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Reading Smoke

Every Firefighter should know how to Read Smoke and recognize the warning signs of Hostile Fire Events. Proper Size-Up will not only assist with establishing a good Action Plan, but it can also save the lives of Firefighters. The "Art of Reading Smoke" was originally developed by Dave Dodson and has become very popular among Firefighters of all ranks. This type of training should become a standard part of every FF Rescue/Survival and Rapid Intervention curriculum. Please feel free to check out my other videos on YouTube - My Channel Page is FFDGP.......Train, Be Prepared, Stay Safe, Make the Save - SURVIVE!

Dale G. Pekel



Dave Dodson shows how us how to "read" the smoke that fire fighters encounter on the fire scene. From Fire Engineering.



It isn't often we get his good of a look at a fire. Watch this video and use it as a tool in your firehouse.


Observe the black angry smoke exiting the structure immediately prior to flash over. All fires have a pre-burn time before arrival of fire fighting forces. Upon arrival to this scene ventilate in coordination with an attack crew prior to making entry. Given the amount of heat and smoke exiting the building, what is your conclusion about victim survivability inside the structure? If firefighters in PPE have to crawl and endure immense heat what are the conditions for a victim in street clothes? Is risking firefighter lives to enter the structure prior to ventilation risking a lot to safe a life?

As firefighters apply water to the fire note the change in color of the smoke. When there is a pause in water application see the fire rolling out of the structure as it looks for oxygen.