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  1. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest


    FLASHOVER occures when a room or other area becomes HEATED to the point where flames flash over the entire surface or area.

    The cause of flashover is attributed to the excessive buildup of HEAT from the fire itself.

    ALL THE CONTENTS of the fire area are gradually heated to their ignition temperatures.
    When they reach this point, simultaneous ignition occures and the area becomes fully involved in fire.

    If a fire is in the hot smoldering mode of combustion, only three extinguishment options exist:

    The process of seperating the oxygen from the fuel is also called SMOTHERING.
    smothering can be accomplished by by introducing water into the FIRE AREA.

    Smothering occures when the expansion of steam DISPLACES the oxygen in a confined space.


    A gallon of water will turn to steam and expand:AT
    212 degrees F. 1700 times
    500 degrees F. 2400 times
    1200 degrees F. 4200 times

    The SPEED with which water absorbs heat increases in proportion to the WATER SURFACE exposed to the heat.

    MY POINT is that while it is true that a solid bore nozzle can flow more and penatrate the seat of the fire better, the seat of the fire is not always the most important factor in elimanating the hazards of flashover.

    By using a fog stream you can:
    cool off the room
    smother the fire
    push heat and smoke out of the house with the expansion of water.

    YES, it is true that if you have victims to find it does increase the danger but set your priorities first.

    direct and indirect attacts both have there place in a fire so learn the best way for each situation.


  2. #22
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Steven - please be aware that our techniques are nothing like 'indirect' fog attack although I appreciate the points you make.

    wow - we must have hit the button at the same moment!


  3. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good morning Paul,
    The main problem I see with your forms is that your questions are so deep in thought that most firemen have to tie off with a rope so we won't get lost (:

    Just kidding,
    An indirect attact in my book IFSTA Fire Streams is : an indirect attack involves directing the fire stream to the upper portion of the room rather than directly onto the burning fuel.

    Also to answer an earlier question someone ask is about to much water? Contiuous water aplication will upset the thermal balance, forcing the heat and gases down to the ff working level.

    Here is another big kink in the hose of firefighting,
    DOES IT HELP OR HURT to setup a positive pressure fan as soon as possible at a house fire?
    Here we try to setup a fan as soon as rescue gets on scene. We have not had any adverse effects yet from this practice. It does help cool the area down greatly after the fire is out.

    [This message has been edited by smokeater (edited December 30, 1999).]

  4. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Don't forget-
    One of the warning signs of flashover is water turning to steam a few feet from the nozzle. A good point was brought up that water needs to be applied were it does the most good. If you are bellying in to a fire, and the water is turning into steam a few feet from the nozzle on a fog pattern, you MUST select straight stream just to get the water to where it will do some good.

  5. #25
    Firehouse.com Guest



    you had asked if we had ever used a "Swede Survival" style can. The answer is no. Have we ever thought about it? Yes. We were first introduced to the can when I had watched a Learning Channel show on flashovers. AS we are a small department, cost is a major factor. I had talked with other fire departments in our area about bringing one in for a joint training session, but it was rejected. That was when we resorted to creating our own out of old houses.

    It would be nice to try the flashover simulator. Right now when we do flashover training, the burn is usually confined to one room, and we will sit outside the door or a window to watch it develope. This is nice because our members can look at it and say "holy crap did you see that" from a safe distance. It would be realy nice to hear them say "holy crap was that hot" when they climb out of the can. If possible, Email me some info on the availability of this device in Canada.

    As for a comment on the type of nozzle to use to control flashover conditions, I think you should use what ever you feel will best protect yourself. We have found that the fog pattern shot at the ceiling in short bursts reduces the heat to a point that flashover will not occur. This technique does not seem to generate large amounts of steam that would hamper visibility. Once the heat is lowered, you can focus your attention on the seat of the fire for a short time, and then hit the ceiling again, work on the seat, and then hit the ceiling. Keep on doing this and you will reach the point that the seat will not be generating enough heat to replace what you have eliminated in the ceiling.

