Vent, Enter, Search Reward In Illinois

Illinois department has an amazing payoff when they use a recently practiced tactic.











On Tuesday morning, in Decatur Illinois, Susan Berg was woken by the sounds of crackling fire and her smoke detector. Making her way through the living room, she was prevented from reaching her 15-month old son by fire extending from the kitchen. Susan fled out the front of the house. As a neighbor dialed 911 fire had consumed the living room.

Unable to get in to rescue her son, Decatur firefighters took over,

“”I was pounding with my fist,” Berg said. “I couldn’t punch hard enough to make a break. I tried to find a rock or brick to break the window. About that time the fire department arrived. The fire department went in and got him.”

Employing a technique they had first practiced in training sessions last month, one firefighter broke a window and entered the room while another stood outside.

The baby, who was unresponsive, was handed to another firefighter who stood outside the bedroom window.

Berg heard the firefighters shout, “He’s out, he’s out, he’s out.”

That firefighter quickly handed the baby to two other firefighters, who resuscitated the baby. After the Caleb showed signs of life, he was taken by ambulance to Decatur Memorial Hospital. He was later transferred by helicopter to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

“The guys did an outstanding job,” said Decatur Fire Chief Matt Sekosky, adding that there are not too many opportunities for firefighters to perform rescues.”
“Firefighters Rescue Baby from Burning Home”, Herald-Review.com October 12, 2010 [bold mine]

When we speak about VES we imagine one or two members of a ladder company making entry to an upper floor via ground ladder and porch roof. In the Decatur fire, the firefighters performed the same method although without the need of ladders. Surely the presence of the Mrs. Berg outside her young son’s window is a great benefit also, but what we particularly find impressive is the immediate payoff that comes with training. Vent, enter search is not a new tactic, but rather quite old. Many misconceptions about it are that you need a dedicated ladder company or that it is too dangerous to attempt. I’ve read many comments that oppose VES saying that it places firefighters in the direction of the fire’s extension, or in between the fire and nozzle team (yeah, I scratched my head on that one too) or that it promoted freelancing and no firefighter should be operation alone.

Fortunately, when taught properly and practiced regularly, VES is a compliment to your overall fire attack. I want to emphasize some nuggets that are in this story. In 2009 the Decatur Fire Department responded to 131 structure fires, down from 150 in 2008. They operate seven engine companies, three ladder companies (one tower and two ladders) and a squad. Station staffing in 2009 was done by 112 firefighters, in three shifts, among nine stations. The department manages a very popular cadet program that graduates a yearly maximum of 100 students and has a waiting list. In an age when most training is directed towards the latest trends we often see repeated requests for “getting back to the basics.” Think of every trade show you’ve been to and each one you are considering next year and among the topics listed are ‘Engine Company Operations’ and ‘Truck Company Operations’. Despite the hype about technical rescue, mass casualty, explosive devices and other random events, fighting fire is as basic as we will be. It involves teaching and re-teaching the basics and learning your department’s capabilities and limitations. The number of fires you go to may be dropping, but that is no excuse for not continually training.

“They had just completed training on the procedure last month; the department employed it for the first time during Tuesday’s fire.”

Keep training. It pays off.

Traditions Training “Controlling the Sill”

DCFD OVM Footage, Training Commentary

References
Decatur Firefighters Rescue, Revive Infant During House Fire, Herald-Review.com
Decatur, IL Fire Department
Vent Enter Search.com
“One Trapped On The Second Floor”, Traditions Training, 2009








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Backstep Firefighter

β€œTo provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”
Comments
Burton Clark
Rhetorical Lesson No.12: Would Fewer Basics Work in Reducing Our LODDs?
All we need is one lesson with two parts. Follow all the S.O.Ps 100% correct, 100% of the time. Reason, anything less can get you and others killed. It also makes you a professional and defines a good firefighter.
2014-08-29 13:43:35
John Pignataro
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bravo sir ...This battle began in the early 1990's having been a career DC Fireman for 30 yrs and a still active volunteer fireman for 37 the mentality has changed since 1977. Your article is clear and to the point but I am afraid the fire service maybe lost to the folks who preach the…
2014-08-23 01:12:28
Ben Waller
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Actually, the "Women and children first" idea cane from the sinking if the HMS Birkenhead. Now known as "The Birkenhead Drill", this stemmed from the ship beginning to sink, an inadequate number of lifeboats, and the Royal Marines and soldiers on board being called to formation and standing in ranks while the ships crew put…
2014-08-21 11:25:14
Ron Ayotte
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bing-freaking-o!
2014-08-21 02:49:30
Brian Gary
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Very well written. I couldn't agree more with your statements. The problems are many, but they perpetuate and increase with every new class of recruits that are poisoned with the idea that anyone who feels unsafe has a responsibility to act and stop whatever is going on. When I came on, my instructors told me…
2014-08-21 02:04:23
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