FIRE FIGHTING AT SEA
Private corporation broaches new concept for contract fire protection service
DOCKSIDE infernos are hard enough to put out, but ship fires in the harbor are even tougher. Still worse are the fires at sea where no assistance at all is available. These fires are feared either because there is no one to do the job, or if there is, they are not properly equipped. Municipal fireboats, if available, are mainly equipped to pump water and may be equipped with foam, but they are generally lacking the full effectiveness necessary for the job. Even if they were so equipped, there are no sea-going fire brigades as such. New York Harbor fireboats, for example, come under the aegis of the New York City Fire Department, essentially for protection of the immediate area.
Realizing this basic need in marine fire fighting, the newly formed International Fire Fighting and Salvage Corporation, 17 Battery Place, New York City, has developed impressive plans for providing fire fighting and salvage service, with the most advanced equipment and techniques known, for ships at sea and in harbors, and for other installations such as oil refineries, shipyards and rail yards.
IFF&S president, K. W. Bratcher, told FIHE ENGINEERING that his corporation will furnish “all fireboats and special fire fighting equipment, which will be manned on a 24-hour basis.” The boats are converted U. S. Navy submarine chasers, which are fast moving and have a shallow draft that will enable them to reach all fires on water. They will have a small fire truck on deck especially equipped to go on land and fight fires of all types —with water, fog, foam, carbon dioxide and dry chemical. The boats will also have a pump capacity of 18,000 gpm, either to fight flames or get water out of a sinking ship. Telescoping booms on deck, similar to elevating platform apparatus, with a reach of 115 feet, will be able to extend in any direction to get at fires that firemen cannot reach because of the heat.
The ocean-going fireboats will be equipped with a helicopter, for transporting men and equipment to a ship in distress and to “bomb” out the fire with special chemicals where such action is necessary. There will also be two large aircraft jet engines to bo used as wind machines for blowing heat and smoke away from the fireboat, as well as foam and other chemicals into the fire. The motors can also be used to obtain an extra burst of speed on the way to the disaster. Each ocean fireboat will also carry two especially designed track-type tank fire fighters that can be put ashore at any shoreside fire. Equipped with a 3 ½-inch monitor and a 75-foot elevating platform, these units will have the capability of battling any kind of oil refinery or chemical plant fire. Because they will be remotely controlled, it will be possible to drive the tank fire fighters right up to the fire—much closer than any human could approach without being incinerated.
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Each fireboat will also carry two specially designed and equipped semi-trailer units to support the fire fighting tanks by carrying the fire hose, special equipment and chemical extinguishing agents. All deep-sea fireboats will be equipped with Sonar, radar and other electronic devices.
In addition to fighting fires, IFF&S will engage in salvage work, with salvage ships equipped to do deep salvage work. A unique feature of these ships will be Sea Explorers capable of crawling along the ocean floor on tank treads. Skindivers and hard-hat divers will also be supplied.
IFF&S fire fighting and safety-protection services will be offered on a subscription basis with fireboats located in various harbors throughout the United States. A special staff of 12 men—one marine fire expert, one salvage expert, eight firemen, one photographer and one medical officer —will be on a 24-hour-duty basis, ready to be transported to any emergency by high-speed plane, helicopter or boat.
The corporation plans to conduct a complete training school in marine fire fighting, damage control aboard ship, rescue at sea, first aid, radar operation, skindiving, underwater photography and fire fighting in oil refineries and chemical plants. The school will he available to IFF&S subscribers, the entire marine field, municipal fire departments and the U. S. Government.