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Fire-Fighting with Wetter Water

here is another new step in the art of
firefighting the science of fire extinguish for years the axiom has
been water puts out fires every step has been toward getting two fires quicker
and placing more and more water on each fire in the last 25 years fire engines
have developed from horse-drawn carts to the highly efficient apparatus seen in
this parade of the New Haven Connecticut fire department alarm systems now tell
of a fire in a few seconds electronic controls bring fire companies speeding
to the scene of a blaze and the fire service itself has improved its methods
of attack watch that squad truck going to action the line was drawn off even
before the truck stop there’s the call for water the attack begins the men are
going in there goes that line into the building in action in just a few seconds
now in comes the aerial ladder another engineering step in improving the attack
on fire watch the men in this demonstration at New Haven each company
is an efficient highly trained team of firefighters the fire service and fire
equipment manufacturers have developed better pumps hose nozzles ladders
engines hi precious stream high and low pressure fog several kinds of form
venting and scaling operations and many other devices and techniques to aid in
firefighting here you see this coordinated attack of men and machines
piranhas can work together this is modern firefighting but all these
improvements are designed to get more water on the fire to get more water in
there where it will cool and extinguish the fire we have improved everything
except the water the only thing that touches the fire we can break it up into
fog to make it more effective and here is an improved fog nozzle being tested
but what else can we do the water is it as good as it should be here are two
streams of water they look alike but what a difference on the right is plain
water but on the left is a new step forward in fire extinguish Minh
this is wetter water let’s look at it more closely improving water is the job
of the chemist for both fire and fire extinguish Minh our chemical reactions
here at a laboratory of carbide and carbon chemicals corporation chemists
have made miraculous changes in water for firefighting they have given water
to two new qualities it spreads and covers it penetrates here’s a
demonstration of the new spreading quality on wall board compare the ink
spots in the upper left-hand corners of these two test setups see how the ink
spreads in the wetter water here is further proof look at those rivulets of
water going down that incline surface this is plain water here’s treated or
wetter water and look at the complete coverage on a burning surface that means
no islands of fire left untouched this is important but more important to
firefighting is the new penetrating action here are two beakers of water a
small amount of you knocks penetrant is party to one and thoroughly mixed now a
cotton ball is dropped into the plane untreated water look at it it floats now
a ball was into the wetter water down it goes wet through in a second watch again
compare these results one floats indefinitely the other sink immediately
the two on the plane water sit up there like ducks the two in the wetter water
show the new penetration that chemistry has given water but let’s not confine
ourselves to laboratory tests here’s a cotton Bale at the testing grounds at
institute west virginia this Bale was burned for four hours and here’s mr.
James J Dugan of carbide and carbon chemicals corporation applying plain
water he gave up after applying four hundred gallons here’s the Bale hours
later still burning now watch the action of wetter water on this burning bail
look at it go in see how it blackens the ash wherever it hits it gets to the
heart of a cotton fire and puts it out this Bale was extinguished with only 15
gallons and all the unburned cotton was salvageable
this same scene has been repeated in cotton mills many times now we see this
new penetrating action on a different material this interesting test shows the
ability of wetter water to penetrate through wall board which is normally
water repellent duplicate tests of this kind were run first you see plain water
being applied to the front of a board while fire burns up the reverse side
this water was applied for 20 minutes the fire is still burning up the back of
the board you can see where the fire burned through despite the plain water
application there is no penetration through the board although plain water
was continuously applied to the front of the board now the plain water is applied
to the reverse side to keep the board from being completely consumed notice
how the plain water runs down and does not penetrate the char now the board is
pretty wet and the fire is ours watch the wetter water test the amount of
water per minute applied to each of these boards was the same but see the
quick penetrating cooling action of the water with only one percent units
