The most important task for firefighters is to save lives. In the case of fires in multi-story residential buildings, this objective can be best achieved by using the stairways as the preferred route of attack. This method of entering a multi-story dwelling ensures that the most important escape route for the inhabitants is immediately controlled.
One of the most important aims for fire crews is to have a smoke-free and safe stairway. However, choosing the stairways as the preferred route of attack to a fire in a building means opening doors. Firefighting operations sometimes enable smoke to travel through a building, entering stairways, which can lead to inhabitant endangerment.
The problem of smoke spreading in a stairway is unfortunately not sufficiently solved by using a positive pressure fan in front of the building entrance. It’s only when the fan is in an optimal position, with all windows and all other doors to the stairway closed and with an outlet of sufficient size in the fire compartment, that the complete ventilation process might be ensured. But what can firefighters do when this is not the case? What can be done in larger and more complex buildings where positive pressure ventilation is not possible?