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Water on the Fire

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 December 2014
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

From our global interactions with many firefighters from the UK, USA, Middle East, Australia and beyond, there are two main schools of thought – the first being “I don’t care about fancy nozzles and techniques, I just want to get lots of water on the fire” and the other, “there’s no use getting lots of water on the fire if you don’t have well practiced and scientifically proven techniques”.

What’s common to both of these approaches is simply ‘water on the fire’ and no one can argue that this isn’t key to a good result when it comes to the task of fire fighting.

It doesn’t take many clicks on YouTube to find the arrival and first actions of firefighters being heavily criticised in the comments section. While the language can sometimes be colourful, the underlying message is usually “why did it take so long to get water on the fire?”

The speed and amount of water that gets to the fire or the weight-of-attack is dependent on many variables, with hose management being one of the main contributing factors and one we’re interested in at QuickLay Fire Attack. We have come to the conclusion that common to every incident, be it an oil rig, house or boat fire – there are two standard requirements in regards to managing hose.

These include:

  1. The need to stretch hose between the water supply and the smoke barrier or fire containment point and;
  2. The need to deploy enough hose into a coil so the firefighters can advance into the fire without becoming snagged or caught up by excessive friction caused by long lengths of heavy hose laid outside, up or down halls and stairs.

Stretching hose over a distance is a fairly straightforward task, however, under duress and in the dark it can sometimes end up in a mess of hose and not much distance covered. Straps will hold hose neatly; however, when the bundle is dropped or the load is partly deployed it loses its form and becomes a liability.

With increasing acceptance of the Cleveland Hose Load, also called the coil or the roundabout” hose load; it is possible to deploy enough hose close to the entry point, so it can be easily advanced into the fire. However, a hose strapped in the coil can be very temperamental, losing its form if dropped and can also suffer a catastrophic failure should one end inadvertently thread under one loop before the hose is charged.

Furthermore, while 30m/100ft of coiled hose is great, if two thirds of it remains coiled back at the standpipe even before the firefighters are through the door then there’s still the issue of dragging a lot of hose.

Purpose built fire hose deployment packs

Following four years of research and development while consulting with firefighters from all over the world we have created a suite of very simple packs that store and deploy hose in such a way that meets these two requirements while at the same time protecting the equipment in storage and transport. In addition, by design the equipment is ergonomic – being long and thin – and fits next to the firefighter’s breathing apparatus set, dramatically decreasing the impact of the load on the firefight- er’s centre of gravity.

Research and Development

Core to our testing was the importance of reliability – not in the drill yard but in limited visibility, high pressure and usually complex situations with gloved hands after a multi-level stair climb.

  • Stowage – Space is king on a fire engine so an underpinning design intention was to keep things tight and compact while not jeopardising the act of deliberately deploying the equipment.
  • Transport – ‘Bounce’ is the term we have used to describe what happens when a piece of equipment is seemingly secured however when carried it bounces and gradually comes loose and starts to hit knees, knock out teeth or cause unnecessary damage to the built environment.
  • Deployment – As already mentioned, the two packs have very clear roles and subsequently are packed differently so as to achieve their purpose. Critical to the success was the guarantee that all equipment will hold tight, however definitely deploy as and when expected.
  • Intuitive design – The role of each pack has been made very obvious. The pack that lays from the water supply is blue for water and the pack that deploys close to the entry point is red for fire. While this sounds obvious, it means fire fighters can perform their duties with the discussion being centred on the as-yet unknowns of the incident.
  • Implementation – To assist with the implementation and skills maintenance we have produced a phone-site (similar to a smartphone app), which will work on all devices so long as they’re connected to the Internet. Here we have packing, deployment and application demonstrations. This portal can be accessed at www.qlfanow.com
  • One size fits all – In order to fit all types and sizes of hose, nozzles, dividers/wyes and associated equipment we built in the ability to adjust pockets to fit as required.
  • Equipment – Depending on many variables, different departments run with different pieces of equipment and to accommodate this we have built in a removable cover for a gated divider/wye.
  • Operations – While the hose lay requirement is ultimately the same, no two incidents are. It is therefore important that firefight- ers maximise the capability of their equipment.

