Ventilation, Salvage, and Safety Study Guide for McGraw-Hill's Firefighter Exams
Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV) Fans—Electric or fuel-driven fans primarily designed to provide forced, uncontaminated air into a room or building to displace the by-products of fire (smoke and toxic gases).
Smoke Ejectors—Fans primarily designed to eject smoke and toxic gases from an area. They have some use in drawing fresh air into an area but do not move as much air as positive pressure fans.
Salvage operations require specialized equipment. The following are some of the more common types of tools/equipment used.
Salvage covers are generally used indoors to protect furniture, equipment, and valuables from water damage, but they may also be used as a chute to funnel water out windows and down staircases. The tarpaulins are made of canvas, waterproof-treated drop cloth material, or plastic, with reinforced edges and grommets for hanging.
Plastic sheeting is used to cover openings on roofs and windows to protect the interior of the structure from adverse weather conditions.
Dewatering pumps are electrical, engine-driven, and hydraulic-powered pumps used in conjunction with a hose line to lift and remove water from below grade areas.
Water vacuums are designed to suction off water from floors and carpeting. These devices consist of a vacuum nozzle and catch tank worn on the back of the firefighter.
Safety Equipment and Clothing
To protect their health and lives, firefighters use a variety of safety equipment while performing their duties. Some of this equipment is discussed briefly below.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)—Firefighters wear self-contained breathing apparatus during interior structural firefighting operations to protect against breathing toxic fumes and smoke. An SCBA is also used inside confined spaces where insufficient oxygen or poisonous vapors are present. The SCBA supplies compressed, breathable air to the wearer and includes an air cylinder, high and low pressure hoses, a regulator, and face piece. It may or may not have an integral alarm device that operates automatically should the firefighter become disabled.
Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) Device—A personal alert safety system is an alarm device that emits a signal when a firefighter is disabled, lost, or otherwise in distress. It can be activated both manually and automatically should the firefighter stop moving for an extended period of time.
Respirator—A respirator is a full-face or half-face respiratory protection device that protects the user by filtering out dust particles, organic vapors, and acid gases. The device has replaceable cartridges. The term is also used for disposable, dust/paint masks, which lack filters and do not provide protection from organic vapors and acid gas.
Bunker (Turnout) Gear—The structural firefighting ensemble (coat and pants) that provides flame, thermal, and mechanical (cuts, abrasions) protection is known as bunker gear. The term may also refer to the entire firefighting ensemble, including helmet, hood, and boots. The gear is made from fire-resistant fiber, synthetics, and polymer materials, such as Nomex, Kevlar, and polybenzimidazole (PBI), and generally has high-visibility striping material.
Reflective Vest—A reflective vest is a high-visibility garment worn over firefighting clothing. It is used by firefighters when working with and around cranes and heavy construction equipment and trucks during technical rescue and building collapse operations.
Fire Helmet—Constructed of fiberglass, plastic, or leather, the helmet firefighters wear provides thermal and impact head protection during firefighting operations. A long curved rear brim keeps cinders and hot runoff water off the firefighter's neck. The helmet also provides thermal ear protection (ear flaps), eye protection (eye shields), and a chinstrap to secure the helmet to the head.
Hood—Made from fire-resistant material similar to that used for manufacturing bunker gear, the hood is worn over the head to protect the areas of the head and face not covered by the helmet and face piece of the SCBA.
Fire Boots—Structural firefighting footwear, or fire boots, made from rubber and/or leather, provide thermal (Nomex/Kevlar), puncture, and impact (steel sole/shank/toe) protection of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. Some boots are designed in lengths to be pulled up over the knees for enhanced thermal protection of the lower extremities.
Additional Protective Gear—Includes ear muffs/plugs, safety glasses/goggles, kneepads, safety shoes, and gloves, all made of material designed to protect the firefighter. Firefighters working in confined spaces and in technical rescue work wear a hard hat.
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