Ventilation Prop

Article and photos by Albert Henderson


This ventilation prop was constructed from scrap building materials and can be put together in one day. This firefighter training prop allows trainees to ventilate while experiencing a roof environment, including working from a roof ladder, without the hazards associated with working from extreme heights. Other positive training points include the fact that instructor can watch the trainee and correct any safety issues or techniques immediately, which allows for a good training experience.

The roof section (Picture Vent 1) is constructed using three sheets of ¾ plywood used for roof decking, and a frame 8’ x 12’ is constructed using 10 2”x4”X8’ wood studs placed on 24” center for the rafters, and two 2”x4”x12’ wood studs for the top and bottom stringers. The center of the deck will need to be framed out for placement of the cutout panels (This prop uses wood shingle pallet for panels. These pallets are available at your local lumber yard this pallets come in two standard sizes). By using shingle pallets, setup time between trainees is quick and allows for more skill time. The cutout panels (pallets) can be chopped with an axe or cut with a saw, and wood scraps can be used for Class A fire training. In addition, plywood or OSB can be added to the tops of the pallets to create a thicker roof surface and give students more material to cut, as is found on renovated roofs.





The 2 x 4 deck should be assembled using screws (this will help in the event a wood component is cut or damaged) using screws so that the damaged piece can be replaced quickly. After the deck is assembled and the cutout panel frame constructed, attach ¾ plywood sheeting to deck. After the sheeting is attached, turn over the roof section plywood-side so it’s facing the ground. Next, attach 4” x 4” posts, four cut to 3’ length and four cut at 18” length (2”x4” can be screwed together to make 4”x4” posts). Secure with screws the 3’ posts to one 12’ side, one at each corner and two in the middle (see photo 2), then secure the 18” posts to the other 12’ side of the roof section and secure with screws. After these are posted, secure screw 2”x4”x12” to the outside bottom and the 2”x4” to outside bottom of short side of roof section (see photo 3) attach cross-bracing at the corners, then turn the roof section upright. Attaching shingles to ¾ plywood sheeting prop panels will enable the students to experience cutting through shingles and roof sheathing for realistic roof training.


 For additional information, contact, or call 573-944-0330
Albert Henderson is an instructor at Mineral Area College Fire & Rescue Academy in Park Hills, Missouri.

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