Bronx Working: Video Captures OVM Making Entry On Top Floor Fire

Three children injured during Bronx apartment fire. How specific are the outside vent position duties in your department?


Fire in the Bronx on Friday was captured by the Daily and the Post.
Box 4841, 730 East 228 Street
E. 63 E.38 E.79 E.62
L.39 L.32
Squad Co.61
Rescue Co.3
Battalion 15, Battalion 27, division 7
E.66, L.61
“Children Burned In Bronx Fire”, My Fox NY
“Good Samaritans Rescue Three Kids From Burning Bronx Building (VIDEO)”, New York Post
“Three Children Narrowly Escape Raging Bronx Blaze”, NY Daily News
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OVM strike as much fear in some circles as VES. Three little letters conjure up images of firefighters rushing headlong onto the floors above the fire, wielding a 6-foot hook like Arnold with his sword in ‘Conan the Barbarian’, taking out windows as they bound across fire escapes and porch roofs. It is highly likely that no other department in the country has developed the position of Outside Vent Man more so than the F.D.N.Y. Many departments have similar positions with similar duties, however the uniqueness of New York City boroughs (buildings) combined with response and staffing allows the F.D.N.Y. to have a riding position whose duties vary according to position due, type of building and location of fire.

Ask yourself the following:

1. What is VES and the OVM position as I understand it, and as my department understands it?

2. What riding assignments in my department change depending on arrival order, building features and fire location?

3. When was the last time I searched for life on the floor above the fire?

4. When was the last time I trained on the difference between venting for life and venting for fire?



All comments must include your name or the name of your department. Either one, it makes no difference. If you don’t, well we can do nothing for you.





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6 Comments

  • charles bailey says:

    Charles Bailey

    1. What is VES and the OVM position as I understand it, and as my department understands it? VES is the dangerous practice of normalizing searches without the protection of charged hoselines. OVM is an acronym that describes a fire department function unique to the FDNY and other similarly staffed departments. Outside those constraints it is meaningless.

    2. What riding assignments in my department change depending on arrival order, building features and fire location?

    If your riding assignment changes based on response order then you should engage in reevaluation. It is what it is no matter what it is.

    3. When was the last time I searched for life on the floor above the fire?

    It has been awhile/

    4. When was the last time I trained on the difference between venting for life and venting for fire?

    Before I can train on the difference between venting for life and venting for fire I need someone to explain to me what the difference is. Can you help?

    • Bill Carey says:

      Excellent Charles.

      Miss you.

      - Bill

      I’d like to try, and the first step will be to admit that it (venting) has changed considerably in 20 years.

      - Bill

  • charles bailey says:

    VENT FOR FIRE
    Is accomplished to facilitate the Engine Company advance to, and extinguishment of, the fire. This venting is normally delayed until the Engine Company has its water, and is ready to “move in”.

    VENT FOR LIFE
    Is accomplished to facilitate movement of members into an area where there is known or suspected life hazard. With an inherent calculated risk of eventually “pulling fire” it is performed as part of an attempt to reach possible survivors as soon as possible. These actions must be coordinated with the inside teams.

    Let’s start by examining these two statements. The obvious starting point is that there are two different statements presented under different headers such that the implication is that there are two distinctly different tasks being described.

    In the first, “vent for fire” the argument is made that this sort of ventilation is primarily a tactic that allows an engine company to advance to and subsequently extinguish a fire. If we accept that description for the sake of argument how do we explain the second tactic, “vent for life?” Vent for life is described as a tactic used to, “facilitate movement of members into an area where there is a known or suspected life hazard…part of an attempt to reach possible survivors as soon as possible.

    The implication is that we can make immediate assessments, based on what we see, on the viability of interior victims. You have to in order to differentiate between which sorts of vent tactics to use. And if we can differentiate because these are two different tactics, what is the difference? If you are venting for life do you break different windows that you do when you are venting for fire?

    Interestingly, the notion of venting for life mentions the, “inherent calculated risk of eventually ‘pulling the fire’…” There are two issues with that. The first that is the same “calculated risk” is present when venting for fire is it not? The second issue it how one can “calculate’ the risk of pulling fire, especially when they cannot know the interior flow path, fire conditions, or other factors that would impact the act of ventilation. I argue that such knowledge is not possible.

