Firefighters 'flashover' training put to use
BY J.J. HYSELL
KEY WEST -- The moments between the start of a fire and raging 1,200-degree temperatures caused by a full-blown blaze are critical in the lives of firefighters.
Those moments, during "flashover", are when combustible materials and flammable gasses ignite, causing a whole room to become engulfed in flames. The next stage of the fire can force temperatures up to 1,200 to 1,800 degrees.
Six Key West firefighters learned new methods for attacking flashovers during a recent training session at Coral Springs Fire Academy.
As soon as they returned, they had to summon up their training to battle a blaze that destroyed an apartment on Harris Avenue, which reached full flashover.
"The training was put into effect right away," said Key West firefighter Chris Saunders.
A couple was left homeless by the Sept. 6 fire and escaped without injury. One firefighter received second-degree burns on his right hand while fighting the fire, which is still under investigation.
Post-Sept. 11 security concerns have led to an increase in training for firefighters across the nation, including those in Key West, said Chief Fire Marshal David Fraga.
"Our department is more deeply involved in training than any other time in its history," Fraga said. "We're constantly upgrading our equipment, and when we upgrade our equipment, we need to educate and train on how to use that equipment properly."
The Coral Springs training session was just one of three offered in the state of Florida.
Firefighters were challenged during an exercise in which they climbed into a 10-foot by 50-foot metal storage container. A pile of hay and plywood was set ablaze, and for 15 to 20 minutes the firefighters worked to combat the growing fire as temperatures reached scalding levels.
Saunders said the temperature on the floor reached 200 degrees and in the room it hovered at 1,600 degrees.
"It kept getting hotter and hotter," he said.
Saunders said the training was beneficial.
"They told us how to identify all the characteristics of flashover and how to attack it," Saunders said. "We learned how to make an approach to flashover and the different layers involved."
Trainers at Coral Springs instructed the firefighters about the old way of battling flashover versus the new and improved method. In the past, firefighters would go at flashover full-force; now, studies have pointed to short spurts of water from a nozzle as a safer and more effective way to try to contain the fire.
Fraga and Saunders said they hope to take another group of firefighters to flashover training when another session is available.
"The guys did very well," Fraga said. "They all came back with positive attitudes. They're all happy they had the chance to go."
Firefighters who participated in the training were: Saunders, Robert Devitt, Joey Hughes, John Sellers, David Zarate and Keith Sellers.
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09-16-2003, 08:52 PM #1
Florida Keys--Firefighters do flashover training09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
09-16-2003, 09:10 PM #2
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- Phoenix Arizona
You should check out these forFlorida
Last edited by jimibinaz; 09-18-2003 at 09:22 PM.
10-23-2013, 02:17 AM #3
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Thanks a lot for shearing,
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