    Our experience has only been dealing with flashover conditions confined to one or two rooms, or a small home(800 sq feet or less. Thus I can only comment on how we are able to control and extinguish fires in the pre flashover stage. Lucky for us, the only high rises we have in our area are the grain elevators and my house (two storey)

  6. #26
    Firehouse.com Guest


    When I started as a volunteer I was taught the indireect attack method and it works great in a training fire in an enclosed space. But, in real life fires with possible people trapped it's not an option.

    The IFSTA definition doesn't explain well enough the difference in "attacking the fire indirectly" vs "cooling the atmosphere" so you can advance to the seat of the fire safely. I experienced a very frustrating fire where I used my straight stream to cool the atmosphere so I could advance to the seat and still, the thermal inversion pushed two guys behind me down the stairs due to the heat. I wish I knew about "pulsing the knob" then! I could have cooled the atmosphere without creating excessive steam and then advanced the next 8 FEET to reach the base of the fire behind a couch and dresser! I reached the base after the PPV fan and the venting operations worked. I may have been able to reach the base earlier had I been able to effectively cool the atmosphere WITHOUT creating all the excess steam.

    I can't wait for the next really HOT, really SMOKY, looking to FLASH fire so I can try this technique and see if it can do what Paul says it will.

  7. #27
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Holy cow Scott!....I only 'bellied' into a fire on a couple of occasions in 25 years (snatch rescue only)! and the thought of water turning to steam as it exits the nozzle.....! What kind of fires are you guys advancing into?! My rule of thumb is - always fight a (hot) fire with one knee down on the floor and one walking. Never get forced that low and if it's that hot....cool the room with a few brief 'pulses' of fog on the ceiling BEFORE entering. If you are forced to crawl on your belly let it be to save a life....maybe your own!

    PPV - we are experimenting with it's effects in combination with water-fog 'pulsing' now but their are several different projects ongoing and information is scarce at present.
    I am all for aggressive PPV in small residential properties and have been aware of its advantages for some time. However, I am very aware that your ACCESS POINT is probably the most dangerous opening you will make and any PPV airflow may serve to initiate a fire gas ignition. There is a report on the NIOSH site of a PPV fan being used despite some backdraft indicators (heavy black smoke layering at the ceiling) just prior to a backdraft killing some guys. Its down to training and effective size-up. I approve of PPV in general and consider it will complement the water 'pulsing' techniques.

    Hey Smoke eater....who said it was morning!!
    I'm getting ready to go to bed ;-))) LOL


  8. #28
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Chief of Hythe.......

    I am aware the 'cans' can be expensive! Its a shame really because the whole thing started with a derelict shipping container in a Stockholm fire station yard. The firefighters taught themselves these techniques after losing two of their colleagues in a flashover. It must have been cheap because the guys were funding it themselves. However, as things have progressed the systems have been structured to ensure safe and controlled burns. After funding a unit (we can send you the specs to build your own if you contract our instructor's to train your guys) the major costs come in the form of chipboard panels to line the container before each burn.

    Please NOTE guys - these techniques are like CPR......you need to have been trained and you need to have practised under safe controlled conditions prior to trying it out for real!!


  9. #29
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have to say there are certainly a lot of good points on this forum. I think the biggest thing that we can take from these post is that every situation will dictate.

    I used to be a hardcore solid bore nozzle junkie. Until november of 98 when i was involved in an extremely intense fire in a 2 story frame dwelling.
    I will be the first to admit that we had no buisness making a interior attack on this house, however we had two occupants trapped the first due pd officers had found the wife inside the side door, alive, and were advized that the husband was just behind her. We arrived and immediatly led of 2 1/2 with a tft fog nozzle. entering the side of the house through the kitchen door we encounter zero visibilaty and heavey fire in the rolling the ceiling. As we advanced less than 15' into the room conditions began to turn worse, the fire that i had beat back from the ceiling was now coming back with a vengence. I swept the ceiling with a straight stream and tried in vain to hit the seat of the fire using the streams reach.

