Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Firefighting: Inside The Fire by Lou Angeli

Once your face is inside of the mask, you enter an alien world. That’s when you need to focus. You need to give your full attention to the job at hand. The fact that there are twenty other firefighters is meaningless. In just a few seconds, you’ll be face to face with the firebitch!

You’ve got to be in good physical shape, but you MUST be mentally fit too. You’re faced with all kinds of emotions

This fire has had one hell of a head start It’s been feeding off of Oxygen and combustibles, like the furniture and drapes, and it’s now feeling its way into other rooms. At this moment you realize that what your up against is not an inanimate thing – it is a living breathing animal that feeds on everything in its path. Including you.

The one thing that’s difficult to convey through these images is the energy sapping heat. Temp-eratures exceed 1200 degrees at the ceiling, -- 350 degrees at the floor – and that’s hot enough to bake a potato in your turnout coat in just a few minutes.

As we extinguish the blaze, heat, smoke and gases need to be released. While the hoseteam works inside the support team is topside making ventilation holes and breaking out windows. Without these vents, the hoseteam would be boiled alive by their own perspiration.

Lou Angeli

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