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  1. #1
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    Default Water curtain/waterwall

    Anyone have research links for water curtain/water wall use for exposure protection? My understanding is that thinking is water curtains do not work for protecting exposures from radiant heat.

    I have no experience with these but a local mutual aid partner is planning a training burn of a junk house and wants us to operate a waterwall (after they buy one) to protect the house next door (20').

    I find such equipment in Elkhart and Pok catalogs in 1-1/2" or 2-1/2".

    Links or experince (I tried seach no luck with is surprising)?


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I don't have experience to share since we're rural and there is no adjacent exposure issues. However I think you're right about it not doing jack for radiant heat. Water should be applied to the surface for cooling.
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    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    neiowa, here is my experience with water curtains as we used them many times during live burn training for exposure protection;

    -The water curtain needs to be directly spraying on the exposure. Placing it in between the burning structure and exposure does no good. The radiant head waves go through it like a window pane.
    -It must be of sufficient size and capacity to continuously wet the entire face of the exposure facing the burning building. now this includes the roof if the flames are above the structure.
    -the best one i have seen have been all homemade....go figure! LOL
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    I think you're right about it not doing jack for radiant heat. Water should be applied to the surface for cooling.
    I worked a training burn about 5 years ago and we tried a curtain...BIG MISTAKE! It took a direct exposure line to keep the garage from melting to the ground some twenty feet from the house.

    Well, they burned the barn twenty feet to the other side of the house after I left and melted the other side of the structure. Again, the curtain did not do a bit of good. It took a direct exposure line again to cool the structure.
    A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

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    We have them on a couple engines. Like SP said, they are mostly useless unless you spray the exposure directly. Even at that point, it isn't as great as it sounds. We'll seldom use them unless we're trying to keep some siding from melting. If you're limited on manpower and can secure it once it's placed, I guess it's better than nothing if you don't have to worry about your psi or water supply.

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    water curtains will do nothing. water needs to be applied to the exposure to keep it cool.

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    Forum Member FiremanLyman's Avatar
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    Water is opaque, meaning light energy travels through it. Therefore radiant heat, the most common cause of fire exposure heat transfer, will travel through the water curtain. Save your water- putting out the fire is the best method of exposure protection or protect exposures by cooling the surface of the exposure.
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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Water is opaque, meaning light energy travels through it. Therefore radiant heat, the most common cause of fire exposure heat transfer, will travel through the water curtain. Save your water- putting out the fire is the best method of exposure protection or protect exposures by cooling the surface of the exposure.
    Um, water is absolutely NOT opaque it is translucent. And that is exactly why radiated heat passes right through it. If it were opaque radiated heat would not pass through it and heat would be blocked and the surface temp of the water would rapidly rise and be a heat sink.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    ... Save your water- putting out the fire is the best method of exposure protection or protect exposures by cooling the surface of the exposure.
    Actually, as stated, in this instance the intent is to burn (controlled burn) the house/structure without damaging the adjoining home/exposure.

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    This past spring we conducted a live burn with a close exposure (milk house / spring house) 15 feet from the old farm house we were burning. Direct application of fog to the exposure. Didn't even blister the paint on the milkhouse. Only problems were the old brick chimneys that did not want to fall properly. Finally had to put the 1 1/8" solid stream in an off & on application to get them rocking, then catch and hold the stream on the top to push it into the foundation.

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    Forum Member FiremanLyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Um, water is absolutely NOT opaque it is translucent. And that is exactly why radiated heat passes right through it. If it were opaque radiated heat would not pass through it and heat would be blocked and the surface temp of the water would rapidly rise and be a heat sink.
    You sir are correct, and really that is what I meant. Opaque? No idea why I came up with the antonym of the word I wanted. Brain in hibernate mode I suppose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    You sir are correct, and really that is what I meant. Opaque? No idea why I came up with the antonym of the word I wanted. Brain in hibernate mode I suppose.
    Naw... it has been hot and your brain juice is just a bit dried out. happens to the best of us.


    Direct water to the exposure.


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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Save your water- putting out the fire is the best method of exposure protection or protect exposures by cooling the surface of the exposure.
    but we should remember that often the act of putting the fire out will push fire out the window creating or exacerbating exposure problems. Even with solid streams, the steam and smoke created will put force behind the fire and briefly worsen exposure problems.

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    Forum Member FiremanLyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    but we should remember that often the act of putting the fire out will push fire out the window creating or exacerbating exposure problems. Even with solid streams, the steam and smoke created will put force behind the fire and briefly worsen exposure problems.
    That's why the knuckle dragging truckies cut holes in roofs. (Well that, and so they can look inside and watch real heroes)

    Never heard of this problem... but still a water curtain would do little.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    That's why the knuckle dragging truckies cut holes in roofs. (Well that, and so they can look inside and watch real heroes)
    It probably does, but if you don't have buildings built on top of each other you probably wouldn't notice.

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    neiowa: here is a great opportunity for your new CAFS rig. Dry the foam down and put a thick coat on the exposure. re-apply when the heat starts to break it down. When your done just wash off the remaining foam. We have done this with an exposure onlt 25 feet away and had zero damage to the exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Anyone have research links for water curtain/water wall use for exposure protection? My understanding is that thinking is water curtains do not work for protecting exposures from radiant heat.

    I have no experience with these but a local mutual aid partner is planning a training burn of a junk house and wants us to operate a waterwall (after they buy one) to protect the house next door (20').

    I find such equipment in Elkhart and Pok catalogs in 1-1/2" or 2-1/2".

    Links or experince (I tried seach no luck with is surprising)?
    You can make one pretty handy with a coupling and a piece of angle iron. But save your money,they don't work for Schit the radiant heat will pass right thru. Keeping exposures wet or foam covered is your best bet. T.C.

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    +1 for directly on the exposure.
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    Our is home made (1-1/2" copper pipe with holes drilled in it) we modifed it a while back so the base is adjustable allowing it to tilt to one side or the other (we used to put a brick under one side) this will allow it to spray on the exposure wall . To my knowledge it has only used in on training burns , but ir works well.

  20. #20
    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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    Search feature-1, new post-zip.

    Our water curtain was brought up at one of our recent trainings and I expressed my opinion that I didn't think it was worth the effort. So I'm looking for some info and found this thread.

    Maybe I'm not following, but can't the water curtain be used to apply water directly to the exposure? Isn't that how they are supposed to be setup, or are those that say they don't work using them in a different method?

    Just looking for some info. Thanks in advance.
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