Dave's Notes: Grasping the slippery truth

                                On Jan. 1, 1994, provisions of the M ontreal Protocol, an international agreement intended to protect the ozone layer, banned the domestic production of halons. One of the most effective firefighting agents known to humanity found itself condemned to death with no chance of a reprieve. Well, kinda. Halon continues to play an important role in fire protection today. We nurse stockpiles of it to keep our automatic systems in aircraft and electronic centers fully pressurized. Why? Because halon extinguishes in minimal time, is non-corrosive and relatively non-toxic to humans. Nothing better has been found to replace it. Fast forward to the present. Long range environmental concerns threaten to torpedo the use of fluorinated surfactants in Class B firefighting foam. However, testing to date still finds fluorinated foams vastly superior to non-fluorinated substitutes. Unlike halon,...
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Dave's Notes: A captain named obvious

Dave's Notes: A captain named obvious
Working any kind of firefighting magic at an industrial conflagration requires one basic component – water. And, yet, as incontrovertible as that fact is, it is amazing how often responders have to scrape together major moisture on short notice at facilities where the need for water is as obvious as oranges are called oranges because they are orange. No, I am not referring to the 1989 Pasadena, TX, chemical plant explosion and fire. As much as I enjoy dwelling on that high point in my firefighting career the fire water system at Pasadena would have been up to the challenge had not the initial blast sheared off every available hydrant at ground level. I mean companies who do not even bother installing the hydrants. In 2002 a fire at a petroleum blending and packaging plant in Pearland, TX threatened nearly 1.2 million gallons of motor oil, hydraulic fluids and lubricants. Yet,...
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