Fire Fighters Association of Missouri
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Where there is smoke, there is…

We often joke that where there is smoke there is fire. As fires burn they produce smoke. It is a fundamental of fire.

Smoke is the result of incomplete combustion and carries a variety of toxic by-products. Smoke includes three major components: particles, which are solids, vapors, which are finely suspended liquids, and gasses.

Smoke particles include unburned, partially burned, and completely burned substances. Unburned substances are just that, unburned items. They are lifted into smoke by the thermal column produced by the fire. Partially burned particles result from incomplete combustion. Completely particles are typically ash.

Smoke contains vapors. Vapors are small droplets of liquid suspended in the air. Some of the vapors are the result of us applying water to the fire. Other droplets result from products as they burn. When items burn they produce droplets that become part of smoke. Continue Reading →

Smoke Dangers

Smoky environments are dangerous. Smoke is the result of incomplete combustion and contains a variety of toxic by-products.

Smoke contains a variety of gasses. The composition of gasses in smoke will vary greatly depending on the amount of oxygen available to the fire. The composition of what is burning also influences the contents of smoke. In other words, a fire fed by wood will produce different gasses than a fire fed by plastics.

Smoky environments contain carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide, phosgene, ammonia and chlorine. Continue Reading →

Size Can Be Deceiving

As you pull up to a fire you quickly take a span shot of the structure, if you see smoke and if you see flames. As you evaluate the structure, you can determine if it is a resident, an office, a retail store or factory. Many things are running through your mind as you begin your attack.

But how many times have pulled up on a structure and thought about its size? Like really thought about the size of the structure that is on fire. Continue Reading →