Article Archive
Fire Fighting Encounters of the Third Kind
International Fog demonstrates First Attack nozzle using CO2
Volume 24, No. 6

International Fog Inc.'s First Attack piercing fog nozzle proved effective in applying three chief fire fighting elements -- water, foam and carbon dioxide -- in special demonstrations conducted in October at Louisiana State University's Fire and Emergency Training Institute (LSU FETI).

Shell Oil is considering the use of the First Attack nozzle on off-shore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, said Eugene Ivy, president of IFI.

"Shell would like to put one if not two of the First Attack nozzles on their big wheeled unit CO2 extinguishers for fighting helicopter fires," Ivy said.

Beginning in late September, use of the First Attack nozzle became part of Shell personnel training at FETI prior to assignment to offshore platforms.

"Once we get the LSU instructors trained, all the Shell people coming through will learn to apply First Attack to aircraft rescue fire fighting," Ivy said.

Designed to give firefighters immediate access into a structure, Ivy initially designed a nozzle with a stainless steel piercing tip that also creates a pattern of fine water droplets. This system creates a stream that looks like a mist or fog, which absorbs and extinguishes the fire in a decreased amount of time when compared to other systems.

"Over several conversations, Shell indicated that they were interested in the nozzle if it could handle CO2," Ivy said. "Honestly, I had to tell them I never had to use anything but water and foam for any type fire we've been up against. But I said I would put it on my priority list to find out."

Steve Summers, an aviation logistics consultant for Shell, attended the demonstrations at FETI. While piercing nozzles that use CO2?are relatively common in Europe where Shell is based, finding them in the United States is much harder, Summers said.

Because FETI handles all helicopter landing officer training for Shell off-shore platforms, training FETI instructors on use of the First Attack nozzle is important, Summers said.

"We figured that whatever they train with here would be the optimum thing to use off shore," he said.

At FETI, Ivy demonstrated the First Attack on an industrial training prop using water and foam. The demonstration then moved to FETI's helicopter training prop using CO2?under pressure. Chris Lacombe with Burner Fire Control said the demonstration was impressive, quickly extinguishing the fire.

"Eugene is working on a system to restrict the amount of CO2?flowing through the nozzle to make it easier to handle under pressure," Lacombe said.

Preliminary testing on the First Attack was conducted at the IFI facility in Portland, OR. Ivy then made use of a full sized live-fire helicopter "prop" at the Washington State Fire Training Academy near North Bend, WA. A flow test using the First Attack nozzle and a 100 pound CO2?cylinder proved successful in Washington, Ivy said.

"The short version is that it worked extremely well," Ivy said. "We got 50 seconds of useful CO2?time out of the cylinder." The fire itself was extinguished in only a few seconds.

According to Ivy, each helicopter pad on an off shore platform comes with at least four fire fighting stations surrounding it. Each wheeled unit on the Shell platform would come equipped with one or two First Attack nozzles.

Gene Caskey, chief of aircraft rescue and fire fighting at the Shreveport, LA, Regional Airport, also attended the FETI demonstration. Caskey said he had worked closely with Ivy in the past to adapt First Attack technology to his department.

"We needed a nozzle built with Ivy's patented rotator assembly for a piercing nozzle to fit on the end of a Snozzle," Caskey said. "We were looking for better conversion to steam through the use a finer water droplett pattern. I designed the nozzle, sent the plans to Eugene and he built it. Right now we are the only ones using it this way."


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