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Bedroom goes up in flames as live demos showcase “keyhole surgery for fires” technology

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Event Date/Time: 16 January 2015, 16:40

A BEDROOM was engulfed in flames during a final live burn exercise to showcase Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) new firefighting technology yesterday (Thursday, January 15, 2015).

Firefighters have been showcasing the new Ultra High Pressure Lance which has been described as “keyhole surgery for fires”.

It’s so powerful it pierces through metal, wood and brick to spray water onto building fires – making firefighting safer, quicker and more effective than ever before.

Working with Manchester City Council, Northwards Housing and Manchester Working, a number of flats in Churnet Street, Manchester, were deliberately set alight to make conditions as realistic as possible for crews over the past couple of weeks.

Firefighters have been demonstrating improved thermal imaging cameras, more powerful positive pressure ventilation fans, bigger 22mm hose reels and new ‘layered’ fire kit, along with the new cold-cut lance from Sweden.

One of yesterday's scenarios was a living room fire where the thermal imaging scanner was used to detect the source of fire before the lance was deployed through a brick wall to deposit a fine water mist onto the fire.

Local councillors and members of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority looked on as the lance cooled temperatures inside from around 800C to less than 100C in just 30 seconds.

Assistant County Fire Officer and Director of Emergency Response, Paul Argyle, said: “The lance uses a combination of water and cutting agent which is ejected through a special nozzle at extremely high pressure.

“It’s been described as keyhole surgery for fires as it leaves only a tiny hole but makes a dramatic impact to the environment inside the affected building.”

The Service is the first UK metropolitan fire and rescue service to have its fire engines fitted with this state-of-the-art equipment.

It was used for the first time at a real incident on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, when around 60 firefighters fought a blaze in Albert Square, Manchester City Centre. 

Another scenario at yesterday's demo was a bedroom fire where bedding had been set alight, which spread to the curtains before taking hold of the entire bedroom.

Firefighters used phase three tactical ventilation, which uses powerful fans to force out the combustible gases from the room – making conditions inside much safer for crews and anyone trapped inside.

Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the new technology in action during the live demonstrations in Churnet Street this week.

"Not only will the new equipment make firefighting safer for crews, it will reduce the water damage usually caused by traditional techniques.”

Later in the year, GMFRS will be introducing a brighter, layered fire kit which has been custom-made for the Service. The kit is more cost effective and has been designed for the variety of incidents crew now face.

Cllr Acton added: “It’s all part of our Future Firefighting project which aims to make firefighting more effective, more efficient and safer for firefighters and the public.

“Years of research have been put into adopting these techniques and over the next few months we will finally see the new equipment and fire kit rolled out across the whole Service.”

Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:30
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