In the wake of the catastrophic fires that have gripped our nation, we thought it would be timely to write a short article on ways that could help you make your portable fire fighter more effective. While preparing your property is one of the biggest tools to help protect your property as discussed in our articles "Don't Fight Fire with Fire" or "A Fighting Chance", there are multiple items you can add to your portable fire fighter to ensure you have the best chance of putting out a fire and defending your property.
Something simple to start with: a McCleod tool, or otherwise known as a Rakehoe. This is an indepensable fire rake which can be used for raking litter/leaf matter, cutting grass and digging trenches in soft ground. This tool is also very useful for clearing heavy undergrowth. The McCleod tool is compact and can fit on the back of a ute or truck without taking up any room.
A great website to check out the McCleod tool is BRT: https://www.bigredtruck.com.au/vallfirest-gorgui-multifunctional-hand-tool
THE FIRE BEATER
Another great tool is a fire beater. The fire beater is exceptionally handy in grass fires! This tool is perfect for extinguishing and mopping up small spot fires and grass fires by simply beating the ground and smothering the fire with the rubber paddle. Like the McCleod tool, a fire beater is easy to store and will take up little room in your vehicle or shed.
"A couple of months back, I decided to complete a donation run for the RFS and the people affected in Kempsey NSW and surrounds due to the bush fires. As an accident, not 30 mins into my trip I started a small grass fire when a wheel fell off my trailer and a hot bearing flew into the grass, and it started a small grass fire (ironic I know, I go to donate to the cause and I start a fire – facepalm!). In my panic and tears, I didn’t know what to do! A passer-by pulled up with one of these beaters and put it out so quickly. Obviously, I was extremely thankful, as were the fire brigade who attended. A fire beater has now become something I would recommend to anyone who lives in rural areas or does have a fire fighting unit/ threat. "
STORZ / FORESTRY FITTINGS
Storz or Forestry fittings are another great tool to be aware of. Why not ensure your unit is compatible with your local fire brigade / rural fire fighting service? Two of the most popular fittings used by our emergency services are the 'Storz' or 'Forestry' fittings depending on your location. Most of NSW and QLD use the Storz fittings, whereas VIC, TAS, SA and WA use Forestry fittings.
The simplicity of being able to hook up to your unit or even your rain water tank will allow the emergency services to either provide you with water to help protect your property, or provide them with rater from your storage tanks to help them fight fires. Win, win right?
Here at Rapid Spray, we have selection of the most popular Storz fittings used by our emergency services. We can include these fittings as an add-on to any of our range of fire fighting units, or we can provide you the fittings to fit to a pre-existing unit you may have.
To check out what fittings are used in your area, please see below link:
Have you ever considered upgrading to a diesel pump? Unsure of the benefits and what does it have to do with fire fighting?
Diesel engine drive pumps are intrinsically safer than petrol drive pumps as diesel has a higher flash point (meaning less flammable). This makes diesel drive pumps a safer option when refuelling your unit during a fire or dangerous fire conditions. Diesel pumps also offer further incentives such as they are fuel efficient - who wants their unit running out of fuel when in desperate times? Diesel pumps also require less frequent, and often cheaper, servicing than other engines.
Here at Rapid Spray we offer the Yanmar Diesel L48 engine. The Yanmar L48 is a robust diesel engine that is reliable, easy to install, compact and our first choice when it comes to diesel engines for fire fighting. Hatz and Kohler diesel engines are also available on request.
FIRE FIGHTING PUMP & ENGINE
Designed for rapid deployment in fire emergencies, our fire fighting pump skids are able to draw from any water source including domestic water tanks, pools & dams and are easy to load with lifting lug and handles.
Another favourite safety accessory is the Ball Baffle system. The Ball Baffle which has been designed by Rapid Spray is the ball baffle system on the market which has been independently tested and verified by Loadsafe Australia. This funky little ball is much more than meets the eye. Fitting these ball baffles in your tank, no matter how small or big, will prevent the sloshing and surging of liquid.
