Industrial-Strength Equipment for Industrial



Industrial-Strength Equipment for Industrial
Equipment for IndustrialStrength Operations
highlighted the need for 2%-inch attack lines for situations
The next question: How much of that is water and how
much is foam concentrate? What kind of concentrate does your
department use-1% x 3% or 3% x 6%? If using a 1% x 3%
concentrate, you would mix at a 1% ratio for hydrocarbons—
one gallon of foam concentrate to 99 gallons of water for every
100 gallons of foam solution. With a 3% x 6% concentrate, you
would use a 3% ratio for hydrocarbons, or three gallons of foam
concentrate mixed with 97 gallons of water for every 100 gallons of foam solution. You would need a 15-minute minimum
discharge time to apply the foam to the fire. (1)
Calculating at a 1% mixture for the above scenario, we
would need 20 gallons of concentrate per minute for a total
of 300 gallons of concentrate. A 3% mixture would require 60
gallons per minute for a total of 900 gallons of concentrate.
that require large volumes of water, such as the initial attack
at structural fires.
In many instances, larger streams are also needed where
flammable liquids are present, but we still see fire departments stretch 1 3A-inch hose and deploy portable foam eductom and five-gallon pails of foam concentrate. But is this
adequate to respond to a major tank truck spill that requires
large amounts of foam to extinguish? Let's take a hypothetical
situation that could happen anywhere in the country.
needed to prevent reflash.
For alcohol products, NFPA 11 states that we should consult
the manufacturer's product literature for the minimum application rate. Major foam manufacturers require a minimum application rate for alcohols of 0.10 to 0.16 gpm/sq.ft. These application rates, coupled with the requirement that we use either 3%
(for 1% x 3% concentrates) or 6% (for 3% x 6% concentrates),
change our numbers considerably. At a rate of 0.10 gpm/sq.ft.,
fire service, 21/2-inch hose was prominent in our
apparatus hosebeds, which were divided equally
between 11/2- and 2 1/2-inch hose. During my first assignment
in Harlem with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY),
old-time nozzlemen would evaluate the situation at hand and
then stretch the appropriate sized handline, no questions
asked! Over the years, the fire service slowly evolved to using
13A-inch hose for attack (which took up less space on our apparatus), and the 21/2-inch hose was pushed to the side. In the
ensuing years, FDNY's (late) Lieutenant Andrew A. Fredericks
Remember, these are the minimum amounts! More will be
we would still only need to flow 2,000 gpm, but our foam per-
A tank truck carrying 6,000 gallons of gasoline overturns on
centage will increase. At a 0.13-gpm application rate, we would
now need to flow 2,600 gpm of foam/water solution for 15
a Sunday afternoon on the embankment adjacent
to the local big-box discount store. The parking
lot is empty but the tanker's contents spill down
the embankment and into the lot, and an ignition
source ignites the vapors. Six thousand gallons of
product at a 1/2-inch depth covers an approximate
surface area of nearly 20,000 square feet. Using a
standard formula, surface area x application rate,
will give us the flows required for foam solution
in gallons per minute (gpm). In this case, the application rate if using aqueous film-forming foam
(AFFF) would be 0.10 gpm per square foot of surface area, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 11, Standard for Low-, Medium-,
and High-Expansion Foam (2010 ed.). 1 Using the
formula above, our requirements would be:
20,000 square feet x 0.10 gpm =
2,000 gpm of foam solution
FIRE ENGINEERING February 2011 101
minutes, requiring 78 gpm of concentrate
at a 3% mixture for a total requirement of
1,170 gallons of foam concentrate. A 6%
mixture will require 156 gpm of concentrate for a total of 2,340 gallons of foam
According to the Ethanol Emergency
Response Coalition, 70 percent of our
nation's motor fuel is blended with
ethanol. 2 For this reason, fire departments should treat every gasoline tanker
on the highway as one containing a
blended fuel requiring an alcohol-resistant foam application.