Attack Pack

  • Can stand up on its side and be held or lent against a wall
  • Can be deployed in a platform cage and advanced from within
  • Can be deployed then dragged fully in its coils
  • Will protect the hose ends from the hose load so as to avoid a thumb/overhand knot forming
  • Will not fall apart if dropped
  • Can store a coil that is big enough to expand into a kink-free coil yet pack down small enough that it’s easy to carry

Lay Pack

  • Stores a pre-connected gated-wye
  • Can be advanced from either end
  • Will not lose its form as the hose load lays
  • Can be dropped or thrown over a balcony or across a gap
  • Can be deployed lengths

Following this testing we have added a hose- securing strap and door wedge pockets as well as streamline pockets for other equipment specific to the department. While the two packs combine to provide what is easily compartmentalised as a “high-rise kit” they actually combine to form a system to deploy hose in any environment where there’s a need for a lot of hose quickly and not a lot of space to do it.

These include courtyards, hallways or even the top landing of aviation rescue stairs.

We are often asked to bolt on entry-tools and even a fire extinguisher and while this would be possible we feel and the general belief is these two packs combine to form a tool specific to the task of rapid and reliable fire hose deployment.

We want to avoid the tool morphing into a lesser performing tool-box with diluted applications.

With this understanding and the purpose designed equipment, firefighters can arrive and intuitively stretch and coil hose with the focus being on the true-unknowns of the job and hopefully get water on the fire fast.

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Why dont you use straps?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 29 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

"Why don't you just use straps?"

Is a question we sometimes get!

The best way to appreciate the bigger picture is to consider the value of a firefighter's helmet. I personally have worn my helmet for 12 years and for the first time only 3 months ago did it actually do its job and protect my head from a falling garage door while operating in an underground car park fire- absolutely saving my life.

For 11 or so years prior to this nothing fell on my head but the one time it did the total cost of the few helmets I've had paid for themselves with my life.

So yes, you can just use a set of straps and generally they will hold the hose...

But what if?

  • You trip and drop the load and it looses its form?
  • You want to throw the whole load across a gap to a boat or building and the exposed hose gets snagged?
  • You want to only deploy half the hose, not the whole hose, causing the remaining half to loose its form?
  • You want to be able to open the the locker on the pumper and know the load will definitely be good-to-go?
  • You need to deploy hose in poor visibility?
  • You arrive at a big job with people you've not worked with before and want to be tasked based on the pack you have - not a long discussion?
  • You want to feed the neatly packed hose through a gap or under/over a fence?
  • You're working with a crew you don't know and they have a different way of strapping the hose?
  • You just want to become really efficient with a dedicated piece equipment that's been tried and tested and designed for one task...

In these very possible scenarios straps just don't cut it.

In my last article I discussed the The Cleveland Hose Load and specifically why it's great as well as its inherent shortcomings-

If you add the use of straps there's a whole lot more to consider with the Cleveland Hose Load, most importantly:

  • The thumb knot or Overhand Knot.

The Attack Pack deliberately isolates the two hose ends from the main body of the hose, this prevents the catastrophic failure caused when one hose end pops under one or more coils forming a simple but show-stopping thumb knot.

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Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 27 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

One method - many names!

It has lots of names and just as many origins- the act of wrapping the first bite of hose back on itself (about 1.8m) and continuing to wrap until there's about 1m left.

This is commonly called the Cleveland Hose Load, the Round About Hose Load, the Garden Lay etc etc - we're not certain of it's origin however the Cleveland State Forest fire fighters were said to employ the concept for deploying hose at wild fires (great idea!!!).

What we are certain about is it's great! Especially when used in conjunction with an initial flaked hose, as it's possible to stretch and coil 2 lengths of hose just as quickly as the ground between the water supply and the fire can be covered.

We are often asked why we don't just have two packs holding coiled hose and not bother with the flaked hose pack, which on face-value- having two hoses rapidly deployed in a tight area sounds like a good thing- but it's not, or at least we don't think so.

For all its amazing benefits the Cleveland Hose Load has a few short comings which are inherent to the nature of lay-flat hose.

  1. Hose stored in the Cleveland Hose Load should not be run out from it's coiled position until it's full of water- this is because it will twist as it unravels from the coil and when the water is introduced the nozzle/branch will untwist. For this reason the line cannot be advanced until it's full of water.
  2. When deployed in the right position (near to the fire) the Cleveland Hose Load is easily advanced from its tight coil into the burning environment. However if two Cleveland Hose Loads are deployed together too far away, then the ease-of-advancement is burnt up in the distance between the supply and the fire. Then on entry, we are back to the original problem of lots of heavy hose outside.

To solve these problems we have developed a second pack (Lay Pack) designed to cover the distance between the water supply and the coiled hose.

