Firefighting to go green
by By GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
May 31, 2013 | 1425 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THREE NEW FIRE engines at Bradley County Fire-Rescue have “green” technology as well as digital operations and computers which aid in driving stability. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
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“The exhaust actually comes out cleaner than the oxygen it took in,” said James Thompson, a firefighter with Bradley County Fire-Rescue as he explained the new technology built into three shiny new red, black and gold fire engines recently put into service.

All three engines and three new tankers will be placed at the three new fire stations in the county.

“The new equipment is designed and built with ‘green’ technology and new safety features in mind,” said interim Bradley County Fire Chief Troy Spence.

Spence explained the engines have a 1,000-gallon water capacity, foam compartment and many other features.

“The engineer will experience a difference in driving the new engine. It has a built-in stabilization system which allows for a safer-driving vehicle,” Spence said.

When liquids are transported, their weight can shift. Baffle systems are built into the tanks but the liquids can still shift, causing trucks to overturn going around curves or the driver to lose control.

The stabilizing computer system on the trucks aid with the shifting loads.

“The body and chassis are smart,” said Spence.

On-board computers control sway, roll and traction.

As for the ‘greener, cleaner’ aspect, the engine is diesel.

An additive to the fuel system aids in converting and cleaning what would typically be discharged as carbon monoxide.

“It converts to carbon dioxide, which keeps our environment cleaner,” Spence said.

According to Thompson, the system is called “Re-Gen” technology, using a system of converters to clean the air.

“It’s actually cleaner coming out than it is going in,” Thompson explained.

Each engine has seven discharge lines.

All are color-coded and can be operated in unison with 1,500-gallon-per-minute pumps.

The engines also have a computerized foam mixing system used for compressing fuel or chemical fires.

Digital readouts display information to the engineer who mans the truck as firefighters go into the heat of battle.

Each new truck has been equipped with LED response and scene lighting capabilities.

Spence said thermal imaging cameras are on board and trucks also have been stocked with basic rescue supplies and other equipment conducive to commencing tasks such as searches.

“We are working to get all the fleet consistent with the types of equipment needed,” Spence said.

One of the best additions of equipment are the new E-tools.

“They are called E-draulics,” Spence said.

A potential scenario might include: First responders arrive on the scene of a car crash. They immediately begin stabilizing vehicles involved. Tools are removed from an engine. A generator is fired up to aid with hydraulic tools. Time is wasted when a person is trapped.

“With the new battery-operated E-draulics, personnel open the hatch and grab the specific tool needed, while others stabilize the vehicles. At the push of a button to turn the tool on, a firefighter can begin extrication within seconds instead of a minute or two. The tools are stronger, cut soft steel better and are lighter weight,” Spence said.

“We have eliminated the need for dragging hydraulic lines, generators and other equipment needed which will make extrication quicker during a very critical time,” Spence said of rescuing victims trapped in wreckage.

The new tools also need less maintenence and batteries are rechargeable and will last up to 45 minutes before needing replacement, according to Spence.

“Now we can just turn them on and go to work,” Spence said.

The trucks have been completed with radio systems, cribbing and virtually anything else needed for effective response.

“We are still looking for good volunteers to work in specialized fields of rescue or fire,” Spence said.

For additional information, contact 728-7293.