As you can see, the flow rates and
foam concentrate requirements highlighted above are much
more than most fire departments can provide as first responders. Most departments still use five-gallon pails for their foam
supplies, and their largest nozzles flow only 1,250 to 1,500
gpm. How can we meet these requirements?
In the scenario above, we need to have an "industrialstrength" operation, which means that the incident will require
large volumes of water and foam and a large commitment of
Industrial facilities have long realized the need for increased
gallonage and increased distance for
their firefighting nozzles. It has been
said that the best protective clothing
we can have is distance. Nozzles and
monitors have been developed with
industrial firefighting in mind to give
fire departments extended reach while
delivering 10,000 gpm of foam/water
solution to the seat of the fire. Would
a single monitor and nozzle delivering
2,000 gpm be beneficial in the above
First, I recommend that when designing your apparatus, your deck guns
should be able to flow the pumper's
maximum capacity and be equipped
with self-educting nozzles. These nozzles
can flow large volumes of water and have the capability of selfeducting foam with a constant foam metering feature and constant nozzle pressures over a broad range of flows (250 to 2,000
gpm). Discharge patterns are adjustable from full fog to straight
stream with a straight-stream range of up to 300 feet. Pickup
tubes from the nozzle to foam totes (large 275- or 330-gallon
containers) stationed adjacent to the pumpers can be used to
inject foam concentrate into the stream at the nozzle. The selfeducting nozzle in photo 1 can flow up to 1,500 gpm.
You can set up and supply a portable tank by pumping foam
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from another source or from foam tankers. You must develop
and practice standard operating procedures for these operations.
If you cannot stage your foam supplies close to the point of
attack, there are alternatives. You can pump foam solution from
greater distances than previously envisioned using devices such as
the portable around-the-pump proportioner (photo 2). This device
is designed to turn any pumper into a foam-producing device.
These units will proportion 3% foam solution up to 1,500 gpm and
a 1% solution up to 4,000 gpm. These devices are unique in that
they are completely water-driven; there are no pumps to maintain. These devices can work against hydrant pressure of up to 50
pounds per square inch (psi) with only 150-psi inlet pressure.
As water passes through the around-the-pump proportion-
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er, it picks up foam concentrate to form a rich water/foam
solution, which is then passed back to the auxiliary intake
of the supplying pumper or to the auxiliary intake of another pumper. Once inside the pumpers, everything pumped
from that point is a foam solution. Hose lengths leaving the
device can be as long as 1,700 feet, depending on the hose
diameter (21/2 or three inch) and the intake pressure at the
pumper. Once in the fire pump, foam solution can then be
pumped to appliances or other pumpers (relay) using standard hydraulic calculations. This water/foam solution can be
pumped to nozzles, which will then aerate the solution on
discharge, forming a foam blanket when it reaches the tar-
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get. Using nozzles as previously mentioned, your discharge
device can be positioned at least 250 feet away from the
target, using distance to protect your personnel.
Enter 180 at
Because of the need to maintain constant intake pressure on
the fire pump when using an around-the-pump proportioner,
a portable pressure-reducing valve (photo 3) is recommended
on the pump supply line. These devices eliminate the need
for pump operator intervention to adjust intake gate valves
because of suction pressure fluctuations as a result of changes
in pump discharge flow. These devices will keep pump intake
pressures constant and below those which would affect the
efficient operation of an around-the-pump proportioner.
Jet ratio controllers are another method of supplying foam to
nozzles (photo 4). These devices use a small amount of water
and, through a highly efficient venturi principle, can move foam
concentrate from remote storage locations to a matched selfeducting nozzle. This all-hydraulic system dramatically simplifies and improves the logistics of moving large quantities of
foam concentrate great distances. Foam concentrate is delivered
from the jet ratio controller to the nozzle through ordinary fire
hose. Depending on the nozzle and hose size, as well as the
percentage of foam mixed (1% or 3%), the distance between the
foam supply and the nozzle can be as much as 2,500 feet.
