Vertical Ventilation

In the fire service, there is a term that we are all too familiar with, the term “Ventilate.” For all non firefighters reading this narrative, ventilation is the removal of heated air, smoke and fire gases from a burning building and replacing them with cooler air.  The cooler air facilitates usually where firefighters set up a PPV (big fan), that blows in cool air into a structure.  The fan cannot be turned on however, until an exit opening, for the superheated smoke, has been established.  For example, if I set up a fan at the front door of a burning building, someone in my crew will establish a place where the smoke can exit the building, usually, if we know what room the fire is in, we can break a window, to that room allowing the super heated gas and smoke to exit, then I start the fan, allowing fresh air to enter the building and pushing the smoke out of the window that was broken, so  firefighters have better visibility to get to the fire.  This is called “Horizontal Ventilation.”   Back in the old days, we did what we called “Vertical Ventilation.”   Where ever, the fire was at in the home, firefighters would ladder the building to the roof, set up a roof ladder (ladder with two hooks at the end of it)  and hook it over the top of the roof.  We would then climb to the point that was over the fire, and use the axe, or chain saw and cut a whole in the roof approx 4′ x 4′  to allow the superheated gases to escape, vertically, through the roof and allowing fresh air to come in at the ground level.  ventilation can decrease that rate of fire spread, and increase visibility so firefighters can locate the seat of the fire more quickly.  Ventilation can move the fire gases and smoke away from trapped occupants by channeling heat and smoke away from the area where they are at.   Ventilation can also detour a backdraft situation.   The term backdraft is defined as a very rapid, often explosive burning of hot gases that occurs when oxygen is introduced into an oxygen depleted confined space.  It may occur because of inadequate or improper ventilation procedures.  In other words, if we arrived on the scene of a house fire, with heavily charred windows, and smoke that looks a lot like, a person breathing outside on a cold morning, is a good sign of backdraft conditions.  If a firefighter opens that front door of this home without first establishing a ventilation point, then when a firefighter opens that front door of the home, a massive explosion can take place.  The build up of superheated gasses has nowhere to go but out the door that was opened.  When the door opens the home vents itself as it grabs the fresh oxygen needed for combustion.

Application for you and me.  We all are bombarded by life.  If we allow the pressures of life to continue to build from within, an explosion is possibly on the horizon, and its usually, with the ones in which we are closest to, our wife and kids.  Don’t allow the pressures of our job cause you to react irrationally at home.  WE ALL NEED TO VENTILATE!!!  We may need to “Vertical Ventilate.”  Talk to God about the feelings you are experiencing.  To vertical ventilate is the first step in relieving the worlds pressures on our lives.  Second, “Horizontal Ventilation,”  talk to a friend you can trust, your Pastor, Minister,  Chaplain, etc.  Don’t allow the fire within get out of control.   Ventilate in the correct way.  Ventalate Gods way, and get the relief needed.   If I can be of assistance feel free to call me.  


Have a safe day.


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