Magnesium fire... What next?

by Admin 15. June 2012 07:44

Out of control... or is it?Hey FireIce bloggers. You are the Chief of a rural fire department and you were just toned out to a motor vehicle fire. You, your District Chief and your engine company of 2 firefighters are responding.

Upon arrival you find a 2000 Ford Expedition with heavy fire coming from the engine and passenger compartments. The vehicle is 20’ from a structure…

During attack you find the engine compartment has magnesium components in it as it starts to explode with sparks…

What Do You Do?

FireIce instructor's synopsis is below…
 
Upon arrival the firefighters attacked the vehicle fire with a 1 ½” pre-connect. Upon discovering the magnesium components in the engine compartment the firefighters went defensive and began to protect the structure. The Chief pulled a 2 ½ gallon pressurized water extinguisher loaded with FireIce and attacked the engine compartment fire with magnesium…
Here are the quotes from the Chief on scene:
“There was none of the usual sparks or small explosion associated with putting water on the fire.”
” The FireIce gel coated and cooled the magnesium as soon as it made contact with the fire.”
“All in all great product can’t wait to use until we can try it on a larger scale like a house fire.”
The District Chief quoted:
“FireIce did exactly what we have seen in the videos.”
“Then it was used on the rest of the interior and put down all the smoke and steam within seconds.”
“Great Stuff, it’s always better to see it in action on a live burn rather than a controlled environment conducted by the seller.”
Many of you said to use foam, but why?? Whether it’s wet foam or dry foam what are you achieving??
Faster knockdown, better cooling abilities, better suffocation??
Here is what foams definition of Heat Resistance: Foam's ability to resist the actual heat of the liquid or surface on which it is applied.
The Firefighters Guide to Foam by National Foam: Rates its AFFF’s heat resistance ability as fair (page 7).
What happens to foam when absorbs heat? Does foam displace heat?
Let's take a moment to look at how foam works and what it can do and CANNOT do.

When foam concentrate is mixed with water, whether you are using a Class A or B product, its main action is to break the surface tension of the water. Thus, the water becomes "lighter" (hence the term "light water"). The principle theory behind Class A foams is that the reduction in surface tension (or separation of the molecular structures of water through adding a surfactant) will allow the water to "penetrate" into tiny cavities, like cracks, crevasses found in porous materials.

By making the water lighter with a Class B product, it allows water to float across the top of hydrocarbon fuels (which normally have a lower specific gravity than water alone). Once the finished foam product is on top of the fuel, the surfactant is then released from the mix, creating a film which covers the fuel and separates it from the oxygen available in the ambient air. This action works very well and I am certain will continue to be a great asset to the fire service for fighting flammable/combustible liquid fires.

What can foam NOT do?

First, with its mediocre heat resistance, it has a hard time standing up to extreme temperatures for any length of time. Even if we aerate the mix, we have to be cognizant of how high heat will affect the finished product. Finished (B) foams are laden with air bubbles to "lighten" the water. What happens to heated air? It will have a drastic increase in molecular activity and will expand, causing the bubbles to burst.

Secondly, if using Class A foam, you cannot "penetrate" a non-porous material (i.e.-solid steel or magnesium). The product will simply run off the fuel.

So.....we are fighting a magnesium engine block fire. It is non-porous AND produces very high heat! Can we put out magnesium with water or foam? Yes, but only from a great (safe) distance and using COPIOUS amounts of either agent. Foam or water will run off of the block easily and will rapidly vaporize under the intense heat.

FireIce is a water enhancer! It will: A) stick to the block and allow more heat absorbing water molecules to continue to "stack" on top of itself, absorbing the heat at a faster rate and for a longer period of time and B) allow us to be closer to the burning product without the explosive effects of applying water to burning magnesium. FireIce will also "coat" the burning block, excluding ambient air from the combustion process…

Stay Safe!

 

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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FireIce Academy

by Admin 7. June 2012 04:50

Size it up!Hey FireIce Blog Readers! FireIce Academy is back in session!! Please size up the scene…

You are the officer of the first due Engine Company responding to a reported structural collapse of an apartment building.

Upon arrival you see what is pictured. There are No reported missing persons...

What are your initial actions?

What other resources will be needed?

How do you begin Rescue Operations?

What do you do about Safety… for your crew? Bystanders?

How do you secure the scene?
 
Stay Safe!