    The problem was that there was to much water to fast. A lot of the water was running back at us along the floor and was now boiling. now being burnt by the water and unable to beat back the fire we made a hasty retreat. The front room had flashed, the kitchen was about to, and my straight stream was doing nothing to help. As a last ditch effort I spun the nozzle to a medium fog. The pattern bought us enough time to get the hell out.
    I still believe in solid bore tip on 2 1/2" lines. However had we had one that morning I don't know that we would have made it out. As I said we should not have been inside. Had the women not made it out alive just seconds before we went in we would have never tried for the husband. We later found him just three feet from where we stopped. He had stopped to let his dog out of the dog cage in the kitchen, and was laying on the other side of it.

    Good forum Paul, it has a lot of good information in it, I have to check out your web site. Halligan I still agree with you too, its water that puts out fire, get it where you need it and you will kick the fire's butt, we just couldn't get it where we needed it that morning. Keep it safe.


  10. #30
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Since the topic heading is about flashovers claiming firefighters, the discussion on streams and nozzle types is relevant, but not all encompasing.

    The company officer must be taught to recognize what conditions in which to initiate an interior attack. Not all jobs will require immediate ventilation. Obviously if the fire is self venting conditions may be viewed as favorable.

    The surest way to reduce flashover injuries and deaths is to reinforce the basics of fire chemistry, fire behavior, bldg. construction and the positive effects or proper ventilation as used in a co-ordinated attack.

  11. #31
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks Jason for that graphic account of your structure fire. It demonstrates clearly that it's not how much water you've got that counts, but how and where you are able to apply it. The run-off is typical and supports the view that a straight stream may only be 20 percent effective (or less) at the outset. I'm glad your combination nozzle helped you out of this situation Jason!

    Falls Firefighter - I totally agree with you in that fire attack methods are not 'all encompassing' in reducing LODD related to 'flashover-like' conditions. You go on to suggest that 'the surest way is to reduce flashover injuries and deaths is to reinforce the basics......'.

    How can we do that? and....are the 'basics' enough? Surely that is the line we have been taking for sometime? Maybe we need to educate firefighters to the next level - beyond the basics?


  12. #32
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If a sofa is burning in a field or a lot, it is a basic rubbish run. Place the sofa in a room of a dwelling and the flashover clock starts. It seems that the basics are the bedrock upon which this training should be based.

    The stages of fire taught during basic fire chemistry indicate fire behavior and ceiling temps during each stage.

    Bldg. Construction indicates the effect that the structure has on fire development, and the effect the fire has on the structure.

    Ventilation theory and practices demonstrate the relieving effect that ventilation has upon fire and smoke development.

    Paul you are to be commended and praised for all the work you have done in educating and highlighting this topic.

    It remains however that the subjects mentioned by FallsFirefighter are paramount for reducing this.

    I would also add that Company Level Officers should also be trained on when NOT to commit interior crews.

  13. #33
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I AGREE with everything you say Truck....but my question is....How do we educate the 'basics'? Classroom??? - No waaaaaay! It's a start sure, but we need to move into a 'live' setting where we can -

    1. Watch a fire grow and behave.

    2. Witness the formation and behaviour of fire gas layers.

    3. See the 'warning signs' of flashover.

    4. Witness an ignition of the fire gases.

    5. Witness (from the exterior) a backdraft.

    6. Practise methods & techniques to avoid such ignitions of the gases and ...... a million other things!!!

    In flashover 'simulators' we don't fight the fire! We control the environment....it is the initial action we should all be taking in circumstances where immediate extinction is not an option.

    But you are right Truck....and Falls FFr. - you both hit the nail on the head! But it's HOW we teach the basics that counts.


