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Point Break

Flashover

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So occasionally here I get questions about terms like flashover, backdraft, and rollover when the terms are used in the context of structural firefighting. Buddy of mine linked a video from a training session at Santa Barbara County Fire training grounds. Its in a training prop that is called a "flashover container". Its only 2 minutes but you can actually see the pre-flashover or "roll over" develop as the ceiling smoke builds and the heat reaches ignition temperature in the combustible smoke. Temps at the ceiling are in the 1200-1800 degree F range. As soon as the instructor puts some water into the overhead over the base of the fire, it darkens down and you get zero visbility immediately. That disruption of the thermal balance also brings the heat down to the floor can approach 150 degrees F...give or take. Think of the rollover shown as kinda a baby flashover. The instructor interrupts the flashover development by applying water to the ceiling over the fire. An actual full fledged flashover is much more enthusiastic and can reach to nearly the floor level. Those are no fun. A backdraft is something completely different and MUCH more dangerous. By the way....the reason a hole is cut in the roof over the fire is to let that smoke and heat out the top thus re-establishing visibility and a tenable atmosphere for the guys and victims inside. Anyway, I thought it was a cool vid.

 

https://www.facebook.com/114819398545464/videos/1210871192273607/?fref=nf

 

 

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Enthusiastic...

 

That's not how I remember as I was head first down the ladder. On a training fire no less....

 

There is a reason I work in a sleepy little town with only 1-2 structure fires a year.

You big city guys are not right in the head.....

:)

 

WL

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Enthusiastic...

 

That's not how I remember as I was head first down the ladder. On a training fire no less....

 

There is a reason I work in a sleepy little town with only 1-2 structure fires a year.

You big city guys are not right in the head.....

:)

 

WL

You can get just as dead on 1 or 2 as 20 or 30.................stay safe.

 

And............none of us are really right in the head.............. ;)

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Nothing like dragging a hose while crawling on the floor in reduced visability to find the source and being aware of the monster that lies above you.

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Seattle FD now has a concrete room that does the same thing. The steam that comes down can be REALLY hot! But none of those simulators are like crawling around in a real building looking for victims. Fans are amazing. If done right, the smoke and head can rise up to 3ft level or above in 30 sec. in an average size home.

That is a great video of what it is really like though in a fire. Most of the time you can hardly see your hand in front of your face. Not like the movie Backdraft where they could see all the way across the warehouse!

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Looks exactly like how my wood stove works. I wouldn't want to be in it when it kicks off like that.

It only gets hotter once the reaction starts.

 

As a pyro, I find that vid fascinating. Thanks for it!

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That Nimbus system looks great for the farm! I have no fire hydrants and the Dept. can't get to me in a reasonable time.

Who knew such stuff was out there? Anyone have experience with these things? Looks like a pressure washer with a cutting tool.

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A skylight made of old Skool glass w the chicken wire built into it (the original tempered glass) in the middle of my house saved my life, when the heat exploded the glass and the opening Flushed the heat, smoke and flames out like a volcano. Once that happened all the flames and smoke in the house were sucked to the 4x4 vent pulling fresh air into the house and the smoke level quit getting lower...... of note I slept through till the florescent lights exploded then woke up to see WTF was happening. I now have 7 skylights that I Love for other reasons But would never go without for the Fire Self-Rescue reasens. The Scripps family (of Great Fame) I'm DAGO lost their Grandma in a home w a copper roof thatthat made the Ultmit Smoker costing her Life. I would Never have a house without a few skylight(s) / Vent(s) integrated into the roof for Safty...... Having the only skylight over your head while sleeping will rapidly Suck the smoke and fire to you ft I'm the other end of yer house so Working alarms are a Must and more skylights in other locations are recomended. If you think you can't have skylights where you live ......Ha.... then you have Bigger problems

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I was backing up the guy on the knob while trying to enter a room at a house fire several years back; we got the door open and the room flashed. That was more fum than I wanted to have at the moment, to put it politely. the tanks and brackets of our SCBA took some neat, being the highest points on our persons.

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Guest Dabnis

Oh my, reminds me of Navy boot camp training in San Diego, 1953, "Fire fighting school" Big concrete room, fire at one end,

totally full of smoke, no breathers. Six men on a hose, big fan of spray as a shield, advance on fire, instructor shuts off water, all six men

drop to the floor, where there was about 2 inches of air, & crawl out backwards, noses to the ground. Interestingly, nobody panicked

or "broke ranks", scary stuff.

 

Not sure how it would have come out had the instructor not explained "The drill" ahead of time.

 

I can imagine being a fire fighter might be somewhat similar to driving an 18 wheeler, long periods of boredom, mixed

in with bits of terror, from time to time.

 

Paul T

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Paul, it kind of used to be. Now there are so many aid runs, training, building inspections, cooking, housework, etc. that it is had to even find time to work out in a dept. in a larger city....ie Seattle for me.

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Catwalk fire at Treasure Island was fun, walk up five feet of stairs to an open hatch with bellowing flames coming out and rising twenty feet. Beat that back and enter the room with gas / oil mixture below your feet four feet and wall to wall flames. No respirator, and wearing just dungarees.

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Guest Dabnis

Paul, it kind of used to be. Now there are so many aid runs, training, building inspections, cooking, housework, etc. that it is had to even find time to work out in a dept. in a larger city....ie Seattle for me.

 

Like Police Officers, firefighters many times put their lives in danger, at times being attacked in the process, while trying to protect the public.

Thankless jobs, in my opinion.

 

Paul T

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Guest Dabnis

Catwalk fire at Treasure Island was fun, walk up five feet of stairs to an open hatch with bellowing flames coming out and rising twenty feet. Beat that back and enter the room with gas / oil mixture below your feet four feet and wall to wall flames. No respirator, and wearing just dungarees.

 

Yes, we did something similar in San Diego. Same situation, no breathers, & just dungarees. Looking back on it, I am surprised no

one was hurt, at least in our drills in 1953. I don't know how they do it now?

 

The one I didn't like, at Treasure Island, our home base training facility, was having to free dive down into a simulated sunken ship & then

swim back out, talk about claustrophobia. Did a lot of free diving for abalone on the northern California coast. Didn't like getting into

the Kelp, for the same reason.

 

Paul T

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