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Fire Fighting - Essay Example

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The essay "Fire Fighting" analyzes firefighting techniques and discusses training on fire behavior and organizational change in the management of fires. The process of firefighting needs to be a well-coordinated effort with proper communication among team members…
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Fire Fighting
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Fire Fighting Fire Fighting The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Under Laboratories (UL) drafted newer ways of modern day fire fighting replacing the old traditional fire fighting techniques. This is in line with the modern structural architecture of buildings and residential houses. In a seven part series of video presentations, Stephen Kerber, Daniel Madrzykowski, and Derek Alkonis discuss how fire should be approached, controlled and attacked. NIST and UL have conducted extensive research to understand the dynamics of fire and how it behaves to different fire-ground firefighting techniques. Arguably, the two organizations have taken firefighting tactics to a higher level meeting the 21st century needs. But what exactly do they propose in the newer methods?
To begin with, it is important to understand the dynamics of fire and its interactions with the environment. By definition, fire is a product of an exothermic reaction that results in the emission of heat and light. On the other hand, fire dynamics is evaluation of how the science of fire, the chemistry, the material science, fluid mechanics and principles of heat transfer influence the behavior of fire (Gorbett & James , 2011). In addition, Alkonis notes that the process of fire development is a function of several factors. For instance, fuel properties, quantity, location of fire, ventilation, the volume and height of the compartment and prevailing conditions such as temperature and wind significantly influence the dynamics of a fire (Alkonis, 2015).
Secondly, Kerber observes that changes in modern day fire environment present significant challenges to the old traditional firefighting techniques. Further, he argues that the traditional methods may not always be the most effective and the safest. Modern day homes are larger, have different geometry, built with newer construction materials and have a higher synthetic fuel loads. Moreover, the newer materials can increase the speed of fire development as they present a potential of a ventilation-limited fire (Kerber, 2015).
Thirdly, Madrzykowski explores fire dynamics and discusses different case studies on fire dynamics. He brings forth different fire scenarios and how development and progression of fire is influenced by different factors. For instance, ventilation influences the progression of fire. In a closed compartment, heated gases mix with oxygen resulting in a flaming combustion. However, as the oxygen gets depleted, the fire decays. The heat emitted from the fire decreases and consequently the temperature decreases. When oxygen is introduced into the compartment, either through opening of a window or a door, the heated gases mix with the oxygen and as a result the energy levels begin to rise. Such a change in ventilation can lead to a flashover (Madrzykowski , 2015).
Lastly, Alkonis and Madrzykowski discuss training on fire behavior and organizational change in the management of fires. To enhance safety and survivability, they recommend application of water as soon as possible, limiting opening of doors and windows, closing all doors and windows, identification of fire location, extent and characteristics of the smoke as well as identifying and interrupting the flow path (Madrzykowski & Alkonis, 2015). Importantly, the process of fire fighting needs to be a well coordinated effort with proper communication among team members (Kerber, Madrzykowski, & Alkonis, 2015). In summary, NIST and UL’s research has revolutionized firefighting and introduced change in modern day fire service. Undoubtedly, the changes are likely to stay for generations to come.
Gorbett, G., & James , P. (2011). Fire Dynamics. Kentucky: Pearson.
Kerber, S., Madrzykowski, D., & Alkonis, D. (2015, August 3). NIST and UL research fire behavior and fireground tactics. Retrieved August 3, 2015, from FireRescue 1: Read More
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