Originally Posted by codprawn
Even when a petrol station goes up they use just plain old water.
A fire in an oil refeinery - again no foam.
I just want to comment on those two...
The first one, they are using a high pressure nozzle which creates an enormous spray of microscopic water particles. The effects are a protective wall against the heat/flames, cools down whatever is burning and the area around the fire, deprives the fire of oxygen and actually blows out the flames.
Sure, if you have such a thing installed on your RIB, use it for what it's worth. But don't start splashing water on a (petrol/chemical) fire, either with a bottle, bucket or your hands.
The refeinery, there it reads in the description of the video, that water is used (in large amounts) to cool down any overheated metal until someone managed to turn off the flow of the burning liquid. So the goal here, for the firefighters are just to pour water on the area till someone manages to take away the reason for the fire. And if the fire expands those people still have places to run. A luxury you don't have if the fire is at the rear of your boat.
As for large fires in refineries you can see the firefighters use immense amount of water, but not to take out the fire, just to cool down the areas around the fire until someone can blow out the fire using explosives - you can find many videoes of this on the net.
And as a side note... I worked on a smelting plant where someone had once turned a water hose on a fire. That didn't work our too well, with several injured as the "water" exploded when hitting some melted metal (the water separates into oxygen and hydrogen on contact with melted metal, which is something you really shouldn't add to a fire...).