The U cut - Pro Active Truck / RIT Ops On Board Ups
Much has been discussed on our job as it relates to pro active operations or softening the building. While this usually focuses on tasks such as throwing ladders, removing window bars, forcing open doors or opening boarded up windows on vacant / abandoned buildings (Yes, we believe they're occupied until our search proves otherwise), often overlooked is the discipline of coordinated ventilation or the prevention of over-ventilating the building unless fire attack crews and search crews are ready for it all while still softening the building!
Examples: Ensuring not to take glass while performing window bar removal unless it's desired, forcing a rear door and leaving it wide open if it's not desired.
But what do we do if the building is boarded up? Do we fully remove and open up any and all boarded up windows or do we still apply the same fireground discipline that's expected if it were not boarded up?
While mindset on this varies as greatly as the types of board up configurations we may face here's an option for pro actively softening the building while maintaining coordinated and communicated tactical ventilation that can be applied on board ups that feature plywood coverings!
We simply call it the U cut as you simply cut a U shape (3 sided cut in any orientation) on the covering. If possible the traditional U shape orientation is preferred as you do not have to reach up and make a horizontal cut at the top of the window. In addition to the U cut a small knock out cut placed in one of the bottom corners will allow for quick tool placement to pull out and open when and if desired!
This cut keeps us from over ventilating the building if ventilation is not desired while allowing members in distress to move to a window and rapidly egress if needed.
Obviously prior training, understanding and communication of this tactic by all members is critical, so get out and have these conversations and train on these scenarios.