penetrance it goes right through the board and puts out the fire on the other
side at no time was wetter water applied to the back of the board you can see
that that fire is out here is the comparison on the left is the bore that
was extinguished by applying plain water on both sides you can see where it
burned right through and it would certainly have been entirely consumed if
water had not been applied to both sides on the right you see the board that was
extinguished by wetter water applied to one side only at the University of
Maryland we again see this new penetrating action tested here are
judges and timers observing a test of whether water versus plain water on
sawdust veil this test is with plain water the bail is primed and lighted
timers are ready and now it is attacked with plain water there is little steam
evidence he’s still pouring water in there there’s a lot of runoff and it
takes quite a while to put out the fire now a judge feels the sawdust and finds
that only surface wedding was obtained now watch a similar fire put out with
wetter water look at that steam plenty of cooling action even on this small
fire out it goes in one part of the time and here are the results of the test
look at this 46 seconds were required for extinguishment using plain water
while only 12 seconds were needed using wetter water not one quart of a time and
look at the comparison of the amounts of water used 17 gallons of plain water
against only three and a half gallons of winter water only one-fifth as much
wetter water and here are comparative wallboard tests run at the University of
Maryland the fire is lighted and is now burning up the back of the board this is
wetter water being applied through a low-pressure fog nozzle see that
penetration and cooling action by applying water to one side it puts the
fire out on the other side now the board is wet through and most of that fire is
coming up from the bottom but the board is already so wet that it is curling and
has to be supported now the fire result and the board is so
wet that it has broken in half let’s examine the wet wallboard the judge
breaks off a piece to observe the thorough penetration but look what
happened on the plain water test the board is gone but what has wetter water
given the fire service let’s go back to the laboratory to see what this new
penetration and coverage can do for you here we see two small fire starters now
both are fully involved we take plain water and pour it into the cap on the
left so at the firestarter is resting in water nothing happens nothing happens at
all it’s still burning just like the dry one at the right but now we pour winter water into the
other cap look at it knock out that fire it wasn’t even poured on the flame
that’s what you get with water made wetter with you knocks penetrant
penetration speed of knockdown and quicker extinguishment let’s see how it
works on a larger scale watch the speed of knockdown inspire the test grounds at
institute west virginia that 600 pounds of yellow pine had an eight-minute
pre-burn there goes mr. Dugan with wetter water look at that fire a
blackout he shuts down his line moves around opens up again and out goes the
other side just one turn around the crib and the fire is out now watch the same thing happen in these
two Shack fires in West Virginia there goes chief Lloyd layman of Parkersburg
West Virginia into one with plain water the fire does not go down quickly there
is little or no generation of steam there’s lots of heavy gray smoke and
plenty of work to be done before the fire is knocked down now watch a similar
fire attacked with wetter water chief layman wanted to see for himself this
new wetter water in action and you can see the difference to their see how that
fire is knocked down immediately notice how much whiter the smoke is now you can
see the heavy steam generation the flames are out the chief is able to go
in immediately without much punishment there is a great deal of steam being
generated and very little runoff in that building that shows the speed with which
wetter water knocks down and extinguishes a class a fire and the same
speed of knockdown and complete extinguishment is observed wherever
wetter water is used here’s a test at Baker Oregon now watch the complete
confidence these men have that wetter water will knock down the flames quickly
there they go in there almost in the flames there’s no fear they have
complete confidence and look at that volume of telltale steam that’s proof of
cooling action the fireman puts a burst up under that burning Eve out it goes
and even the smoking stops now what is the secret of this speed of knockdown
and quick extinguishment its coverage plus penetration all the water that hits
the fire goes into fight the heat watch this test on a piece of charred wood the
same kind of char you have in any fire involving wood there is plain water
being applied look at those drops rolling down into the pan now watch
wetter water in action no runoff look at those drops spread out and go in every
drop of wetter water that hits the fire goes in just like that see this in close-up it’s plain water
