The primitive days when firefighting used to be a process of pouring water onto a fire to extinguish raging flames are gone and firefighting has progressed now. It depends on advanced technologies in order to put out fires now.
Civil engineers and firefighters have implemented new techniques to extinguish fires and save lives in recent years. Firefighting methods are divided into a few categories which are preemptive, suppressive, and survival. The preemptive technologies are those that stop a fire before they begin. Suppressive technologies are utilized to extinguish flames which have started burning. And in worst case circumstances, survival technologies are employed to save firefighters and civilians from the worst: the confrontation of flames, smoke, and debris.
Some of the most advanced technologies that keep on saving thousands of lives are following:
5. Sweden’s Futuristic Firefighting Helmet:
A futuristic protection device is offered by the C-Thru firefighting helmet that incorporates several technologies. It resembles a fighter pilot’s helmet as some specific information is projected onto the lens providing a useful heads-up display including information like temperature, remaining oxygen, and C02 levels. In order to allow firefighters to keep hold of their visibility in thick smoke as well, a thermal imaging camera can also be put into operation.
4. Fire Shelters Made From Space-Age Materials:
A collaborative initiative with the U.S. Forest Service was taken by NASA Langley Research Center after the tragic fire of Yarnell Hill in Arizona, 2013, to look into the possibility that the firefighters can be saved via provision of shelter through their space-age technology.
Thus far, shelters with a thickness of less than a millimeter have been created by NASA engineers. The lightest prototypes weigh just 4.3 pounds (1.95 kg) and can be packed up into a space the size of a half-gallon milk container. NASA expects to publish their discoveries this year and looks forward to launch the shelters in 2018. As told by NASA:
“The technology that protects spacewalking astronauts may soon be available to firefighters on the ground through the development of an advanced suit offering greater protection, endurance, mobility and better communications.”
Each year, more than 5,000 people die due to fires in the US alone. And about 30,000 more are injured. These figures reach 100 and 100,000 respectively, for firefighters. Suits that are capable of resisting pressure, radiation, and heat- all elements are being created by NASA for a long time which could be incorporated into new firefighting suits.
“The advanced firefighter’s suit will use a number of state-of-the-art NASA technologies. Among them is active cooling, protecting the firefighter from metabolic heat trapped in the suit.”
NASA also stated:
“Combined with new fabrics on the outer garment, the liquid cooling inner garment can allow more lengthy exposure to temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to a maximum of 300 degrees for current suits. It will be double sealed, exposing no skin areas and providing protection against hazardous materials. The suit also will offer greater impact protection”.
At present, the technology is in a prototype stage, but, NASA aims to employ its space-age technology in order to prepare firefighters better than ever.
3. Fire Extinguishing Grenades:
Despite the fact that the concept is quite ironic and astonishingly ancient, it is a creative product that is still in use today.
The most primitive fire grenades were hand-blown, colored round glass bottles usually be filled with salt water. When a fire would take place, the filled glass bulbs would be thrown into the fire where the thin glass would break quite easily, thereby discharging its contents and hopefully putting out the blaze. More sophisticated compounds took place of water in later years, like carbon tetrachloride, which is also called tetrachloromethane. The glass balls were atop temperature sensitive brackets in areas of high risk. In case a fire began, the heat would cause the bracket to release the ball, allowing it to smash onto the ground and release its fire extinguishing compounds.
2. New Rapid Extinguishing Technologies:
Even though the glass device is hardly used, the technology has been improved into more advanced extinguishers. Currently, several rapid fire extinguishers are available including the Fire Extinguishing Ball.
Fire suppressing ‘grenades’ is a more accurate term to refer to these balls. The grenades are thrown into an area already surrounded in flames where they quickly (yet controllably) explode. The explosion does not exert a massive amount of force. Instead, it relies on the fast expansion of the compounds within.
The other developing rapid extinguishing systems such as the Fire Extinguishing Ball are becoming publically available all across the world. The systems can be swiftly deployed with great effect equivalent to its conventional fire extinguisher counterpart. However, the heat activated systems of the grenades help the user to employ the grenade from a safe distance from the smoke and fire. These technologies are incredible at dousing fires indoor as they are easily and efficiently set up without producing any more damage than the fire already has, which makes them ideal for minor home fires.
1. Sonic Fire Extinguishers:
Well, even though they are a member of the same family as regular fire extinguishers, the sonic fire extinguishers should be a part of a class of their own. The apparatus is called a wave extinguisher which makes use of acoustic waves to suppress flames. Only sound is discharged from the extinguisher, thus making it perfect to be used around equipment and personnel.
While the notion to use sound to extinguish fires was long been understood, the principle was only just converted into a feasible device. Basically, the vibrations of the music work to separate the air from the fuel, causing the material to burn out.
A lot of money has been spent into fire suppressive technologies all through the history. Although they are expensive, there does not exist any amount of money in this world that could ever replace the lives they protect.