It would be impractical to carry as much foam as required
for our scenario on our existing apparatus. Many departments
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and regions are forming cooperative agreements and developing foam task forces to assist with the purchase and on-site
delivery of needed equipment and resources (foam concentrate). A task force is a group of resources with common communications and a leader that may be preestablished and sent
to or formed at an incident. Such departments and regions
have purchased foam trailers that contain two 330-gallon
foam totes. These trailers may be spread out within a region
or stationed at adjoining departments to provide a backup to
the initial trailer that responds (photo 5). When paired with an
engine or two, personnel, and a supervisor, a task force can
be created so that on callout, the incident commander knows
exactly what will be arriving on scene. A one-, two-, or threetask force response can be created so that various response
scenarios can be preplanned. Typing of the task force can be
accomplished to account for different resources that may be
included in the task force.
"Industrial-strength" operations do not necessarily mean
"industrial" operations; I mean operations that will require large
volumes of water or a large commitment of resources. According to Charles Dickenson, the former United States Fire Administration deputy fire administrator, in the end it still comes
down to British thermal units (Btus) vs. gpm of water. Without
enough water, even at the correct application rates, you will not
have enough power to overcome the Btus the fire is generating.
Years ago, the FDNY had the Super Pumper System, which
was intended to get enough water to the seat of the fire to
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overcome the heat and extinguish the
fire. With today's industrial equipment,
we can replicate the water volumes the
Super Pumper System once supplied.
The large-capacity portable monitors in
photo 6 are capable of flowing 6,000 and
10,000 gpm, respectively. large monitors
can be mounted in the bed of a support
vehicle so you can deploy a less expensive vehicle close to the scene instead
of a $500,000 pumper (photo 7). These
units can self-educt foam with the proper
nozzle. Coupled with a supply of Class A
foam, the knockdown and extinguishing
capabilities are dramatically increased at
large, exterior attack operations. Can you
imagine delivering large volumes of water
to the seat of the fire in a concentrated
pattern? Large-volume pumps flowing as
much as 6,000 gpm and hose can provide
the necessary water supplies to support
these monitors and nozzles (photo 8).
• ••
There are endless possibilities for us-
ing industrial equipment in municipal
applications. Some of today's fire department equipment was originally designed
for industrial use. Concrete core cutters
used for high-rise firefighting came out
of the construction industry. The FDNY
Super Pumper concept and equipment
originated in the marine industry. Today's
pneumatic and hydraulic auto extrication
tools originated in the auto body repair
industry. The water delivery capabilities
of industrial equipment will truly enhance
your operations at industrial-strength
operations. As Dwight Williams, veteran
industrial firefighter, always says, "If you're
going to be a bear, then be a grizzly bear."
Use the industrial technology and equipmeni available to you, and truly become
the grizzly bear you need to be.
1. National Fire Protection Association 11, Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion
Foam, (2010 ed.) sets the minimum application
rates and discharge times for nondiked spill fire
protection using portable foam nozzles and
monitors in Table
2. Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition,
Complete Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency
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CFPS, a 40-year veteran of the fire
service, is the CEO of World Safe
dealer near you
at 1-800-282.
International, an international consulting company, and a member of
the Williams Fire and Hazard Control
team. He has served in volunteer
fire/EMS, career municipal, and
career industrial fire departments.
He served for 26 years with the Fire
BOOTH ta 219
Department of New York, retiring as
the chief of marine operations. Shelley is an adjunct associate professor
for the University of Maryland University College, teaching its Managerial Issues in Hazardous Materials
and Advanced Fire Administration
courses, and also serves as an adjunct associate professor for Charter
Oak State College, teaching strategic planning. He previously was a
fire protection advisor with a major
oil company operating in the Middle
East. He has a bachelor of science
degree in fire service administration
and a master of science degree in
executive fire service leadership. He
is a co-author of Industrial Firefighting for Municipal Firefighters (Fire
Engineering, 2007).
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