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DSPA: Dry Sprinkler Powder Aerosol, FIT: Fire Intervention Tool

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  • DSPA: Dry Sprinkler Powder Aerosol, FIT: Fire Intervention Tool

    Okay, I finally got to see one of these things in action. This is the latest incarnation of the FIT-5.

    I was teaching at the Northern Illinois Southern Wisconsin Fire Rescue Association Fire School in Monroe and our class involved live fire training in house trailers. We had an end bedroom set up with 2 bails of hay and 2 pallets. We ignited the fire and let it get to the point that fire was rolling heavy across the ceiling and much of the room was involved in fire. We were positioned in the hallway just outside the bedroom. The salesman activated the FIT and tossed it in the room. It failed to activate. The salesman activated the second FIT and tossed it into the room. Within roughly 10 seconds it activated and the entire room was full of dry chemical dust. The fire was immediately knocked down. Not out, but knocked down. The room was filled with the dust from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Because there was no door for the bedroom it was not possible to entirely isolate the bedroom. After roughly minute I got up and ventilated the room, at that point the fire came back pretty quickly.


    My conclusions are as follows:

    1) Under the right circumstances this could be a valuable way to buy time while waiting for fire apparatus to arrive. Such as in a chief's buggy.

    2) The failure of the first device to activate was a little unsettling. The salesman admitted the triggering device had been problematic and these devices were old stock and all the new manufactured devices have a new trggering device and according to him the reliability issues have been resolved.

    3) I believe being able to control the openings is crucial to the effectiveness of this device. In other words the tighter closed you can keep the area of deployment the more effective it will be.

    4) Cost is still a concern at $995 per unit. It has dropped from its original cost of around $1500. But is still quite pricey. But...if you balance the cost against saving someone's house perhaps it isn't such a bad deal after all.

    5) I visualize this primarily being used in more suburban, or rural, situations where response of fire apparatus may be delayed due to staffing issues or travel time to remote areas of the district.

    6) The salespeople made it clear they would be happy to come out to my FD to demonstrate this device when and if we had a practice house burn in our area.



    I am not over being skeptical but I am more open minded to the possibilities that this tool may have some practical use in some specific cases.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 08-16-2010, 01:31 AM.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  • #2
    A couple of questions based on your scenario:

    I know you said that you were waiting in the hallway, my guess would be that you had the benefit of a charged hose line next to you with a safety line as an additional backup. With that in mind let me ask you these question:

    1) I know that the only way I would ever consider this tool useful, and it sounds like you feel the same way, is for an initial unit that is unable to make an actual attack the good old fashioned way (ie: Chiefs unit). Unless it is a confirmed victim situation I would not advocate entering the house without the benefit of a hoseline. So that would probably prohibit the same deployment situation that you had. (Being able to deploy from a hallway). Since I am just going by hearsay, and you have actually seen this thing for real now, am I correct in my thoughts here?

    2) Based on #1 I would think the only practical deployment would be through a window. I know you said that you think the performance might have suffered because you guys were unable to completely isolate the compartment. Do you think that a room with the door closed and a (now) open window would perform similar? How much do you think having an open door and a (now) open window would further degrade the performance?

    3) If we cannot use it without a hoseline and it is a non-rescue situation, do you think it is a beneficial product if the fire is in a "central" location? For example an interior bathroom with no outside windows? Do you feel like it is worth trying to make access to the interior room to deploy, or would it be better to wait for traditional staffing and units to make an attack even if it means a longer burn time?

    4) Assuming an "interior burning compartment" and a confirmed victim: Lets say that only 1 or 2 firefighters are first on scene without a hoseline. I know that the FIT is not supposed to be used in compartments with victims. But what if the room next to the victim is on fire? Do you think there would be any benefit from grapping the FIT and tossing it into the compartment room to maybe buy you an extra minute while you grap the victim in another room?

    5) And yes, I am actually going to try and ask some questions to a guy who I am pretty sure is not a salesman and has actually used it in order to keep an open mind.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MarcusKspn View Post
      A couple of questions based on your scenario:

      I know you said that you were waiting in the hallway, my guess would be that you had the benefit of a charged hose line next to you with a safety line as an additional backup. With that in mind let me ask you these question:

      1) I know that the only way I would ever consider this tool useful, and it sounds like you feel the same way, is for an initial unit that is unable to make an actual attack the good old fashioned way (ie: Chiefs unit). Unless it is a confirmed victim situation I would not advocate entering the house without the benefit of a hoseline. So that would probably prohibit the same deployment situation that you had. (Being able to deploy from a hallway). Since I am just going by hearsay, and you have actually seen this thing for real now, am I correct in my thoughts here?

