Thread: Flash Over

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    Default Flash Over

    We are having a talk at our firehouse with our capt's son who is in a firefighter 1&2 class. His teacher told him that in a Flashover you should open a full fog and spray it around you, that you can take the steam burns, if the fog will cool you. We told him that in a flashover just get out, or spray a stright stream up to the ceiling to help cool, or cover up and pray.

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    Hopefully, you will learn to recognize the precursors to a flashover and apply appropriate tactics to prevent it. If you are caught in an actual flashover (not a rollover, which some people will call a flashover), open up with all you've got and get the hell out!

    Oh, and the prayers will certainly be needed!
    Last edited by fireman4949; 01-22-2008 at 06:44 PM.
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    You would use the fog to try to keep the room cool and help prevent the flashover. But if a flashover does occur, you better be quick to get out!!

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    How often does a flash over even occur with a hose line in place? Think it's very rare isn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by giweff View Post
    His teacher told him that in a Flashover you should open a full fog and spray it around you, that you can take the steam burns, if the fog will cool you.
    You can stand a lot more dry heat than steam. Of course neither will feel different in a flashover. Chances are that once it occurs with you present you need to bail, NOW!!! No time to open the knob. Talk to guys who have been in a room when it flashed, the firestream after the flash will not work.

    Preventing flashover is the key.

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    See if this helps: To my knowledge there have been NO survivors involved in a true flashover.Duck and cover,or spraying a little water over you head DURING a flashover will probably NOT save you.Learning what they are,what caused them,how to recognize and prevent the conditions that cause them WILL. Rollovers CAN be precursors to a flashover but in itself do not mean the room will flash.Reading conditions,TIC's,proper vents, and proper hose work are your best prevention.Learn all you can the life you save could be yours. T.C.

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    In flashover training it is taught to shoot short quick bursts of water straight up above you to cool the ceiling area. This is just to give you perhaps the "milli seconds" you would need to escape a potential flashover. This is of course you can read the signs of it possibly happening.
    And one reason the signs can be missed is our equipment and gear is better. Meaning, its getting us in hotter and deeper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resq1scnd2none View Post
    In flashover training it is taught to shoot short quick bursts of water straight up above you to cool the ceiling area. This is just to give you perhaps the "milli seconds" you would need to escape a potential flashover. This is of course you can read the signs of it possibly happening.
    And one reason the signs can be missed is our equipment and gear is better. Meaning, its getting us in hotter and deeper.
    This technique is to prevent a flashover not to escape once it's started. People have lived but few are unscathed: Mike Lombardo gives a great presentation on his incident and why typical indicators are not always present, also a Capt. from New haven CT does a good job of telling his story which was also shown on the Weather channel of all places due to the weather conditions of that day. Also way back there was an article in either FH or FE with pics of a guy in NJ(?) that ran and dove out a second story window and luckily landed on a porch roof, I don't beleive he cared if there was a roof there or not, but the pics of his destroyed gear are eye openers.

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    in the words of Bull , "lets hit this bi*ch head on get steam on it and it wont flash go high in teh ceiling"

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    There is some argument that even water from a straight stream doesn't make it to where the REAL hot stuff is at the ceiling. While I'm always been a "fog-head" on account of the available inventory of nozzles at both departments, this conversation is exactly the argument that has pushed many departments back over to solid bore nozzles for their interior assignments. We've recently been introduced to the Saberjet dual action nozzle (a subject for another thread) and have been really impressed with its versitility. Yes, it's heavy... yes it's big... 'nuff said.

    During my famil with both the Saberjet and a CAF system used by Calgary Fire Department, I was shown a video where they tested both a straight stream and the pencil technique with a fog nozzle (actually the fog nozzle of a mid range DSO Saberjet, then used CAFS (with the SB side of Saberjet) in their flash chamber and took a video of the event. Now, I'm sure I don't need to expand on what worked best- but the straight stream did very little but create "firefighter soup" as the instructor liked to call it... the flashover conditions returned in seconds. The pencil technique barely did anything whatsoever- and then one quick 2 second sweep with CAFS put it out completely with no roll back. Impressive- I only mention the CAFS because it was in the video- not trying to compare apples to pumpkins.

