In France, fire protection is administered in sectors, except in Paris, where the fire department is operated by the Sapeurs-Pompiers, a brigade of the French army, and in Marseille, where it is administered by the navy.
The Japanese government administers 43 regional and 3 metropolitan fire departments. In Denmark, local governments contract for fire-fighting services with companies under supervision of the Ministry of Justice. In Germany, professional fire brigades operate in large cities; volunteer brigades serve the small towns.
In all industrial countries fire fighters undergo training, beginning with probationary fire fighters' school and continuing throughout a fire fighter's career. Great Britain has several fire training centers.
Firefighter Facts for Kids
In some European countries fire protection and fire fighting are among the courses included in teaching safety engineering. International fire service and fire protection associations bring together leaders of the fire services of many nations. Most fire fighting consists of applying water to the burning material, cooling it to the point at which combustion is no longer self-sustaining. Fires involving flammable liquids, certain chemicals, and combustible metals often require special extinguishing agents and techniques.
With some fuels the use of water may actually be dangerous.
- The History of Fire Fighting!
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- The History of Fire Fighting.
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The first fire engines, which appeared in the 17th century, were simply tubs carried on runners, long poles, or wheels; water was still supplied to the fire site by bucket brigade. The tub functioned as a reservoir and sometimes housed a hand-operated pump that forced water through a pipe or nozzle to waiting buckets. The invention of a hand-stitched leather hosepipe in the Netherlands about enabled fire fighters to work closer to the fire without endangering their engines and to increase the accuracy of water placement.
At about the same time the development of pumping devices made it possible to draw water from rivers and ponds. In the early 19th century copper rivets replaced the stitching on hoses, and m ft lengths coupled with brass fittings enabled fire fighters to convey water through narrow passages, up stairways, and into buildings, while the pumps operated in the street. Cotton-covered rubber hose was developed around The steam-pump fire engine, introduced in London in by John Ericsson and John Braithwaite, was used in many large cities by the s. Most steam pumpers were equipped with reciprocating piston pumps, although a few rotary pumps were used.
Some were self-propelled, but most used horses for propulsion, conserving steam pressure for the pump. Steam fire engines were used in fighting the Chicago fire of With the development of the internal-combustion engine early in the 20th century, pumpers became motorized. Because of problems in adapting geared rotary gasoline engines to pumps, the first gasoline-powered fire engines had two motors, one to drive the pump and the other to propel the vehicle. The first pumper using a single engine for pumping and propulsion was manufactured in the United States in By the steam pumper had been completely replaced by motorized pumpers.
The pumps were originally of the piston or reciprocating type, but these were gradually replaced by rotary pumps and finally by centrifugal pumps, used by most modern pumpers. At the same time, the pumper acquired its main characteristics: a powerful pump that can supply water in a large range of volumes and pressures; several thousand feet of fire hose, with short lengths of large-diameter hose for attachment to hydrants; and a water tank for the initial attack on a fire while fire fighters connect the pump to hydrants, and for areas where no water supply is available.
In rural areas, pumpers carry suction hose to draw water from rivers and ponds. Current standards for pumper fire apparatus require that a fire pump have a minimum capacity of liters gal per minute at a pump pressure of They also call for a water tank capacity of at least liters gal. Auxiliary vehicles are equipped with specialized equipment for effecting rescue, ventilating buildings, and salvage. Aerial ladders that typically extend to Other more basic equipment includes axes, shovels, picks, battering rams, power saws, hooks, and wrenches.
Elevating platform trucks can raise fire fighters and equipment, including the water delivery system, as high as Rescue trucks carry a wide assortment of specialized emergency equipment, including the type that might be used in building collapses and cave-ins. Field communications units carry sophisticated electronic equipment for use in managing fire and emergency operations. Salvage trucks carry implements for reducing water damage, including large waterproof covers, dewatering devices, and tools for shutting off water flow from sprinkler heads. Hazardous materials response units are staffed with specially trained personnel equipped with protective clothing and monitoring devices for use at chemical spills and similar incidents.
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Shipboard fires present special problems ranging from small fires in cabin cruisers to tanker fires involving thousands of metric tons of oil. Some of the special problems include complicated ship layouts, the danger of capsizing, and the difficulty of pinpointing and gaining access to the source of the fire. Fireboats, in sizes ranging from small, high-speed, jet-propelled rescue craft to large fire tugs, carry substantially all the fire-fighting equipment found on land apparatus.
These include pumps, ladders, and rescue equipment, as well as special equipment necessary for marine fire fighting and water rescues, including rotating and angled nozzles, portable pumps, floating booms, foam-making apparatus, and special extinguishers such as carbon dioxide systems. The basic tactics of fighting a fire can be divided into the following categories: rescue operations, protection of buildings exposed to the fire, confinement of the fire, extinguishing the fire, and salvage operations.
The officer in charge, usually designated as the fireground commander, surveys the area and evaluates the relative importance of these categories. The commander also estimates what additional assistance or apparatus may be needed. Rescue operations are always given priority. Fire fighter safety has assumed increasing importance.
