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    Default DSPA: Dry Sprinkler Powder Aerosol, FIT: Fire Intervention Tool

    Okay, I finally got to see one of these things in action. This is the latest incarnation of the FIT-5.

    I was teaching at the Northern Illinois Southern Wisconsin Fire Rescue Association Fire School in Monroe and our class involved live fire training in house trailers. We had an end bedroom set up with 2 bails of hay and 2 pallets. We ignited the fire and let it get to the point that fire was rolling heavy across the ceiling and much of the room was involved in fire. We were positioned in the hallway just outside the bedroom. The salesman activated the FIT and tossed it in the room. It failed to activate. The salesman activated the second FIT and tossed it into the room. Within roughly 10 seconds it activated and the entire room was full of dry chemical dust. The fire was immediately knocked down. Not out, but knocked down. The room was filled with the dust from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Because there was no door for the bedroom it was not possible to entirely isolate the bedroom. After roughly minute I got up and ventilated the room, at that point the fire came back pretty quickly.


    My conclusions are as follows:

    1) Under the right circumstances this could be a valuable way to buy time while waiting for fire apparatus to arrive. Such as in a chief's buggy.

    2) The failure of the first device to activate was a little unsettling. The salesman admitted the triggering device had been problematic and these devices were old stock and all the new manufactured devices have a new trggering device and according to him the reliability issues have been resolved.

    3) I believe being able to control the openings is crucial to the effectiveness of this device. In other words the tighter closed you can keep the area of deployment the more effective it will be.

    4) Cost is still a concern at $995 per unit. It has dropped from its original cost of around $1500. But is still quite pricey. But...if you balance the cost against saving someone's house perhaps it isn't such a bad deal after all.

    5) I visualize this primarily being used in more suburban, or rural, situations where response of fire apparatus may be delayed due to staffing issues or travel time to remote areas of the district.

    6) The salespeople made it clear they would be happy to come out to my FD to demonstrate this device when and if we had a practice house burn in our area.



    I am not over being skeptical but I am more open minded to the possibilities that this tool may have some practical use in some specific cases.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 08-16-2010 at 02:31 AM.
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    A couple of questions based on your scenario:

    I know you said that you were waiting in the hallway, my guess would be that you had the benefit of a charged hose line next to you with a safety line as an additional backup. With that in mind let me ask you these question:

    1) I know that the only way I would ever consider this tool useful, and it sounds like you feel the same way, is for an initial unit that is unable to make an actual attack the good old fashioned way (ie: Chiefs unit). Unless it is a confirmed victim situation I would not advocate entering the house without the benefit of a hoseline. So that would probably prohibit the same deployment situation that you had. (Being able to deploy from a hallway). Since I am just going by hearsay, and you have actually seen this thing for real now, am I correct in my thoughts here?

    2) Based on #1 I would think the only practical deployment would be through a window. I know you said that you think the performance might have suffered because you guys were unable to completely isolate the compartment. Do you think that a room with the door closed and a (now) open window would perform similar? How much do you think having an open door and a (now) open window would further degrade the performance?

    3) If we cannot use it without a hoseline and it is a non-rescue situation, do you think it is a beneficial product if the fire is in a "central" location? For example an interior bathroom with no outside windows? Do you feel like it is worth trying to make access to the interior room to deploy, or would it be better to wait for traditional staffing and units to make an attack even if it means a longer burn time?

    4) Assuming an "interior burning compartment" and a confirmed victim: Lets say that only 1 or 2 firefighters are first on scene without a hoseline. I know that the FIT is not supposed to be used in compartments with victims. But what if the room next to the victim is on fire? Do you think there would be any benefit from grapping the FIT and tossing it into the compartment room to maybe buy you an extra minute while you grap the victim in another room?

