Why is Water Used by Fire Fighters to Extinguish Fires?
Everyone has seen fire fighters use fire hoses to throw large amounts of water on a fire, whether it is in a movie, on the news or in real life. We just assume it is the best thing to do. However, have you ever asked yourself why water is used by fire fighters to extinguish fires? We will answer this question in our latest article.
Every Fire Needs 3 Things to Start and Stay Alive
Before explaining in detail why water is used by fire fighters and their fire fighting equipment to extinguish fires, we will discuss the 3 things that are necessary to start a blaze. These 3 things are fuel, combustive and activator.
- Fuel : There are many types of fuel such as cooking oil, solid, gas and liquid. Gasoline, wood and butane are a few examples of fuel.
- Combustive : In most cases, oxygen that is found in the air acts as the fire’s combustive.
- Activator : The activator is the reaction created by the activation energy. In general, heat acts as the activation energy by an electric shock or a flame can also work as an activation energy.
Let’s Talk About Water
When water touches the flames of a blaze, it vaporizes when it is in extreme heat. Water vapor occupies more volume than water, especially at high temperatures, removes air out of the fire. Taking it out deprives it of its combustible. Also, water absorbs heat and cools fire. In short, fighting a fire with water suppresses flames, cools the blaze and prevents further propagation.
As you were able to learn, it is water in its vapor state that helps fire fighting, not in its liquid state. You also have been made aware of the relationship between the presence of air and the intensity of the fire. Indeed, a blaze can only stay alive as long as there is oxygen to feed on and water vapor takes away the fire’s air supply.
Are All Fires Extinguished by Water?
Most fires can be extinguished with water. However, there are times when using water makes blazes worse. For example, some chemicals release oxide gases when water contacts them. In these cases, suppression foam is used.
This concludes our article on why water water is used by fire fighters to extinguish fires. We hope that you learned something while reading it and that the next time you will see a fire fighter using a fire hose to put out a fire with water, you will know what is happening chemically inside a blaze.