Common fire fighting equipment and their functions
Fire-related incidents are common in homes, offices, factories, markets, and hospitals. They usually occur due to human error, faulty electrical appliances, or other factors. Fire incidents can be disastrous if they are not contained as quickly as possible, hence the importance of fire fighting equipment.
Fire fighting equipment is essential for maximum protection against the destructive effects of fire-related incidents. They can be used as preventive measures against fire outbreaks and safety measures during fire emergencies.
TYPES OF FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT
Fire fighting equipment includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Fire Hydrants
- Hydrant Valves
- Fire Hose
- Fire Hose Reel
- Fire Hose Cabinet
- Fire Fittings
- Fire Nozzles
- Fire Monitors
- Foam Equipment
- Fire Bladders
- Fire Sprinkler Systems
- Alarm Check Valves
- Fire Alarms
Fire hydrants are fixed devices that provide access to water for fighting fires. A fire hydrant is usually connected to a main water supply network to ensure unlimited water availability during fire outbreaks. They are typically located around buildings, parking areas, roadsides, mines, industrial areas, etc.
Valves and nozzles are essential components of fire hydrants (and other firefighting equipment), enabling the user to control the direction, pressure, and flow of water with the help of a hose. Learn more about these components below.
Hydrant valves are fittings in a fire hydrant that help regulate, direct or control the flow of water by opening, closing, or partially obstructing passageways in the hose connectors. Most fire hydrant valves are designed to be operated full-on or full-off. When in the ‘open’ or ‘on’ position, the valve rises to permit water entry into the barrel of the hydrant. The valve lowers to block water passage when in the ‘closed’ or ‘off’ position.
Valves commonly used in fire hydrants include gate valves, globe valves, butterfly valves, relief valves, and check valves. A gate valve opens by lifting a barrier out of the path of fluid; hence, they are perfect for fire fighting.
Fire Hose – Fire Fighting Equipment
A fire hose is a high-pressure hose used to transport water from a water source (such as a fire hydrant) to a fire to extinguish it. Fire hoses can also channel other fire retardants (like foam) from the source to a fire. After use, a fire hose must be hung to dry because leaving water in the hose for a long time can deteriorate the material and render it unreliable or unusable.
Fire hoses that have larger capacities carry more water at low temperatures. If the hose is of a smaller diameter, it will need higher pressure. The most crucial factor in determining the effectiveness of a fire hose is the diameter of the hose. Fire hoses are manufactured in the following configurations:
- Single jacket
- Double jacket
- Rubber single jacket
- Hard rubber non collapsing tires
- Each type of fire hose is designed for a specific purpose
Fire Hose Reel
A fire hose reel is a cylindrical metal spindle with a fire hose wound around it. It is designed for skilled and unskilled firefighters to use as a quick-response method for fighting fires in their early stages. Fire hose reels are permanently connected to a water supply and consist of the main valve, a hose guide, and a hose with a nozzle. They are located to provide a reasonably accessible and controlled supply of water to combat a potential fire risk. They are ideal for high-risk environments such as schools, hotels, and factories. When properly used, fire hose reels prevent the tangling of fire hoses and allow the hoses to be carried in any direction. The hose attached to a fire hose reel can apply water to the fire even if most of the hose is still wound around the reel.
Fire Hose Cabinet
A fire hose cabinet is a steel box designed to safely store fire equipment such as fire hose rack assembly, fire extinguisher, and fire hose reel. Fire hose cabinets are usually mounted in areas where they can be accessed conveniently for firefighting. They protect the equipment inside from theft, vandalism, and dirt.
What is the size of a fire hose cabinet? Dimension: height 30 in x width 30 in x depth 8 in, for installation of fire hoses of 75 or 100 feet and fire extinguishers of 5 or 10 lbs.
- Hose Reels & Cabinets. Fire Hose Box.
- Water / Foam Monitor.
- Hydraulic Pressure Testing Machine.
Fire Fittings – Fire Fighting Equipment
These include hose connectors, adapters, and couplings that securely connect fire hoses to nozzles, hydrants, fire trucks, and other water sources. They help firefighters save time in emergencies.
Nozzles are short tubelike devices used to control the flow rate, speed, direction, and pressure of the water emerging from a fire hydrant or a hose. A fire nozzle is typically attached to the end of a hose to enable a firefighter to deliver water in any direction, at any speed and pressure.
There are five basic nozzle types:
- the solid bore.
- the single gallonage (sometimes called variable pressure/variable flow)
- the adjustable gallonage.
- The automatic or constant pressure.
A fire monitor is NOT used to monitor or detect the presence of fires, as the name implies. Fire monitors are controllable high-capacity water jets used for manual or automatic fire fighting. They are also known as deluge guns, master streams, or deck guns. Fire monitors can be portable or fixed onto fire-fighting vehicles.
Like fire hydrants, fire monitors deliver a large amount of water for fire extinguishing purposes. They are commonly used in high-risk environments such as industries prone to fire outbreaks. A fire monitor can discharge up to 7,500 litres of water per minute; this makes it perfect for putting out large fires.
Foam Equipment – Fire Fighting
Fire fighting foam is a foam used for fire suppression. It acts by cooling the fire and coating the fuel, preventing its contact with oxygen (necessary for combustion to continue). Foam equipment includes bladder tanks or fire bladders, branch pipes, foam pourers, foam chambers, foam concentrate pump skids, portable foam trailers, and foam concentrates.
Fire bladders are collapsible tanks that store fire retardants such as water or foam. They are commonly used for emergency water storage. Foam bladder tanks are steel pressure vessels fitted with internal bladders that store foam concentrate. During operation, water supplied to the bladder tank displaces the foam concentrate and collapses the bladder.
Fire Sprinkler Systems
A fire sprinkler system consists of a water supply, a water distribution piping system and fire sprinklers or sprinkler heads. Fire sprinklers are the major components of the fire sprinkler system, they discharge water when the effects of a fire have been detected. A fire sprinkler typically contains a heat-sensitive bulb that detects changes in temperature, the sprinkler is then activated when a predetermined heat level is reached. Fire sprinkler systems are usually installed in ceilings or side walls inside buildings, and water flow is regulated by alarm check valves.
Alarm Check Valves Fire Fighting Equipment
The alarm check valve is a core element in fire sprinkler systems. The alarm check valve is a water flow alarm device designed for vertical installation in the main supply to a wet pipe sprinkler system. The valve controls water pressure in the sprinkler system until it is needed to suppress a fire and helps to prevent the reverse flow of water. It can be activated either manually or electronically. Alarm check valves are essential for the security of the sprinkler system. It must be installed in the sprinkler system even if alarm systems are installed because its working mechanism helps in early warning of the presence of a fire.
Fire alarms are devices that alert people when smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, or other warning signs of a fire incident are detected. They are usually found in offices, factories, and public buildings. They include heat detectors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, multi-sensor detectors, and manual call points.