Imagine having a trailer or a kid unit loaded full of water, rushing around trying to fight fires and protect your property. You are noticing around every small corner, over every bump and especially when you hit the brakes, a dangerous bellowing of water sloshing backwards and forwards causing your vehicle to rock uncontrollably. It just isn't safe.
Acting like an honeycomb within the tank, ball baffles provide you with stability and reduces your risk of a roll over situation. The best thing about the Ball Baffle system is you can retro fit them into your existing unit. Need more persuasion? Check out the below video of the Ball Baffle system in action!
Another recommendation is investing in an fire fighting nozzle. Our fire fighting nozzle of choice is the 'Dial-a-Jet Nozzle'. Dial-a-Jet nozzles are lightweight with a smooth casing which prevents the hose getting stuck in undergrowth. Many rural fire services fit these nozzles standard to their trucks.
Much like a garden nozzle, with a simple twist action you have multiple spray patterns from a jet to a mist.
A mist you ask? How would this help? You're trying to soak the fire, you want the flaming thing out, right? The small water droplets allow the water mist to control, suppress and extinguish the fire by cooling both the flames and surrounding gases by evaporation. Displacing oxygen by evaporation is how water actually puts a fire out...just to be super technical! This can be extremely beneficial for extinguishing the threat.
FIRE FIGHTING FOAM KITS
Did you know when fighting a fire within a structure, for example a house or a shed, only 10% of water penetrates the "fuel" of the fire? Using foam compared to plain water enables the solution to penetrate the burning fuels by faster and a lot more efficiently. With a quicker knockdown rate when using foam, it is less likely a fire will reach it's flash point meaning it will not be as hot and will be easier to extinguish.
BACKPACK FIRE FIGHTER KITS
An ideal option for fire fighting small spot fires, ember attacks and managing controlled burn-offs, the Backpack Fire Fighter is the perfect quick grab option. With a mounting bracket for your vehicle, it can be easily mounted to your ute or trailer.
This handy knapsack fire fighter offers a fast and consistent flow from the double action hand pump. With a double action chromed brass pump with self lubricating seals for easy operation and immediate pumping even it is has been unused for a while, the backpack fire fighter gets water on the fire quickly.
The tough, UV stabilised tank gives many years of use and has been ergonomically designed for operator comfort and ease of use.
BACKPACK SPOT FIRE FIGHTER
Rapid Spray’s knapsack firefighter is approved to AS1687 for guaranteed performance. Used by fire authorities Australia wide, you are making a great choice when you chose the FastFlo Knapsack.
The non-collapsible tank can be always full and ready to respond while the double action hand pump sprays water on both the in and the out stroke.
So, if you are in the market for the latest technology for fighting fires and protecting your property and family, we hope this article has been of some help. Rapid Spray have a well-researched, tried and tested Fire Range including a selection of fire units and trailers (on and off-road) that we can help you choose the right unit to best suit your property.
Units such as the recently designed the new “Fire Scout”, which are manufactured here at our factory in Singleton, Hunter Valley NSW are available in 360L & 600L options. Designed with the use in mid, the FireScout is compact enough to fit in the back of an UTV! Have a look for yourself, if you are in the market for a new fire unit https://www.rapidspray.net/firescout!
To conclude, we hope this article has been helpful in some way and say a huge thank you to the tireless efforts of our emergency services and extend our deepest condolences for those who have been affected by the recent bushfires.
Leave a comment below if you have other ideas for helping protect our properties from fire!
MAIN IMAGE: 4800L and 7000L AquaV tanks on the back of a re-purposed army truck to help fight fires and deliver water in drought stricken Howes Valley by Peter from Bike & Power, Dural NSW.
This blog post is intended as a guide only, and should not be relied upon as professional and/or legal advice. Rapid Spray will not be held liable for any damages or losses caused by using information provided in this post as a basis for any decision where any such damages or losses may result.