 

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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Back to School...

by Admin 31. May 2012 05:46

Head First Ladder BailoutsIn rapidly deteriorating conditions, a properly performed head-first ladder bailout can be life saver. Here are some important fundamentals to prevent injuries during the procedure:

Place the ladder at an angle less than 75 degrees to allow for greater control and prevent slipping.

Place the tip of the ladder just below the window sill so the exit area is kept open and the firefighter can keep low.

Exterior teams should position ladders on upper floor windows to provide alternate exit for interior companies in the event of an emergency.

Have a crew or member available to heel ladders or reposition ladders in the event the firefighter is in a window over from the ladder.

Communicate and listen; know where crews are operating and adjust accordingly

Be proactive.

When training, make sure you use rated safety line and a rated safety harness assembly on the firefighter and inspect all ropes and harnesses in use prior to training.
 
Content Courtesy of FireRescue1

 

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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FireIce Academy Is Back In Session...

by Admin 3. May 2012 04:17

Hey FireIce bloggers!!

Undoubtedly the vast majority of rescue incidents are vehicle extrications. Performing a good scene size up is essential to accomplishing a safe and efficient extrication operation.

It is imperative to assess the condition of the vehicle and before any extrication activities begin, Stabilize the vehicles involved.

Inexperienced rescuers must be trained to resist the temptation of pulling or pushing a vehicle while on its side or roof as a means of determining if the vehicle is stable or not.

Whether its Pneumatic air bags, ropes, chains, jacks, cribbing or webbing rescuers should use whatever means are available to stabilize the vehicle.

When using any stabilization method, rescuers must take great care to avoid placing any part of their bodies under the vehicle while placing devices.

Once the vehicles are stable then rescue operations and gaining access to victims can be achieved safely. Stay Safe!

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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FireIce Academy is back in session FireIce Bloggers..

by Admin 11. April 2012 06:41

This fire has a huge head start on you and size up for this would be an ongoing process gathering current and expected weather conditions and observing the fire behavior as it occurs. Always know what the Watch Out Situations are and start implementing the protocols to prevent them. Classify the fire (What class of fire is it or how big is it) and get the additional support you need.

While life safety and protecting property is important to every firefighter as an officer it is YOUR responsibility to ensure the safety of your crew (Everyone Goes Home). Know and implement the Standard Fire Orders, if you don’t know what these are Google them… Also get out your copy of the Fireline Handbook by NWCG you’re going to need it as a reference. Always remember LCES (Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones)…

Utilize the knowledge you have of the area to do a pre-incident size up, think and plan for expected life hazards, immediate water supply, and access/egress routes, etc. Locate a safe area to establish command and staging for arriving personnel and equipment. Don’t just keep these things in your head write them down and communicate these things to your crew and dispatch. Communications is an essential key! Make sure every member of your crew and dispatch clearly understands what you are saying and have them repeat it back to you if necessary. Once support personnel begins to arrive transfer command over to a more experienced officer that can continue to manage the situation.

Stay Safe!

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

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Five questions to sharpen your firefighting skills...

by Admin 28. March 2012 09:53

Hey FireIce Bloggers! FireIce Academy is back in session…

Safe firefighting practices are passed down from Ole Salty Dog Veterans to the Rookies by setting good examples on the fire ground, talking about scenes and scenarios, and explaining to the Rookie the Do’s and Don’ts.

Firefighting techniques are universal and are the same regardless where you fight fires. SOP’s may vary, but technique, safety, and safe operating procedures on the fire ground are the same.

Here are 5 questions that may help sharpen your skills!

Answers follow at the bottom…

1) Which one of the following is an incorrect answer?

A) When stretching a hose line to an upper floor of a building, do not pass a floor on fire unless a charged hoseline is in position on that floor.

B) Notify your officer when going above a fire to search for victims or vertical extension.

C) When climbing or descending a stairway between the fire floor and the floor above stay close to and face the stairwell. Heat, smoke, and flame rise vertically up the stairwell.

D) If you enter a smoke- and heat-filled room, hallway, or apartment above a fire and suspect flashover conditions behind you, locate a second exit, a window leading to a fire escape or portable ladder, before initiating the search.

2) Which one of the following is an incorrect answer?

A) At any collapse, stretch a hoseline and charge it to protect possible victims and rescuers from sudden explosion and flash fire.

B) Shut off all utilities-gas, electric, and water-immediately upon arrival at a building collapse. Do not wait for the utility company.