When the two packs are used together, the distance between the fire and supply can be covered in either a forward or reverse direction (depending on the job) and hose deployed into a coil from the Attack Pack can be advanced into the burning environment.

For scenarios where there's a lay flat hose already positioned for each hydrant we have developed the Compack - it too stores and deploys the Cleveland Hose Load in one movement and is stored in more of a square shaped pack so it can fit in traditional fire hose cabinets.

The benefits of a coiled hose deployed in a lift lobby or stairwell environment far outweigh the current hose-rack flaked hoses as it can be deployed almost instantly and does not need to be stretched up and back in limited spaces.

  1. In this scenario the Attack Packs holding the coil are deployed near to the fire.

  2. Where the Lay Packs have been stretched up or down the stairs, to or from the water supply.

 

 

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Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 17 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

Don't worry! We're big fans of the work that has been pioneered by a few very keen and extremely competent individuals who may all speak different languages yet agree that there's a better way than "Big Fire = Big Water".

But... What is the point of learning all these fantastic techniques- if you cannot get water on the fire quickly and reliably due to hose tangles, kinks and catch points?

'We have procedures' is something we hear - however when quizzed further, more often than not the procedures are "get hose out" - not how to lay hose. What if the usual crew isn't working together? What if a multilingual crew is thrust together on an oil-rig or cruise ship?

Our aim isn't to change anything- we simply hope to add value with some purpose built packs.

For example the Lay Pack is blue because it stretches water between the water supply and the Attack Pack. The Attack Pack is red because it contains the hose that will attack the fire.

First and second arriving fire fighters now know without any words spoken that 60m or 200ft of hose is ready to be laid and who has what role based on the pack they're carrying.

After consultation with fire fighters in Australia, the Mid East, Europe and the USA we have come to the conclusion that when laying hose what's important is:

  • The distance is covered once by the fire fighters - maximum twice
  • Hose is laid only once - not deployed and then bundled up and redeployed
  • Enough hose is deployed - ready to advance into the fire without friction or catch-points causing delays

 

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Cars on fire as motorway tunnel caves in west of Tokyo

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 02 December 2012
in blogs · 0 Comments

Emergencies are largely unpredictable, the recent disaster inside a Japanese tunnel is a harsh reminder of this.

The deployment of hoses inside any restricted environment is a complicated task- let alone with evacuees moving and smoke and flames growing. Our packs are far more than some fabric holding the hose in place- they introduce a standard. This standard means the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

If I have the blue Lay Pack my job is to find water and stretch the hose towards the fire. If I have the red Attack Pack then I need to be near to the fire and ready to charge the line to advance into fight the fire.

Read the story here

The Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Koshu, Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan.

Picture: AP

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QLFA & Emergency Response Teams

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 26 February 2012
in Emergency Response Teams (ERT) · 0 Comments

The fire fighting industry has evolved slowly but surely to a point where the role of a “fire” fighter has diversified into rescue, hazmat and most significantly now prevention.

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The Stage is Set

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 15 February 2012
in QuickLay Around the World · 0 Comments

After 6 months of planning we are ready to circumnavigate the globe.

Starting in Hong Kong we will meet the Hong Kong Fire Brigade. Then into Thailand and onto Nepal where we will meet the Chief from Katmandu's fire brigade. Next stop is Dubai where we will base ourselves for a few Middle Eastern visits then it's next stop London to meet London Fire Brigade.

Paris, Madrid, Croatia, Northern Europe will all be visited over the ensuing three weeks.

The return home will be through New York, Seattle, Hawaii and Guam.

It will be an experience!!!

 

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QLFA Monthly - February

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 09 February 2012
in QuickLay Monthly · 0 Comments

QLFA Monthly

qlfa monthly february

Click here for the February edition of our monthly newsletter.

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Deploying hose lines in tunnels

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 29 January 2012
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Lay Flat fire hose deployment in open spaces is quite a straight forward task. But inside a tunnel is a completely different story.

 

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Fire response on the listing Costa Concordia

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 21 January 2012
in Passenger Ship Fires · 0 Comments

The last thing the passengers and crew of the recent Concordia cruise ship disaster needed was the outbreak of a fire – the fact that there wasn't (or at least there weren't any fires reported), in itself was a miracle.


Not only would the presence of heat and blinding smoke have caused many obvious issues to those on board but the task of fighting the fire in a listing or tilted environment would be nearly impossible.