    During this conversation, we talked a bit more about the solid bore nozzles and how it was the only nozzle that provided a solid stream that had enough water volume to penetrate the thermal layers right up to the top where the heat needs to be disappated to truly interrupt (or back up) the fire clock. The heat disappation doesn't really happen until the stream hits the ceiling and breaks apart into larger, more coarse droplets that can actually absorb heat without so readilly converting to steam.

    Going in to full fog and spraying it all around you is going to lobster boil you, not turn back the clock at all, and merely waste time you should be taking getting the flock out of there. Not only is the water going to convert to steam right on your doorstep, but the air current you're going to generate with the fog pattern (the same one we use to do hydraulic ventillation) is going to pull superheated gases from thermal layers above you and disrupt an otherwise peaceful death.

    I know this isn't a discussion about SB versus Fog- but it's a bit disturbing that they're actually teaching this tactic (full fog) on course.

    My thoughts, anyways...
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post
    The heat disappation doesn't really happen until the stream hits the ceiling and breaks apart into larger, more coarse droplets that can actually absorb heat without so readilly converting to steam.
    Other than the above statement I couldn't agree more. I'd note that a solid stream nozzle flowing the proper GPM has a better chance at resisting conversion to steam, and hitting the seat of the fire than any other nozzle pattern/type. Herein lies the issue: are we switching to solid streams and using fog tactics? Swirling and bouncing off the ceiling primarily? Or trying to reach the seat of the fire with more force and more directly. Of course there are times that cooling the overhead is required to prevent flashover.

    The CAFS/flashover results are interesting, but I'm still of the mind that once the flashover occurs, bailing out is the only option.

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    Sounds like we're saying the same thing, I just didn't say it quite as well as you did.

    Once the flashover is happening, doing anything- SB or fog (or CAFS for that matter)- to try and protect yourself is like slamming the gate after the horse runs out. TOO LATE.

    I was trying to point out that in the hotter pre-flashover environments (that we arguably shouldn't be in anyways but often are), a pencil / dart tactic used with a solid bore (short, abrupt bursts into the ceiling- or perhaps longer, steady bursts) can buy you the time you need to get out- not necessarily protect you once the flashover occurs. Same goes with CAFS. CAFS didn't prove itself through mitigating an active flashover, but more interrupted its development to such a degree that it was no longer an immediate threat.

    And- as you said, one of the primary advantages is that you put more water on the seat of the fire faster and from farther away and with more penetrating force (if that's what you need). I think the SB is a natural selection for this type of assignment for both reasons. I was also told that fog was never really intended for interior fires... even way back in the day.

    CAFS increases the advantage of SB because it makes 65mm -2.5"- a lot easier to use when it's needed (most interior applications involving more than 1 small room.) This is because your relative mixes air-water-foam, the line itself is much (MUCH) lighter making it easier for a 2 man crew to manoeuver. It is slightly disadvantaged by kinking more easily... but the pros FAR outweight the cons IMO.

    I think we're saying the same thing... but one thing I know for certain is that we agree that this fog use for protection in the bowels of a flash may need to be reconsidered.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    As an instructor for flash over training, I can state the following:

    1.) In your more suburban type area's, flashover is occuring on a more frequent basis. This is due primarily to better, more energy efficient home construction. More man made materials in the home. Faster notification to the Fire Departments. All this adds up to flash over occuring at around 800 - 1000 degrees. In Europe, were most items in a home are still made of natural materials, Flashover is occuring around 1800 degrees. Something to think about.
    2.) Limitied man power. Most suburban type departments are running with 3 - 4 FF's on a company. And only 2 -3 companies staffed per day. This limits are resources untill mutual aid and auto aid can get there.
    3.) Ventilation / Reading your smoke conditions is key. When there is thick, turbulent, black oily, velvet looking smoke pouring out.......STOP. Ventilate or let it light up. The survivabilty of any victim at this point is already gone. Dont risk you or your companies life on nothing.
    4.) As previously stated, our gear is not helping in this matter. Being fully encapsulated only hinders our ability to fully use our senses to know how far and how deep we are getting.
    5.) If you do get caught in a flash over or pre flash over situation, here are a few tips. Short bursts of water (Straight Stream) to the walls and ceiling. Only for about 10 seconds. This will cool the walls and ceiling allowing them to take on a little more heat. After this, swith to a fog and do the same quick burst as the staright stream. Make sure that they are quick. Any prolonged shots will disrupt the thermal balance, and this is BAD.
    6.) Once flash over starts, you only have about 4 - 7 seconds to get out of the room or structure. In our terms, A fully geared fire fighter has to be withing 5 - 7 feet to have a chance at making it out.

