Mini-Trucks Improve Plant Fire Protection

Mini-Trucks Improve Plant Fire Protection

DEPARTMENTS

Industrial Fire Safety

In modern industrial plants that follow the large-area, one-floor warehouse or distribution center concept, fire extinguishers are usually placed on walls and columns in compliance with NFPA Standard No. 10, “Installation of Portable Fire Extinguishers.” In addition to extinguishers, we hope, interior hose lines and automatic sprinklers are provided.

However, in many cases these large areas create a need for small, maneuverable, well-equipped, in-plant, fire fighting vehicles. These mini-trucks can be equipped with pumps, hose, tanks, hand tools, emergency lights, breathing apparatus and a variety of fire extinguishers containing from 15 to 250 pounds of carbon dioxide or dry chemical. A truck like this provides a single source of high volume extinguishing power, eliminating the need to assemble portable extinguishers gathered from an extensive area.

Models available: In looking around for this type of equipment, we found that several models are available. In the custom units, changes can be made by the manufacturer to build the truck to the purchaser’s specifications.

The power package in one custom vehicle includes an 18-hp, two-cylinder, air-cooled engine with a magneto, a single dry plate clutch and a heavy-duty transmission with three speeds forward and one reverse. The top speed is 15 mph. There are hydraulic brakes on the rear wheels and a dead-man safety seat linked to mechanical parking brakes.

This model is 45 inches wide and 158 inches long, and it can negotiate an 81-inch intersecting aisle. It has a 29 X 24 X 26-inch equipment compartment and a hose compartment for 200 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose. The centrifugal pump, rated at 40 gpm at 135 psi, is powered by a 9-hp gasoline engine with electric starting. There is a 150-gallon booster tank and a hose reel that will hold 150 feet of 3/4-inch hose.

Other equipment includes a rear step, handrails, a combination flashing light and siren, an ax and a wrecking bar. The truck also has a 150-pound dry chemical extinguisher, a 20-pound carbon dioxide extinguisher and a 2 1/2-gallon pressurized water extinguisher.

Six-cylinder engine: Another mini-truck that can be built to individual specifications has a six-cylinder, 95-hp engine, a four-speed transmission, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, mechanical parking brakes on the rear axle, a 17-gallon gasoline tank, headlights and tail and stop lights. The top speed is 30 mph.

The vehicle is 60 inches wide and 150 inches long with an 86-inch wheelbase, providing excellent maneuverability in small areas. A centrifugal, 60-90-gpm pump at 600-800 psi, is supplied from a 200-gallon baffled tank with a top fill and overflow. The hose reel carries 100 feet of 3/4-inch hose and an adjustable nozzle. Miscellaneous equipment includes full-length rails, rear directional lights, a combination flashing light-siren, a rotating light, a heavy-duty power take-off, and side and end compartments.

Flatbed model: There is also a flatbed truck that anyone can convert to an in-plant fire fighting unit by installing up to 1,500 pounds of equipment. This vehicle has a 4 1/2-hp electric motor supplied by six 170-amp/hr, 6-volt batteries with a built-in charger. The truck is 114 3/4 inches long, 45 3/4 inches wide and 44 inches high.

The vehicles mentioned are only a few examples of what is available. Other small gasoline and electric trucks are adaptable for in-plant fire fighting units. By checking distributors, you will undoubtedly find several mini-truck models that will fit your particular requirements.

We feel that the need for these in-plant fire fighting units is great and industry should consider their use to improve self-reliance in fighting plant fires.

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