You are on page 1of 10

FIRE STREAM

OBJECTIVE Learning Outcome 7 Assessment Criteria 7 Apply Correct Fire Fighting Techniques. 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 REFERENCES a. ESSENTIALS Fourth Edition Of Fire Fighting Chapter 13 - IFSTA. State the definition of Fire Stream. Explain extinguishing properties of water. State the factors affecting pressure loss and gain. Describe Water Hammer. Describe water fire stream patterns and nozzles. Use foam application techniques. State foam hazards.

BAF 4.7 - 1

FIRE STREAM
INTRODUCTION The perfect fire stream can no longer be sharply defined because individual desires and extinguishing requirements vary. During the time a stream of water or extinguishing agent passes through space, it is influenced by its velocity, by gravity, by wind, and by friction with the air. The condition of the stream when it leaves the nozzle is influenced by operating pressures, nozzle design, nozzle adjustment, and the condition of the nozzle orifice. DEFINITION OF FIRE STREAM A fire stream can be defined as stream of water or other extinguishing agent after it leaves a fire hose and nozzle until it reaches the desired point. EXTINGUISHING PROPERTIES OF WATER Water has the ability to extinguish fire in several ways. The primary way is by cooling, which removes the heat from the fire. Another way is by smothering, which includes water's ability to absorb large quantities of heat and also to dilute oxygen. When heated to its boiling point, water absorbs heat by converting into a gas called water vapor or steam, which cannot be seen (vaporization). When steam starts to cool, however, its visible form is called condensed steam (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Water is found in the solid, liquid, and gaseous states Complete vaporization does not happen the instant water reaches its boiling point because additional heat is required to completely turn the water into steam. When a water fire stream is broken into small particles, it absorbs heat and converts into steam more rapidly than it would in a compact form because more of the water's surface is exposed to the heat. For example, 1 cubic inch (1638.7 mm") of ice dropped into a glass of water takes some time to absorb its capacity of heat. This is because a surface area of only 6 square

BAF 4.7 - 2

inches (3 870 mm" or 38.7 em") of the ice is exposed to the water. However, if that cube of ice is divided into lfs-cubic inch (204.8 mm") cubes and dropped into the water, a surface area of 48 square inches (30 967 mm" or 309.7 em") of ice is exposed to the water. The finely divided particles of ice absorb heat more rapidly. This same principle applies to water in the liquid state. Another characteristic of water that is sometimes an aid to fire fighting is its expansion capability when converted into steam. This expansion helps cool the fire area by driving heat and smoke from the area. This steam, however, can cau e serious burn injuries to firefighters and occupants. The amount of expansion varies with the temperatures of the fire area. At 212F (lOOC), water expands approximately 1,700 times its original volume (Figure 2). To illustrate steam expansion, consider a nozzle discharging 150 gallons (568 L) of water fog every minute into an area heated to approximately 500F (260C), causing the water fog convert into steam. During one minute of operation, 20 cubic feet (0.57 m") of water is discharged ana vaporized. This 20 cubic feet (0.57 m") 0: water expands to approximately 48,000 cubic feet (1359 m") of steam. This is enough steam to fill a room approximately 10 feet (3 m) high, 5 feet (15 m) wide, and 96 feet (29 m) long (Figure 13.3). In hotter atmospheres, steam expand seven greater volumes.

Figure 2: Waters expansion rate makes it very effective for fire extinguishment. Steam expansion is not gradual, but rapid. :u a room is already full of smoke and gases, the steam that is generated displaces these gases when adequate ventilation openings are provided. As the room cools, the steam condenses and allows the room to refill with cooler air (Figure 3). The use of a fog stream in a direct or combination fire attack requires that adequate ventilation be provided ahead of the hoseline (see Chapter 14, Fire Control). Otherwise, there is a high possibility of steam or even fire rollin back over and around the hose team, and the potential for injury is great. There are some observable results of the proper application of a water fire stream into a room: Fire is extinguished or reduced in size, visibility may be maintained, and room temperature is reduced. The steam produced by a fire stream can also be an aid to fire extinguishment by smothering, which is accomplished when the expansion of steam reduces oxygen in a confined space. Several characteristics of water that are extremely valuable for fire extinguishment are as follows:

Water is readily available and inexpensive. Water has a greater heat-absorbing capacity than other common extinguishing agents. Water changing into steam requires a relatively large amount of heat.

BAF 4.7 - 3

The greater the surface area of the water exposed, the more rapidly heat is absorbed.

