Training and Research
There are many debates throughout the Fire Service on the subject of Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV). There is fairly wide spread consensus on the benefits of reduced heat and increased visibility for the advancing hose team when using PPV. However, there is heated debate in the fire service on the effects of PPV on victims or firefighters located beyond the fire. The opinions on this subject range from never use PPV period, to always use PPV, regardless of victim, firefighter, or fire location. Both opinions can’t be right!
PPV performed properly, where all company actions are coordinated and support each other, has been found to relieve conditions for firefighters and victims, improve visibility, remove smoke and dangerous gases quickly and effectively reduce temperatures within the structure.
Coordinated, purposeful PPV will make the fireground safer. Uncoordinated PPV or PPV misapplied by improperly training Firefighters can be dangerous!
An analysis of the last 7 years of NIOSH Firefighter fatality reports show that in many fatality conditions where fire behavior was a causal factor in the Firefighter death, ventilation was not performed or performed incorrectly. Historically, we know this to be the case in several AFD close calls.
If smoke is the primary hazard, the coordination of ventilation activities should becomes the context for all fireground tactical activities.
UT-AFD Research Partnership: For the last 6 years UT has been continually working with AFD on PPV research. Currently UT has several graduate students working on PPV related research. These projects range from analysis of our existing live PPV fire data to characterization of fire spread in void spaces associated with PPV. Chief Nicks and Prof. Ezekoye have conducted several experiments on PPV, published various pages in the subject and have presented lectures and HOT training on PPV nationally.
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Scientific Research Translated into Fire Tactics
Chief Bob Nicks | Bio
Chief of Training, Austin Fire Department
Ofodike A. Ezekoye | Bio
Werner W. Dornberger Centennial Teaching Fellow in Mechanical Engineering