    I hope this helps. At the bottom I have listed my E-Mail address. We have developed a great Flash Over Presentation. For the sake of helping out brothers and sisters, send me an E-Mail and I will send you the Power point Back.

    Keep low, Stay Safe, and FTM PTB

    Wolf@IAFFLOCAL4338.com

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    Question

    Okay-

    Why does this fog thing keep coming back out? And I'm not being a jerk- literally, I'd like to understand how fog will help mitigate the environment. Can you explain that one for me?


    Again- not meaning to sound indignant... I just don't get how that would help.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post
    Okay-

    Why does this fog thing keep coming back out? And I'm not being a jerk- literally, I'd like to understand how fog will help mitigate the environment. Can you explain that one for me?


    Again- not meaning to sound indignant... I just don't get how that would help.
    The Fog acts as a heat absorbtion in the atmospher of the room. The key is to only use short bursts, or you will disrupt the thermal balance. I personaly like the smooth bore nozzles, However, in a Flashover the fog does help out alot. Anyone interested in Flashover training should try to find a Simulator in their area. The experience and training are excellent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post
    Okay-

    Why does this fog thing keep coming back out? And I'm not being a jerk- literally, I'd like to understand how fog will help mitigate the environment. Can you explain that one for me?


    Again- not meaning to sound indignant... I just don't get how that would help.
    http://www.firetactics.com/

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    I was under the impression that the Europeans lean more towards high pressure / low volume tactics... I'm not sure I can implement those lessons on our firegrounds.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    Having spent considerable time thinking about this,I wonder if we're approaching this from the wrong side.My thoughts lean toward preventing the flashover rather than trying to survive it.We've still got a bunch of old farmhouses and mill construction buildings but modern construction is creeping in. I think you guys all have good ideas but I'd rather prevent the event than try to escape it. T.C.

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    I agree- surviving a flashover is something that a precious few of us will ever have to say we've done if we stay on top of ventillation. Failing in that, heat absorption is going to take the pole position and I'm not sure there can be any argument that between CAFS and solid bore- there is no better way if ventillation efforts are delayed.

    Both here and at home, our response to any fire is going to be about 4-6 guys and we'll have to fend for ourselves for upwards of 15 minutes. Fortunately, up here just about every call has a potential life safety / rescue situation so we can justify going offensive even if our backup / RIT lines aren't in place. We can usually waffle it with a 2 man pump crew on the second truck even if there is no life safety.

    Some of you guys might think there is no such thing as waffling anything at a structure- but the reality is not all of us can stand down 3 or more responding companies of any description because we run out of staging areas and things to do because 5 companies are already on scene. We've got 6 guys or so... and that doesn't make everything a defensive fire.

    Nobody said it would be easy.

    So ventillation, maybe positive pressure coordinated with your attack crews if you're adequately trained in that maneuver... and heat absorption (solid bore) and I think we'll control those flashover situations, if not prevent them altogether.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post
    I was under the impression that the Europeans lean more towards high pressure / low volume tactics... I'm not sure I can implement those lessons on our firegrounds.
    Depends what country you are in. We (Finland) use mostly low pressure. We never bring a smoothbore nozzle indoors. All SCBA rated persons are well instructed in the "sauna effect" (eg. steam), if caught with a flashover, get down and get out! SOP is to prevent flashover rather than survive it.

