Drill of the Week: Roof Operations

Any one of us can find ourselves on a structure’s roof regardless of whether we arrived at the scene on an engine, truck, or rescue unit. Knowledge of the various types of roofs combined with practical training on some of them will only reinforce our comfort level when operating on them. The objective of this week’s drill is to review safe operating procedures on roofs. Specifically, the drill covers procedures for getting on and off roofs, for moving around on sloped roofs, for evaluating the stability of a roof structure, and for fine-tuning emergency procedures in case you become trapped on a roof. You’ll need an afternoon to choose buildings on which to raise ladders and get owner permission. Then, if you have the video, Peaked Roof Collapse, an extra 15 minutes. If not, then you’ll need another two hours for preparation.

In his Volunteer Training Drills – A Year Of Weekly Drills Howard A. Chatterton suggests the following materials for the drill:

  • VCR/TV
  • Peaked Roof Collapse
  • Copies of a pretest found in Volunteer Training Drills – A Year Of Weekly Drills
  • Pencils

Chatterton’s quiz consists of 14 questions covering various aspects of peaked roofs operations including safety, collapse safeguards, the length of roof ladders, etc. Review your own SOPs and equipment to design your own quiz if you don’t have a copy of Chatterton’s book.

Make copies of the quiz and bring pencils for more than the number of members expected at the drill. Take the quiz yourself so you know the answers to it. If you have the video, set up a VCR; if not, use a prepared lecture. Chatterton includes one with the outline for this drill. Consult Chatterton’s list of references for help creating your presentation.

Running the Drill
Give each member the quiz and allow 10 minutes to complete it. Allow members to correct their own quizzes as they find the answers in the video or the lecture. After the video or lecture, go over the quiz answers and open a discussion covering problem roofs, particularly those with firefighter safety hazards such as high parapets, open shafts, bowstring trusses, and slate surfaces. Discuss how to overcome these hazards and identify structures with such hazards in your calling area.

Consider taking the apparatus out after the classroom session if weather permits. Help firefighters develop proficiency by having them ascend to various types of roofs while carrying tools. If you aren’t using a training tower, make sure you have the building owner’s permission and let them know when you plan to arrive and what you plan to do.

At the drill’s conclusion, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what should be done differently next time.

If you have a similar drill idea and wish to share it, please e-mail: chrism@pennwell.com.

To review training officer and safety officer considerations, visit http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=HOME&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID=202453 to review training officer and safety officer considerations.

For more information on this drill, including a list of references, sample quiz, and sample lecture outline, visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.

Next week’s drill: Ventilation

FireEngineering.com Drill of the Week Archive

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