Just curious, how do you see your helmet faceshield while battling a good attic fire?
Just curious, how do you see your helmet faceshield while battling a good attic fire?
My department issues hoods and we are all expected to wear them. As a new FF (about 3 years) I was taught to wear a hood so of course thatís what Iím comfortable doing.
While at the state fire school for a refresher, I asked ďhow do you know when itís too hotĒ (I was taking a 2 day structural FF course). This seems like an obvious question but I have only seen a few structure fires and those werenít serious enough to be worried about over extending myself. There answer was that you would feel it through your bunker gear.
That seems to be about right. The second day of the class we drilled in a 3 story, concrete fire tower that the instructors heated up pretty good. My team was assigned truck company duties and my job was to do the primary search on the 3rd floor (or attic). Man was it hot, it felt like I had ants inside my coat (everything else was OK). I was just about to tell my partner that I had to back out when we found the victim (a dummy) and pulled him out.
So now I donít know what to believe. The few working fires I have been in havenít bothered me (at least because of heat, I have been scared silly because I got dumb and got lost). But I have had 2 drills now where I could feel the heat right through my gear, the one mentioned above and another where I got a mild burn on my leg (through the bunker pants) from contact with an iron stairway (I was pulling a dummy down the stairs, again! Well, OK, I am on a truck company so I guess I deserve it). Iím sure itís just my inexperience but to this point, in my experience, my gear tells me when itís time to leave.
This has been a great thread and Iím learning a lot as well as absorbing some of the crust.
WHF, you are a godsend for training officers. Someone who is looking for education, and not just training in how it's "always been done."
While I'll never claim to be an expert, (which BTW is someone with a briefcase, and at least 50 miles from their home), I can give you some tips.
1) You can't get enough live fire training, ever. Acquired structures, Flashover Trailers, concrete training facilities, flammable liquid props, garbage dumpsters, heck, even ARFF props. They all give you a different sense of what to look, and look out for. If you only have a concrete tower available, discuss with the Drillmaster using different amounts of Class A materials in each burn, or change tactics such as limiting ventilation before, during, and after the attack.
2) Practice hard on ventilation techniques (you're a truckie, so you know what I mean). If you think the area is too hot, IT IS. Re-think your tactics at that point. Did you vent before going in, or is the fan still sitting in the back compartment? Remember to cooridinate the ventilation with your attack.
3) Watch and learn about flashovers. If you don't have a prop available to see it first hand, get ahold of the video "Flashover" by Vincent Dunn. It is well done, and gives you a basic idea of what to look for in a flashover. I would strongly urge everyone to seek out their closest flashover prop (Class A or LPG)and train with it
4) Finally, wear all your PPE. The ears became the designated "Temp. gauge" not because they were the best at it, but only because hoods came late in the game from a technology standpoint. (Good thing gloves were invented first, eh.) :eek: :eek:
"Just curious, how do you see your helmet faceshield while battling a good attic fire?"
Thank you DFD FF. Again, when people tell me they can see anything in a good smokey fire, that tells me they have never been in a good smokey fire. People, you will not be able to see your shield melt, and if you do, it's too late!!
When you start feeling the heat in your gear you are setting yourself up for a burn. Your defeating the gear. It's amazing we have not suffered more deaths.
When you begin to truly feel the heat through you turnout gear, you are already getting at least a slight burn. Maybe it's only a first degree "sunburn" but try taking a shower after feeling that heat and see what the hot water feels like against your skin.
At the moment when you begin to feel the heat, the thermal protection afforded you by your gear is already penetrated, and if you are sweating or have wet gear, you are about to be steamed alive. You do not have enough time at this point to avoid a burn by getting out of the room, and if you use a hose to cool off the room, chances are you will end up upsetting the thermal layer enough to send steam and heat right down on top of you.
Does anyone know of a low cost, high-temp warning device? I know they make PASS devices with this built in, but we use Scott's with integrated PASS's. Maybe something you could just clip on your coat that would sound an audible alarm if the ambient temp reached a critical level. We have a Scott Eagle II with thermal readout on it...so that helps a little. It automatically paints the high heat areas red. But it would be nice if there were a small,low cost device that all our firefighters could wear on their coats that would warn them that they were in danger of flashover. If something like this has already been mentioned somewhere, I apologize.
Do you really want to count on a machine or technological device to provide for your total safety when your life is at stake? I believe that you should have a device as a backup or secondary warning device, but realistic training and true fire experiance can never be subverted or replaced by technology.
We rely on technological devices on every fire we fight. Even a bucket is a technological device. I agree that training is important, and that you train with the equipment that you will be using during a real structure fire. However, as this thread has stated several times, the turn-out gear we use, including hoods of all types, have progressed a great deal in the last few years. I personally think that hoods should be worn during all structural firefighting, as well as flaps and collars. But, even experienced firefighters lose track of what is going on during fire attack and get killed by flashovers. Just look at the LODDs. They aren't ALL rookies. I would really like to have a small, low cost device that would transmit an audible warning when temperatures approach the danger level. Today's modern devices are very reliable and go through extensive testing before reaching the market. After that, the opinions of firefighters who have actually used the devices go a long way towards improving them even further. Should we rely simply on devices for protection? Of course not. But think of the devices we have now that have saved many lives, such as PASS, radios, and thermal imagers. A personal temperature warning device seems a logical addition to any trained firefighter's gear.
A majority of new In-Line PASS devices include both a high heat sensor as well as a rate of rise and total heat exposure warning.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with technology, but in order to properly use the technology you must have a strong knowledge and experiance base in order to apply the tools at your disposal correctly.
OK, so Iím dancing in my gear because itís too hot. This has only happened a few times and that was during training, in concrete burn buildings where the heat and smoke was generated by a controlled, supervised fire. Lots of safety officers and backup (weíre nothing if not by the book, and of course the state fire school is pure NFPA) so I felt pretty safe pushing it a bit (or is that just another sign of my inexperience?).
Firegod911 (thanks but usually I start to wear on training officers because I ask too many questions), bfd1071 and HalliganHook25, are you saying that by the time you feel the heat through your gear the situation is changing too rapidly to cope with? Is it now too late to bail like I did in the burn buildings?
See thatís the problem I have getting an answer I can work with. If feeling the heat through your gear is too late, then I can see why some FFs prefer not to wear a hood (in an attempt to keep the thread on track, sorry Jedimike007). They get an early jump on rapidly changing conditions.
Does the fact that Iím basically a truckie change the equation? Of course that may be why I have not felt the heat in a real fire because Iím either on the roof or searching rooms away from the seat of the fire.
Thanks for the great feedback!
In my opinion, if you are feeling the heat through your gear enough that you are thinking of bailing out, then most definately YES the situation is developing too rapidly to cope with. You might survive an encounter like this, but you will most likely be burned over many areas of your body, not even counting the injuries possible sustained while bailing out.
I have read this thread twice now. I'm still trying to find out how you can tell when it's too hot without a temperature gauge or alarm.
I'm not staying until my helmet's shield melts as it's made from the same plastic as my SCBA face piece. Most working house fires I've been in you're lucky to see your hand in front of your face. I believe it's too late when it's soaked through the gear because I have seen blisters using that method.
I'm not trying to be a smart *****. I really want to hear a some good ways to know.
Until then, level of pain = motivation to exit.
If your face shield is melting, you better start putting some water on the fire or find another place to be.