The Daily Drill 2: VES

Here is a post from a very good friend and very wise fireman, Lance Peeples.  Lance is a firefighter/paramedic with the Webster Groves Fire Department in St. Louis County.  Check it out and give some feed back.


Review the following video and consider how YOUR fire department operates when answering the following questions:



1.  Is VES indicated if PPV is used by your department?  What safety precaution should the operator of a PPV fan perform before starting the fan?


2.  Notice how the VES firefighter enters head first.  Very experienced instructors often recommend grasping the window frame with the head and upper body protected by the wall and then entering with the opposite foot.  This permits the firefighter to make an emergency ladder slide if necessary.

What is another advantage of this technique?


3.  On your first alarm assignment who is the firefighter assigned the responsibility for VES.  Who is the firefighter that will assist him in this technique?


4.  If the assisting firefighter ascends the ladder to orient the searching firefighter how can the ladder be butted?  Does it always need to be butted?  Could a tool be driven into the grounds at the butt of the ladder to prevent it from sliding?


5.  Are the tools (hook and halligan) needed for VES mounted near the riding position of the member who is responsible for this function or are they mounted on the other side of the apparatus underneath the water rescue rope and drinking cups?


6.  Notice how the roof ladder projects into the window slightly.  However, the ladder is already at a very low angle that could result in the butt kicking out.  Should the ladder tip be removed from the window to allow for easier emergency exit/victim removal or does the angle of the ladder preclude this?  What are possible solutions?


7.  Some of the commentators below the video are critical of opening the door upon preparing to leave the room…what say you? 





  • Ed Hartin says:

    While VES may be an effective tactic it is incompatible with PPV as the firefighter entering the window is in the flow path (at least until the door to the compartment being search can be closed). While this presents a signficant risk under natural ventilation, but conditions can change much more quickly when PPV is being used. PPV must be delayed untill after completion of VES.

  • John Shafer says:

    Brother this was a great thought provoking post. Job well done, I am going to just in here and comment for sake of discussion because I know when I write I love comments 🙂 I first want to say I am NO expert and anything I say is only my opinion and I am always open to learn from more experienced firefighters.
    1. PPV & VES
    I totally agree with Ed in that PPV and VES cannot be used together. I think many departments especially small or suburban departments misuse these two tactics which can put a firefighter in a very dangerous situation which is not necessary!  Simply put if a crew is performing VES it needs to be radioed and the PPV needs to wait till the search crew advises that the primary search is complete.   
    2. VES Entry
    I actually have used this video many times while teaching VES and I currently teach head first entry and have always taught a head first entry due to the fact you are low and are not in the super heated upper environment of the product of combustion and you are already low and in the position of work to get below the smoke and scan the room for location of the door and layout of the room.  However after some recent conservation with a very experienced and smart firefighter Kevin Legacy about his post on Entering a Window for VES                                     I can see why some teach to enter the window by stepping into the window.  I think the way one enters for VES is based on your past training and experience and also the situation at hand.  So I would love it if everyone would add there on preference of VES entry and why?
    I know I have already taken up to much space here so I will just comment on one last point and that is the point about reopening the door after the search.
    My personal opinion is not to reopen the door because you have just made a flow path as ED stated earlier and you now changed the ventilation dynamics of that fire and fire or smoke on the first floor will find that window which will draw more products of combustion into other adjoining rooms of the second floor that could possibly be other rooms where victims are located decreasing there chance of survival. 
    Once again great post Lance
    Stay Safe
    Lt. John Shafer

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