From the Blog

Acquired Structure Training – October 2013


Thanks to the generosity of the owner at 425 Cleveland Avenue in Highland Park, the HP Volunteer Fire Department was able to stage training in the structure before it was set to be demolished.


The structure offered both large, open space that was warehouse-like, and multiple rooms/offices that are similar to most homes or offices that we may respond to in an emergency. There was both a flat roof and two bowstring truss systems, and a variety of exterior doors & windows – allowing multiple options for ventilation.


In the first evolution Firefighters were told that HPVFD Engine 4 had already arrived on scene, deployed a primary hoseline and had a two-person team inside the structure. Engine 1, with a three Firefighters, and Truck 3, with two, have arrived on scene. E-1 secured water and T-3 is ready for Truck/Rescue Ops.

A call has been made by the interior crew that they are surrounded by fire and need the backup line to advance to assist.


Inside the structure two dummies were placed near a deployed hoseline. The backup line team from E-1 advanced into the building, followed the hoseline (cold smoke was used to limit visibility) and discovered the downed firefighters while also suppressing the fire. The Truck Crew is called to assist with rescue and to provide ventilation. Below is a quick video of the E-1 Crew making entry up to discovering the downed Firefighters:

The evolution was performed twice with HPVFD Firefighters taking different roles in each. A discussion/critique followed each run through to evaluate what worked and what we could have done differently. Firefighters were in full gear and on air.

Here is another video, taken with a helmet cam of the Engine Crew receiving orders, making entry and working inside:


A second scenario was presented for the next evolution – one team was tasked to practice vertical ventilation using HPVFD Truck 3 and all available tools and one team was tasked with providing horizontal ventilation ONLY in a large open-space, warehouse-like structure.


A three-person Truck Crew gathered tools & equipment, checked working order and discussed safety considerations for working roof operations before positioning the Truck 3 ladder in to place to ventilate the roof. The Truck 3 Crew made it to the roof and began cutting at the seat of the fire/smoke and opening skylights, etc. to provide more open access.


Concurrent to the Truck Crew a two-person Engine Crew was given a slightly different scenario. A smoke/harmful air quality situation existed in a large, open-space warehouse. Horizontal ventilation was the only option offered to the two Firefighters and there was only one primary door into the structure. A second doorway was nearby, but around a corner. There were no windows. A large exhaust fan was on wall opposite the primary door but the louvers were closed.

Firefighters discussed options and ultimately settled on a Positive Pressure Fan, positioned at the primary door to introduce clean, fresh air into the structure and to open the louvers on the exhaust fan. The two Firefighters grabbed a 24-foot ladder, made entry into the structure with full gear and on air with their breathing apparatus. The ladder was positioned under/on the fan and using a Pike Pole, the louvers were opened to allow the smoke & dangerous air to escape.

In the video below you can see the ladder deployment as the louvers are opened – the positive pressure fan is in place but not running yet:

Thank you to everyone who helped, planned & trained on Sunday!



  1. […] Probationary Member Training Drill the Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department took advantage of access to an acquired structure for some additional work inside on forcible entry, wall breach and survival […]

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