Firefighting And The Fire Classifications Within the world of firefighting, fire is classified under five classes. This gives a better system of understanding the many types of fire that fire personnel face each day. Each class of fire is fought differently and requires a different tactic and strategy for controlling it. Each classification of fire is listed under wither an A class, B class, C class, D class, or K class. In the United Kingdom, Class k fires are also known as Class F. Class A fires are the fires that are more common in today's world of firefighting. These fires are caused by combustible materials such as wood. More commonly known fires in this class are candle fires, campfires, fires resulting from a match ignition, and also lighter ignitions. A fire triangle is what causes these fires to remain hot and consist of heat, oxygen, and a fuel source. A Class A fire requires all three to be at the right consistency or a fire can not continue. When the material becomes hot enough to cause combustion or an open flame usual.ly caused by a match or lighter, then the fire spreads to other materials around it. Oxygen is available to the flames and allows it to grow more and more dangerous. Campfires are usually a contained fire but with eh right ingredients such as a wind gust and surrounding brush, will leave the confines of the area and can spread through the forest at a fast rate. Firefighters know that with a Class A fire; the simplest way to put it out is by removing the oxygen and heat from the fire. Water is the common ingredient that does both. Some of the time a fire of this nature can be put out by using a chemical that will ultimately smother the fire. Class B fires fall under the same fire triangle but gasoline and the like are the choice of fuel and not a wood product. Class B fires do not require the use of water and need a foam or CO2 based product to extinguish it. The K Class or F class as known to the United Kingdom is really a subheading under the B Class of fires. This class deals with the use of cooking oils as a source. Fire specially designed fire extinguishers are used for this. Class C fires are fires caused by electrical devices such as defective appliances. The fire triangle in this classification is fueled by the electrical current applied to it. Water can not be used under any circumstances because the firefighters are at risk of electrocution. Many firefighters have been killed by this type of fire and the electricity traveling up the path of the water to the hose. To fight a Class C fire, the oxygen part of the fire triangle must be cut off. Firefighters use foam consisting of protein and by removing the source of electricity from the fire. Fire extinguishers have been developed to also combat this class of fire. Class D fires are known as fires dealing with metals. These metals may be in the form of magnesium, calcium, uranium, potassium, sodium, titanium, and plutonium. These metals themselves are not the main cause of the ignition but Class A fire is ignited causing the wood around it to heat to the metal. Magnesium and other metals are known to be very hot and can become as hot as 1200 degrees. Under no circumstances can these fires because the water will actually make the fire hotter. Dry powder is used to extinguish Class D fires and to smother the source of oxygen to the fire. The Art Of Firefighting Around the World Firefighting, the term brings images of martial arts and fire to mind. The fire part is correct, but there is no place for martial arts in the world of firefighting. It is definitely an art, and a skilled accomplishment for those that choose to attempt it, succeed, and are full fledged, certified firefighters. Simply put, these are the men and women that are called to put out fires, rescue people and sometimes animals. Most of us have a broad, even generalized idea of what their jobs and training entail, few of us realize the details or difficulties they must champion through on a day to day, and week to week basis. The profession of firefighting is known world wide, ranging in areas from urban and outback to cities and towns. Wherever the possibility arises for a fire to break out is where they will be. Some of them are paid for their service as professional firefighters, and some are not. Volunteers are not usually paid firefighters, but those that are referred to as "call" or "retained" are paid for the times they are called to respond to an emergency. They are not employed full time as firefighters, and most usually work other jobs. Many countries around the world use much the same system for firefighters. They have some that are full time who live at and run the fire stations, and retained firefighters that man the fire stations in emergencies. These retained and "call" firefighters have the ability and the authority to assume command at the scene of the fire if they are first responders, and may run the local career Brigade due to their training. All firemen are trained at the same levels as professional firemen. Germany is one country that takes firefighting seriously. They have volunteer fire department in every town, and although they do have career fire services, which are professional firefighters that are paid for their services. There are far fewer of these types of fire departments, though, and the volunteer fire departments most usually handle the fires everywhere. Even in the cities that have the professional firefighters, the volunteers assist them and are more than equal in their knowledge and skills. They are perhaps the most important of emergency workers, and more often than not outnumber the career firefighters; however they are still referred to as volunteer fire servicemen and women. University Firefighters are an added label to some firefighters in Venezuela. These firefighters are specifically for the universities and campuses in this country. They