Fighting a fire : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

A serious fire in one of my sheds got me to thinking about how to best fight fires when no emergency response team is available. This one happened to involve gasoline and static electricity. My father sustained 2nd degree burns to 35% of his body. Do we have an expert on fighting fires out there? How can we aggressively fight fires to save all we own? Also, anyone know of a super fast pump which could fight grass fires? Seems like I read of one in Countryside magazine or a like magazine, but can't find it. Thanks for any help!

-- Brian McCabe (, November 27, 1999



I'm no expert, but a few tips:

For outside fires: Create a firebreak by removing all natural growth that is close to the house; especially dead matter. When doing this, be aware of wind patterns. Coat house with slaked lime; mud on top of that is even better if you see a distant fire and have the time. Yes, it's an unbelieveable amount of work, but it's the best I have to offer.

For indoor fires: Have buckets of sand available as well as several ABC fire extinguishers.

-- eve (, November 27, 1999.


If it's a chimney fire, there are chimney fire extinguishers that you actually throw into the stove; the chemical is released upwards.

-- eve (, November 27, 1999.

We have always lived outside of a fire dist. After 2 really scary fires in the woods next door, we got an old 1 ton. This is really old and cheap not for the road but runs well. We have an old metal 300 gal tank on it no lid not fancy but works great. We run a 3hp briggs pump and if you are careful and aim at the bottom of the fire instead of the flames this will put out a pretty big fire. If you have a small piece of land you could just use the tank. We don't keep ours filled in the winter but there are lots of cheap ways to winterize for fire fighting.

-- me (, November 27, 1999.

I have no fire fighting training, but here is what I've done.

In house. You can't get small portable halon extingushers any more, the best bang for the buck is this new Kidde foam unit, about $50 and is 70AB. Getting a dry chemical 40BC or two for about $40 each, would give you flexibility. For larger fires a piece heavy cloth, old blanket, packing blanket, or thin carpeting (if absorbant like cotton, not plastic) soaked in water works great for smothering small fires. This works great for light brush fires. You hold the cloth before you and lay/throw/roll it over an area, then you can walk on it to tramp down anything that would support an air pocket. This will not extingush embers, but it will halt the rage/spread. A bucket of dirt or sand is great for liquid fuel fires.

Nothing beats a long large hose, a spray nozzle, and a running pump, whether the pump is a gasoline powered unit ($300) pumping water from a 500 gallon plastic container (about $200 at TSC {Tractor Supply Corp}, or a well running off of your genset. Used trash pumps are usually cheap, but sometimes not self priming. Please don't scrimp on the diameter of the hose, don't get 3/8, get at least 5/8th or larger particularily if you are hooking two or more 100' hoses together. You want a nice long length of hose so you can fight the fire BEFORE it comes close to you. Smaller diameter hoses cause more pressure drop on long runs. Get the hoses with the machined brass male/female couplers. They won't get crushed and leak pressure like the pressed and rolled units. If you are in a hazardous area, mounting oscilator sprinklers on the roof are a good idea and having dedicated hoses connected to them before you need them.

-- Ken Seger (, November 27, 1999.

Wow, a lot of good and fast responses!

Some things I can add.
Best to buy 3/4" rubber hose for fire fighting.
Also pump should be able to put out 20 gallons
per minute for 20 minutes. Get a nozzle that
reduces the stream for increase distances.

Grass fires
These can be handled best with a flat shovel.
Just slap the ground at the leading edge of the

-- spider (, November 27, 1999.

You can find halon fire extinguishers on eBay, sometimes at decent prices.

-- Ron Schwarz (, November 27, 1999.

How did your accident happend with gasoline and static electricity?

-- bob (, November 27, 1999.

For a fire that involves gas or oil or electricity you need a dry chemical extinguisher. Do not spay water on it (unless it's a last resort). However, having a water extinguisher is a great idea. Get some extra dish soap and mix it in with the water. Not much. Maybe a cup per 5 gallons (can't remember what we did at the fire station). This will cause the water to "stick" to the surfaces better. Ever seen a firetruck working a grass fire? White foamy stuff. Water and soap. Ask your local fire station/men. They'll tell you. We used to use the water/soap mix on gas spills at car wrecks (wasn't a fire).

-- anonymous (, November 28, 1999.

If you have gas stored in a barrel, please ground it. Flowing gas causes static build up and all it takes is one spark. Same for any combustabile you have stored in large amounts.

-- Carol (, November 28, 1999.

For fast suppression of chimney fires, get Chimfex, available at Ace Hardware.

-- Not Whistlin' Dixie (, November 28, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