    5) And yes, I am actually going to try and ask some questions to a guy who I am pretty sure is not a salesman and has actually used it in order to keep an open mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    A couple of questions based on your scenario:

    I know you said that you were waiting in the hallway, my guess would be that you had the benefit of a charged hose line next to you with a safety line as an additional backup. With that in mind let me ask you these question:

    1) I know that the only way I would ever consider this tool useful, and it sounds like you feel the same way, is for an initial unit that is unable to make an actual attack the good old fashioned way (ie: Chiefs unit). Unless it is a confirmed victim situation I would not advocate entering the house without the benefit of a hoseline. So that would probably prohibit the same deployment situation that you had. (Being able to deploy from a hallway). Since I am just going by hearsay, and you have actually seen this thing for real now, am I correct in my thoughts here?

    I agree with the usage being primarily from an in initial unit, like a Chief's buggy. I agree that there is more danger in entering without the protection of a hoseline. I would suppose a prudent person would size up the situation and determine if an interior deployment was possible. If not I would punch the smallest hole in the window possible for deployment.

    2) Based on #1 I would think the only practical deployment would be through a window. I know you said that you think the performance might have suffered because you guys were unable to completely isolate the compartment. Do you think that a room with the door closed and a (now) open window would perform similar? How much do you think having an open door and a (now) open window would further degrade the performance?

    Door closed / window deployment: As I said above, I personally, would make the window hole a s small as possible. Open door / window deployment: Again as small an opeing in the window and deploy through the window.

    My feeling is the window / closed door deployment would be superior because of more enclosed space. Window / open door I feel it would knock down the fire, but perhaps not as much or hold it as long due to dispersing of the chemical agent. REALIZE THESE ARE JUST MY OPINION.


    3) If we cannot use it without a hoseline and it is a non-rescue situation, do you think it is a beneficial product if the fire is in a "central" location? For example an interior bathroom with no outside windows? Do you feel like it is worth trying to make access to the interior room to deploy, or would it be better to wait for traditional staffing and units to make an attack even if it means a longer burn time?

    If conditions allow yes I do believe it would be beneficiaql and if conditions allow an attempt MIGHT be made.

    ALWAYS smart to have a hoseline with you.


    4) Assuming an "interior burning compartment" and a confirmed victim: Lets say that only 1 or 2 firefighters are first on scene without a hoseline. I know that the FIT is not supposed to be used in compartments with victims. But what if the room next to the victim is on fire? Do you think there would be any benefit from grapping the FIT and tossing it into the compartment room to maybe buy you an extra minute while you grap the victim in another room?

    From what I saw, I would definitely say that it could buy you the time to attempt a rescue.

    5) And yes, I am actually going to try and ask some questions to a guy who I am pretty sure is not a salesman and has actually used it in order to keep an open mind.

    I am no slaesman, not a factory rep, and I have absolutely nothing to gain other tham disseminating information based on my personal experience and observations.
    Thanks for asking some thought provoking questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Thanks for asking some thought provoking questions.
    Thanks for the replies. If I remember right you have always been very critical of this thing, so I knew I would get some honest answers from you.
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    FyredUp how many square feet does this device effectively cover?

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    995.00 a piece sounds like a masterguard product???

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    When one of these "extinguisher grenades" gets a UL listing, I'll consider giving it a second look. When the price gets more reasonable, maybe even a third.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    When one of these "extinguisher grenades" gets a UL listing, I'll consider giving it a second look. When the price gets more reasonable, maybe even a third.
    Hey - a friend of mine who deals with antiques just acquired a couple of the original style "extinguisher grenades." I can connect you up with him if you're interested.....
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    I was in there behind Fyred with the TIC, we were going to look at the tempurtature drop, because according to the salesman, it was supposed to greatly lower the temp in the room. Unfortunately, just as we lit the fire, the battery on the TIC died, so we based it off of feeling.

    The demo guy we had with us said that shortly after deployment of the FIT, the temp should be greatly reduced. That is the one point where I call shennaigans. The salesman deployed it, it went off and filled the room like Fyred said, but as far as temp goes, all I feel it did was push the heat from the ceiling to about where your head would be crouching.