      I agree with the usage being primarily from an in initial unit, like a Chief's buggy. I agree that there is more danger in entering without the protection of a hoseline. I would suppose a prudent person would size up the situation and determine if an interior deployment was possible. If not I would punch the smallest hole in the window possible for deployment.

      2) Based on #1 I would think the only practical deployment would be through a window. I know you said that you think the performance might have suffered because you guys were unable to completely isolate the compartment. Do you think that a room with the door closed and a (now) open window would perform similar? How much do you think having an open door and a (now) open window would further degrade the performance?

      Door closed / window deployment: As I said above, I personally, would make the window hole a s small as possible. Open door / window deployment: Again as small an opeing in the window and deploy through the window.

      My feeling is the window / closed door deployment would be superior because of more enclosed space. Window / open door I feel it would knock down the fire, but perhaps not as much or hold it as long due to dispersing of the chemical agent. REALIZE THESE ARE JUST MY OPINION.


      3) If we cannot use it without a hoseline and it is a non-rescue situation, do you think it is a beneficial product if the fire is in a "central" location? For example an interior bathroom with no outside windows? Do you feel like it is worth trying to make access to the interior room to deploy, or would it be better to wait for traditional staffing and units to make an attack even if it means a longer burn time?

      If conditions allow yes I do believe it would be beneficiaql and if conditions allow an attempt MIGHT be made.

      ALWAYS smart to have a hoseline with you.


      4) Assuming an "interior burning compartment" and a confirmed victim: Lets say that only 1 or 2 firefighters are first on scene without a hoseline. I know that the FIT is not supposed to be used in compartments with victims. But what if the room next to the victim is on fire? Do you think there would be any benefit from grapping the FIT and tossing it into the compartment room to maybe buy you an extra minute while you grap the victim in another room?

      From what I saw, I would definitely say that it could buy you the time to attempt a rescue.

      5) And yes, I am actually going to try and ask some questions to a guy who I am pretty sure is not a salesman and has actually used it in order to keep an open mind.

      I am no slaesman, not a factory rep, and I have absolutely nothing to gain other tham disseminating information based on my personal experience and observations.
      Thanks for asking some thought provoking questions.
      Crazy, but that's how it goes
      Millions of people living as foes
      Maybe it's not too late
      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
        Thanks for asking some thought provoking questions.
        Thanks for the replies. If I remember right you have always been very critical of this thing, so I knew I would get some honest answers from you.
        "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

        Comment


        • #5
          FyredUp how many square feet does this device effectively cover?

          Comment


          • #6
            995.00 a piece sounds like a masterguard product???
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

            Comment


            • #7
              When one of these "extinguisher grenades" gets a UL listing, I'll consider giving it a second look. When the price gets more reasonable, maybe even a third.
              "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
              sigpic
              The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
                When one of these "extinguisher grenades" gets a UL listing, I'll consider giving it a second look. When the price gets more reasonable, maybe even a third.
                Hey - a friend of mine who deals with antiques just acquired a couple of the original style "extinguisher grenades." I can connect you up with him if you're interested.....
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was in there behind Fyred with the TIC, we were going to look at the tempurtature drop, because according to the salesman, it was supposed to greatly lower the temp in the room. Unfortunately, just as we lit the fire, the battery on the TIC died, so we based it off of feeling.

                  The demo guy we had with us said that shortly after deployment of the FIT, the temp should be greatly reduced. That is the one point where I call shennaigans. The salesman deployed it, it went off and filled the room like Fyred said, but as far as temp goes, all I feel it did was push the heat from the ceiling to about where your head would be crouching.

                  I was crouched down, about 5 feet outside the room that the FIT was deployed in, and after it went off, it got noticeably hotter, to the point where if you didn't duck down even farther from a crouch, it was almost unbearable.

                  I was fairly impressed. It did more than I thought it would, but I'm no believer yet.

                  1. It still costs almost a $1000. Granted, the salesman said alot of insurance companies are covering these now, and if you get one that fails, DSPA will replace it at no charge, so that makes it a bit more justifiable if you can afford the initial cost.

                  2. The demo guy said that it works much better if the room is as sealed up as possible. I don't foresee the ideal conditions for this device being met all too often. Perhaps in a basement fire, but in a bedroom, I think there is too many variables for it to work to its full effectiveness. If the door to the bedroom is open, as soon as the powder settles, and oxygen gets reintroduced, the fire will flare back up. (as Fyred said, he kicked open the window to vent, and the fire flared back up)

                  I think it has potential. I really do, but I also think that it needs to be tweaked a little. Based on what I saw, the firing system needs to be reworked (which has supposedly been taken care of already), And I honestly think it would be a more effective tool if it was made just a little bigger/was made to go off a little longer. I think it would buy more time, even in those conditions that aren't so ideal. If it were designed to go off a little longer, I think it would buy more time for an engine company to show up, because it would keep the powder going in the room longer, leaving less of an oppurtunity for oxygen to be reintroduced.

