The Washington Fire Department recently held a training session in which it used one of its training props — a roof ventilation training simulator.
According to Washington Fire Chief Tim Downing, the purpose of the roof ventilation training simulator is to provide a safe location for firefighters to both learn and practice how to properly ventilate rooms through different types of roofs.
The ventilation is done by cutting a hole in a roof. The simulator has a shallow pitch, a steep pitch and a flat pitch to practice on. The simulator is also reusable.
Proper ventilation allows heated smoke and gasses to escape a structure that’s on fire while allowing fresh air in, explained Downing. When this occurs, it makes it safer and easier to see for individuals and firefighters.
Although it can make it safer, if not done properly, a situation can become more dangerous if the fresh air makes the fire worse.
Another concern when ventilating structures is cutting into a support element within the structure that could cause the roof to collapse, according to Downing. By practicing on the simulator, firefighters can get a sense for how deep to cut into a roof.
Roof ventilation has been done by the department during fires in the past, although it is not done on every structure. Whether ventilation is done or not depends on the individual situation.
“Training makes the job safer, so we will continue to train,” said Downing.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.