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Firefighters practice vertical ventilation
PV Motel demolition site exercises continue Saturday, possibly Sunday

Firefighters with the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority practice vertical ventilation — cutting holes in roofs — at the Prescott Valley Motel Friday, Aug. 23. The motel has gradually been getting demolished in preparation for a super-sized Circle K gas station and C-store. (Max Efrein/Courier)

Firefighters with the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority practice vertical ventilation — cutting holes in roofs — at the Prescott Valley Motel Friday, Aug. 23. The motel has gradually been getting demolished in preparation for a super-sized Circle K gas station and C-store. (Max Efrein/Courier)

With the Prescott Valley Motel gradually being demolished to make way for a new business, firefighters with the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) are taking the opportunity to practice cutting holes in one of the motel’s roofs.

Known as vertical ventilation, cutting holes in roofs is a common strategy firefighters perform during structure fires.

“It’s to get all of the smoke and hot gases out,” CAFMA Battalion Chief Brad Davis said. “If we’re firefighting, it makes conditions inside cooler, easier to see and safer for the crews inside.”

Rarely, however, do fire departments get to practice the operation in a controlled environment.

“It’s not on fire, there’s no stress, so we can go step-by-step systematically through our process,” Davis said.

Similar to what the Prescott Valley Police Department had to do in order to have its SWAT team practice breaching doors on the site in early July, CAFMA had to get approval from the property owner to use the structure for vertical ventilation practice.

Firefighters began taking turns practicing the technique at the site around 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, and stayed until about 6 p.m. Their plan is to continue practicing all day Saturday and possibly part of Sunday, Davis said.

The building they’re practicing on is scheduled to be fully demolished on Monday.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at mefrein@prescottaz.com or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105.

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