    I was crouched down, about 5 feet outside the room that the FIT was deployed in, and after it went off, it got noticeably hotter, to the point where if you didn't duck down even farther from a crouch, it was almost unbearable.

    I was fairly impressed. It did more than I thought it would, but I'm no believer yet.

    1. It still costs almost a $1000. Granted, the salesman said alot of insurance companies are covering these now, and if you get one that fails, DSPA will replace it at no charge, so that makes it a bit more justifiable if you can afford the initial cost.

    2. The demo guy said that it works much better if the room is as sealed up as possible. I don't foresee the ideal conditions for this device being met all too often. Perhaps in a basement fire, but in a bedroom, I think there is too many variables for it to work to its full effectiveness. If the door to the bedroom is open, as soon as the powder settles, and oxygen gets reintroduced, the fire will flare back up. (as Fyred said, he kicked open the window to vent, and the fire flared back up)

    I think it has potential. I really do, but I also think that it needs to be tweaked a little. Based on what I saw, the firing system needs to be reworked (which has supposedly been taken care of already), And I honestly think it would be a more effective tool if it was made just a little bigger/was made to go off a little longer. I think it would buy more time, even in those conditions that aren't so ideal. If it were designed to go off a little longer, I think it would buy more time for an engine company to show up, because it would keep the powder going in the room longer, leaving less of an oppurtunity for oxygen to be reintroduced.

    Far less skeptical, but not sold on buying any yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    The demo guy we had with us said that shortly after deployment of the FIT, the temp should be greatly reduced. That is the one point where I call shennaigans. The salesman deployed it, it went off and filled the room like Fyred said, but as far as temp goes, all I feel it did was push the heat from the ceiling to about where your head would be crouching.
    It's important to note that dry chemical extinguishers don't cool the fire - they interrupt the combustion. IMHO, the only reason the temperature would be reduced by the FIT would be because the fire was (theoretically) no longer burning. Any residual heat would remain.

    I've heard of fires doused with a dry chem extinguisher re-igniting when more air was introduced.

    That said - it's still a potential tool for situations where water isn't available yet, as was discussed at length in a previous thread as well.
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    In your opinion how did if differ in results from other techniques such as the first arriving officer(in a command vehicle) could do, such as a well aimed PW - and shutting doors?

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    Tree-I agree with your first paragraph. If I made it sound like I thought dry chem would cool the air, my mistake.

    I think that's exactly what happened. Air was reintroduced into the equation, and the fire just took off again.

    And I agree, it has potential, but I also think that if I walk up to the window with a 20 or 30 pound drychem extinguisher, and just unload the whole thing in the window, it would have the same or very similar results, at a fraction of the price.(and that is something I would like to see tested. A 20 pound drychem extinguisher vs. the FIT in comparably sized and set up rooms.)

    Slackjawed- Before we tossed in the FIT, the fire was fairly devoloped, rolling across the ceiling, and I think an officer with a PW wouldn't be able to do what this did. But, on the other hand, as I said above, I think if the officer rolled up with a drychem and dumped the whole thing in the window, (after shutting doors/windows etc if possible) I think it would have comparable results at a fraction of the price.
    Last edited by Chenzo; 08-16-2010 at 03:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    Thanks for the replies. If I remember right you have always been very critical of this thing, so I knew I would get some honest answers from you.
    I admit freely that before I saw it work I thought it was a high priced gizmo that couldn't work. Now I believe in specific circumstances it has potential to buy time for the arrival of an engine company. I want to be involved in further testing to see more chances of it operating.

    Like I said, still skeptical, but not nearly as much having seen it work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    FyredUp how many square feet does this device effectively cover?
    I am not a salesman, or a factory rep, and I have no iron in the fire on this product, so all I can do is tell you that their sales brochure says it will "completely suppress a fire in a 3500 cubic foot room and slow the spread of fire in larger spaces."