C) Heavy mechanical equipment, such as cranes and bulldozers, should be used to remove collapsed portions of a building while hand digging is being done nearby.

D) Parts of a structure that are in danger of collapsing during a rescue operation should be shored up, remove with a crane but never pulled down by firefighters below.

3) Which one of the following is the correct answer?

A. The firefighter's best protection against injury and death by a fall during overhaul is a properly charged flash-light.

B) The most potentially, dangerous area of local floor collapse inside a burned out residence building is the bathroom. The weight of a firefighter is enough to trigger the collapse of a fire damaged bathroom floor.

C) If flames are discovered still burning at a gas meter or broken pipe after a fire has been knocked down, extinguish the flame.

D) Full protective clothing-including mask face piece must be in place before a firefighter approaches a 20-pound propane cylinder to shut off the control valve when a small flame is burning at an outlet. There is a danger of the relief valve suddenly activating, creating a fireball that could engulf the firefighter.

4) True or False? When the wind frequently changes direction during a brushfire operation, the safest area from which to attack the fire is outside the blackened, burned-out area.

5) Arrange the priorities for removing a victim from a burning building, from best to least desired.

A) Fire Escape

B. Smoke Proof Tower

C) Aerial Platform

D) Aerial Ladder

E) Interior Enclosed Stairway
 
1) C – Is not a correct answer and will get you hurt or killed.

The correct answer is “When climbing or descending a stairway between the fire floor and the floor above, stay close to and face the WALL. Heat, smoke, and flame rise vertically up the stairwell.

2) C – Is not a correct answer and will get you hurt or killed.

The correct answer is ”Heavy mechanical equipment, such as cranes and bulldozers, should NOT be used to remove collapsed portions of a building while hand digging is being done nearby. Parts of a structure that are in danger of collapsing during a rescue operation should be shored up, remove with a crane but never pulled down by firefighters below or firefighters operating in the area.”

3) A – Is a correct answer a firefighter's best protection against injury and death by a fall during overhauling is a properly charged flash-light. No firefighter should respond to a fire without a personal light.

B - Is a correct answer the most potentially, dangerous area of local floor collapse inside a burned out residence building is the bathroom. The weight of a firefighter is enough to trigger the collapse of a fire damaged bathroom floor.

C – Is not a correct answer and will get you hurt or killed.

The correct answer is if flames are discovered still burning at a gas meter or broken pipe after a fire has been knocked down, do not extinguish the flame. Let the fire burn, protect the exposures with a hose stream, and alert command that the gas has to be shut off at a street control valve.

D – Is a correct answer and full protective clothing-including mask face piece must be in place before a firefighter approaches a 20-pound propane cylinder to shut off the control valve when a small flame is burning at an outlet. There is a danger of the relief valve suddenly activating, creating a fireball that could engulf the firefighter.

4) Is False and the correct answer is when the wind frequently changes direction during a brushfire operation, the safest area from which to attack the fire is the blackened, burned-out area.

When moving through brush during a fire, the firefighter should raise a tool or arm in front of his face as he moves forward to avoid injury by shrubbery, pointed needles, sharp leaves, or abrasive vines. Firefighters walking behind the lead firefighter should space themselves several feet apart to avoid whipping branches or leaves.

You should never enter cattails or brush that is over your head and reduces your vision. If the wind changes, you are in danger of being engulfed by fire in the brush.

Studies show that firefighters are most often killed and injured at small brushfires in isolated portions of larger fires. They are not killed by large timberland forest fires.

Firefighters are burned to death trying to outrun brush fires, or they are engulfed in flames when a brushfire suddenly flares up around them. Firefighters should attack a brushfire from the flanks-the sides of the fire area between the head, the edge along which the fire is advancing, and the rear.

The three most common injuries to firefighters during brush firefighting are eye injuries, falls, and heat exhaustion. Eye shields must be worn. Firefighters should walk on roads or well-traveled paths when possible.

5) The priorities for removing a victim from a burning building are, from highest to lowest, smoke proof tower, interior enclosed stairway, safe fire escape, aerial platform, aerial ladder or B-E-A-C-E.
We started off FireIce Academy by saying “Safe firefighting practices are passed down from Ole Salty Dog Veterans to the Rookies by setting good examples on the fire ground.”

By Rob Rosovich, Fire Protection Engineer

Photo Courtesy of Paul Combs: http://www.artstudioseven.com/index.htm

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