Setting record flow rates from an elevated waterway is only half of what Ferrara Fire Apparatus has achieved with its new Inundator SkyFlow Super Pumper. That the aerial can also be utilized for rescue makes it unique in modern firefighting.
“This is a whole new area for Ferrara and the industry,” said Ferrara Industrial Products Specialist Bob Gliem. “No one has seen this done before.”
SkyFlow was only one of several new innovations from Ferrara introduced in April at the FDIC International Conference in Indianapolis, IN.
Gliem, an industrial emergency response professional, said SkyFlow delivers an aerial discharge more than 5,000 gpm from the end of its 100-foot aerial.
“It starts out as a 7-inch waterway and ends up at 5½ inches at the tip with a 6-inch flange,” Gliem said. “We have a 6-inch monitor nozzle out there that will give us just over 5,000 gpm at full elevation.”
That flow rate is from draft. With a pressurized water source, the pumper is capable of delivering more than 10,000 gpm. It utilizes a 5,250 gpm single-stage, rear-mount pump with a 12-inch inlet, 8-inch outlet, pressure lubricated gear box and pump shaft bearing points.
Ferrara has an exclusive relationship with US Fire Pump, maker of the largest NFPA 1901 high velocity pump for industrial firefighting on the market, Gliem said.
The vehicle comes with four eight-inch rear intakes or steamer connections, dual six- or eight-inch passenger side panel discharges, dual six-inch rear discharges and dual 2½-inch rear discharges.
The added benefit of the SkyFlow is that its aerial device is wide and sturdy enough to lift firefighters in a rescue situation. Its heavy duty aerial is a four-section, mid-mount design capable of supporting a dry tip load of 1,250 pounds.
Part of that tip load is a Tyco Williams Fire & Hazard Control Ranger 3 Plus nozzle operated wirelessly or via a panel control. Dual TFT Monsoon 2,000 gpm wireless rear mounted monitors can handle additional exposures or hazards simultaneously with the aerial waterway.
A Foam Pro AccuMax 3300 multi-point, direct injection foam system minimizes any waterway restrictions common with other foam systems.
Prior to the development of the SkyFlow, Ferrara’s chief advancement in aerial technology was Super Pumper which utilizes a Schwing 85-foot, three section articulating boom as a versatile platform for the Ranger 3 Plus nozzle.
Like the SkyFlow, it comes with 8-inch aerial discharge piping connected to sixinch swivels allowing for maximum flow with limited friction loss through the aerial waterway.
The Schwing offers a great deal of flexibility when pre-planning for emergencies such as tank fires, Gliem said. Besides additional options for reaction lines, the Schwing Super Pumper provides greater accuracy and personnel safety in dealing with vapor leaks and cooling during process unit fires.
“You can get mass quantities of water into a fog pattern,” he said. “It gives you really good knock down to prevent vapors from finding an ignition source,” Gliem said.
Right now, SkyFlow exists only as a single prototype which was on display during this year’s FDIC show. However, that has been enough to build a great deal of interest, Gliem said.
“People are saying ‘Man, I wish that SkyFlow had been out last year when we ordered our Schwing,’” Gliem said. “SkyFlow is really where everybody wants to go.”
Also introduced at FDIC by Ferrara was the Emergency Response Aquatic Deployment System, also known as ERADS. Available in six models, ERADS represents another Ferrara-US Fire Pump joint project.
“ERADS is basically two modular pods put together in one tray the size of a standard conex intermodal container,” Gliem said. “Half of the tray contains a 225-horsepower John Deere diesel engine. That pod includes a 185 CFM Vanair compressor and a 30 kilowatt generator.”
With regards to “aquatic deployment,” this pod includes dual 3,200 gpm submersible pumps that can be placed as much as 175 feet away to deal with difficult terrain or deployment situations involving bridges, docks, barges or wharfs.
“The pumps only weigh about 150 pounds apiece,” Gliem said. “Two people can wheel them into the water like a wheelbarrow. A flotation device keeps the pumps afloat so you can get the water volume you want.”
Optional dual hydraulically driven 5,000 gpm pumps are also available.
The other half of the pod can be configured to specifically meet the specialized needs of the firefighters. It might be loaded with up to 2,000 feet of 12-inch hose and a US Fire Pump hose recovery system.
“If you don’t need the hose, you can drop off that pod and pick up one configured for rescue containing air bags and strut systems for confined space or structural collapse rescue,” Gliem said.
ERADS adopts a concept that has been successfully in use in Europe and is sparking a great deal of interest in the U.S., he said. “It was a very big focal point of our booth at FDIC,” Gliem said.
High velocity pumps from US Fire Pump have been adapted to fire trucks as well as skid-mounted and portable units.
“We have two different configurations, based on the horsepower available to power the pump,” Gliem said. “In a fire truck, the only horsepower available is an open, on-the-road diesel engine, the 600-horsepower Cummins ISX15.”
However, if the pump is skid-mounted or portable, a much higher horsepower can be used.
“There is no transmission so-to-speak, in between,” he said. “The gear case is direct drive right off the engine drive shaft to maximize available horsepower.” Ferrara is using Volvo and Caterpillar engines with well over 700 horsepower capabilities.
A US Fire Pump portable pump trailer unit produces a flow rate of 5,500 gpm at a 6-foot lift using a 600 horsepower diesel driver. The portable pump enclosed skid produces 6,250 gpm at a sixfoot lift using a 723 horsepower diesel driver.
“The US Fire Pump is not a process type pump,” Gliem said “Other manufacturers are using a split case pump or something of that type that involves making the pump work a bit harder to achieve the higher flow and pressure. The advantage of the US Fire Pump is efficiency. The suction inlet and discharge outlet along with the internal hydraulic configuration are designed to maximize hydrant flow through.” The US Fire Pump has efficiency ratings of over 80 percent, Gliem says.
Another big advantage of the US Fire Pump design is that the gear case can be mounted horizontally or vertically.
“We get that impeller closer to the water and spinning just a little bit faster than the direct drive engine pumps that are on the market,” Gliem said. “That’s why we’re able to do more than 6,000 gpm at draft and more than 10,000 gpm from a pressurized source.