New firebombs require new fire fighting technique

New firebombs require new fire fighting technique

In a number of recent air raids against Britain, the Germans have used an explosive incendiary bomb containing phosphorus, the material of which will continue to burn as long as it is exposed and only stop underwater. This means new methods of fighting such arsonists and especially when they set people’s clothes on fire.

Several new types of German incendiary bombs were introduced during the summer of 1942. One is an ordinary one kilogram incendiary bomb with a more powerful explosive charge than before, equipped with a nose extension instead of tail. It can take up to five minutes between the ignition of this bomb, after it has fallen, and its explosion. It weighs five pounds and is seventeen inches long without the tail, but the explosive extension sometimes breaks and detonates separately. As these bombs drop from their containers they release a thin eighteen inch wire attached at one end to a two inch diameter metal disc and this can be picked up some distance from the incendiary bombs. .

Superior Bomb Penetration

To deal with this type of firebomb, it is not safe to be within twenty meters even when lying down, and unless it has fallen where it can start a fire (such as in a building. ), it is best to leave it alone for five minutes if it is in open ground. In buildings, it penetrates further than the “common or garden” firebomb and firefighters need some cover until the highly explosive part detonates. The required cover is a brick wall, not a plaster and lath wall, and the bomb must be fought with a jet spray which is more successful than sandbags. Non-ignited “misfires” should be handled with care and stored horizontally for the time being.

The bomb contains rubber

The firebomb containing phosphorus oil also contains rubber and is in a casing that resembles the old fifty kilogram explosive bomb. It opens through the usual type of fuse so that it disperses its sticky liquid contents up to thirty meters away and the contents ignite spontaneously. When fighting this bomb, the same amount of cover is required until it explodes and it can be fought with water and sand, but mostly water. Clothing or equipment splashed with liquid should be kept completely damp until removed, as the phosphorus will reignite as it dries. If liquid is deposited on human skin, the affected area should be kept in water or soaked with a saturated wet swab and first aid medical treatment obtained immediately. A practical first aid treatment for removing phosphorus from the skin is to blot liberally with a tablespoon of lye-soda solution in a quart of cold water. A sterilized dry bandage is applied to the burns from these bombs, not any grease or ointment which will only spread the phosphorus.

Another type is a new combination of high explosives and incendiary bombs in the same case as the old fifty kilogram explosive. First, after descending, he throws six pre-ignited electron-magnesium fire pots, each in the shape of a large goblet, two and a half inches at the base, three and three-quarters in diameter at the top, five inches and three-quarters long, with about sixty metal containers about two and a quarter inches long and triangular sections about an inch wide containing a thermite-like filling. This is immediately followed by the detonation of a twelve pound charge of TNT in the nose of the main bomb. The secondary parts do not contain explosives.

When heavy air raids take place in the future, it is entirely possible that many new types of firebombs will be used by the enemy and firefighters must keep pace with these changes through up-to-date training.

In cities, firefighters are expected to undergo a test in which city pipelines are said to have been bombed completely out of order, and where several large fires, some requiring 2,000 gallons of water per minute, are to be extinguished with emergency supplies. from a river, canal or other local source. Anything less than this is no lightning workout.

Rescue work by firefighters

Rescuing people from burning buildings has become primarily the job of firefighters, not first aid. They must be trained for this job. They will have to cooperate with rescue teams when people are trapped in the rubble under a crumbling building. They should also be trained in methods of avoiding unnecessary water damage to foodstuffs, and when it comes to cellars or basements, precautions should be taken to keep them also free of water. water as possible until it is certain that all victims trapped in such situations are released. and deleted. These lessons have only been learned by the cruel school of experience in this country. One wonders how, in the dark, one can ensure that firebombs contain phosphorus or not. This material is easily visible in the dark and has a characteristic odor.

In the warehouses, there is a serious danger of fire after 3 explosive bombs were dropped near and shaken the warehouse, due to the disturbance of dust, especially grain dust, which can cause an explosion and a fire similar to some of the explosive fires in grain mills and elevators. Stone dust will not ignite this way, but hazardous dust in buildings that can ignite when a strong explosive drops nearby include flour, sugar, starch, cocoa, flour rice, cork, malt, cereals and tea.

No “passing the ball”

The organization of a fire department in wartime cannot be based on an old-fashioned fire brigade, because in a sudden emergency of a fire, the city is saved or lost on what was planned and practiced before the raid. The fire stations must be grouped into sub-division barracks, the latter grouped together in division barracks, themselves grouped under the headquarters of the firefighters who come under the regional headquarters. This results in a straightforward and easily invoked streak of responsibility for quick action and leaves no chance to “throw the ball”.

If there is a fire call, the station receiving the report provides the motor or pump for the trailer, and the officer in charge is responsible for making the best use of their fire fighting equipment, but each step of the action is reported to the sub-divisional station for which he is responsible. The officer of the departmental station is in charge of covering all the fires which are fought by the stations of his district; that is, he must be prepared to meet their needs for additional equipment if the fires become too numerous, and without reference to his divisional station, he can redistribute the equipment from other inactive stations in his area to respond to the emergency.

A national lettering and numbering system ensures that equipment is identified and returned to the correct station

UK trailer pumps are easily moved by hand

after such a fire. Each fire zone has its distinctive lettering and each division zone its distinctive number, each subdivision its letter and each station its number, and the combined use of these is like a car registration but more quickly used.

To give an illustration of how the fire

The knowledge of combat is constantly evolving during the war, the British government published an ARP instructors manual on “Firebombs and precautions to read” in 1939. It must have been modified in June 1940. It had to rewrite it completely in 1942, and to publish another book on fire protection.

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