Water Water Everywhere
Thanks Bourbonnais Fire Protection District!
Water is not a luxury of Earth, in fact, it is the most abundant compound in the universe because it is composed of the first and third most abundant elements, hydrogen and oxygen, respectively. However, water in liquid form, is a special feature of Earth. It is usually present as vapor or ice in the Solar System. Aristotle considered water as one of the four elements along with earth, fire, and air.
When it comes to firefighting and controlling fires, water continues to be the primary extinguishing agent used by firefighters because of its availability, affordability, and effectiveness. As a result, firefighters are required to have working knowledge of how to apply it on the fire ground. This knowledge includes selecting the proper size hose line (1-1/2", 1-3/4", 2-1/2") nozzle (solid tip, or fog), operating pressures (50, 80, or 100 psi) and application techniques (direct, indirect, or combination) depending on the circumstances.
Recently, thanks to the assistance of the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District, students enrolled in the Fire/Rescue/EMS curriculum had the opportunity to practice operating various types of fire streams. Like almost everything else in the fire service, controlling fire streams takes teamwork. The hose is heavy (a gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds) so even a small 1-1/2" attack fire hose that is 150' long weighs almost 225 pounds. As flowing water exits the nozzle, there is a significant back-pressure. Remember Newton's Third Law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So several firefighters are often required to compensate for the force. All in all, while handling hose lines and flowing fire streams can be fun, it can also be a difficult and exhausting experience. By the way, do you know the answer to the age old riddle: What is in water that puts out fire? Answer: a fire boat!