specifically fight fires and handle crises within the campus boundaries and certain surrounding zones that are relevant to the university. This country takes education quite seriously, both on campus and within the fire departments. They are expected to also develop new firefighting technologies and ideas, which is encouraged by their governing bodies. Almost 80% of the members of the university firefighting squads possess a degree from the university, or are currently working toward one. This alone, promises a higher level of intelligence and ability, and proves that higher education applies to all walks of life. Australian firefighters are broken into mainly two groups: volunteer brigades and career brigades. The volunteer brigades are trained similarly to those in the career brigades and are able to assume command if they arrive at the scene of a crisis first. This would involve assuming command over the local fire brigade as well, whether it is a volunteer brigade or a career brigade. These volunteer firefighters are most usually paid by their employers when called during the course of a work day. The volunteer firefighters are also able to run career fire stations in the even of an emergency. The art and profession of firefighting is much the same the world over, but one thing stands to reason -- it is far more difficult than it seems, and it is not a game. Fire Safety under the Fire Code We have all learned about fire safety, either when we were in grade school, or as adults. Some things are simply good common sense, others are not quite so obvious. What exactly do you know about fire safety? Do you know enough to save your life or those of your family members? Educating yourself and your family concerning fire safety could be the difference between life and death. Even in public buildings, being aware of the codes and laws that govern fire safety, can benefit you as well as increase the level of your safety. The local fire department most usually handles the inspection of public buildings to insure they are following the guidelines for proper fire protection measures. These members of the local fire departments are Fire Prevention Officers. They often give presentations in schools and other organized meetings to educate the public, specifically children, about fire safety. The chief FP officer is responsible for training newcomers to the division, and conducting the regulated inspections. These inspections are scheduled at certain dates and times concurrent with the age of the building being taken into consideration. Any violations of the fire code are punishable by a number of ways, and must be corrected or the building risks being shut down. This fire code is a set of rules that have been adopted by lawmakers to suit the region or area they are in, and the primary enforcers of these rules are the fire prevention officers. The fire code should not be confused with the building code. The building code is relevant to the fire code, and must build to fit occupancy rates, fire exits, etc. as specified by the fire code for that size/design building. The fire code covers the ins and outs of the design, as far as how many people may occupy the building, and even what activities may be pursued in said building. Hazards are listed by the fire code, as to which kind/ amounts are allowed and the rules for their disposal or containment as well. Any recreational exhibitions involving fire (fireworks) most usually require an additional application to be filed with the fire department and town hall for a license, either temporary or standing. The following are some of the stipulations stated in the fire codes for the average building. The maximum occupancy listing is not to be exceeded for any reason. All exits must be lit or labeled with proper signs in the event of a power outage. Fire alarms and extinguishers are mandatory not a choice. Proper/safe storage of flammable materials is also required. Flammable materials are to be stored in designated areas ONLY! Control panels for fire alarms need to be installed to allow quick detection of fires. Educate building occupants on fire safety to give these individuals the knowledge to protect themselves. Conduct mandatory fire drills randomly throughout each year to ensure everyone is on the same page with what to do in the event of a fire. These are only a small number of the rules and regulations that are to be followed in public and private buildings. The fire department is responsible for random checks to ensure that all fire codes are being followed. Due to there being so many buildings in one town, let alone an entire city or state, you can imagine how busy it keeps the Fire Inspector. Most towns now have offices that house the Fire Inspector and his or her staff, where they are easily accessible by the public concerning fire safety, fire codes, and regulations. Following the fire code for each building is not only for the safety of everyone, but also the law. Failure to follow these rules can result in stiff fines as well as having the building closed down for business either temporarily, or permanently. Because the lawmakers have our best interests at heart, they have worked to set up the fire code to best ensure the safety of everyone that enters any building anywhere. Doing our part to help would be following simple rules that are most often posted in each building. Teach your children by example, and help them possibly save their lives. Planning A Successful Fire Escape For Your Home One of the ways to ensure fire safety is at the top of your list of importance, is by planning a successful fire escape route for your home, and having fire drills to practice, at least 3-4 times a year. Well over 4,000 people die in home fires, according to statistics, and this calls for extreme measures. Educating your children in fire safety is beneficial to them for their entire lives, and helps them