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Fighting High-Rise FiresBuilding Construction & Renovation

Fighting High-Rise Fires

Exterior Exlevator keeps Firefighters Safe but not requiring them to Climb Ladders

Aerial ladders and boom lifts help fire fighters fight fires. They save lives safely from outside of buildings when they can reach the fire. Usually they can reach just six floors. That’s why smart travelers avoid hotel rooms above the 6th floor.

The Xel system can reach any height. It can help occupants trapped at any height. It lessens the damages caused by the fire. It does things that weren’t possible before.

DEATHS: Most high-rise fire deaths are from smoke, not fire. The difference between life and death is measured in minutes. How quickly can the victim get medical help? The Xel brings help many minutes faster. Responders reach the victim faster for immediate aid and can swiftly lower them to an ambulance on the ground.

FIRES: Most fires start small and quickly grow larger. Given enough time, they grow out of control or take many hours to extinguish. (1) Speed, (2) manpower and (3) the right equipment are important to effectively fight fires.

For most high-rise fires the fire fighters climb up stairwells carrying heavy loads. The climb adds to the (1) time for the fire to grow and is hard on the fire fighters. Instead of being available to fight the fire, some of the (2) manpower is used to climb down stairs with empty canisters and back up with recharged canisters. The only (3) equipment firefighters have is what they have manually taken from the fire trucks and carried up the stairs. If they need something else, someone has to climb down and carry it back up (if it is something that can be carried.) Occupants are evacuating down the same stairwells.

For safety the firemen use a staging area, usually two floors below the fire floor, and don’t venture above the fire floor so they won’t be trapped there. When they open the stairwell door to the fire floor, they have no way to know what is on the other side.

Contrast this scenario to having a Xel on site. A gondola, preloaded with firefighting equipment, is attached to the Xel. The firemen, wearing what they need, climb aboard. They are effortlessly lifted, well clear of the building, at speeds up to 30 floors a minute. They can also lift electrical cords, water hoses and high pressure air hoses with the gondola. The air hose can be used at height to recharge air canisters and power air tools. A 2nd gondola can be lifted under the first one or any large equipment that won’t fit on the 1st gondola.

Binoculars and thermal cameras will help locate the fire floor if it is not known. They help determine if it is safe to go inside. Call down and explain the situation. You have now added (1) speed, (2) manpower and (3) equipment plus knowledge and extra safety that you did not have before.

WATER DAMAGE: The most costly damage from high rise fires is caused by the water used to extinguish the fire and smoke, rather than by the fire itself. The larger the fire has grown before the firemen start their hoses, the more water it will take.

Then there are the sprinklers. However essential, once sprinkler heads are activated they each keep dumping 15 or 20 gallons a minute until they are physically jammed shut by firemen. Sprinkler heads don’t have shut-off valves. Speed to reach the fire and speed to shut off sprinklers is important to limit water damage. The Xel delivers speed.

EXTINGUISHING FIRES: To burn, fires need three things, (1) fuel, (2) heat and (3) oxygen.

FUEL: We can’t eliminate enough fuel to prevent fires. Buildings are full of rugs, furniture, paper and other fuels.

HEAT: Heat can be eliminated. Pour enough water on the fire and fuel and you will cool all fires enough to extinguish them. That is how it is done now. The water creates costly damage and destroys essential information on computers and papers.

OXYGEN: The third essential is oxygen. About 20% of air is oxygen. Reduce that oxygen percentage to less than 13 to 17% (depends on the fuel that is burning) and it won’t support combustion. We used to smother many different kinds of fires with the halocarbon, halon. Halon has since been banned for environmental reasons. There is another way.

To protect a room with a library with ancient books or a room full of expensive electronic equipment you don’t want sprinklers or hoses. You use water mist. It will both cool and smother a fire without damage to the books or the computers.

Pressurize the water to 3,000 or 4,000 psi and discharge it through a special nozzle. Instead of small water droplets from a hose you create a mist or fog. You will get the same cooling effect with less than 10% of the water. If the room or hallway or apartment is confined, you will also replace the oxygen and smother the fire and diminish the smoke.

Why don’t we use this system now? Actually we do use it now in special permanent locations such as libraries but these systems are not transportable. The pressure is supplied from tanks of pressurized nitrogen. The water is treated so it won’t age and clog the nozzle.

Transportable systems are available now but there has been no way to get them up to a high-rise fire. The Xel can easily get them anywhere. They will save many millions of dollars from water damage and save lives and valuable information. The same equipment can be used as a water jet to cut holes in glass, wood or steel and to open locked doors.

For further information, please contact us today!