Article Archive
Full Potential
KME introduces specialized apparatus for power plant protection
Vol. 27 Spring 2012

KME has recently introduced a new type of industrial fire apparatus designed to protect power generation facilities, including nuclear facilities.

KME worked very closely with industry experts to define the needs of the vehicle. “They conveyed to us that the primary threats to a power generating plant were electrical,” said Doug Kelley, product manager with KME. “The plants have a lot of large, high voltage transmission systems.” To that end, the truck is equipped with a Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) camera which can be used to detect and isolate hot spots which may be encased in metal housings. Further, the truck carries 500 lbs (225 kg) of dry chemical firefighting agent. This chemical is critical for attacking fires in energized equipment without the risk that would be posed by using water.

In addition, as these sites have equipment with lots of petroleum based fluids, including large transformers, the truck also has a high capacity foam system. “This truck can lay down a blanket of foam on pooled liquid fires using the 100 gallons of on-board foam concentrate,” said Kelley. “When you combine that with the dry chemical system, it is very effective at stopping both the vertical and horizontal spread of any fire.”

However, the truck’s features don’t just stop there. Since this truck was designed for a nuclear plant, the lessons of recent history were kept in mind. “One thing that the nuclear disaster in Japan demonstrated was the need to be prepared above and beyond,” said Kelley. The truck is mounted on an all wheel drive chassis that improves its ability to get around in an emergency. The truck can also flow a strong, steady stream of water when the truck is moving, giving it more flexibility for the commanders on-site. “The truck has a joystick in the cab which allows the driver or the officer to carefully aim the water and dry chemical agents without having to exit the truck.”

The apparatus is also equipped with a 6,000 watt generator. Primarily, this will be used for lighting, but it can also be a small, supplemental power source as the needs may dictate.

And lastly, the truck has a high capacity, 1,500 gallon per minute (6000 liters per minute) pumping system. Should the truck need to move high volumes of water for whatever reason – including providing cooling flow to a reactor in a worst case scenario – the truck carries 36 feet (11 meters) of suction hose that will allow it to draft water from whatever water source is available.

The unit may be mounted on most brands of commercial chassis or a KME custom chassis including KME’s Predator™, Panther™, or Severe Service™ chassis models.

“The first unit of this type was recently delivered to a major nuclear power generating facility in Canada,” said Kelley. “The initial response has been very favorable, and the customer has been impressed with the full capabilities of the unit. Obviously, we hope the truck never has to be used to its full potential, but if it is, the commanders on the ground will have more flexibility to respond.”

KME offers a full range of industrial response units in aerial, tanker, pumper and rescue configurations. KME clients include Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL), ExxonMobil, Shell, Saudi Aramco Petroleum, FEMA foam response, Jet Propulsion Laboratories, and NASA.

 

 
 

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