Fighting Fires

Why do firefighters cut holes in the roof of a building on fire? 

  • This is called 'venting the roof'.  There are two basic reasons for this practice. First, dangerous superheated gases and dark smoke accumulate in a burning building. Unlike the movie versions of fires, it is impossible for firefighters to see in such an environment or for victims to survive. When a hole is made in the roof, and the building is vented, the smoke and gases escape because heat and smoke rise. It increases the victim's chance for survival and makes it much easier for the firefighters in the building to see. It also reduces the possibilities of backdraft (explosion) and flashover. Another reason for venting the roof is to see how far the fire has progressed. One of the fastest avenues through which fires spread is the attic. Heat and smoke rise into the attic where the fire can move quickly. Firefighters may go ahead of the fire on a roof and cut holes to access the attic to stop the fire from spreading through the attic.

Why do I see firefighters breaking windows when a building is on fire?

  • Dangerous superheated gases need to be ventilated to allow firefighters to safely and quickly rescue trapped occupants and extinguish the fire. By venting the window of a room on fire, it actually helps to contain the fire to the room of origin. Otherwise heated gases spread throughout the inside of a structure. Breaking a window really prevents more damage than it appears to cause.

Why do firefighters cut holes in walls?

  • Holes are cut in the walls to make absolutely sure that the fire is completely out, and that there is no hidden fire inside walls or other concealed spaces. Care is taken to do the least amount of damage necessary to insure everything is safe. This critical activity has been improved immensely through the availability and use of new technology (Thermal Imaging Camera).

Why do fire trucks respond to motor vehicle accidents?

Automobile accidents present other hazards such as potential fire, ruptured fuel tanks, and/or the presence of hazardous materials. If any occupants are trapped they will begin the extrication (removal) process.

  • All of our firefighters are certified as either Paramedic or Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (AEMT's).  They can begin assessing an injured party's condition and provide treatment prior to the arrival of ambulance personnel.

Why do you send a fire truck when I called for an ambulance?

  • Firehouses are strategically located, this allows faster response to an emergency; better use of staffing, and most importantly, expeditious care to patients.  All of our Firefighters are licensed as Paramedics or Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT's) and each Paramedic/Engine company carries a wide array of state-of-the-art Advanced Life Support Equipment for both pediatrics and adults. This program allows the nearest paramedic/engine company to quickly respond (generally less than five minutes) to a medical emergencies, allowing immediate assessment and treatment of patients while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

What should I do after having a major fire at my residence?



Collierville Fire Department:
 1251 Peterson Lake Road, Collierville, TN 38017 | (901) 457-2400 | Emergency: 9-1-1

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