Monday, December 8, 2008

Not a Fan of PPV

I read Chief Charles Bailey's excellent article on PPV: Interior Use of Positive Pressure, Part 1

I can readily see the advantages for high rise fires.

But, I am going to tell you straight out that I am not a fan of PPV as an offensive weapon for small fire departments.


Two reasons: 1) Many small departments struggle just to keep up on basic firefighting skills, much less learning some of the more "exotic" tactics and 2) If you polled these same departments, you would find that many do not have written SOPs. No; fire department by-laws are NOT SOPs!

Now; it just so happens that my department is a small department and in all likelihood, we could master the tactic of positive pressure attack.

But, until I can be convinced that we could deploy it successfully 100% of the time-that is to say, not light up a structure from discovering too late that there was a hidden fire or to reduce the chances of victim survival-we won't be doing it.

So, you won't see us on YouTube any time soon!
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  1. Positive Pressure Venting Works. It needs to be applied as part of the concurrent activity of the inital and follow on fire attack. Offensive as well as salvage and overhaul. It requires commitment from fire ground command. It needs operational personal who are specifically assigned to the task. Using ppv and the electric fans or the gas powered fans along with a sealed building which vents the toxic heat and gas out of the structure provides a "cooler working enviroment" for personal who are engaged in search and rescue and knock down. Those are F.A.C.T.S. that are well proven. It works. It is not new to the service as it may seem. Will all departments commit to using it? No? Why? From my p.o.v. p.p.v requires a tactical descision to commit manpower (womanpower) or personal. The inital first in crews are in attack mode unless fire ground specifies. The quick attack is one of our best weapons in fighting fires. We need the "follow on forces" if sectorization requires as well as "priority taskings" as seen through the eyes of the seasoned "incident commander" as part of the overall ammunition we use to "fight fires". If the tools have been made available and they are proven to work we use them. Throwing the "kitchen sink" at a fire is something we know how to do and will not hesitate to do if we have the "tactical opportunity to do it". No offense here but yes....even the kitchen table if we have to. shakespear said..."to be or not to be" is not the question.....ahhh..."the plays the thing". Any NFL quaterback will add P.P.V. to his play book when and if the field is ready for it and will get the job done. Common P.O.V. on P.P.V.

  2. Our department uses PPV in conjunction with attack crews inside and it worked well for us, but only because of good coordination between attack crew and ventilation teams.

  3. I don't think anyone will ever say its good for every type of structure out there, but its often worth a lot more consideration than some depts give it


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