O. C. D. Advises Jet for Incendiary Bombs
New instructions, calling for a jet instead of a spray in fire bomb fighting, were issued on July 24 by James M. Landis, Director of the Office of Civilian Defense. The instructions came as a result of exhaustive research by technicians of O. C. D. and the Chemical Warfare Service, U. S. Army.
“The new advice differs in three important points front that formerly issued.” the O. C. D. director stated. “We now recommend the use of a jet or solid stream of water on the bomb itself, rather than a spray of water; the value of sand for fighting incendiaries is minimized; and speed is urged in attacking the bomb with a jet as soon as it falls, rather than waiting for the thermit reaction to be completed or for a burster charge to go off.
“We fully appreciate the fact that the public has been thoroughly educated to the spray technique, but our experiments and study of recent British experience have made it absolutely necessary to change our thinking in this regard. The jet method is much quicker and more effective. We now know that it will save more lives and more property in the event of a raid. That is the only sound criterion for judging the matter.”
It has been found that in the old procedure undue emphasis was placed on the danger of the small magnesium bomb and not enough on the danger of fire, he explained.
“Actually, the fire it starts is more dangerous than the bomb,” Director Landis continued. “We found that the quickest and surest way to eliminate the bomb is to strike it with a jet of water. This puts the bomb out of action in less than one minute, so that other fire bombs can be attacked before they can start serious fires.”
Reduced to essentials, the new instructions follow:
- Bring your fire fighting equipment to the scene as soon as the bomb strikes.
- Shoot a jet of water directly at the bomb without delay, to put it out of action quickly.
- Then use the jet, quickly, to quench fragments and the remains of the bomb, and any fires it might have started.
- Be absolutely sure all the fire is out before you leave the scene.
- Use a coarse spray only where scattering of metal must be avoided.
- Use sand only if a bomb falls where it is not likely to start a fire or if water is not available.