    High pressure is used in special applications to effectivly prevent flashover or to use just small amounts of water either to reduce water damage or because water is limited, such as in wildfires or a light road accident vehicle. Two superb systems that are gaining ground are the CCS Cobra and Rosenbauer UHPS

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    Pretty impressive stuff- both of those. I'm particularly intrigued on the cold cutter / extinguisher! That rosey number is pretty neat as well.

    Are those products finding their way to use in North America at all?
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by giweff View Post
    We are having a talk at our firehouse with our capt's son who is in a firefighter 1&2 class. His teacher told him that in a Flashover you should open a full fog and spray it around you, that you can take the steam burns, if the fog will cool you. We told him that in a flashover just get out, or spray a stright stream up to the ceiling to help cool, or cover up and pray.

    His instructor is an blooming idiot and should not even be allowed to teach a dog how to roll over and play dead, let alone students fire evolutions.

    In a flashover situation.. 3 to 5 feet (5 being really optimistic!) away from an exit is the point of no return.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    My experience with High Pressure is with the Rosey brand and they work nicely. When you talk about low gallons high pressure it goes totally against what we have been taught for years. bum291 correct me if I'm wrong but I think the first Flash Simulators (Swede Survival System) came from your neighbors in Sweden about 25 years ago and somewhere from the same area came 3D firefighting which is also a neat concept. The Rosey works with 10GPM @1450PSI and it is unbelieveable what you can do with a room and contents, trash or car fire. Just poking it in the crack of a door drops the room temperature like a rock. They claim that the billion droplets created by the nozzle (I have no idea who counted them) each collect heat around their entire surface making for total conversion and not the lobster effect. Car fires are easily handled with 4-5 gallons of foam injected water and there is usually very little water pooling in the car.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I am of the belief that only the outside surface of a smoothe bore stream has any cooling effect.

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    Eh Red...

    I'm not going to correct you because you're not wrong- at least when you shoot straight and the stream remains intact pretty much until it hits the floor where its heat absorbing is going to be minimal to none. As you say, there is very little surface exposed to heat when the stream is intact- (like the log versus sawdust type thing they teach in school) making it ineffective in our quest of keeping temperatures down. This quality makes it really valuable when shooting into the REALLY hot stuff - because more makes it through to the ceiling.

    Where the benefit of the solid stream comes in is here, when you lob it into the ceiling where the pattern breaks apart into larger, coarser droplets that absorb more heat without converting to steam. That coupled with the larger amount of water that makes through the "hot zone" gives you the chance to make your moves without sipping firefighter soup and disturbing the thermal layering.

    This, combined with a wet type CAFS application (70 water 30 air at say .8) has tremendous heat diminishing qualities. I think I mentioned something about it earlier in the thread. Definitely effective. More effective? Who knows- but definitely effective.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post

    Where the benefit of the solid stream comes in is here, when you lob it into the ceiling where the pattern breaks apart into larger, coarser droplets that absorb more heat without converting to steam. That coupled with the larger amount of water that makes through the "hot zone" gives you the chance to make your moves without sipping firefighter soup and disturbing the thermal layering.
    The second part of this paragraph is closer to the real advantage: direct attack of the seat of the fire. The minimal loss of water mass will allow for more GPM to hit the desired target (the seat) and thus will overcome the BTU's quicker, than a fog pattern used in similar fashion. The limited steam production does help maintain thermal layering, a key component if there's any thought of viable victims. The high pressure or any fog attack that uses the steam to cool the fire will not be conducive to life. The human body can stand more "dry heat" than "wet". So if life is not a concern then fog away, but be careful steaming out the fire with any possibilities of victims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post
    This quality makes it really valuable when shooting into the REALLY hot stuff - because more makes it through to the ceiling.
    Huh? Less water will reach the ceiling, though the smaller droplets will absorb more on the way up which may be as effective or more. But surely the smoothbore line flowing an equal GPM as the fog has a better chance of hitting the ceiling... Then the break up of the stream will provide course droplets to be absorbed as they descend. Maybe not as effective as the fog in this application but clearly allowing for better penetration and power when you want to bring the line down and hit the seat of the fire.

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