Base, city fire departments conduct rare training

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Airman 1st Class Nicholas Meno, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department firefighter, cuts through the roof a base house Aug. 29, 2013, during a week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. Cutting through the roof is the final step in a vertical ventilation procedure. Vertical ventilation consists of locating and marking the studs of a roof and then cutting through the roof along the marks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

130829-F-DY381-077 Airman 1st Class Nicholas Meno, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department firefighter, cuts through the roof a base house Aug. 29, 2013, during a week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. Cutting through the roof is the final step in a vertical ventilation procedure. Vertical ventilation consists of locating and marking the studs of a roof and then cutting through the roof along the marks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

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Airmen 1st Class Nicholas Meno, above left, and Matthew Anderson, 90th Civil Engineer Fire Department firefighters, exit a house after performing a window rescue Aug. 29, 2013, during a week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. A window rescue consists of breeching a window, firefighters climbing into the building through the breeched window, retrieving the individuals/animals trapped inside and then returning through the window to the outside. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

130829-F-DY381-056 Airmen 1st Class Nicholas Meno, above left, and Matthew Anderson, 90th Civil Engineer Fire Department firefighters, exit a house after performing a window rescue Aug. 29, 2013, during a week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. A window rescue consists of breeching a window, firefighters climbing into the building through the breeched window, retrieving the individuals/animals trapped inside and then returning through the window to the outside. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

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Airman 1st Class Nicholas Meno, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department firefighter, cuts through the roof a base house Aug. 29, 2013, during a week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. The guard of the saw is set at a depth to help control the saw itself and to help prevent unwanted damage to the studs, should one accidentally cut into one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

130829-F-DY381-092 Airman 1st Class Nicholas Meno, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department firefighter, cuts through the roof a base house Aug. 29, 2013, during a week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. The guard of the saw is set at a depth to help control the saw itself and to help prevent unwanted damage to the studs, should one accidentally cut into one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

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F.E. Warren Air Force Base and Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department vehicles line Minuteman Avenue Aug. 29, 2013, during the week-long joint training exercise. The base fire department works regularly with the city’s fire department on training and real-world responses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

130829-F-DY381-115 F.E. Warren Air Force Base and Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department vehicles line Minuteman Avenue Aug. 29, 2013, during the week-long joint training exercise. The base fire department works regularly with the city’s fire department on training and real-world responses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

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Jesse Johnson, 90th Civil Engineer Fire Department firefighter, uses a halligan — a multipurpose tool — to demonstrate how to mark a roof for a vertical ventilation Aug. 29, 2013 on a soon-to-be demolished base house, during the week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. In the foreground is an example of what a completed vertical ventilation looks like. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

130829-F-DY381-118 Jesse Johnson, 90th Civil Engineer Fire Department firefighter, uses a halligan — a multipurpose tool — to demonstrate how to mark a roof for a vertical ventilation Aug. 29, 2013 on a soon-to-be demolished base house, during the week-long joint training exercise with the Cheyenne, Wyo., fire department. In the foreground is an example of what a completed vertical ventilation looks like. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mike Tryon)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Last week, the base fire department and Cheyenne, Wyo., Fire Rescue conducted a joint training exercise in the soon-to-be demolished area of Carlin Heights, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

The training consisted of comparing firefighting tactics and strategies as well as an opportunity to transform book knowledge into practice.

"It was great of [the] Balfour Beatty [Communities] to let us use base housing for this non-typical training," said Master Sgt. Michael Falzone, 90th Civil Engineer Fire Department assistant chief of training. "Our firefighters were provided with a rare opportunity to get some good quality, hands-on experience in areas that usually must be simulated."

During the joint training exercise, both the base and city fire departments got a chance to perform some rare vertical ventilation training, said Senior Master Sgt. Rejan Plante, 90th CES Fire Department deputy fire chief.

"In my 21-year career, I've only seen training such as this outside the schoolhouse maybe once or twice," Plante said. "In our training area, the 'smoke house,' everything is in a controlled, simulated and safe environment. There's a big difference from performing vertical ventilation on a piece of plywood in the smoke house than there is on an actual building.

"The height and angle of the pitched roofs in base housing provide the realism often missing from a fire simulator," Plante added.

Vertical ventilation consists of using an axe or saw to cut a four-foot by four-foot hole in a roof in order to allow the release of superheated smoke and gases. A halligan, which is a multipurpose firefighting tool, can be used to locate and mark the studs of a roof, and remove shingles prior to cutting. It is important for the vertical ventilation to be done as directly above the fire as possible, as to not spread the fire into unburned areas of the building.

"If you tried performing a vertical ventilation on the opposite side of the house from where the fire was, for example, the smoke, heat and fire would spread across the house to the newly oxygenated hole you created," Plante explained.

While vertical ventilation always the method used in fighting a fire, it can be a useful tool to lower the temperature inside a structure and increase visibility, Falzone said.

"It was great having the [the city department] come out for training," Falzone said. "We have the opportunity to compare practices and test out new ideas; it's how we grow as firefighters."

The base fire department personnel are hoping to continue their training with the city and other fire departments in the Carlin Heights area as long as weather allows, Falzone added.