to gain confidence that they are able to control some of their actions if a fire should break out. By including them in the planning, they are more aware of the route to use, as well as all of the exit points and safe points. There are some key factors you need to keep in mind when planning your fire escape route, most importantly, is time. Time is your biggest enemy in a fire. Always remember to get out as quickly as possible. Leave no room for error, and keep moving at all times. Do not take time to grab for things around you, you life is more important, and most things can be replaced -- your life cannot be. When planning your escape route, keep in mind you will need to include every room in the house. Fires are not choosy; they can break out at any place at any time. By covering each room in your escape plan, you and your children will be more familiar with the layout of the house, which will enable them to react more quickly. Teach them how to remove the screens to get out of the windows, or how to use a collapsible ladder if your home is multi-story. You may want to consider small stepping stools or moveable toy boxes that smaller children are able to move to use for easier exit through a window. Make certain that any windows or doors with safety bars have quick release handles on them. Teach your children to crawl on their hands and knees when exiting the home. All practice drills should be carried out this way also. A house you have lived in for years and years will look dramatically different through a layer of thick smoke, and from the viewpoint of your hands and knees. Explain to your children that the smoke could contain noxious gasses that may disorient you or worse yet, kill you. Remembering to feel any closed doors before opening them is another important point to keep in mind. Teach your family the rule of doors. Always feel them before opening the knob. If the door feels hot, there could be a fire on the other side. Try the knob as well, if it is hot, there is more likely than not a fire on the other side of the door. Keep moving to the next planned fire exit. Once you have covered all the possible fire exits inside the home, and you have made it clear on the route as to where everyone should exit depending on the location of the fire or their location if they are separated from you, you must all decide on the safest designated meeting spot outside. There can be NO exceptions to this. Everyone must realize the importance of meeting at the same spot of they have made it out of the home. The reason for this being, too many people have lost their lives re-entering a burning home/building to search for a loved one they thought was still inside. By making this imperative action, the children, and you take it as a fact and act on it as fact after repeatedly practicing it. Now you have your fire escape route planned, and you have your designated meeting spot, all you need to do is practice, practice, and practice -- after all, practice makes permanent, make fire safety a permanent fixture in your home. House Fires And The Morning After For anyone who has suffered the traumatic experience of a house fire, can fully understand the ramifications of total devastation to their lives. Your entire life suffers an upheaval, over which you seemingly have no control what so ever -- key word being seemingly. It is definitely a life changing situation, but do not allow it to be life shattering. There are some actions you can take, following the fire to ensure your stability, and gather a semblance of order, even if only a small one. Directly following the fire, if you and your loved ones have not suffered any injuries or health issues, then be grateful, and merely rest. The shock needs to wear off, and your nerves need to straighten out before attempting to deal with anything extremely traumatic. During the first 24 hours following the fire, the most immediate needs you must consider are where you can stay temporarily, what medicines you may need to obtain, clothes to wear, replacement eyeglasses if you have lost yours, food, and other necessities that may arise. Contacting your local American Red Cross or Salvation Army could prove useful to obtaining these necessities. They are helpful disaster relief organizations, and definitely help those that need it. Be aware, that it is highly unsafe, and not recommended that you enter your home anymore during the next 24 hours. This is due in part to structure instability, as well as fires being hidden in smoldering remains. All it takes is a spark, and the fire could rekindle. Any food, drink, or medications that were exposed to the elements (smoke, water, soot, or heat) should no longer be considered useable, and should be disposed of properly if able to at that time. Upon leaving your home, if there are openings that allow access, you may want to consider boarding these up to deter trespassers from entering, as well as contacting your local police department to inform them that your home will be unoccupied for an unknown amount of time. Retain each and every receipt for any money you spend from this point on, as proof to the insurance company of the money you have had to spend as a result of the fire. This will also help you later when you are filling out your income tax forms and you are required to verify the losses you will claim. IF you are able to re-enter your home, plan out in advance, if possible, where the items are located, and try to set up an order to your walk through the house. This lets those outside know where you will be as well as save you time while minimizing your presence in the un-safe environment. The most important items you will need are any forms of identification, such as your driver's license and social security cards, any insurance information you have, as well as medication information. Either refill or prescription information. If you or anyone in your