In Episode 17, learn more about why if you get water where it needs to go, you don’t need much from UL FSRI Advisory Board Member, Chief of Central Whidbey Island Fire Rescue, Ed Hartin.
Room and contents fires are most commonly ventilation limited - meaning that the energy release rate is limited by the available oxygen. It does not take a large amount of water to absorb the energy being released and to knock the fire back so that suppression can be achieved. If the attack crew can get the water where it needs to go - they won’t need much.
Keep in mind, using less water does not relate to more effective suppression. In instances where an interior suppression was chosen, more water used on the approach to the fire related to more tenable conditions for potential trapped occupants and suppression crews. During these experiments most of the water flow was scripted with leeway given based on conditions experienced by the nozzle firefighter, so the intent of this tactical consideration is not to propose that a particular type of attack is more efficient. The intent is to highlight that with commonly used flow rates of 150 gpm to 165 gpm, a large amount of water is not required to improve conditions. Both a transitional attack with water applied directly into the compartment and an interior attack with the addition of hallway cooling on the advance showed that effective water application cut down on the amount of water needed for suppression.
The multitude of potential variables on the fire ground can complicate operations more than the scenarios tested during the Fire Attack study. Establishing a water supply and deploying a backup hand line are two critical steps to help provide a safety factor to the operations on the fire ground in the event the primary attack line encounters difficulty applying water directly where it needs to go.
To learn more about this tactical consideration, take FSRI’s Suppression Tactics in Single-Family Homes online training course.