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The Art of Reading Smoke

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					The ART of Reading Smoke




                           1
     Why “Read” Smoke?
To determine “HOW MUCH” fire




                               2
Why “Read” Smoke?
To help find the LOCATION of the fire




                                        3
     Why “Read” Smoke?
To help predict COLLAPSE potential




                                     4
      Why “Read” Smoke?
To help PRIORITIZE Strategies & Tactics




                                          5
     Why “Read” Smoke?
To PROTECT Firefighters from a
           “HOSTILE FIRE EVENT”




                                  6
  The “ADVANCED” Basics
What is “Smoke”?   Gas




       Aerosol

                   Particle



                              7
   The “ADVANCED” Basics
What relationship does mass & density have on
 fuels?




                                                8
       The “ADVANCED” Basics

   What is meant by :
    – flash point
    – fire point
    – ignition temperature




                               9
     The “ADVANCED” Basics
   How does “flammable range” factor in?




                                            10
    Flammable Range & the Three Fires



                   Too Rich . . .




Too Lean . . .
                               Just Right . . .
                                                  11
     The “ADVANCED” Basics
   What are the stages of hostile fire
    development?

   How much heat can the “box” absorb?

   What effect does “thermal balance” have on
    the fire?

                                                 12
         “ HOSTILE ”      Fire
                    Events
 Flashover

 Backdraft

 Smoke   Explosion
 Rapid   Free Burn
 Auto   Ignition

                                 13
  FLASHOVER
 Fuel mass/box is heat saturated
 Reflective radiant heat intensifies
 Simultaneous ignition of fuels
 Thermal Protective Properties?
 Flashover of one box means what?


                                        14
           BACKDRAFT
Introduction of oxygen to an environment that
  is:
   – Heated past fuel ignition temps
   – Usually confined or restricted
   – Pressurized with gases
   – Capable of sustained burning


         Do you know the warning signs?
                                            15
     SMOKE EXPLOSION
 A pocket of gas that has reached an ignitable
  mixture - but not enough energy to sustain
  ignition
 The ignition causes an “explosive” surge of
  pressure
 Usually no resulting fire - but increased
  chance of fire spread (container breach?)

                                                  16
     RAPID FREE BURN
Usually “Container” Influenced
Fuel is continuous and available to burn
Especially “volatile” fuel becomes involved
Thermal Balance exists
May result from another “event”


                                              17
          AUTO IGNITION
Typically used to describe the ignition
  of fuels AFTER they leave the box
Primarily a WARNING SIGN
Exposure Threat:
   Other parts of building
   Other Buildings
   Firefighters




                                          18
          “ Reading Smoke”

   Observations are
    typically made from
    outside - inside
    observations hide the
    “real” picture.



                             19
      Before you “ Read Smoke”
Nothing is absolute
   Visible FIRE is easy to read - look past it for the
    real story




                                                          20
 The ART of Reading Smoke



  A 4-STEP PROCESS to help
predict fire behavior and hostile events

                                           21
Step 1: Evaluate
  Key Factors

   Volume
   Velocity (Pressure)
   Density
   Color – Variations
What is “Black Fire”?


                          22
High V.V.D.C. = “BLACK
         FIRE”
           “Black Fire” is the term
              we give to High
              Volume, High
              Velocity, Extremely
              Dense, Black Smoke.
           It is the sure sign of
              impending flashover –
              VENT & COOL are
              your only choices.
                                  23
     Step 2: Weigh
        Factors
   Container (most
    important factor)
   Thermal Balance
   Weather
   Firefighting efforts
   Other factors?

                           24
  Step 3: Judge the Fire Status




Are conditions getting better or worse?
                                          25
   Step 3: Judge the Fire Status
Classify the Behavior:                Stable -predictable




                           Rapidly changing
                           -predictable

  Unstable/Unpredictable

                                                            26
    Step 4: Predict the EVENT
                Consider that:
•   One hostile event can - and usually will
    - lead to another event.
•   Communicate your observations.
•   Warning Signs are not always visual –
    use your KNOWLEDGE and
    EXPERIENCE.


TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS…


                                               27
       Some other “Tricks”
When you open a door or window - watch what
 the smoke does…and what THE FRESH
 AIR DOES!




                                          28
        Some other “Tricks”
In poor visibility -
  watch the smoke
  in front of your
  light - it will give
  you some clues



                              29
        Some other “Tricks”
A 5-second change in any key factor means an
  event has taken place – the key is to define
  what event has taken place and to forecast
  what will likely happen next.




                                                 30
THE ART OF READING SMOKE




  Some Examples
                           31
        Special THANKS to:
Mike Scott, Battalion Chief, Kent (WA) Fire

David Ross, Chief of Safety, Toronto Fire Services

Peter Hodge & John Lewis, FDIC and FDIC-
  WEST Program Directors



                                                32
The ART of Reading Smoke


With less fires - this ART could be
                lost…
         take the lesson…
                          David Dodson
              pass it on.

                                         33
Be Safe – Make it Safe




    Thank You!

                         34

				
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posted:2/17/2012
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