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Firefighting Innovations Get a Cool Reception

September 15, 2002

Re "Could a Freeze Gun Put Flames on Ice?," Sept. 3:

While I am sure the inventors of the firefighting blimp and freeze gun want to help, I think they need to look into some basics of wilderness firefighting.

The normal weather conditions that accompany the biggest fires may prevent the blimps' use. The training that most wilderness firefighters go through teaches them the basics of fire behavior and fire attack. The designers would be well served to go through some of this training so they can better understand the basics. They should also familiarize themselves with the science behind the amount of heat released per foot of flame front as it relates to flame lengths and just how powerful Mother Nature truly is.

Rainstorms help put fires out by saturating fuel in the fires' path, making them less susceptible to the fire, not by putting raindrops on flames. As for the freeze gun, make it work, make it transportable, and make the resources required to use it readily available and cheap and you might beat class A foam. Class A foam works and water is generally accessible. In the heat of a major fire with everything working against you, one principle still holds true: Keep it simple, stupid.

Let's not raise the public's hope for some great new technology when you don't understand the basics of the problem you are trying to fix.

Kevin Keim

Captain,

Orange County Fire Authority

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