Figure 3: Steam will disperse the products of combustion from an enclosed area with adequate ventilation. PRESSURE LOSS/GAIN To produce effective fire streams, it is necessary to know the effects of factors affecting pressure loss and gain. Two important factors that affect pressure loss and gain in a fire stream are friction loss and elevation. Pressure changes are possible due to friction loss in hose and appliances. A loss or gain in pressure may result due to elevation and the direction of water flow uphill or downhill. FRICTION LOSS A definition of friction loss as it relates to water fire streams is as follows: Friction loss is that part of total pressure that is lost while forcing water through pipes, fittings, fire hose, and adapters. The difference ill pressure on a hoseline between the nozzle and the pumper (excluding pressure lost due to a change in elevation between the two; see Elevation Loss/Gain section) is a good example of friction loss. Friction loss can be measured by inserting in-line gauges at different points in a hoseline (Figure 4). The difference in the pressures between gauges when water is flowing through the hose is the friction loss for the length of hose between those gauges for that rate of flow. One point to consider in applying pressure to water in a hoseline is that there is a limit to the velocity or speed at which the water can travel. If the velocity is increased beyond these limits, the friction becomes so great that the water in the hoseline is agitated by resistance. Certain characteristics of hose layouts such as hose size and length of the lay also affect friction loss. In order to reduce pressure loss due to friction, consider the following guidelines: Check for rough linings in fire hose. Replace damaged hose couplings. Eliminate sharp bends in hose when possible. Use adapters to make hose connections only when necessary. Keep nozzles and valves fully open when operating hoselines. Use proper size hose gaskets for the hose selected. Use short hoselines as much as possible.

BAF 4.7 - 4

Use larger hose (for example, increase from booster hose to 1%- inch [45 mm] hose or from 1 %-inch [45 mm] hose to 2%-inch [65 mm] hose) or multiple lines when flow must be increased. Reduce the amount of flow (for example, change nozzle tips or reduce flow setting).

Figure 4: Frictional Loss. ELEVATION LOSS/GAIN Elevation refers to the position of an object above or below ground level. In a fire fighting operation, elevation refers to the position of the nozzle in relation to the pumping apparatus, which is at ground level. Elevation pressure refers to a gain or loss in a hoseline caused by a change in elevation. When a nozzle is above the fire pump, there is a pressure loss (Figure 5). When the nozzle is below the pump, there is a pressure gain. These losses and gains occur because of gravity.

Figure 5: Elevation Pressure Loss WATER HAMMER When the flow of water through fire hose or pipe is suddenly stopped, the resulting surge is referred to as water hammer. Water hammer can often be heard as a distinct sharp clank, very much like a hammer striking a pipe. This sudden stopping results in a change in

BAF 4.7 - 5

the direction of energy. This energy creates excessive pressures that can cause considerable damage to water mains, plumbing, fire hose, hydrants, and fire pumps. Operate nozzle controls, hydrants, valves, and hose clamps slowly to prevent water hammer (Figure 6).

Water Hammer Hits Everything


Pump Piping

Figure 6: Water hammer can cause damage to all parts of the water system and to fire equipment. WATER FIRE STREAM PATTERNS AND NOZZLES A water fire stream is identified by its size and type. The size refers to the volume of water flowing per minute; the type indicates a specific pattern of water. Fire streams are classified into one of three sizes: low-volume streams, handline streams, and master streams. The rate of discharge of a fire stream is measured in gallons per minute (gpm) or liters per minute (L'min). Low-volume stream - Discharges less than 40 gpm (160 L'min) including those fed by booster hoselines. Handline stream - Supplied by 1 Vz- to 3 inch (38 mm to 77 mm) hose, which flows from 40 to 350 gpm (160 L1min to 1400 LI min), Nozzles with flows in excess of 350 gpm (1400 L'min) are not recommended for handlines. Master stream - Discharges more than 350 gpm (1400 Llmin) and is fed by multiple. 2%- or 3-inch (65 mm or 77 mrn) hoselines or large diameter hoselines connected to a master stream nozzle. Master streams are large-volume fire streams.

The volume of water discharged is determined by the design of the nozzle and the pressure at the nozzle. It is essential for a fire stream to deliver a volume of water sufficient to absorb heat more rapidly than it is generated. Fire stream patterns must have sufficient volume to penetrate the heated area. If a low-volume nozzle producing finely divided particles is used where heat is generated faster than it is absorbed, extinguishment will not be accomplished until the fuel is completely consumed or its supply is turned off. The type of fire stream indicates a specific pattern of water needed for a specific job. There are three major types of fire stream patterns: solid, fog, and broken (Figure 7).

