Benefits of effective ventilation

Interview with Torsten Bodensiek from on the benefits of effective ventilation

The path from ventilation during an operation, through tactical measures to improve safety, to the overall success of a mission, is Torsten Bodensiek's raison d'être. He is a passionate advocate of tactical ventilation, sharing his experience in seminars and lectures and advising fire departments that use fans like the Rosenbauer FANERGY as initial response equipment.

Mr. Bodensiek, you have been involved in the field of tactical ventilation for many years. How did your involvement start?

Torsten Bodensiek:
In 2008, I purchased a large mobile fan as an "independent ventilation unit" for the plant fire department at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover. Extensive tests and measurements showed that small fans have little effect extracting smoke from large buildings like those present throughout the plant. In contrast, the performance parameters of the large fan made it possible to control or remove smoke and gases more effectively and quickly. Since then I have devoted all of my attention to this topic.

What are the benefits of active ventilation? Where do you see the decisive advantages?

Torsten Bodensiek:
First and foremost, it improves safety! We can better protect firefighters during indoor operations, because they can direct the airflow generated by the fan inside the building. Visibility is restored, fire crews are no longer solely dependent on the sense of touch for orientation, and the speed of carrying out rescue missions is greatly improved. For individuals who need to be rescued, a supply of air is more important than extinguishing aids, too, so the fan should always be considered as initial response equipment. Of course, this should always be in conjunction with a suitable extinguishing measure. Water for flames, air for smoke.

To put it briefly, keeping attack and escape routes clear, improved chances of survival for those in need of rescue, faster rescue operations, more efficient firefighting, and targeted extinguishing; these are the key benefits of tactical ventilation.

Do you only recommend this for plant fire departments?

Torsten Bodensiek:
Every fire department that has places like clinics, nursing homes, schools, underground car parks, trade fair halls and similar in its area of responsibility should have the appropriate technical capabilities to efficiently extract smoke from them. With a well-equipped and independent ventilation unit, it is possible to initiate a smoke extraction process or to prepare for it while working independently as part of a mission.

You also act as a consultant in the development of fans such as the Rosenbauer FANERGY. What are the key things that you stress to manufacturers?

Torsten Bodensiek:
Technical devices should be developed from the perspective of the operator and adapted to their needs. The equipment must not only work well in tests, but also in the dark, in the cold and in stressful conditions, and be simple and efficient to use. Both positive and negative experiences from the field should be incorporated into the development process.

In a nutshell, what is the key message that you try to convey to fire departments through your seminars?

Torsten Bodensiek:
A ventilator is only as good as the hand that operates it!!!


Further reading: Gerhards, Bodensiek: Quickcheck Taktische Ventilation, 2nd Edition, 2016, Ecomed Verlag.

In the summer, the "big brother" of Quickcheck, an easy-to-understand guide for fire departments, in which Torsten Bodensiek has also summarized his extensive expertise and many years of experience in relation to tactical ventilation, will be published by the same publisher.