Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pants on Fire!

Station Nightclub Fire - West Warwick, Rhode Island 2003
Most of us mere mortals never get to play Fireman in real life, so getting the opportunity to handle fire extinguishers, find-out about the adrenaline rush of putting out a fire, and experiencing the actual time constraints of a fire event up-close and personal doesn't come along too often.

This can change for all of us if we get together with our local community and make an effort to get Fire Extinguisher Training Programs set-up and active.  Most communities and fire departments cite the expense of recharging fire extinguishers as the main reason they don't provide this kind of training.  So, whats a wanna-be fire fighter to do?

Bullex Corporation decided that there needed to be a better way and they came-up with a training device that doesn't go through fire extinguisher powder.  It's call the Bullseye and it kind of looks like a flat-screen TV with a big remote control.  The screen is not a TV display though, instead, it is a computerized fire simulator that grows, glows, flickers, and dances just like a real fire (only without the heat and smoke).  At the base of the unit are special sensors that detect laser light that comes from a simulated Fire Extinguisher.

The Bullseye simulated Fire Extinguishers are pretty fancy units - not just a Wii controller stick.  They come in three sizes just like the real deal: 5 pound, 10 pound, and 20 pound; and they have a loudspeaker inside of them so you get that sense of whoosh! as they simulate a discharge.  Real nozzles, pull-pins, and squeeze handles, too.  They are even heavy like a real fire extinguisher.

The trainer sets-up the fire simulation to suit the type of training to be performed - they set the type of fuel and how big the (simulated) fire is going to be, and they say GO! (Or, maybe they don't say GO! and you have to figure it out for yourself - just like real fire.)

The system has a timer that keeps track of how long you take to respond and how long it takes you to put-out the fire.  And guess what?  If you use-up all of your fire extinguisher before you put out the fire -- it keeps burning.  D'OHP!  The system knows how much stuff you have to shoot and when it's gone, it's gone!  Game over.


Real fires don't have an OFF button, and real Fire Extinguishers only have a limited amount of fire fighting capacity.  IF YOU WASTE IT - YOU LOOSE.

PASS  - Know this phrase!
Pull the pin - this is so you are ready to do the job when you get to the fire.
Aim the nozzle at the BASE of the fire - if you point it somewhere else you will just waste the  fire fighting chemical.
Squeeze the handle - don't squeeze it until after you have aimed! (Just like a ketchup bottle)
Sweep the nozzle side-to-side along the base of the flame so you coat the fuel source with the chemical.

The cost of a training kit is about that of a small car, but if you spread that out over the whole community, it can approach a-dollar-a-head.  And there is no reason that the unit couldn't be used to train everybody from kindergarteners up to senior citizens.

Hands-on Training is the most memorable and effective training you can provide.  The community can make the rounds with this and see that schools, social organizations, community groups, and churches could all share in the benefits.  Training all of your performers and stage crew would be a high priority.  Maybe you can give them merit badges!  I'd say that if you didn't keep this thing busy at least 360 days per year that you were probably missing the point.

Dang, this is starting to sound like a Ginsu knife advertisement . . . however, one more thing that is interesting:  Bullex knows that this is a chunk 'o change to spend, so they rent the unit for test drives, too.  And if you decide to buy one within a year of the test drive, then they apply the rental fee to the purchase price.  Good Deal!

More info at:

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