family has lost their eyeglasses, try to find them and any other hearing or other ambulatory devices that are used in your family. Try to gather the most valuable of jewelry, any bank books, cash, or credit cards as well. Keep in mind that you will need to notify certain people of your relocation, even if it is only temporary. Your family and friends will, of course, be worried about you and will need to be notified, as well as your employer and the school your children attend. If you have delivery services for anything, you will need to inform them of your new address, or put the deliveries on hold for an indefinite period of time. The post office and utility companies need to be given your new address followed by the police department and fire department in case there are any questions or situations that arise from the fire. Following the fire, the hardest part is trying to remember it will all be organized, it just takes time. Fighting Fire With A Smoke Alarm You might call in a smoke alarm or a smoke detector, either way; it is a necessary item for your home. Having smoke alarms will ensure you are alerted to a possible fire and can get in contact with the fire department faster. Smoke alarms will also let you know of danger while you sleep. Fire deaths of sleeping individuals are one of the main reasons fire death statistics are so high. Some fire departments can provide you with working smoke detectors. They can also provide you with the proper information on installation and usage of the new smoke alarm. You can also purchase smoke alarms at most hardware stores and general merchandise stores. Smoke is the leading cause of death in a fire. Most individuals die as a result of being overcome with smoke. They literally suffocate because smoke removes the oxygen from a space. While you sleep, you have a greater risk of death associated with smoke inhalation because of the risk of not waking up in time to get out of the house. The more smoke that accumulates in a room, the darker the room becomes and the harder it is to find your way out. The best defense in a smoky room is to stay as low to the floor as you can. This is where the most oxygen is at the time. Some individuals have been found right in front of the door leading to the outside but got so disoriented, they never realized it. Smoke detectors give a change of early warning in a fire if they are installed and cared for properly. This means that the smoke alarm should be tested at least once a month to ensure the battery is still strong enough to work correctly. Some smoke alarms are connected to the homes electrical current and this is fine for those emergencies before the fire starts to become large. Battery operated alarms give an added protection when the power is cut or out due to storms or other reasons and allows the alarm to continue functioning. Always take a smoke alarm warning seriously. If your alarm is malfunctioning and going off on a frequent basis, you may want to change the device out for a new one. Death due to not being warned of a fire is no joke. How sad to think this could happen to you or someone you love. A smoke alarm is a life saving device to give proper warning in the even of a fire. This means that the fire department can be notified in enough time to prevent a large amount of damage to your home. Not only is it a necessity in saving property but will also make your family aware of an emergency so they can get out to safety in time. Most smoke alarms only cost about $15 each but think of the cost you would incur without one. By having a smoke alarm above each bedroom and also in your kitchen and living room, you are adding an extra sense of security to your home. Why would you want to do anything less than protect your home from all emergencies? Purchase your smoke alarm today and become an important part of the fight against fire.
Children And Fire Are A Deadly Combination Local fire departments and governing authorities are trying once again to educate people on the deadly risks they face from fire outbreaks in their own homes. A fire has the ability to start from almost anything, and can turn in to a raging inferno in no time at all. Fire proofing your home is one way of keeping yourself and your children safe. Can you name the number one cause of in-home fires caused by children? Yes, you guessed it right; matches and lighters are in fact the number one cause of fires. Far too many children have learned to light matches and to ignite lighters and find them completely irresistible. Much too often these instances are deadly and one or more children are hurt badly or killed. If your child begins showing interest in fires or setting them, at an early age, there is counseling available to help them find better outlets for their emotions or desires. Most of the juveniles that are considered "fire starters" are found to have played with matches and lighters, often, when they were children. To remove any hazards or temptations, keep matches and lighters in high places or locked cabinets. It is imperative that you educate your child on fire safety and how to leave a room or house if one starts. Although they are naturally inquisitive about fires, they more often than not hide when faced with the reality of one. Sadly, most of the deaths that occur of young children are those that are found too late, hiding under beds and in closets. When frightened, they have a tendency to get easily confused, or if they were responsible for having started the fire, they may hide out of fear of consequences. Practicing fire drills in your home, at least on an average of 3 - 4 times a year, will enable them to become familiar with their surroundings and to feel more confident in the event of an emergency. Another top ranking cause of fire injuries among children is clothing fires. These occur when children get too close to open flames, heaters, burners, matches, etc. and