Volunteer Firefighters

What’s the best technique to put out a fire with water? Unless you’re already trained as a firefighter, you would not be faulted if you hadn’t thought about this. Surely just spraying as much water as possible and as fast as possible is the goal, right? Well, that would align with the most well-known technique below, called “Direct Attack.” Even so, you’ll note that there’s more to be aware of.

The main point of this article is to serve as an introduction to different types of fire-suppression techniques, which are intended to put out fires faster with water when used appropriately.

Direct Attack Technique

Water is aimed at the base of the burning fire in order to suffocate the flames. Due to how this technique works, it’s best done by the use of a concentrated and powerful water jet that is capable of suffocating the flames. These water jets are often operated by firefighters and require that they have a clear line of sight to the blaze. When used on a fire that’s in a non-vented area, less steam will be produced causing the fire to be put out faster.

Indirect Attack Technique

This involves aiming the water at the ceiling so that the water can drop down, thereby extinguishing the fire from above. It’s often used in closed apartment fires which are mostly high-rise buildings and is very effective in such scenarios. Instead of the water stream being directed at the fire, it’s aimed at either the wall or ceiling above the flame. This allows the water to fall back onto the fire. It works by the water cooling the ceiling to disrupt the thermal balance. Alternatively, water that is not absorbed by the surface falls like rain on the flames to put the fire out.

The Combination Attack Technique

The combination attack uses both direct and indirect techniques in combating overhead flames and gases at the same time. In this method, the direct attack here is used to attack the fire itself while the aspect of the indirect attack combats the gases that are overhead. These two methods both ensure that fire is extinguished quickly and the risk of it spreading is minimized.

Fog Attack Technique

In this method, the hose makes use of a fog to extinguish the blaze. It’s ideal for fires that break out in places where there’s no wind, known as compartment fires. It doesn’t use a jet but rather a fog nozzle of a hose. It is often very effective in places that aren’t ventilated. However, in places where the wind is a problem, its effectiveness is substantially reduced.

The “Two Lines In” Technique

Here, two teams and two hoses are used to combine a solid water stream and a fog nozzle. The technique is used for fires that are in high wind areas. Of the two teams, one focuses on ensuring that the fire doesn’t spread while the other one focuses on the direct attack of the fire. With proper communication between the teams, this technique will be quite effective.

Fighting Fire with Water: 5 Techniques
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