I have been looking at and studying the HMA Ultra High Pressure (UHP) fire suppression systems for about 7 years, and have been impressed with the science and the technology of the system.
I was asked to help with a project at work in the Biomass industry concerning baled corn stover fires at corn stover storage sites in Iowa. My concerns with these types of fires are smoke, heat, and ember generation. We conducted several burn tests of stacked corn stover bales at a national testing lab to obtain some data of these three concerns.
Our goal was to obtain heat release data, smoke generation data, video ember and heat generation with conventional, high speed, and IR video. We also looked at how fire grows within these stacks as they are currently configured. We obtained a great deal of data to support further research in which we were planned to conduct real world outdoor test burns in Iowa.
I attended the 2017 Fire Rescue International (FRI) conference in Charlotte, NC and during my walk around looking at vendor products, I spotted an HMA Fire booth outside of the convention center. I walked up and introduced myself and met Doug Eno (Director of Sales) and Josh Larson (Director of Marketing) with HMA. I told them about how much I have studied the HMA UHP technology and they generously offered to let me man the nozzle for a test. With what I had previously been studying and saw in promotional videos, I was impressed! I thought to myself “opportunity”. I told Doug and Josh about the biomass fire project I was currently working on regarding fires with baled biomass corn stover in Iowa. We discussed that we were going to conduct a few outdoor burn tests of stacked corn stover bales in Iowa in just a few weeks. I explained that my goal was to see if we could achieve a quick knock down of fire and reduction in heat within the stack, aided with “FireAde 2000” foam and asked if HMA would be willing to come out to Iowa and use the UHP system on one or two of these burn tests. Doug and Josh both said yes, they would definitely like to be there and be a part of the testing to enhance corn stover fire extinguishment methods.
During the outdoor test burns using the HMA UHP system, along with the addition of the “FireAde 2000” foam, we knocked the fire down quickly and achieved heat reduction from over 1500°F down to around 200°F in less than 2 minutes using a 20 GPM UHP system on a 12-bale stack of corn stover. (Bale size: 8’ L x 4’ W x 3’ H, each bale weighs between 1000 to 1500lb).
In return, Josh Larson called and invited me to attend the first annual UHP summit held at the Middleton (WI) Fire Department and sponsored by HMA. Now I was jacked up! I saw how the system performed on baled corn stover, but now I was going to witness firsthand how this system works on fully involved vehicle fires and structure fires.
A couple of months passed, and it was now time for the UHP Summit! After the Friday evening training session, assignments for the next day were handed out to all participants. To my surprise I was chosen to be backup on the 1st vehicle fire and the nozzle man on the 4th house/room fire.
When we attacked the vehicle fire, I was amazed at the knock down and extinguishment of the vehicle fire using the HMA UHP system. I was able to use less than 20 gallons of water in less than 1 minute with complete extinguishment. To put this into perspective, about a week and a half prior to coming to the Middleton summit, we were dispatched to a fully involved vehicle fire and we used somewhere between 300 to 400 gallons of water to put out the fire using an 1-3/4” conventional hose line.
As outlined in the training session, the goal from Middleton Fire Chief, Aaron Harris, was to attack the fires as a transitional attack, exterior knock down through the window, and then an interior attack and extinguishment. I got a little overexcited and extinguished the fire from the outside through the window with about 12 gallons of water (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwCBTjRdjdk). I did not realize that the system had the capability to achieve as quick of a knockdown of the fire while using minimal amount of water in a short amount of time. We had to pause so the room could re-ignite and become fully involved, allowing me to make the transitional fire attack. I achieved the objective this time. As a side note, there were three room fires prior to mine on the second division. When I began my attack, there was no water running out the front door or any major damage caused by the water.
Being familiar with the physical properties of water, i.e., heat retention rate of smaller water droplets at an increased velocity, I have become a firm believer in the system. I know there is skepticism within the fire service when it comes to fighting fires, either with vehicle fires or structure fires regarding newer technology, but my question to you is this. Why would you not add a lifesaving tool and property loss reduction tool in your departments tool box?
We foster and thrive for newer technology when it comes to medical breakthroughs, home appliances, newer technology with a new fire engine, rescue truck, rescue tools, etc., you name it. But why not newer fire suppression technology?
I would challenge you to try the HMA UHP system, or better yet, attend one of HMA’s upcoming UHP Summit’s and try the technology for yourself. I truly think you will walk away with a better appreciation and understanding of the science, technology, and the usefulness of this great tool and its many uses.
If I could have a more rapid response to a scene in a pick-up truck with one of the HMA UHP skid units, knock down and/or extinguish a structure fire or vehicle fire prior to the engine or tanker arriving on scene, decrease property loss and damage, or save someone’s life, I’m in completely.
We are always training, looking at and testing new equipment, techniques, and technology which can cut response time and quicker mitigation of the incident we are toned to respond to. This technology does all of that!
As firefighters and rescue personnel, this is why we do what we do. I challenge you to try the HMA UHP system. I know from my own experiences using the system you will not be disappointed. This system would greatly benefit todays fire service.
Captain Jeff Chambers
Loudon County Fire /Rescue
Loudon County, TN
Mention of any company, service or product does not constitute endorsement by Loudon County Fire / Rescue. This is my own opinion, and is based upon by the demonstration and my personal use of the UHP system.
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