their clothing catches fire. Teaching your children about fire and the possible damage that it can do, allows them to learn a healthy respect for fire. Fire safety on this topic includes teaching them the basics of what to do if their clothes catch on fire, that would be the well known phrase, "Stop, Drop, and Roll". Even though their natural inclination is to run, teach them to stop immediately, drop to the ground, cover their face, and roll repeatedly until the flames are extinguished. This is such a simple action, but can lead to saving your child's life. The safest course of action would be to always ensure that a responsible adult or teenager is always around your child. They should not ever be left unattended, since this is most often when serious accidents occur. In the 1970's, a law was passed concerning children's sleep wear that it had to be flame retardant. Before this law went into effect, the deaths of children in fires was at an all time high, but after the law was passed, the rate of child deaths by fire lowered by over 90%. This helped to heighten the general awareness of the danger of fires, and resulted in a big step toward better fire safety practices. The statistics are shocking at best, and cause people to take notice of the simple things that could end up being the death of your child. Most fire inspectors today are trying to warn parents everywhere that some of the sleeping garments they are choosing for their children, such as t-shirts and shorts, are not flame retardant material. For the safety of your child, read the label and get the facts. It could be a matter of life and death -- literally. Saving The Next Generation From Fire It is so important for not only the local fire department to teach the children about the dangers of fire but it is also necessary for parents and family to also stress it at home. Fire in the home is a serious matter and should be taken into consideration. There should be a fire plan in place and regular fire drills conducted so everyone knows what to do in case of a fire. This is especially important to children who live in the home. Making sure your home has the best fire proofing items and your children are educated on the hazards of fire is the first step in protection. Adults should also know all they can on the hazards that exist in their home. Children are very curious by nature and have been known to be attracted to matches and lighters. This being said; Is it any big surprise that they have also been the cause of home fires? Unfortunately, some of these fires have been the cause of death and the loss of large amounts of property. Making sure any items capable of starting a fire is under security is the best way to remedy this problem. If you have lighters and matches lying around your home, it is very easy for a child to play with them. If these items are put in a cabinet or box that can be locked, there is a larger chance they will not even be interested in them. Talking to you children about fire and the bad things it can do. Make sure they know that under no circumstances should they play with matches or lighters as these are very dangerous. For children to be safe, they must respect fire. When you choose clothing items for your children, make sure the material is fire retardant material. This is especially important for the nighttime sleep clothing they wear. This may be pajamas or nightgowns and also blankets and sheets used in a crib or toddler bed. These clothes are treated so they will not ignite easily when exposed to a flame, a burner, heater, or other hot surface. Children should also be taught what to do in case they do have clothing on that catches fire. Their first instinct is to run away but this will only make the fire worse. They need to stop where they are, drop to the ground, and roll around to put the fire out. Once they learn this, the reaction to run won't be the first thing they do. This technique also applies to the adults and older individuals in the home. Take a trip to your local fire department and see if they can recommend any other advice on keeping your home safe. Also place widow decals on the outside of the windows where your children sleep. This allows firefighters to identify the rooms faster and also that there are children in the home at all. You may even want to take the time to have a fire official take a look at your home and show you first hand what items you need to help make your home a safer place. Taking the little bit of time and effort now can make a difference to your families safety later on. Supporting Your Local Fire Department Who are those men and women that respond to our 911 calls? Do we really know them? Probably not personally, but as another human being, yes, we know them. They are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and perhaps some of the bravest men and women of all. We need to familiarize ourselves with our local firefighters, and with today's decline in certified firefighters, this is not very difficult to do. All it takes is a short trip to your local fire department. Take some form of baked goods and simply introduce yourself, then listen. They have more stories they could tell you than most people have in a life time. A lack of community support for the fire department, makes them feel slightly ostracized or cut off from the rest of the town. They really are no different from you and me, except that they have been trained in life saving skills, and fire suppression/prevention. More often than not, most fire departments attempt to reach out to the community by having fish fry's or other money raising events, but these are no the only ones. Holidays are special for everyone, including the firefighters of your community. They often have fun get-together for members of the community, in an attempt to also educate people about fire safety. Many fire departments have a specified member or