Portable Standpipe Improves Navy Dockside Fire Protection

Portable Standpipe Improves Navy Dockside Fire Protection

portable wet standpipe in operation

—photograph— U. 8. Navy

FIRE HAZARDS aboard ships are serious enough to challenge the best trained and equipped damage crews. But the hazards multiply in extent and severity when time comes for pierside modification, overhaul, repair or construction. This, notwithstanding the fact that at dockside, land fire fighting forces are usually available to supplement ships’ fire crews. Therefore, when Chief Homer C. Lovell, U. S. Naval Station, San Diego, Calif., came up with an idea which conceivably could mitigate such disasters, he was given the green light by Navy top brass. What resulted is known technically on the patent papers as the Modified Portable Wet Standpipe for Fire Fighting Aboard Ship.

Teaming up with Chief Lovell was expert metal worker Allen Peters of the base public works. Their first rough product was given a thorough tryout aboard the landing craft Outagamie City then under reconstruction at the base. It passed its trials and the Lovell-Peters team received an initial $50 award from the commanding officer, Captain A. G. Pelling.

The invention consists of a standpipe which stands 4 feet 6 inches high, mounted on a circular metal base (Figure 1). To the standpipe are welded one 2 1/2-inch outlet, two 1 1/2-inch outlets, with 400 feet of 1 1/2inch cotton rubber-lined hose contained in twin metal baskets. The device is so rigged and valved that a number of combinations of 2 1/2-inch and 1 1/2-inch hose can be supplied both from yard fresh water hydrants and base fire department pumpers. The unit may be used in multiples as well as singly. Each unit, with its own hose supply, properly installed permits effective fire protection coverage of approximately 40 per cent of destroyer-size ships.

It is hardly necessary to point out that although ample salt water is available for ship and fire department pumps, fresh water is considered the essential ingredient for dockside ship fire protection. And when it is wanted, according to Chief Lovell, it is wanted immediately. No time can be wasted waiting for the arrival of land fire forces, the stretching of hose lines up and over gangways or via ladders thrown against the ship from the quay. One of the wet standpipe’s principal objectives is the speed with which fresh water can be delivered.

Drawings by William Larkin

In essence, the Lovell-Peters invention provides a portable fire hydrant for shipboard use, combining a central valve control and distribution system, including the means for storing hose and the necessary gated connections for extra hose lines that may Ire brought aboard for emergency duty.

Either 2 1/2-inch or 1 1/2-inch hose, or both, in single or multiple-connected lengths attached, may be so stored that they can be fully unrolled when needed by merely pulling on the hose shut-off nozzle or outboard end of the line without requiring the hose coupling to the standpipe or inboard end of the fine to be disconnected. The storage is integral with the entire standpipe complex which can be wheeled on its base to any desired location. At dockside the entire unit can be carried aboard by four men or lifted into place by derricks.

The standpipe complex design and construction are such as to provide balanced forces so that water pressure and gravity will tend to offset each other and maintain the unit in a normally upright position. In the system, the weight of the horizontal five inlet hose (feeder fine) connected to the stand is balanced by the weight of the baskets and stored dry distribution hose mounted on the opposite side of the stand.

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