    I will tell you this, in my humble opinion it is necessary for the room to be fairly tight for it to completely extinguish the fire. The room we had was probaby 10 x 12 x 8 feet with no door on the entry point to the room and the window boarded over. It filled the room with the extinguishing agent and pushed enough into the hall that my helmet was turned gray by the dust. The fire was knocked down but not completely extinguished.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    When one of these "extinguisher grenades" gets a UL listing, I'll consider giving it a second look. When the price gets more reasonable, maybe even a third.
    And that's fine. I was neither endorsing or condemn the product.

    We had so much hearsay about the product in the last topic on it that here was my chance to see it work and report on the results. My OPINION is that in certain circumstances it could be a valuable tool to buy time for an engine company to arrive and stretch lines.

    I was on the UL band wagon in the previous topic myself. To be honest at this point I view throwing that down as a reason to avoid looking at a product that may save homes and potentially lives.

    I don't recall anyone throwing down the UL label on the multi-page cheater connection for the SCBA mask. Anyone want to tell me that it was UL approved?
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    It's important to note that dry chemical extinguishers don't cool the fire - they interrupt the combustion. IMHO, the only reason the temperature would be reduced by the FIT would be because the fire was (theoretically) no longer burning. Any residual heat would remain.

    I've heard of fires doused with a dry chem extinguisher re-igniting when more air was introduced.

    That said - it's still a potential tool for situations where water isn't available yet, as was discussed at length in a previous thread as well.
    Any honest firefighter will tell you they also have had a fire that was doused with water reignite when more air was introduced.

    Like I have stated previously the salesman said they would be happy to come up and demonstrate the device for us if we had a practice controlled burn in a house. If we have a house burn I fully intend to take them up on that offer.

    To me the biggest obstacles to its success are the ability to control openings in the fire area AND the cost. Even if insurance companies will reimburse the cost I know of some smaller volly FD's that $995 would severely deplete their equipment budget for the year.
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    I'm glad you got to see one in action. I would like to hear if y'all do any more testing.

    Like chenzo said I really want to see the difference in the FIT and a 20 pound dry chem.

    Thanks for the info.
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    Did you video it???

    If so can you post it somewhere????
    P

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    If the deployment is from a Chief, then more than likely it will be an exterior deployment through a window. Unless you have a Chief officer that cheats interior on his own.

    Just a couple of thoughts/questions using that scenario:

    • Maintaining the compartment would be guesswork(without knowing interior layout or if doors are closed, etc)? In addition, this also restricts this to "closed" rooms, like bedrooms, bathrooms, utilities and small basements. Kitchens are usually part of an open floor plan.
    • What do you do if unsure of victims?
    • The "contents" were pallets and hay, I wonder how this would change with actual room contents?
    • Any sense of the intensity of reignition?
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 08-16-2010 at 06:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Did you video it???

    If so can you post it somewhere????
    P
    Sorry, no video. I guarantee if I get another chance at a demo I will try to get some video on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    If the deployment is from a Chief, then more than likely it will be an exterior deployment through a window. Unless you have a Chief officer that cheats interior on his own.

    Just a couple of thoughts/questions using that scenario:

    • Maintaining the compartment would be guesswork(without knowing interior layout or if doors are closed, etc)? In addition, this also restricts this to "closed" rooms, like bedrooms, bathrooms, utilities and small basements. Kitchens are usually part of an open floor plan.
    • What do you do if unsure of victims?
    • The "contents" were pallets and hay, I wonder how this would change with actual room contents?
    • Any sense of the intensity of reignition?
    Maintaining the compartment would most definitely be guesswork. And as stated, we had a full door open, and it still managed to suppress the fire. BUT, if you don't have another one, or an engine VERY shortly behind, as soon as the powder settles and air is reintroduced, it flares back up, and you're back to square one.

    Victims-depending on the circumstances of the fire, my guess is any victims are probably already deceased. If you happen to come along a fire that hasn't developed very far yet, then IMO, it's a game of chance. If you toss that in a room where there are potentially still victims that are alive, I feel you have put the nail in their coffin. It pushes the heat down, and I can't imagine the powder is good for the respiratory system.

