Chemistry of Fire and Firefighting
Firefighting in the early 1700’s differed from the ways that we fight fires today. In the past, man-kind didn’t know the chemistry of fire and the different kinds of fire that ignite. Technology has improved a lot from the 1700’s. When technology improved, so did the techniques of fighting fires. Firefighters have learned that fires can start from something as simple as a frayed wire and can start from something as complex as a lightning bolt.
Technology of Firefighting:
When there was a fire in the 1700’s, fire fighters had to ride in a horse drawn carriage and use hand pumps to extinguish fires. Every family had a leather water bucket to put out a fire. In the case of a fire, all the neighbors grabbed their buckets and helped put out a fire. In the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s people would but bicarbonate soda was dropped into tanks in order for there to be pressure for water to squirt out. These tanks were carried by Chevy trucks. Next came gasoline driven pumps that had a limited amount of water in a tank. Soon, authorities required a water hole to be built where it is easily accessible and fire fighters can put out a fire easily. Where there is a water hole, there is a fire hydrant. Fire trucks have also improved over the past 300 years. They are no longer just a Chevy truck with a gas pump. They have been upgraded to carry over 6000 gallons of water in order to put out a fire. Soon enough, as man-kind grew smarter, we have figured out that fires can be caused from almost anything.
Chemistry of Fire:
Fire is a very complex substance. It is not a liquid, a solid, or a gas. If you think about it, it’s like a plasma substance. Plasma is the fourth state of matter. Although plasma is rare on Earth, it is the most abundant matter in outer space. Fire is a result of a chemical reaction called combustion. In order to have a fire, you need three things; oxygen, fuel, and an ignition source.
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