  14. #34
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Paul, during recruit training, we had the benefit of a training chief who gave us the basic theory outlined in my previous post. He would then secure vacant dwellings. They would be refurnished to represent a living room, a bedroom and a kitchen.

    We would observe each stage of fire from inside, without any ventilation. Then the second and third stage would be observed with ventilation.

    Then the effect of the hoseline with different streams on each stage would be introduced again with and without ventilation. Finally we would have the flashover roll drill with the hoseline.

    We were instructed to recognize what was
    "return on the investment" in commiting members to the interior for operations.After all the interior drills were complete we were made to observe the fire and smoke development and from the exterior as the fire progressed unchecked in the dwelling.
    This also helped to develop initial size up capabilities.

    This training was conducted with charged supply and attack lines in place , ladders at each window and one chief committed to safety.

    If this type of training were to be taught in the U.S. today, the person conducting it would be in danger of losing his job.

    We now train with simulators, SIMULATORS for God's sake. If you want to have a live fire typically you must use hay. Fine if people lived in barns.

    Some of the training reforms have been needed. It still seems that we now train recruits to fear fire, not respect it.

    [This message has been edited by Truck30 (edited January 06, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by Truck30 (edited January 06, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by Truck30 (edited January 06, 2000).]

  15. #35
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    TRUCK 30 -

    I too have had the benefit of training in such a way with live burns in real structures
    and learning fire behavioural patterns as such. In Spain (Valencia) the fire department was given an entire village (flood damaged) of 2000 house to burn to the ground! However, with large numbers of firefighters to train and few properties to burn (not to mention the safety aspects) this approach is not practical.

    SIMULATORS are a truly new innovation and present a realistic and safe option in which to learn the same lessons! These are NOT HAY burns! Look at the heading on my website.....As close to a flashover as you'll ever want to get!!! We have taken these things to the limits and in the early days our helmets would melt on our heads during the training evolutions. However, it became obvious that we didn't need to go this far to demonstrate and learn in the 'simulators'. Believe me - the simulators I am talking of produce REAL 'rollovers'; REAL 'backdrafts' and simulated (nearly real) 'flashovers'!!! (You don't want to train in REAL flashovers right??!!).

    These simulators EFFECTIVELY teach firefighters to observe fire behavioural patterns and their effects; to recognise dangerous conditions; to counter these hazards with specific nozzle techniques; and to instill a greater awareness of fire gas layering and airflows.

    I hope you get the opportunity to enter one of our simulators....and we'll take you as close as you'll EVER want to get!

    Stay safe.........


  16. #36
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Paul I agree that hands on training in the real thing is the best even thought probably the toughest to do.

    For those interested, the Indiana State Fire Instuctors have an annual live fire training called "Dance with the Devil". It is tought by Jim Kron, DC of New Albany, Indiana. He has been teaching and showing first hand how to recognize and control flashover. He's been teaching this class for about 20+ years. I believe the class is around $35-$40.

    Another good source for hands on training if you in the Texas area is Gulf Coast Fire Training. They have a mobile flashover trainer that not only lets you feel the heat, you can truly see the total progress of the fire right to the point of FLASH.

    Captain Reed (inventor of the Cliff Read Hood)out of Houston is one of the Instructors for Gulf Coast Fire Training.

    I've been through both schools and can say it definatly teaches the importance of the basics!

    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technlologies, Inc.

  17. #37
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sounds interesting Kirk....How about some details? What kind of structures/units are these companies using for the training? Are they demonstrating water-fog techniques? What are the principles and concepts of the training programs based on? If this has been happening for 20 years I would presume that the approaches used are far removed from the Swedish concepts? Is there a website to visit concerning their programs?

    Thanks in advance!


