WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS, does your volunteer department respond with well-ordered efficiency? Or does confusion run rampant? Even the smallest department should spend time planning an orderly response —and see its efficiency surge upward.
FIRE FIGHTING requires a working knowledge of rope at all times and generally begins with tying knots. Learning knots is not a one-time experience. It takes hours of repetition during many months—and constant review after that. If volunteer firemen used knots every day, the way sailors do, their proficiency would be maintained.
HOW DOES the use of tankers compare with pumping water through a long relay at a rural fire? An answer was given at a recent demonstration in Connecticut. Six tankers were used to keep 250 gpm of water flowing at the fire. Each tanker was equipped to be first due and pump all the lines used on a fire.
HANDLING hose lines requires teamwork and practice. The average 2 1/2-inch line delivers from 200 to 250 gpm, or between 4/5 and 1 ton of water a minute. At the same time, the force that is necessary to speed the water forward from the nozzle develops an equal force in the reverse direction. With this knowledge in mind, it is not hard to understand why hose lines are difficult to handle and become more of a problem as the gallonage and nozzle pressure increase.
VARIOUS METHODS of horizontal and vertical ventilation were discussed in this column last month. Now let’s get into some structural problems commonly encountered in communities served by volunteers and ventilation applications. The most common, of course, is a home.
VENTILATION probably leads to more indecisiveness on the fireground than any other aspect of fire fighting. For one thing, most volunteer departments don’t have 1enough fires to become familiar with the many facets of this vital step in extinguishing fires.
SOME of our toughest fires involve buildings situated a couple of hundred feet or more from a road. Once a pumper is driven down a long driveway or county lane within operating range of a fire, it often cannot be moved. It’s there to stay until the fire is out. There’s an advantage in getting that first engine with a large booster tank up to the burning building quickly because the water carried on it may be all that is needed if it is applied soon enough.