Becoming a firefighter requires hard work, long hours of training, dedication and a genuine desire to help others.
This week Olivette Fire Department participated in training on VEIS and Replay Pumping. Training helps to keep fire professionals safer by providing access to up-to-date information which supports professional development and improves training.
When a crew is assigned the role of search and rescue (SAR) at a residential structure fire, they use the conventional primary-secondary search method. A primary search involves a crew who performs a rapid “down and dirty” search while hazardous conditions are still present. For this type of search, they would start looking for victims in rooms closest to the fire and then progressively work away from the fire. By contrast, a secondary search is more methodical and thorough. This search is performed after the fire has been placed “under control.”
Unfortunately, there are instances when the SAR crew cannot gain interior access to the victims; therefore, the primary search cannot be performed. This can be due to extensive heat, fire, or smoke conditions between the engine company and the victims. Therefore, the SAR crew will elect to use VEIS, accessing the victims from exterior windows.
In its simplest form, VEIS consists of two firefighters (minimum) who ventilate a window, enter a room, isolate the flow path, and perform a rapid search of the room.
Here are the steps for VEIS:
Ventilation- When arriving on the scene, do a 360° size-up, identify high-target areas, which are rescue areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
Enter- Before entry, sweep the bottom of the window; most victims will be located on the floor and will be close to a means of egress. Once you sweep the floor, sound the floor.
Isolate- Once you find the door, lay on the floor as flat as possible. Next, crawl out into the hall, and sweep the floor for victims. Once you sweep the hall, close the door.
Search- Do this efficiently! Simply going around the room will not cut it. Cover every square inch of the room—under and on top of beds, under tables, and inside cribs. Do this all by hand.
VEIS’ time frame can vary on the size of the room and the proficiency of the crew assigned to the task. Therefore, the crews does this training several times a year.
Olivette Fire also trained this week with the University City Fire Department on Relay Pumping.
Relay Pumping is supplying water from a supply/source to a destination through hose utilizing multiple pumps (Engine Companies) to maintain a constant pressure and GPM requirement or need. This can also be used if there is a pump failure on one of the pumpers. The time of training is 2-3 hours.
In a live training environment, these skills are crucial to the success of the operation and can be repeatedly practiced and fine-tuned when a real event occurs.