  18. #38
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have one of those sweedish flashover trainers.Great tool for learning.it even came with a nozzle from sweeden.Funny looking thing!There was also another technique taught called penciling.it broke up the thermal layer nicely.I think the biggest plus i got out of it was being able to recognise the signs of pre flashover.Then decide to stay and fight or get the out.

    We broke the chain you pull to vent the simulator.So we used a fiberglass pike pole.
    well anyway it looks like a bent noddle.

    For those of you that don"t have one.Its truely amazining the amount of heat that will be produced from a small barrel of wood and a few pieces of partical board.


    [This message has been edited by STATIONTWO (edited January 11, 2000).]

  19. #39
    Firehouse.com Guest


    FLASHOVER occures when a room or other area becomes HEATED to the point where flames flash over the entire surface or area.

    The cause of flashover is attributed to the excessive buildup of HEAT from the fire
    ALL THE CONTENTS of the fire area are gradually heated to their ignition
    temperature.When they reach this point, simultaneous ignition occures and the area becomes fully involved in fire. By Smokeater

    I agree with smokeeaters comments, but I think we have beat around about smooth bore verse fog .. My question is when we have a build up of heat in a building whether its one story or five. What do we normally do to get rid of the heat. Not only for visiblity but also, to release the smoke and heat. VENTILATE either horizontal or verticle, has always been talked about in every class that I have taken or have taught. By Ventilating a structure in the right place you release all the heat and smoke from building up
    ( Its supposed to )and causing this flashover. I have tried this in conjunction with a fog nozzle and it seemed to push the heat and smoke right out the hole that I made for it to go. This is just my theory.

    There has been entirely to many deaths and burned fire fighters from this deadly flash over. It would be nice if Fire Departments would train more on these type of topics instead of Terroist activities. Sure terroist activity is the hot topic, But fire fighters are being killed every day, because of flashovers. We should be concentrating on this and Not with, what we anticapate is going to happen with terroist.

    Another topic is finding your way out when you go into a warehouse or highrise building that is on fire. The lack of training is this topic is killing our brothers and sisters every day as well. But you never see a class or seminar on this topic either. Hopefully your Department is training on these two topics, they are greatly needed. We all are guilty of not refreshing our skills in these fields. Guess what this is where everybody is dying.... Believe it or not....

    Sorry about the band wagon on these topics, but its sick to see all these fire fighters dying..

    [This message has been edited by Truck401 (edited January 12, 2000).]

  20. #40
    Paul Grimwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Are there more firefighters dying now in flashover related incidents than 10 years ago? I noted some US stat's from 1980-1989 where 44 firefighters were killed under such circumstances (Gene Carlson - Oaklahoma State University). The current stat's have reached 50% of that estimate in only 20% of the time!

    StationTwo - I am glad you had the chance to work in a Swedish style simulator and recognised the obvious advantages associated with fire behaviour training....I agree...the Swedish nozzle (The 'Fogfighter')is a funny looking thing! I find it difficult to work with that nozzle but those that have used it for a long time seem to like it. BTW - 'pencilling' with a 30 degree fog cone will cool the linings of the compartment - this technique, if applied correctly (you have to practise it) will NOT upset the thermal layers.

    Truck 401 - welcome!

    I agree wholeheartedly with your opinions on training....we need to recognise and not take for granted that firefighters possess knowledge and an awareness of the way a fire grows and behaves - and this goes way beyond classroom sessions and 'hay' burns!

    The term 'flashover' means different things to different people! You are correct in your scientific definition. However, how often do you see reports of firefighters killed or injured in BACKDRAFTS? Not very often in comparison right....and yet, what event is most common? Or, perhaps it is difficult to diffrentiate between flashover/backdraft at an incident? For example....a room (25% involvement) is vented by popping a window out and almost simultaneously....whoooooosh!( yes - venting may sometimes CAUSE the problem) Was that a flashover or a backdraft? Or how about this....a build up of combustion products (fire gases) forms under a high ceiling and suddenly ignites....what event was that....flashover? Backdraft?


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