BAF 4.7 - 6

Figure 7: Fire stream pattern. HANDLING SOLID STREAM NOZZLES When water flows from the nozzle, the reaction is equally strong in the opposite direction, thus a force pushes back on the person handling the hoseline (nozzle reaction). This reaction is caused by the velocity and quantity of the stream, which acts against the nozzle and the curves in the hose,' making the nozzle difficult to handle. The greater the nozzle discharge pressure, the greater the resulting nozzle reaction. HANDLING FOG STREAM NOZZLES Although nozzle designs differ, the water pattern that is produced by the nozzle setting may affect the ease with which a particular nozzle is operated. Fire stream nozzles, in general, are not easy to control. If water travels at angles to the direct line of discharge, the reaction forces may be made to more or less counterbalance each other and reduce the nozzle reaction. This balancing of forces is the reason why a wide-angle fog pattern can be handled more easily than a straight-stream pattern. BROKEN STREAM A broken stream is a stream of water that has been broken into coarsely divided drops (Figure 8). While a solid stream may become a broken stream past the point of break over, a true broken stream takes on that form as it exits the nozzle. The coarse drops of a broken stream absorb more heat per gallon (liter) than a solid stream, and a broken stream has greater reach and penetration than a fog stream, so it can be the most effective stream in certain situations. Firefighters use broken streams most often on fires in confined spaces, such as those in belowground areas, attics, and wall spaces. Because a broken stream may have sufficient continuity to conduct electricity, it is not recommended for use on Class C fires.

BAF 4.7 - 7

Figure 8: A broken stream nozzle with applicator FOAM APPLICATION TECHNIQUES It is important to use the correct techniques when manually applying foam from handline or master stream nozzles. If incorrect techniques are used, such as plunging the foam into a liquid fuel, the effectiveness of the foam is reduced. The techniques for applying foam to a liquid fuel fire or spill include: a. b. c. Roll-on method. Band-down method. Rain-down method.

Roll-On Method The roll-on method directs the foam stream on the ground near the front edge of a burning liquid pool (Figure 9). The foam then rolls across the surface of the fuel. A firefighter continues to apply foam until it spreads across the entire surface of the fuel and the fire is extinguished. It may be necessary to move the stream to different positions along the edge of a liquid spill to cover the entire pool. This method is used only on a pool of liquid fuel (either ignited or unignited) on the open ground.

Figure 9: Roll-on method

BAF 4.7 - 8

Bank-Down Method The bank -down method may be employed when an elevated object is near or within the area of a burning pool of liquid or an unignited liquid spill. The object may be a wall, tank shell, or similar structure. The foam stream is directed off the object, allowing the foam to run down onto the surface of the fuel (Figure 10). As with the roll-on method, it may be necessary to direct the stream off various points around the fuel area to achieve total coverage and extinguishment of the fuel. This method is used primarily in dike fires and fires involving spills around damaged or overturned transport vehicles.

Figure 10: Band-down method Rain-Down Method The rain-down method is used when the other two methods are not feasible because of either the size of the spill area (either ignited or unignited) or the lack of an object from which to bank the foam. It is also the primary manual application technique used on aboveground storage tank fires. This method directs the stream into the air above the fire or spill and allows the foam to float gently down onto the surface of the fuel (Figure 11). On small fires, a firefighter sweeps the stream back and forth over the entire surface of the fuel until the fuel is completely covered and the fire is extinguished. On large fires, it may be more effective for the firefighter to direct the stream at one location to allow the foam to take effect there and then work its way out from that point.

Figure 11: Rain-down method FOAM HAZARDS

BAF 4.7 - 9

Foam concentrates, either at full strengths or in diluted forms, pose minimal health risks to firefighters. In both forms, foam concentrates may be mildly irritating to the skin and eyes. Affected areas should be flushed with water. Some concentrates and their vapors may be harmful if ingested or inhaled. Consult the various manufacturers' material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for information on specific foam concentrates. When discussing environmental impact, the primary concern is the impact of the finished foam after it has been applied to a fire or liquid fuel spill. CONCLUSION It is important for fire fighters to master fire stream in order to fight fire effectively, without understanding the knowledge of fire stream it is really hard for them to choose and apply the extinguish techniques using water or extinguishing agent.

BAF 4.7 - 10