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What drives your actions?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 15 January 2012
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Firefighters are often faced with situations that require the ability to conduct an accurate size up, usually with limited information and in a compressed time frame.

If this is not challenging enough, the decisions made have the potential to endanger the lives of firefighters and may mean the difference between life and death for any persons that are trapped.

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Transit Tunnel Fire Emergencies

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 August 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

For most people the daily commute through a busy transit tunnel is of no real significance, while it is unlikely that a major incient will occur- in the event it does all the implications of the emergency are amplified, these including smoke and heat from a fire as well as hundreds, potentially thousands of evacuees moving though an unbreathable environment in limited light.

Like a cruise or cargo ship emergency, the two variables that dictate the size and duration of a fire in a tunnel are Speed in both initial response and subsequent fire fighting operations and Weight of Attack (WoA) i.e how much and how effective the water streams are).

We have looked at the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and how their immediate response and local knowledge provide an invaluable advantage and we have also outlined the nuts and bolts of how the QuickLay Fire Attack Packs provide unparalleled performance in confined environments with milti-skilled and multi-lingual team members.

For a true insight into tunnels and how the who's who of keeping them safe no one would have a better, more up-to-date understanding of "Planning, Preparation and Response to Emergencies in Tunnels" than QLFA's own Director Shan Raffel.

Shan is a Churchill Fellow having completed his research project into tunnel emergencies.

His findings can be viewed here

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My introduction to the “Anatomy of hose lay”:

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 26 July 2011
in QLFA Overview · 0 Comments

My first lesson came in the form of discovering what the Lay Pack and Attack Pack do both individually and when combined.More information can be found on the Lay Pack here and the Attack Pack here.

However, as this is a summary in layman’s terms, here’s what I soon discovered for myself:

When it comes to fighting fire we talk about things in goals, strategies and tactics.

The goal is to achieve the two requirements common to every fire emergency, regardless of location – from an oilrig to house fire these two objectives need to be achieved.

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The QuickLay novice…

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 26 July 2011
in QLFA Overview · 0 Comments

As the new recruit at QuickLay Fire Attack and coming from a journalism/PR background, I can safely say that I’ve never rolled hose in my life. In fact, I’ve never so much as seen a fire hose. My contact with fire fighting equipment goes as far as playing aRescue Me DVD.

However, I’ve always had a huge interest in pioneering technologies and products that not only create a stir within their industry but those that really have a positive impact – and in the case of the QuickLay packs, save lives.

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But fire fighters bowl hose... don't they?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Friday, 08 July 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Sure, fire fighters are trained in the use of fire hose. There's no doubt about it, it's their bread and butter!

The straight forward task of holding the roll of hose steady, then carefully bowling it out in a straight(ish) line is the noble rite-of-passage for any fire fighter.

Though is this reason enough for other organisations like stadiums, large shopping centers or factories to avoid having the same ability to combat a fire in its infancy?

We don't think so; not when the task is simplified, expedited and the resulting hose from the Attack Pack gifts the user with a calibre that's twice that of a common one-inch fire-hose-reel.

Another reason people avoid lay-flat hose is based on the assumption that it can only be used with breathing apparatus - however it's when you do not have the advantage of air protection that the greater reach a lay flat hose offers should be utilised.

"Emergency Response Teams equipped with the QuickLay packs and an understanding of basic hose deployment are best positioned to protect life and the assets of the business".

 


Until now fire fighters

bowled this:

Now! Fire Fighters AND

Emergency Response Teams

can deploy these:

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QLFA Benefits: Passenger Ship Fires

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 05 July 2011
in Marine Fire Response · 0 Comments

QuickLay Packs and Passenger Ship Emergency Response Teams

Suitably trained ERT's armed with QLFA Packs are best positioned to combat, control and extinguish a fire on a passenger ship.

Click here for more information on passenger ships - The high-rise of the seas.

Weight of Attack

The initial response of the ERT is ideal to a fire on a passenger ship, then by using the QLFA Packs they can lay and deploy their hose almost instantly- resulting in a quick knockdown and minimal fuss.

Multilingual, multi-skilled

The QLFA Packs are designed to almost 'self-deploy' this takes out the need for frantic communication between broken language barriers. The ease-of-use of the QLFA Packs puts the power and flexibility of a charged length of fire hose in the operators hands- poised ready to advance and cut the fire off.

Water damage

The speed and flexibility that the QLFA Packs introduce to fire hose deployment results in the fire being contained and extinguished much quicker - reducing water usage and damage.

