Fire crews in Jefferson County are working to learn a new method of fighting fires that could save lives.
It’s called Positive Pressure Attack, and News 4 was there as several different departments came together to train and learn the tactic.
Brian Gaudet, Assistant Chief for the Hillsboro Fire Protection District, led the training in Festus.
“It’s been around awhile but we recently brought it to the area,” he said.
Firefighters from Hillsboro and Festus worked alongside crews from other departments to practice working together and to learn the new skills.
“We all work together on the scene so we’re here training together too,” Gaudet said.
The Positive Pressure metho can be highly dangerous if not done correctly. It can engulf the entire structure in flames, or cause injury to people inside if the instructions aren’t followed precisely.
One crews arrive to find a burning home or other structure, and they believe someone might be inside, every minute counts. Smoke and gas are building up inside, bearing down on the victims.
The crews ventilate the fire on one side of the structure, then use a fan on the other.
“The company officer is going to be going around picking where he’s going to exhaust the hot smoke and gas. He’s going to advise the crews where to put the fan, turn it on, get the hot smoke and gas out,” Gaudet told News Four.
The crews watch as the smoke billows out of the ventilated window or door, then they enter the structure to rescue victims and contain the fire.
The trainings ran for several weeks in Jefferson County.
Woodard Cleaning & Restoration, of St. Louis County, helped with the training. The company built the structure used for training and provided on-site refreshments for firefighters.