Once the fireground commander has appraised the situation, fire fighters and equipment are deployed. Pumper, ladder, and other truck companies, as well as rescue squads, are assigned to different areas of the fire, usually in accordance with the number and types of hose streams the fireground commander considers necessary to control the fire and prevent its spread. In accordance with standard procedure for first alarms, fire companies go immediately to their assigned locations without waiting for specific orders.
Firefighter facts for kids
Special plans cover contingencies such as a fire covering a large area, a large building, or a particularly hazardous location. Usually on a first alarm one of the pumpers attacks the fire as quickly as possible, using preconnected hose lines supplied by the water tank in the truck, while larger hose lines are being attached to the hydrants. Members of the ladder and rescue companies force their way into the building, search for victims, ventilate the structure-break windows or cut holes in the roof to allow smoke and heat to escape-and perform salvage operations.
Ventilating the structure helps to advance the hose lines with greater safety and ease, and also serves to safeguard persons who may still be trapped in the building. Brightly burning fires principally generate heat, but smoldering fires also produce combustible gases that need only additional oxygen to burn with explosive force. The hazards to which fire fighters and occupants of a burning building are exposed include the breathing of superheated air, toxic smoke and gases, and oxygen-deficient air, as well as burns, injuries from jumping or falling, broken glass, falling objects, or collapsing structures.
Handling a hose is difficult even before the line is charged with water under pressure. Nozzle reaction forces can amount to several hundred pounds, requiring the efforts of several people to direct a stream of water. Various nozzles are capable of projecting solid, heavy streams of water, curtains of spray, or fog.
Fire trucks carry a selection of nozzles, which are used according to the amount of heat that must be absorbed. Nozzles can apply water in the form of streams, spray, or fog at rates of flow between 57 liters 15 gal to more than liters more than gal per minute. Straight streams of water have greater reach and penetration, but fog absorbs heat more quickly because the water droplets present a greater surface area and distribute the water more widely.
Fog nozzles may be used to disperse vapors from flammable liquids, although foam is generally used to extinguish fires in flammable liquids. A variety of chemicals may be added to water to improve its ability to extinguish fires. Wetting agents added to water can reduce its surface tension. This makes the water more penetrating and facilitates the formation of small drops necessary for rapid heat absorption. By adding foam-producing chemicals and liquids to water, a fire-blanketing foam is produced. Foam is used to extinguish fires in combustible liquids, such as oil, petroleum, and tar, and for fighting fires at airports, refineries, and petroleum distribution facilities.
A chemical additive can expand the volume of foam times. This high-expansion foam-water solution is useful in fighting fires in basements and other difficult-to-reach areas because the fire can be smothered quickly with relatively little water damage. This term refers to the methods by which fire fighters protect merchandise, household goods, and the interiors of buildings from smoke and water damage.
Objects are covered with waterproof covers, and water is removed by water vacuums, mops, squeegees, water chutes, and portable pumps. Almost all fire departments carry salvage equipment in their apparatus. Fire departments in some large cities maintain special salvage companies. Forest fires, often called wildland fires, are spread by the transfer of heat, in this case to grass, brush, shrubs, and trees. Because it is frequently difficult to extinguish a forest fire by attacking it directly, the principal effort of forest fire fighters is often directed toward controlling its spread by creating a gap, or firebreak, across which fire cannot move.
Firebreaks are made, and the fire crews attempt to stop the fire by several methods: trenching, direct attack with hose streams, aerial bombing, spraying of fire-retarding chemicals, and controlled back-burning.
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As much as possible, advantage is taken of streams, open areas, and other natural obstacles when establishing a firebreak. Wide firebreaks may be dug with plows and bulldozers. The sides of the firebreaks are soaked with water or chemicals to slow the combustion process. Some parts of the fire may be allowed to burn themselves out. Fire-fighting crews must be alert to prevent outbreaks of fire on the unburned side of the firebreaks. Fire-fighting crews are trained and organized to handle fires covering large areas. They establish incident command posts, commissaries, and supply depots.
Two-way radios are used to control operations, and airplanes are employed to drop supplies as well as chemicals. Helicopters serve as command posts and transport fire fighters and their equipment to areas that cannot be reached quickly on the ground. Some severe wildfires have required more than 10, fire fighters to be engaged at the same time. The U. Forest Service maintains research laboratories, which develop improved fire-fighting equipment and techniques, and a school that trains fire fighters in the latest fire-fighting techniques.
International conferences on wildland fire prevention and fire fighting have been held with greater frequency in recent years. Commercial and industrial buildings usually have some sort of internal, or private, fire-protection system installed. A sprinkler system is an integrated system of underground and overhead piping, designed in accordance with fire protection engineering standards, and connected to one or more automatic water supplies.
The system is usually activated by heat from a fire, and the sprinkler heads then discharge water over the fire area. Sprinkler systems are nearly percent effective. They also often voted as a bloc, and thus acquired political power. One young man is reported to have considered joining a local church, but decided to join a volunteer fire company instead.
The social and political benefits of membership kept the volunteers strong until the time of the Civil War. Many volunteer firemen fought in the war, and sometimes an entire company went in as a regiment. But the disturbances of the war broke the continuity of spirit and power of the volunteer firemen, and both their resistance to and their power to resist a paid fire department were greatly decreased by the war.