Search It Hard From The Yard

Today I am going to attach a cart to the band wagon. I believe the current politically correct term is exterior stream application; street critics are referring to it as “hitting it hard from the yard”. Where you stand on the concept is not important because my request is not for you to take a position, it is for you to take something into consideration.

Next time you arrive on scene, look at a picture, fire video, or participate in a simulation where you are thinking about exterior stream application I challenge you to consider exterior search initiation. The “scientifically” supported argument that so many are swinging around to launch fire attacks from the exterior as soon as possible should be directly applied to launching searches. We can always assume that the fire will be knocked down quickly and searches will be underway, but why delay? If we are applying water from the outside does it mean at that moment there is some reason we are unable to apply water from the inside. Is that reason just because of access for the line? Is there other simultaneous options of access for the search?

VES2Working fire out the front door and bay window of a split-level single family dwelling, egress for occupants cut off.

Are you going to flow water from here? Are you going to search from here?

VES3Working fire, living room and porch of a single story single family dwelling well involved.

Are you going to flow water from here? Can you search simultaneously from sides or the rear?

CSFD ApartmentWorking fire into the open stairwell of a multi- family dwelling, egress for occupants cut off.

Are you going to flow water from here? Are you going to search from here?

The V in VES stands for vent but VES starts with victims because it puts building occupants, our charges, first. No study is needed to prove that the faster a human is removed from the interior of a structure fire the better their odds of survival. VES is not a big city or cowboy tactic, it takes just a few members and is the most direct route to high likelihood victim locations, quickly isolating and removing them from fire conditions. See Searching for Opportunity


Some people would view Vent Enter Search as an advanced skill, I am surprised how few departments actively train or plan for the operation. I believe it is the best place to begin your initial search training because it is perfect for forging the fundamentals. 1. VES stresses the importance of searching from the greatest threat out by sending firefighters first to control the door. 2. VES drives home the importance of knowing your egress. 3. VES challenges our minds to consider room layout from the outside so we can anticipate from our entry point (the window) which wall has the door I want to control. 4. Due to the limited area a VES search is typically performed by a single member. This helps with initial skill and technique development because each member is relying on themselves for orientation and quality of search 5. Finally, due to the small area being searched repetitions will be high which accelerates technique development and skill confidence.

To summarize this rant I would ask that if VES is not something you are actively discussing or practicing at your agency but conversations about transitional attack and door control are, push the issue. Our tactics exist as means to protect lives and property so start these conversations with lives and property. They are our reason. With the proliferation of discussion on this new research it is the season for solidifying the need to embrace a tried and true method not dismissing it any longer. SAY YES TO VES!

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