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Door Entry Techniques

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Friday, 09 October 2015
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Door Entry Techniques – Many variations

If you ask 5 firefighters about exactly how to perform door entry technique you will probably get about half a dozen different opinions. Many of these are very rigid and involve a set number of pulses with a specified cone angle.

I tend to take an outcome based approach. What are we trying to achieve?

Firstly we need to cool the gases and linings around us so that the smoke or flame that exits the door meets cool gases and moist surfaces. After reading the fire behaviour indicators we need to cautiously open the door and introduce water fog into the upper zone to cool those gases. The risk assessment conducted may indicate the entry is not possible. Or it may be necessary to repeat the process several times. How many pulses, their duration and angle will be largely dependent on the geometry of the compartment and the stage of fire development. High ceilings will require a narrower cone angle. I still believe in hitting the ceiling with a jet to dislodge any loose debris. This can also assist in cooling the gases particularly in the case of high ceilings.

Large spaces with a well developed fire will need to have medium to long pulsations to have any meaningful cooling effect.

Don’t forget that if you open the door and you can see the fire base it is ok to put water on it!!!! After all the purpose of gas cooling is to help us get to a point where we can put water on the fire. Some people forget that it is only a control technique suitable for small compartments.

If we teach firefighters WHAT needs to be achieved and WHY, they will be able to work out HOW.

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4 – 8 – 12 A Sliding Scale Approach to Optimal Flow Rates

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 07 September 2013
in Industry Insights · 2 Comments

There are a number of fire ground formula that are designed to assist fire officers in determining the flow rate required to gain effective control of a fire.

Most of these come back to floor area or volume and don’t take into account the stage of development or strategic objectives. I believe that the sliding scale model provides a more practical guide that considers the mode of attack as part of the guide for initial attack flow.

At the lower end of the offensive mode of attack, a flow rate of 4 lpm/m2 (similar to the recommendations from the Iowa formula) should be considered the minimal tactical flow rate. As we approach the marginal mode of attack, we should be looking at a minimum of 8 lpm/m2.

As we move toward the upper end of the defensive mode of attack, we should be looking at flow rates of 12 to 13 lpm/m2 (similar to the NFA formula).

To successfully apply the sliding scale approach, firefighters need to have sufficient knowledge and skill to conduct an accurate size up to determine the most applicable mode of attack.  Some may consider this an “advanced skill” and argue that the “safest approach” is to deploy hose lines capable of the maximum flow.

I advocate that size up is an “essential skill” or “core skill” and that realistic training must be utilised to develop these skills.

“Dumbing down” our approach to fire attack to the lowest common denominator (and the highest flow rate) does not achieve a greater level of safety and will never be a substitute for quality training.

Struggling with very large hose lines reduces mobility and increases physical strain. Over application of water can destroy the thermal balance which further reduces the chances of safely locating the seat of fire or occupants.

Gross over application is as inappropriate as trying to attack a well-developed fire with a small hose line.

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Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 17 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

Don't worry! We're big fans of the work that has been pioneered by a few very keen and extremely competent individuals who may all speak different languages yet agree that there's a better way than "Big Fire = Big Water".

But... What is the point of learning all these fantastic techniques- if you cannot get water on the fire quickly and reliably due to hose tangles, kinks and catch points?

'We have procedures' is something we hear - however when quizzed further, more often than not the procedures are "get hose out" - not how to lay hose. What if the usual crew isn't working together? What if a multilingual crew is thrust together on an oil-rig or cruise ship?

Our aim isn't to change anything- we simply hope to add value with some purpose built packs.

For example the Lay Pack is blue because it stretches water between the water supply and the Attack Pack. The Attack Pack is red because it contains the hose that will attack the fire.

First and second arriving fire fighters now know without any words spoken that 60m or 200ft of hose is ready to be laid and who has what role based on the pack they're carrying.

