By Mark van der Feyst
Using the tactic of vent-enter-search to locate and rescue an occupant will save time and possibly the victim's life. This proven tactic has been used for many years by many different sized fire departments with great success. Practice and training are the keys to perfecting it.
Most firefighters have been taught to locate and shut the interior door once entry has been made. This is to isolate the room from the fire to keep it from spreading to quickly towards firefighters. It essentially buys some more time. In newer homes, the bedroom door will swing shut on a set of hinges. But what about older homes or homes that have been renovated and a pocket door has been used?
This style of door will confuse the firefighter into thinking that perhaps it is just a passageway into a larger room. If no door can be felt, check the doorframe on both sides to see if there is a sliding pocket door tucked away. If there is, slide it out and isolate the room. Some older homes will also have transoms located above the doorway. This provides air movement within the home. With the bedroom door shut, the fire will still travel quickly towards the newly created window opening because the transom is still open.
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