilation is
called V-E-S (vent, enter, search) and while it is a common practice among fire
departments it is a strategy that is often filled with hazards but may produce great
rewards for the search team. Employing this method requires accuracy (venting the correct
windows); and anticipation of the potential of fire spread. This operation needs to be
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