officer that visits the schools to assist in educating younger children on fire safety, and how to react in the even of a fire. The famous saying "Stop, Drop, and Roll" has been made into a song, a rhyme, and many other things. While it is a catchy phrase to say, it is ultimately true, and by teaching this to the children, it enables them to react properly should they find themselves caught in a fire. Many children are also learning that fire fighters are important members of our community, and as such, should be learned from and treated with respect. Are you looking for ways to assist your local fire department? Want to show them that many members of the community support them and think highly of them? It is always good to volunteer; however, you need to keep a few important points in mind when engaging in activities of this sort. Start slowly! Try not to steam roll the fire chief or mayor about your plans or goals. It may be best if you talk to them, make them aware of your ideas, but follow them on where they "need" volunteers, which may not be where you would like to be, but it is where you are needed. When recruiting other volunteers, you must maintain control of the group as a whole, as well as personally. The fire department does not need additional work added to their already full load. Keep the volunteer group that you will manage, to a controllable number, or consisting of people that genuinely wish to help, not control/change the fire department. Perhaps the most important key is communication. Keep open lines between yourself, the fire chief, and the mayor. By communicating openly, you are allowing them to feel as if the group of volunteers is actually volunteering help, not more problems. Be sure what you have understood to be said is what was actually said. This will enable you and the others to help where you are needed, and keep problems to a minimum. Supporting your local fire department can be a fun and rewarding experience so if you have ideas of ways to support them without trying to "fix" it or "change" it, approach the proper officials in a respectful, open manner. Give them your ideas, and actually listen to what they say. Supporting them could be as simple as cooking a special meal for them, to running a charity drive for raising funds. Work together -- after all, it is how a community stays together. The Fire Act Of 1972: Ignorance Or Defiance While most of us were too young to remember 1972, many changes to the fire service were being started. Republican President Nixon took a very unheard of step to change the fire services. He created a special group to take a look into the issues within the fire service and come up with ways to correct these issues. This special group was made up of those individuals who were at the top of the fire service and who had a drive to complete the task given to them. It sounds simple enough but unfortunately what sometimes seems easy is the hardest thing you may ever do. This was not something that was small indeed. This group or commission encountered some issues that were controversial in nature. It really shook up the fire service. The issues were not just at surface level but were delving into a depth of the fire department that some felt was better left alone. When they started questioning the deaths of citizens, preventing fires, changing things to provide more safety for those fighting fire, and dealing with the new types of high rise buildings coming up, some feathers got ruffled. Their conclusion was given in a very rude and in your face view of the problems with the fire services of that day. Nothing was left to the imagination in the report and it seemed that not one inference could be made in ones mind because of the frankness of the report. It seemed to the commission that even though America was at its peak for being a country of technology and advancement, it was also the worst for the amount of deaths caused by fire and money lost because of those fires. It seems that because of this commission's boldness, the fire service has become what it is today and that seems to be a good thing. The future has brought not only good changes but issues in the fire service still exist. America is facing what it did back when the commission was first formed. Is this the fault of the fire service or those citizens it has sworn to protect? It seems that the new report is saying that with all the new advancements and training available to the general public, many choose not to follow it and by the time a fire happens to them, it is too late. Americans are allowing their smoke detectors to go without battery changes and testing on a regular basis. Taking precautions with chemicals and electronic devices is also leading to a higher rate of deaths due to fire related situations. This is a sad fact that seems to be ignored. Simple things can be done to bring about changes in the next report. If we, as responsible citizens of this great United States of America will start taking interest and learn the essentials of fire safety, death and destruction can start to be reduced. By taking the time to make sure you have a fire extinguisher where it is needed and to learn how to deal with everyday objects in our home properly, the life of our family could be spared. A few seconds is all it takes to push the button on your smoke detector to see if it is still working. A second of inconvenience could be years you have to enjoy those you love! Fighting Fire from The Air Fighting fire from the air is better known as aerial firefighting. This type of firefighting method was developed to help with wildfires because of the fires occurring in difficult areas to reach. Aerial firefighting uses many types of aircrafts such as helicopters and planes each carrying regular water or a special fire retardant material. Along with these special aircrafts for fighting fire from the sky, there is also a special