                  Far less skeptical, but not sold on buying any yet.
                  "A fire department that writes off civilians faster than an express line of 6 reasons or less is not progressive, it's dangerous, because it's run by fear. Fear does not save lives, it endangers them." -- Lt. Ray McCormack FDNY

                  "Because if you don't think you're good, nobody else will." -- DC Tom Laun (ret) Syracuse

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chenzo View Post
                    The demo guy we had with us said that shortly after deployment of the FIT, the temp should be greatly reduced. That is the one point where I call shennaigans. The salesman deployed it, it went off and filled the room like Fyred said, but as far as temp goes, all I feel it did was push the heat from the ceiling to about where your head would be crouching.
                    It's important to note that dry chemical extinguishers don't cool the fire - they interrupt the combustion. IMHO, the only reason the temperature would be reduced by the FIT would be because the fire was (theoretically) no longer burning. Any residual heat would remain.

                    I've heard of fires doused with a dry chem extinguisher re-igniting when more air was introduced.

                    That said - it's still a potential tool for situations where water isn't available yet, as was discussed at length in a previous thread as well.
                    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In your opinion how did if differ in results from other techniques such as the first arriving officer(in a command vehicle) could do, such as a well aimed PW - and shutting doors?
                      ?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tree-I agree with your first paragraph. If I made it sound like I thought dry chem would cool the air, my mistake.

                        I think that's exactly what happened. Air was reintroduced into the equation, and the fire just took off again.

                        And I agree, it has potential, but I also think that if I walk up to the window with a 20 or 30 pound drychem extinguisher, and just unload the whole thing in the window, it would have the same or very similar results, at a fraction of the price.(and that is something I would like to see tested. A 20 pound drychem extinguisher vs. the FIT in comparably sized and set up rooms.)

                        Slackjawed- Before we tossed in the FIT, the fire was fairly devoloped, rolling across the ceiling, and I think an officer with a PW wouldn't be able to do what this did. But, on the other hand, as I said above, I think if the officer rolled up with a drychem and dumped the whole thing in the window, (after shutting doors/windows etc if possible) I think it would have comparable results at a fraction of the price.
                        Last edited by Chenzo; 08-16-2010, 02:19 PM.
                        "A fire department that writes off civilians faster than an express line of 6 reasons or less is not progressive, it's dangerous, because it's run by fear. Fear does not save lives, it endangers them." -- Lt. Ray McCormack FDNY

                        "Because if you don't think you're good, nobody else will." -- DC Tom Laun (ret) Syracuse

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarcusKspn View Post
                          Thanks for the replies. If I remember right you have always been very critical of this thing, so I knew I would get some honest answers from you.
                          I admit freely that before I saw it work I thought it was a high priced gizmo that couldn't work. Now I believe in specific circumstances it has potential to buy time for the arrival of an engine company. I want to be involved in further testing to see more chances of it operating.

                          Like I said, still skeptical, but not nearly as much having seen it work.
                          Crazy, but that's how it goes
                          Millions of people living as foes
                          Maybe it's not too late
                          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Acklan View Post
                            FyredUp how many square feet does this device effectively cover?
                            I am not a salesman, or a factory rep, and I have no iron in the fire on this product, so all I can do is tell you that their sales brochure says it will "completely suppress a fire in a 3500 cubic foot room and slow the spread of fire in larger spaces."

                            I will tell you this, in my humble opinion it is necessary for the room to be fairly tight for it to completely extinguish the fire. The room we had was probaby 10 x 12 x 8 feet with no door on the entry point to the room and the window boarded over. It filled the room with the extinguishing agent and pushed enough into the hall that my helmet was turned gray by the dust. The fire was knocked down but not completely extinguished.
                            Crazy, but that's how it goes
                            Millions of people living as foes
                            Maybe it's not too late
                            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
                              When one of these "extinguisher grenades" gets a UL listing, I'll consider giving it a second look. When the price gets more reasonable, maybe even a third.
                              And that's fine. I was neither endorsing or condemn the product.

                              We had so much hearsay about the product in the last topic on it that here was my chance to see it work and report on the results. My OPINION is that in certain circumstances it could be a valuable tool to buy time for an engine company to arrive and stretch lines.

                              I was on the UL band wagon in the previous topic myself. To be honest at this point I view throwing that down as a reason to avoid looking at a product that may save homes and potentially lives.

                              I don't recall anyone throwing down the UL label on the multi-page cheater connection for the SCBA mask. Anyone want to tell me that it was UL approved?
                              Crazy, but that's how it goes
                              Millions of people living as foes
                              Maybe it's not too late
                              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                              Comment

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