but it looks like mercury doesn’t it that’s plain water without a wetting
agent no coverage little penetration practically all run off now watch wetter
water there’s the answer first it spreads then it penetrates no runoff
this is why water plus you knocks penetrant work so fast on fires in
houses or in forests now to some more tests made at the University of Maryland
fire college by Chief James W just the judges and timers confirm the tests
that’s Roy wooly assistant editor of Fire Engineering on the right chief just
in the center and Hugh McNair of carbide and carbon chemicals corporation here we
see a more elaborate house fire test two buildings essentially the same both
containing considerable amounts of wood that’s chief roi di matteo of glen echo
maryland on the nozzle he goes in with plain water and he is driven back he’s
taking a lot of punishment from the smoke he can’t knock the fire down it’s
flashing back on him finally he’s working his way in now he’s getting in here’s the runoff that water does no
good just causes water damage and now we duplicate this fire in another Shack and
this time we use wetter water you will notice the fire is more intense in this
building it was given more of a pre burn but notice how quickly he knocks it down
he wasn’t driven back there is no flash back here he knocks the fire down
quickly and notice the generation of steam it’s tremendous that steam shows
that the water is doing its most good the fire is knocked down now he’s just
overhauling here and there the steam doesn’t bother him he isn’t taking any
punishment the runoff is hardly noticeable now the judge is move in to
examine the building and check the penetration of the wetter water there’s
a man in the shack already the fire is completely out and look at these results
one minute and nine seconds were required to put off the fire using plain
water only 39 seconds we’re needed using wetter water and see how much father
your water supply will go using wetter water 42 gallons of plain water were
needed on the one house while only 24 gallons of wetter water did a faster
extinguishing job in the other and winter water not only excels on class a
Fire’s but on Class B fires as well watch the action of wetter water on this
benzol fire in this large-scale test set up at institute west virginia here goes
a man in i’ll see how fast he knocks down the fire he drives it back across
the tank there is no flashback that wetter water is forming an unburnable
emulsion on the surface of the benzyl now he’s driven the fire to the other
side and out of gold here is the emulsion this temporary foam blanket
will not burn so there is no flashback this is why wetter water works on spill
fires and here is a series of tests at the
university of maryland on Class B fires here’s a kerosene fire again we have
directly comparative tests this 50 square feet of kerosene will be
extinguished with high-pressure fog this proved quite effective in the control of
class b fires in airplane crashes but he’s having trouble with this kerosene
it flashes back it’s hard to put out that’s a tough fire but he’s working on
it you can see that he’s unable to put that kerosene out quickly it’s a long
fight but he finally drives it into the corner and gets it out now will repeat
this test only this time with wetter water and low-pressure fog observe the
difference look at the immediate knock down the absence of flashback that’s all
out of gold now we go back to Ben’s all again with plain water we find that it
cannot be extinguished this operation continued for over two minutes without
extinguishing the Wenzel you can see he’s able to knock it down slightly and
get some cooling action in there but it cannot extinguish it it just keeps
flashing back and it continues to burn even under the fog after two minutes
this test was abandoned the fire still burning now we go to a similar fire only
this time with wetter water discharge the same pressure the same everything’s
the same except that this is wetter water and watch the difference he’s
going in on it the fire is responding immediately it’s knocked down very
quickly and now you can see only a few elements of fire on the side banks and
now the fire is out here’s that unburnable emulsion shown again that’s
what knocks out Ben’s all fires and hear the results the unsuccessful plain water
attack was discontinued after over two minutes of punishment to the man on the
nozzle winter water extinguished this fire in 13 seconds flat norm out of
plain water could put it out the bends all still burn but the fire in the
second pit was put out with only seven and three-quarter gallons of wetter
water these are the results you get with when’re water on fires in
paint and lacquer plants the unburnable emulsion kills Class B fires this is
wetter water in action the new step forward in firefighting here it is on
fuel oil in the final test look at that knockdown water that covers and
penetrates wetter water with you knocks penetrance you

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