group of firefighters known as Smokejumpers who parachute in tot he difficult areas and fight the fire from the ground level. They are very special firefighters indeed because of the dangerous situations they face and the locations in which they are landing in. The death rate for these firefighters is no laughing matter. The helicopters carry the water or other materials to extinguish the fire in a tank or bucket especially designed for this job. The bucket is filled with water from a pond or lake nearby and then flown and dumped on the fire. The Bambi Bucket is one of the better known buckets used. Those helicopters using tanks receive the water from a nearby water source also. The difference is that they siphon the water through a straw-like snorkel. A few special helicopters can actually be filled while they are in the air by this same type of snorkel device. Aircraft carry tanks that are filled while they are on the ground by special filling areas but can also skim across the water to fill them if needed. The particular chemicals used in these tanks vary but the majority of the aerial firefighting is done with ammonium sulfate. The chemicals remove the heat from the fire and cover it so no oxygen can get in. In the past a Borat salt mixture was used but was found to not only be toxic to the animals but would cause the soil to become barren and not produce any greenery. The new ammonium sulfate mixture is combined with a clay and guar gum to make it thicker and a red coloring is also added. This mixture also prevents rust deposits from occurring because of the clay and gum it contains. The thickness provides a lower chance of the material running off the original location it was intended for and the coloring shows where it has been applied. This produces a safer chemical and will actually help to fertilize the ground to grow vegetation back faster. Any of the ammonium sulfate mixture that gets into the water and has excessive sunlight will be harmful to the fish in that water. By using aerial firefighting for these fires, more land can be saved than with a regular ground attack. They give a defensive line to those fires that are not reachable by human firefighters. As seen on the many television broadcasts showing wild fires, it is obvious that it takes a long period of time to extinguish these types of fires. It may take as long as a week to a few months to stop the fires from burning out of control. Imagine what it would be like if it were not for the aerial firefighters and vehicles that aided in the fight. We might loose a larger amount of our forests were it not for this great firefighting equipment and personnel. Resistance To Change In The Fire Service In the old days, firefighters were there to help when the call came in. The only thing between them and the fire was a thin helmet and a hose pumping a weak amount of water as compared to the hoses of today. The smoke and flames were not something that were a concern to the "leather lung" firefighter who threw caution to the wind and just did what he loved to do. This perception of the firefighter may still be in the minds of some who are living in today's world. Unfortunately, this is not the way it really is now. Firefighting has become a skilled art and science making fighting fire more precise and safe. No more will they go in to a fire without special breathing equipment to give them a safe journey in and out and the latest gear adorning ever inch of them. In the past, fighting the fire was done with little knowledge of any of the new things known today. Most men went in with only a small amount, if any, training. Todays, men and women are not only trained in the finer art of fighting fire, many of them have been introduced on an intimate level to the beast. When they go inside the burning structure, it is now a struggle to control the beast and them to take it out completely. Strategy and planning goes into each fire fight because, as it was back in the day, life is at risk in all situations. Training into the new arts is mandatory. Hours and hours are spent in training each individual in every possible scenario and part of the fire fighting experience. If the training classes were voluntary, many fire service professionals may tell you that it is not something they would choose to undertake on their own. Since the 1970's the death rate has been lowered drastically because of the new safety measures and gear that has come into the fire services as standard issue. Even so, the death rate is still a real part of the job. Since, the 1950's the type of person who chooses to be a firefighter has changed also. While those from the past chose not to protect themselves, the firefighter of today are completely protected with the many choices in protective gear. Turn Out gear is not only a piece of clothing but has undergone every type of scientific development to make it as good as it can be. Technology has been a positive asset for the fire service and changes are still coming but, are they being accepted as fast? Customs are set and altering them is something that does not happen often. Aren't customs what has made this profession last as long as it has? It is true that firefighting is an ancient profession with many staying in for the duration giving ten, twenty, thirty, or more years of service. The firefighters make up a tight group and change is not something looked for or even wanted no matter what form it comes in. Old habits die hard and this is no exception for fire fighting veterans and probies' alike. Change and new technologies are coming and can be a good thing for those involved but those changes are slow in being accepted and implemented. The old ways worked back in the day so why does it need to change now? Personal preference can only be the right explanation. I guess some things are better left alone!
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