In this unit, we covered radiative transfer (from soot and flames to combustible materials) in the hot upper layers of smoke, which affects the rate of flaming and the likelihood of ignition. We saw that both soot and aerosols reduce the ability to see in a fire, causing smoke obscuration in which firefighters cannot see, and it can disorient them.
Below is a summary of the administrative report subject, Two Fire Fighters Die of Smoke and Soot Inhalation in Residential Fire in Pennsylvania, taken from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face9803.pdf
On October 27, 1997, two male fire fighters died of smoke and soot inhalation while fighting a residential fire. An Engine Company comprised of four fighters was responding to a 911 call of a downed power line in a residential neighborhood when one of the fire fighters noticed smoke emitting from the basement area of a nearby residence. Without notifying fire dispatch of the change in conditions (smoke coming from the residence), three fire fighters entered the residence to assist the residents out, and to survey the conditions and location of the fire. The Lieutenant and one firefighter, using flashlights, proceeded through the light haze visible in the living room into the dining room and breakfast room, and down the stairs to the basement to evaluate the situation, then retreated from the basement to the outside to don their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).Two of the fire fighters reentered the residence with a charged 3/4-inch booster line and proceeded to the basement to attack the fire. This was the last time either fire fighter was seen alive. According to the medical examiner, the cause of death was smoke and soot inhalation.
Choose one question, and respond to it.
- Could the smoke encountered have affected the firefighters’ cognitive abilities prior to donning SCBA?
- Was the smoke and soot in the basement so irritating that it forced the firefighters to retreat from the basement to don their SCBA?
- Could the positive pressure from the SCBA drive the particulates that were already inhaled into the firefighters’ upper airways deeper into their lungs, causing more damage?
- Could the smoke encountered have affected the firefighters’ abilities to orient themselves after donning SCBA and caused the loss of their sense of direction resulting in them running out of air?
- Compare and contrast the case study with other cases or events in your own experience. Which aspects of this incident were similar? Which were different? What are your thoughts?
Your journal entry must be at least 200 words. No references or citations are necessary.