1. #1
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    Post Reading Smoke Conditions

    What are some smoke conditions to be looking for when you pull up to a structure fire?Color,intensity,location? What is the most critical, to tell you what is going on inside the structure?

    [ 01-25-2002: Message edited by: 10-75k ]</p>
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    GREAT question!

    Smoke color is not always a reliable good guide of conditions existing inside a structure but some things you can look for are -

    1. Windows intact and heavily stained black showing some crazing or cracking is a sure sign of an 'under-ventilated' fire.

    2. Smoke pushing from the eaves is a sign of major pressure-build-up inside the structure; again under-ventilated.

    3. Pulsing smoke patterns at openings, shifting back and forth, or smoke flow shifting back into the structure are signs again of under-ventilated conditions.

    4. A heavy volume of smoke issuing from the upper parts of a doorway demonstrate air being sucked in below......again......under-ventilated conditions!

    5. As the smoke begins to 'roll' back into itself at an opening demonstrating 'mushroom' patterns in the plume.........watch out! Smoke explosion or flashover!

    6. Don't let the smoke issuing fool you into believing you have located the fire! It may be several floors below the smoke's point of exit.

    7. Any sudden change of speed or colour as smoke exits a structure could be a warning sign of an impending escalation.

    8. Here's a good one - If there's no fire or exact location on arrival (night) look up at the street lamps - sometimes you can see small wisps of smoke that assures you something is burning somewhere!

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    Look for the smoke volume, velocity, density and color.<br />the smoke volume. Often times indicates the amount of fuels burning. Large volume of smoke indicative of a heavy fire fuel load or the buildup of smoke before your arrival. Small volume of smoke small fire or complete burning. Do not hold this all conclusive. Free burning fire will have less smoke fire gasses may not be visible.<br />Smoke velocity. Usuall indicative of the rate of heat release and spread of the fire. Fast moving smoke may mean a fast moving fire. Slow velocity smoke may mean slow moving fire or the cooling of the fire gasses. Smoke that exits the building fast then slows can mean the building is full of smoke and you have the smoke filled box with little room left for expansion the potential for a flashover or smoke explosion is very great. Intermittant smoke release may indicate the potential for backdraft or outside wind conditions are preventing the smoke release until the smoke pressure overcomes the wind. Boiling smoke is a condition where high velocity, high density smoke fills a ventilation opening and is expanding faster than the structure can release the pressure. More ventilation is required. This is indicative of a structure that may flashover from room to room very rapidly.<br />Smoke density. usually indicated the quality of the burning. High density smoke incomplete combustion of fuels due to low heat or low air. Light or thin smoke may mean complete combustion good ventilation or incipient burning. Moderate smoke that stays consistant usually is a free burning fire with thermal balance (smoke and heat leaving the structure with equal amounts of cool air replacing it). Smoke that rapidly becomes dense indicates an impending fire event. (backdraft smoke explosion or flashover). Density that changes from heavy to light may mean that a flashover just occured or the fire has been adequately ventilated<br />Smoke color. Color may indicate the type of fuel burning. High density high volume smoke will almost always be dark grey with hues of black. Most interiof fires release the ame color of smoke unusual colors may mean a strange substance is burning eg. haz-mat. A uniform white expanding gas is most likely steam from firefighting efforts.<br />Put all this together by looking at the structure, thermal balance, pressure varients, weather, fire streams, ventilation efforts and miscellaneous factors. THIS IS NOT ALL INCLUSIVE. NOTHING IS ABSOLUTE. TRAINING IS THE KEY. e-mail if you wish. I really don't want this to turn into bs thread.

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    10-75k

    (Insider) The most critical is brown smoke puffing from the eves. That means fire is attacking the structural members <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0">
    "The saw won't start, heh, grab the axe and start chopping"

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    10-75K

    The is a really good article on "What Smoke Conditions Tell You" by Bob Pressler. It is in a back issue of a magazine. I am trying to remember the issue that it is in. When I find it I can send it to you if you want it.
    "The saw won't start, heh, grab the axe and start chopping"

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    10-75~
    Some really good posts here. A good general rule I was taught, and one that seems to be fairly consistent is if there's mostly white smoke it's probably still mainly contents (couch, trash, food on the stove, etc.). If it's thick black smoke it's probably involved the structure itself; get ready to get it on. Not fool-proof so use the other info. mentioned above, and common sense.
    try it you'll like it

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    Default smoke

    Here's a quick tip.

    If you have smoke pushing out of the chimeny the fire is in the basement.

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