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1 The ART of Reading Smoke Developed by: Dave Dodson.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The ART of Reading Smoke Developed by: Dave Dodson."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The ART of Reading Smoke Developed by: Dave Dodson

2 2 Why “Read” Smoke? To determine “HOW MUCH” fire

3 3 Why “Read” Smoke? To help find the LOCATION of the fire To help find the LOCATION of the fire

4 4 Why “Read” Smoke? To help predict COLLAPSE potential

5 5 Why “Read” Smoke? To help PRIORITIZE Strategies & Tactics

6 6 Why “Read” Smoke? To PROTECT Firefighters from a To PROTECT Firefighters from a “HOSTILE FIRE EVENT” To PROTECT Firefighters from a To PROTECT Firefighters from a “HOSTILE FIRE EVENT”

7 7 The “ADVANCED” Basics Concept #1: Smoke is Fuel Particulates Aerosols Gases

8 8 The “ADVANCED” Basics Concept #2: Fuels have changed: Mass and Make-up!

9 9 The “ADVANCED” Basics Concept #3: Smoke has trigger points: Flash PointFlash Point Fire PointFire Point Ignition TemperatureIgnition Temperature Concept #3: Smoke has trigger points: Flash PointFlash Point Fire PointFire Point Ignition TemperatureIgnition Temperature

10 10 The “ADVANCED” Basics How does “flammable range” factor in?

11 11 Flammable Range & the Three Fires Too Lean... Too Rich... Just Right...

12 12 The “ADVANCED” Basics Need to be able to determine... What stage is the fire in…What stage is the fire in… Is the “box” absorbing heat? Laminar vs. Turbulent smoke flowIs the “box” absorbing heat? Laminar vs. Turbulent smoke flow Need to be able to determine... What stage is the fire in…What stage is the fire in… Is the “box” absorbing heat? Laminar vs. Turbulent smoke flowIs the “box” absorbing heat? Laminar vs. Turbulent smoke flow

13 13 “ HOSTILE ” Fire Events FlashoverFlashover BackdraftBackdraft Smoke ExplosionSmoke Explosion Rapid Fire SpreadRapid Fire Spread FlashoverFlashover BackdraftBackdraft Smoke ExplosionSmoke Explosion Rapid Fire SpreadRapid Fire Spread

14 14 FLASHOVER WARNING SIGNS:  Turbulent Smoke  “Rollover”  Auto Ignition outside Smoke –Cloud Ignition is likely after flashover WARNING SIGNS:  Turbulent Smoke  “Rollover”  Auto Ignition outside Smoke –Cloud Ignition is likely after flashover

15 15 BACKDRAFT Remember – Backdraft is triggered by O2 being introduced to a pressurized “box”  Yellowish-grey smoke  Whistling  Bowing windows  “Sealed” containers Remember – Backdraft is triggered by O2 being introduced to a pressurized “box”  Yellowish-grey smoke  Whistling  Bowing windows  “Sealed” containers

16 16 SMOKE EXPLOSION Remember – A Smoke Explosion is a spark or flame applied to a mixture below its ignition temperature  Trapped gases in upper areas  Growing fire  Increasing smoke density  Air intake overtaking smoke exiting Remember – A Smoke Explosion is a spark or flame applied to a mixture below its ignition temperature  Trapped gases in upper areas  Growing fire  Increasing smoke density  Air intake overtaking smoke exiting

17 17 RAPID FIRE SPREAD Usually “Container” Influenced Fuel for fire spread is smoke driven vs. contents surface flaming Look for fast-moving smoke in high pressure zones (stairs and hallways) Look for fast-moving smoke in high pressure zones (stairs and hallways) Usually “Container” Influenced Fuel for fire spread is smoke driven vs. contents surface flaming Look for fast-moving smoke in high pressure zones (stairs and hallways) Look for fast-moving smoke in high pressure zones (stairs and hallways)

18 18 “ Reading Smoke” Observations are typically made from outside - inside observations hide the “real” picture.Observations are typically made from outside - inside observations hide the “real” picture.

19 19 “ Reading Smoke” Nothing is absoluteNothing is absolute Visible FIRE is easy to read - look past it for the real storyVisible FIRE is easy to read - look past it for the real story Compare vent openingsCompare vent openings Nothing is absoluteNothing is absolute Visible FIRE is easy to read - look past it for the real storyVisible FIRE is easy to read - look past it for the real story Compare vent openingsCompare vent openings

20 20 The ART of Reading Smoke A 4-STEP PROCESS to help predict fire behavior and hostile events

21 21 Step 1: Evaluate Key Factors VolumeVolume Velocity (Pressure)Velocity (Pressure) DensityDensity ColorColor VolumeVolume Velocity (Pressure)Velocity (Pressure) DensityDensity ColorColor

22 22 VOLUME  Always relative to the “Box”  Tells “how much” fuel has off- gassed  Sets the Stage  Always relative to the “Box”  Tells “how much” fuel has off- gassed  Sets the Stage

23 23 VELOCITY (Pressure)  How fast is the smoke leaving?  Can indicate volume or heat  Helps find the location of the actual fire

24 24 DENSITY  Most Important Factor  Quality of Burning  Continuity of Fuel  Likelihood of an event  “Degree” of the Event

25 25 COLOR  Rarely tells “material burning”  Stage of Heating  Location of Fire  Amount of Flaming  “Brown” Smoke  “Black Fire”

26 26 “BLACK FIRE” “Black Fire” is the term we give to High Volume, High Velocity, Extremely Dense, Black Smoke. It is the sure sign of impending flashover – VENT & COOL are your only choices.

27 27 Step 2: Weigh Factors Container (most important factor)Container (most important factor) Thermal BalanceThermal Balance WeatherWeather Firefighting effortsFirefighting efforts Container (most important factor)Container (most important factor) Thermal BalanceThermal Balance WeatherWeather Firefighting effortsFirefighting efforts

28 28 Step 3: Judge the Rate of Change How fast are SMOKE conditions getting better or worse?

29 29 Step 4: Predict the EVENT Consider that: One hostile event can - and usually will - lead to another event.One hostile event can - and usually will - lead to another event. Communicate your observations.Communicate your observations. Warning Signs are not always visual – use your KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE.Warning Signs are not always visual – use your KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS… Consider that: One hostile event can - and usually will - lead to another event.One hostile event can - and usually will - lead to another event. Communicate your observations.Communicate your observations. Warning Signs are not always visual – use your KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE.Warning Signs are not always visual – use your KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS…

30 30 Some other “Tricks” When you open a door or window - watch what the smoke does – and what the fresh air does!

31 31 Some other “Tricks” A 5-second change in any key factor means an event has taken place – the key is to define what event has taken place and to forecast what will likely happen next.

32 32 THE ART OF READING SMOKE Some Examples

33 33

34 34 Special THANKS to: Mike Scott, Battalion Chief, Kent (WA) Fire David Ross, Chief of Safety, Toronto Fire Services Peter McBride, Shift Safety Chief, Ottawa Fire Mike Scott, Battalion Chief, Kent (WA) Fire David Ross, Chief of Safety, Toronto Fire Services Peter McBride, Shift Safety Chief, Ottawa Fire

35 35

36 36 Be Safe – Make it Safe


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