Unit V Essay

Write an essay describing how knowledge of water-only systems may influence the incident commander’s incident action plan.

Your response must be at least one page in length, double spaced, and 12-point Times New Roman font. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying APA citations.

MOS 5301, Fire Protection Technology 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit V Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:


5. Explain the role of emerging technologies such as water mist and water spray systems in fire protection.


Unit Lesson Put the wet stuff on the hot stuff is a common theme within the American fire service. As water is the primary extinguishing agent, it makes sense that the majority of fire protection systems use water as the mechanism to extinguish fire or inhibit the chemical chain reaction. Why not? Water is the most plentiful resource on our planet. You do not have to make it, it is not as hazardous, and it is fairly easy to get from one location to another. Water-only systems are very common for a variety of factors: costs, easy to design, and relatively easy to maintain. As you read Chapters 10 and 12 within your textbook, you will learn more about the testing and servicing requirements of NFPA 25- compliant systems. You would be hard-pressed to find a building within your response district that is not a special occupancy or business type that does not have a water- only system. For this reason, it is imperative for fire service personnel to understand what a water-only system is, how it is designed, how it works, and the service and testing required. The reason for this is quite simple: firefighter safety. If you ever read a building construction book written by Frances Brannigan, you understand the concept of “know your buildings.” First things first, you want to know what the building is used for. There is a big difference between a building that is used as an office building compared to a building that manufactures automotive parts. While the square footage may be the same and the building construction characteristics may be the same, the purpose of the building completely affects fire loading, loads, and other hazards associated with the contents of the building. Based upon the use and occupancy, the fire protection system is going to have different requirements and system demands. Once you understand this, then you can determine if the system that is designed or was previously installed is adequate to handle the current fire load. If it is, great! If not, there is work that must be done, and the easiest way to do that work is to follow your organization’s standard operating procedures of what to do next. This class is not designed to cover that aspect, so we will leave it alone for now.

Reading Assignment Chapter 10: Water Spray Fixed Systems Chapter 12: Water Mist Systems


Water-Only Systems


MOS 5301, Fire Protection Technology 2


Not only do you want to recognize if there is a system within the building and if it is the proper system for the building, you must understand how the system operates. Does an on-site storage tank supply it? Is the system supplemented by mobile units of water supply? Does the fire department have to supply the system volume and pressure? These questions should be asked and answered, preferably prior to an emergency incident, but definitely during the time of the decision-making process for development of the incident action plan to maximize the potential extinguishing benefits of the system. These factors or questions can and should be asked, and then the answers incorporated in the decision-making processes. Then, firefighter safety increases exponentially. In reality, every firefighter should be intimately familiar with water-only systems. After all, every fire you respond to has water-only systems. The difference being the water- only system may not be located inside the structure. In this example, the water-only system is the fire truck that is the source of the attack lines that are stretched from the exterior to the interior, where the firefighter sprays water onto the seat of the fire. This is an excellent example of a water-only extinguishing system. You have a source, a pump, and your fire lines (i.e., hose line), followed by your discharge orifice, in this case the nozzle. In this context, the concept of water-only systems should not escape us. While firefighters have multiple means to extinguish a fire (e.g., foam, dry-chem extinguishers), the primary system is water. It is no different than in the building. While there are many extinguishing agents that could be used, the primary agent is water. The primary reason for understanding all aspects of NFPA 25 water-only FPS is nothing more than firefighter safety and knowing how the systems are designed, installed, serviced, and tested. With this knowledge, the firefighting force is better prepared to understand how the system operates. It is that understanding of how the system operates that will be included into the incident action plan and the tactical decisions of the incident commanders.