    My final issue is the issue of coordination. While the language is different between both statements, one says, “This venting is normally delayed until the Engine Company has its water, and is ready to ‘move in’…” What is the difference between this and “These actions must be coordinated with the inside teams.” I argue that in essence both statements are saying that coordination is required. However, there is one last problem to discuss today, what does it mean to coordinate? In order for the inside team and the outside team to coordinate their actions they both have to have access to a common operational picture. The inside team’s operational picture, especially when ventilation is critical, is a dark smoky room where they can’s see anything. The outside team’s operational picture is of exterior walls and perhaps a few windows but whether there is smoke or fire in those windows it is likely that they can’t see too much farther than that. So we are back to a point where we ask people to do things like differentiate between two venting modalities that are in essence the same and to coordinate in situations where coordination is not possible. What are we really asking?

    The real problem is that we have not spent a lot of time really thinking through anything, most of our policies are not an attempt to develop sound and defensible operational practices but rather an attempt to codify what we already do, tautological nonsense I say.

    p.s. This notion that venting has changed is silly too. What changed? Ok I can accept that building construction has changed but that only affects us once the fire begins to attack the building and once that has occurred ventilation is necessarily a secondary concern. I can accept that interior materials have changed and that they (synthetics) are capable of much higher heat release rates but the windows and doors are not any bigger and fires involving synthetic materials still need sufficient oxygen to reach those peak heat release rates. Arguably in most fires we put out the fire was ventilation limited the entire time and thusly never reached their potential heat release rates. So what changed? We have better gear than we used to so we end up in places with PBI that we never would have ended up with nomex and 3/4 boots. that is all…

  • Ray McCormack says:

    Here is the difference for the OV.

    Venting for Fire – The window is vented. No entry will be made, due to the release of fire in that opening.

    Venting for Life – The window is vented by the OV for entry to search.

    I get it! FDNY LT.L-28

  • charles bailey says:

    Lt. McCormack

    I quoted from your manual (I assume the most up to date one) and it said:

    VENT FOR FIRE
    Is accomplished to facilitate the Engine Company advance to, and extinguishment of, the fire. This venting is normally delayed until the Engine Company has its water, and is ready to “move in”.

    VENT FOR LIFE
    Is accomplished to facilitate movement of members into an area where there is known or suspected life hazard. With an inherent calculated risk of eventually “pulling fire” it is performed as part of an attempt to reach possible survivors as soon as possible. These actions must be coordinated with the inside teams.

    It did not say:

    Venting for Fire – The window is vented. No entry will be made, due to the release of fire in that opening.

    Venting for Life – The window is vented by the OV for entry to search.

    It would seem to me, using the language that you offered, that in the “vent for life” scenario the “OV” is not so much venting as he/she is creating an opening to enter for searching. The creation of that opening may or may not also be venting, but you don’t know most times until after the glass is broken. Either way my points remain unchanged.

    BTW it is nice to hear from you again….

  • Ray McCormack says:

    Charles Bailey
    Your qoute from the FDNY manual is correct. I was not quoting any book. What I offered was an interpretion of the OV’s duties as it relates to the two types of ventilation.
    To answer one of your questions. “If you are venting for life do you break different windows that you do when you are venting for fire?”
    Answer : Yes
    Good to hear from you also. Take Care

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Comments
Bill Carey
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Thank you Ed.
2014-10-22 14:26:50
Ed Hartin
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Excellent article Bill!
2014-10-14 12:47:14
Ron Ayotte
Complacency and Awareness: History Lessons from the Mog and Rangers
Bill.. I agree with Tony C. The situations we respond to sometimes reuire that we tune and tweak SOPs and SOGs "on the fly" in order to complete the tasks given. Fire doesn't care what is stated in our SOPs/SOGs.
2014-10-11 22:14:29
Bill Carey
Complacency and Awareness: History Lessons from the Mog and Rangers
Thanks Tony.
2014-10-06 11:06:34
Tony C.
Complacency and Awareness: History Lessons from the Mog and Rangers
A great read, Bill. I see so much of this in the fire service. I forgot to pull up my hood on the last fire and I didn't get burned. I didn't buckle my waist strap on the last fire and I didn't get tangled up. I didn't check my bottle before my last fire…
2014-10-05 15:37:05
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