Use of Chemistry in Fire Fighting
While of course the chiefs, officers and members of fire departments can not all be expected to be chemists yet it is a mightily useful thing for them to known something of the basic principles of the science of chemistry with a special knowledge of the inflammability or non-inflammability of all compounds with which they are apt to be brought in contact in their fire-fighting experiences. This is particularly necessary if their districts include any chemical laboratories or manufactories, artificial ice plants or establishments which in any way employ the use of chemicals in their processes. Knowledge of when not to turn on the water may result in the saving of many lives and much property in certain kinds of chemical fires, as it is well known that water in some cases accelerates rather than extinguishes the fire, through a chemical combination with the water producing heat.
The knowledge of chemistry is also important in knowing the danger of entering buildings where the burning contents may produce toxic fumes dangerous to life, or which will cause rapid combustion and explosion.
The article published as a leader in this week by Mr. .Szymanowitz, amplifies and explains a previous article, which, it will be remembered, was printed in FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING last December, and as the author is an expert chemist, will lie of great assistance to those interested in this important subject.