    I would be curious to see how it would handle a typical bedroom, or living room, with furniture/clothing/dresser/cabinets etc as well. If we get the oppurtunity to use it again, I hope we can set up a more realistic bedroom.

    We tossed it in the room when the fire was fairly close to flashover. It knocked it down, but when air was reintroduced, it took off fairly intense again. It was back up the wall, almost working it's way across the ceiling.

    Hope this helped answer your questions. Maybe Fyred can offer some more insight if I didn't cover enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    If the deployment is from a Chief, then more than likely it will be an exterior deployment through a window. Unless you have a Chief officer that cheats interior on his own.

    Just a couple of thoughts/questions using that scenario:

    • Maintaining the compartment would be guesswork(without knowing interior layout or if doors are closed, etc)? In addition, this also restricts this to "closed" rooms, like bedrooms, bathrooms, utilities and small basements. Kitchens are usually part of an open floor plan.

      Maintaining the compartment in an interior is always guesswork anyways. You may encounter a bedroom and assume since the windows are still in and you still have the door that the compact is "intact" when in fact there is an interconnecting bathroom that both doors are open on.

      The point I made was that despite the doorway being open because there was no door, the fire was knocked down. It wasn't out, but then again I did remove the plywood covering the window to ventilate before the fire began to grow again. I can only speculate as to what would have happened IF venting had not occurred.

      If the exteriror openings are minimal I think it would still at the very least slow the fire if not knock it down even in a large open space like a kitchen area.


    • What do you do if unsure of victims?

      If I am unsure of the location of the victims I very well may not deploy it. However, if I have a room that is fully involved there would be no survivable victims in that room anyways. I may deploy it then to hope to keep the fire in check to allow time for a quick search or to buy time for the engine to arrive.
    • The "contents" were pallets and hay, I wonder how this would change with actual room contents?

      Remember this was a mobile home with wall paper, that funky "whatever the heck" it is ceiling material, a bi-fold door closet with the doors open, so the doors were added fuel load. Was it like a room with regular furniture and belongings in it? Nope, but the fire was substantial.

      I spoke to several people at this fire school who have deployed these for real in room fires and basement fires and the most water used to overhaul after deployment was claimed to be 50 gallons.

    • Any sense of the intensity of reignition?

      Again, the circumstances were the hallway door was not there so the agent was not contained, the fire was knocked down and when I ventilated it grew back in intensity. How intense? It was hot in the room but the hoseline was worked from a standing position and the fire was killed with a few seconds of water application. We did do massive hydraulic overhaul of the hay because it was the last burn of the day and we were not supposed to burn the trailers to the ground.
    All this is my OPINION based on MY OBSERVATION of this device in action. I do not claim to be an expert of any sort regarding this device. I guess I just see its potential in the right circumstances to save property and perhaps lives.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 08-16-2010 at 08:02 PM.
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    My question is if comparing apples to apples, what do you do if you're unsure of victims and you'e armed with a hoseline? Steam to the lungs likely will kill as fast as dry chemical.

    Interesting thread Fyred, nice to hear from a firefighter with no stake in the company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    My question is if comparing apples to apples, what do you do if you're unsure of victims and you'e armed with a hoseline? Steam to the lungs likely will kill as fast as dry chemical.

    Interesting thread Fyred, nice to hear from a firefighter with no stake in the company.
    Based on our previous discussions, I'd have to say that until proven otherwise, if there's a hoseline available, the FIT will stay in its usual resting place.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    All this is my OPINION based on MY OBSERVATION of this device in action. I do not claim to be an expert of any sort regarding this device. I guess I just see its potential in the right circumstances to save property and perhaps lives.
    Your opinion is one that I would value. I'm just struggling with my own doubts and concerns about this product.

    I do appreciate your candor and your thoughts on this.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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