San Diego

Firefighters Learn About ‘Vertical Ventilation' Technique

The Firehouse World Expo was being held at the San Diego Convention Center from Feb. 5-9

During an expo in San Diego on Wednesday, firefighters were learning from a near-miss accident from two years ago.

The Firehouse World Expo was being held at the San Diego Convention Center from Feb. 5-9.

In March 2015, video showed Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern falling through a roof while battling a fire. Dern survived, but the incident raised questions for firehouses across the nation.

Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis requested an investigation into the incident.

Now, firefighters are learning from that incident, so it doesn't happen again.

Assistant Chief Chris Webber of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said the task Captain Dern was completing is called vertical ventilation--a practice San Diego Fire uses when needed.

“We have very detailed procedures that our guys follow. We use our two in, two out. We don't go up on the roof until we have certain things in place on the firing ground to make sure it is safe," Webber said.

Webber said he knows all too well what it is like to suffer an injury on the job, having spent several days in a hospital burn unit.

He added that the video and report that resulted from Captain Dern’s injury is a lesson for firefighters.

“Make sure you stay educated and that you are always bettering yourself with knowledge and skills," Webber said.

After the investigation into Fresno’s incident was completed, the report made more than 160 recommendations, which are being implemented in trainings.

Here in San Diego, SDFD has a person dedicated to studying these types of accidents, and making sure their safety protocol is up to date.

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