Rapid onset of smoke and heat

The ERT's rapid response and hose deployment rapidly contains the fire. By using good fire nozzle techniques the smoke can also be contained and cooled.

Close quarters hose deployment

The Lay Pack is designed to stretch hose as the distance is covered 'on-the-fly'. The Attack Pack is designed to deploy a full length of hose on the spot resulting in a coil of hose that can be effortlessly advanced towards the fire.

Evacuee movements

The resulting coil from the Attack Pack maintains its form while under pressure. It can be stood up against a wall to allow evacuee's to exit with reduced trip hazards.

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Where there's fire there's smoke (except in Hollywood)

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 05 July 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Fact v's Fiction - Hollywood would have us believe we are bullet proof in a fire...

As humans our appreciation of fire is well developed - 'bestfriend but- worst enemy' is a maxim I remember from school, so people generally 'get-it' when it comes to fire.

However, Hollywood's portrayal of fire and the effect the resulting smoke has on the human body has a lot to answer for: in their defense the last scene of 'Backdraft' would be pretty beige if all we saw was a blurred glow of fire through the thick black turbulant smoke and not Brian McCaffrey (aka William Baldwin) smash the top off a fire extinguisher and throw it in the burning factory, all without breathing protection...

The reality is:

"the onset of smoke and heat can only be fully appreciated and given the respect it deserves when observed and experienced firsthand - which unfortunately in some cases, is too late".

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The Missing Link

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Monday, 04 July 2011
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

Fire hose lay is not an exact science- so we have identified the standard requirements common to most fire emergencies...

If you talk to Akron they will tell you they've spent millions on the development of their nozzles and if you chat to Scania, they will tell you of the billions that has gone into R&D of the noble fire appliance yet the bit between the appliance and nozzle remains- hose. Simple lay-flat canvas or rubber hose.

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Fires & Passenger Ships - The 'high-rise' of the seas

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 03 July 2011
in Marine Fire Response · 0 Comments

The #1 most feared cause of death is by fire... #2 is 'death-by-shark', so it stands to reason that a fire on a ship isn't anyones idea of fun!

Cruise ships and ocean liners are laden with a mix of flammable substances, hazardous materials and multilingual staff and guests, all of which can be managed individually in an emergency. However, with the reality of smoke and heat stimulating panic, the end result of a fire on a vessel can be catastrophic.

The situation is complicated dramatically when the fire is aboard a passenger ship, this is due to many factors. We have already looked at the fact v's fiction portrayal of fire that Hollywood is guilty of skewing in each blockbuster, this brutal introduction to the reality of the rapid onset of heat and smoke is a rude awakening for the hundreds, potentially thousands of multilingual passengers and a crew with little to no real fire fighting experience.

Even a small fire can cause significant issues as the fire fighting water can cause permanent damage requiring guest re-location or electrical problems resulting in malfunctioning lights and amenities.

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Emergency Response Teams

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 02 July 2011
in Emergency Response Teams (ERT) · 0 Comments

Emergency Response Teams equipped with the QuickLay packs and an understanding of basic hose deployment are best positioned to protect life and the assets of the business.

The Emergency Response Team Hospitals, prisons, isolated infrastructure and other buildings of significant importance often have a semi or permanently dedicated Emergency Response Team (ERT).

Rapid Response

In the event of an alarm or confirmed fire the ERT are the initial response. Because the ERT responds from a position within their work site, their response time is significantly quicker than that of externally responding fire crews.

In the case of a vessel at sea, an oil rig or an industrial site located far from civilisation the ERT may be required to attack, contain and extinguish the fire without external assistance. By combining their local knowledge with the QuickLay packs the ERT can wage a rapid and suitably sized weight of attack.

ERT Efficiency

Staff will come and go and all have different fire fighting backgrounds. The QuickLay packs provide a procedural structure for initial and subsequent hose line deployment. Portability The QuickLay packs are long, thin and designed to place the weight of the load above the operator’s centre of gravity – reducing fatigue on route to the reported incident. Accessibility The back-strap placement frees the operator’s hands to climb a ladder or hold a handrail.

Quick Knockdown

On arrival at the incident the team members can stretch their Lay Pack and deploy their Attack Pack in less than 60 seconds. Hose Calibre The water from a lay flat hose will travel almost twice as far as a standard hose reel. This allows fighting operations from a safer distance for ERT’s not equipped with breathing apparatus.

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