Submitted by Michelle Ford, KVFC Member.
On Monday, December 13, 2021, over 20 members of the Killingworth Volunteer Fire Company (KVFC) traveled down to a soon-to-be demolished building in Madison to hone their skills in vertical ventilation — fire-speak for quickly cutting large holes in the roof of a burning building to release pressurized smoke and heated gases. Once the smoke is released from the roof, visibility is improved for those firefighters inside who can more easily find and remove victims and extinguish the fire.
During the training, members practiced using the Department’s roof saws (chainsaws outfitted with special roof guards) and K-12 saws, which are designed to cut through not only standard asphalt shingles, but rubber, metal or stone covered roofs, to cut large (4’x4’) openings in the roof. Once the section of roof is removed, firefighters then use hand tools to push and/or pull out insulation and drywall to allow the smoke and gasses to escape. During an actual structure fire, firefighters aim to have the roof cut open and fire vented in less than 5 minutes which is why proper technique and a good understanding of roles and responsibilities is critical. In addition to the venting itself, safe use of the saws, roof ladders, hand tools and coordination among teams operating inside the building is essential to ensure the task is handled quickly and efficiently, but also in a manner that allows each firefighter to make it back down on the ground safely.
Members of the KVFC would like to thank the Madison Hose Company #1 for allowing them to use the building for training. We are fortunate to have such great working relationships with our neighboring fire departments with whom we work closely with throughout the year.