After consultation with fire fighters in Australia, the Mid East, Europe and the USA we have come to the conclusion that when laying hose what's important is:

  • The distance is covered once by the fire fighters - maximum twice
  • Hose is laid only once - not deployed and then bundled up and redeployed
  • Enough hose is deployed - ready to advance into the fire without friction or catch-points causing delays

 

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Keeping an Open Mind

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 21 July 2013
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

As a pioneer of 3D Firefighting tactics in Australia (since 1997) I have been privileged to see the benefits this approach has delivered to my colleagues as well as the people we serve. Along with increasing the safety of firefighters, the 3D approach greatly assists in formulating the most efficient approach to fire attack. This has increases that chances of saving victims while minimising the loss of property.

The 3D approach is not the only innovation we have seen in the last 30 years. CAFS and PPV are also game changers in their own right. Unfortunately I have seen a tendency for innovators to fall in love with their approach and to ignore the potential benefits of the other innovations. Some PPV advocates think adding water-fog will generate excessive steam and some 3D purists think that adding air will intensify the fire. The fact is that when they are combined there is a synergistic effect that greatly increases the safety and efficiency of the operation!

I have been practicing combining 3D techniques with PPV for over 13 years and have witnessed firsthand how powerful this combination can be. I am currently looking as combining CAFS with 3D and/or PPV. One of the limitations with CAFS is that it has minimal cooling interaction directly with the accumulated gases. The cooling of the gases occurs mostly at the the heated surfaces. If CAFS internal attack was combined with PPV the heated gases are removed prior to entry and the linings can be very effectively cooled and buffered.

With knowledge, an open-mind and a desire for excellence you can adapt your tactics and tools to develop the safest and most efficient plan of attack.

With this approach everyone wins!!!

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Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Friday, 09 March 2012
in Industry Insights · 5 Comments
I am often asked to explain the difference between flashover and backdraft, both of which I will define using the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 

The key elements in all definitions are:

  1. Rapid transition
  2. Leads to a fully developed compartment fire

Flashover is defined as: "The rapid transition to a state of total surface involvement in a fire of combustible materials within an enclosure."

Most fires start relatively small as some form of heat energy is applied to the object which leads to the ignition temperature being reached. The flame radiates back onto the object and this increases the rate of combustion. The radiation also heats up neighbouring items and they will begin to pyrolyse (break down into fuel and passive agents). The heated fire gases accumulate in the ceiling area forming an over pressure area. As the temperature increases the unburnt fuel in the smoke layer approaches its’ Auto Ignition Temperature (AIT) . When this fuel ignites the fire gas combustion rolls across the ceiling releasing an enormous amount of radiant energy which rapidly ignites the remaining combustibles in the room.

In a nutshell, flashover occurs when there is a good supply of air that allows the accumulated unburnt fuel to heat up to its’ Auto Ignition Temperature (AIT).

Fuel & Air + AIT = Flashover

Backdraught is defined as: "An explosion, of greater or lesser degree, caused by the inrush of fresh air from any source or cause, into a burning building, where combustion has been taking place in a shortage of air."

Well insulated rooms with limited air supply can limit the development of a fire. The fire will grow until the air is consumed and smouldering may continue for some time. The room may stay quite hot and the combustible contents will continue to pyrolyse (or breakdown) allowing the accumulation of large quantities of unburnt fuel.

If an opening is created air will flow into the compartment and add the missing ingrediant. It is possible for a sudden and explosive propagation of flame through the compartment and out through the openings. There will be pockets of gas remaining that are too rich to ignite immediately these will burn progressively as air is drawn into the compartment. The combustion process could continue for some time after the initial explosion and the heat generated could lead to a fully involved fire.

In a nutshell, backdraft occurs when air is added to a room with high temperatures and large quantities of unburnt fuel.

Fuel and Heat + Air = Backdraft

So how does this knowledge affect our fire attack strategy and hose lay tactics? Before we talk about that we must understand the 3rd critical fire development event, fire gas ignition.

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Seconds Count

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 26 February 2012
in blogs · 0 Comments

The 3D approach to compartment fire fighting has reached the stage where most of the fire services in the world have adopted at least some of the training principles, tactics and techniques.

As an obvious believer and regular practitioner I can tell you from experience when executed efficiently the effect of the most appropriate nozzle technique is powerful, instant and life saving.

 

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