Fire Banner

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Flashover Training

And yet again the Lothian & Borders Fire & Rescue Service has played host to a couple of University of Edinburgh ‘boffins’. This time however, they would be crawling into a steel shipping container to watch an indoor bonfire…

I somehow managed to video the event, however some parts I couldn't film properly without my camera melting.
For example, at one point you hear the instructor shouting “close the vent!” at which point the chimney above us shuts and flames shoot overhead, just about cooking me and my camera. I hit the deck and accidentally hit the zoom button. When I recover there is a firefighter ready to “knock back” the fire with a hose. Good thing someone knew what they were doing!

Shortly after I ditched the camera out the back of the unit and shuffled forward towards the flames. When I got there the instructor called me forward and handed me the hose. “Close the vent!” (Flames immediately start shooting overhead) “Wait...” he says. “Let it get going…Now!”
I started spraying water around. Too much. The atmosphere immediately filled with steam, the temperature increased, the smoke layer dropped and the pressurise in the compartment squeezed my head. Oops. Guess I should've listened to the briefing a bit more carefully. ‘Use as little water as possible’…Got it.
I was lucky I got to shuffle to the back again and ‘cool’ off. The temperature inside the compartment was about 750C at head height and a mere 250C down where we were crouching. I don't know how else to say this, but it was hot. (I mean, just imagine sitting inside an oven on full heat, while wearing a ski-suit).

The day was meant as a trial run for November, where I plan to
organise a repeat of the demonstration/experience with a larger group from UoE. Whether this goes ahead or not will depend largely on whether LBFRS will be willing to commit any more of their time and resources. Although from what I gather they are more than happy to demonstrate their knowledge of compartment fire dynamics!

I believe these days have been very effective in strengthening the links between academia and firefighters, and in breaking (and confirming :) stereotypes from both sides. Many thanks again to Kenny, John and Des from the SIFTC. Cheers guys.

Watch the full video on YouTube.


1 comment:

KP Wolnicki said...

Great video. Always good to see a properly recorded and well presented fire...