The New Face of Firefighting for the Navy

Story Number: NNS140818-13Release Date: 8/18/2014 3:17:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
By Electrician's Mate 1st Class Mark Treen, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- Firefighting is as old as mankind.

Over the years innovations have made the task easier and safer.

One such innovation using extreme high pressure to access and fight the fire has made its way to the Navy.

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay firefighters have become the first Navywide to take part in the Commander, Navy Installations Command initiative to begin training to use an innovative firefighting tool called PyroLance.

This unique tool utilizes an ultra-high pressure stream of water to penetrate concrete, steel barriers and other shipboard obstacles to gain direct access to the fire.

The Navy's standard firefighting training when it comes to saving the ship teaches Sailors that reaching a fire is only part of the mission. Being able to put out the flames completely means anticipating all the factors, including that of flashover.

"Flashover is when the temperature in the room goes to the flash point and everything in the room catches fire at once," Kings Bay Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Tripolone said.

For firefighters, the key is controlling the room's temperature. So how do firefighters control the temperature in the room?

Submariners are trained to fight fires and know that turning a fire hose nozzle to spray out in a wide pattern can shield them from the heat of a fire. It's more than that now that the Kings Bay Fire Department has a hose that can get the pressure past 1,500 psi.

"Affecting the fire happens in two ways; controlling the size of the droplet and controlling its speed. Increasing the pressure (of the fire hose) does both those things," Casparus Seyffert, vice president of operations at PyroLance, said during a training session with the Kings Bay Fire Department.

The pressure from this new system basically converts water into a fine mist that moves at a high rate of speed, which makes it much more affective at controlling temperature and, therefore, the fire.

In a test performed on base Aug. 12, Fire Department members faced an enclosed area fire burning in excess of 1,150 degrees Fahrenheit. The flames stretched eight feet high and rolled across the ceiling filling the space.

After 17 seconds of high-pressure water application, the temperature dropped to 249 Fahrenheit, easing access for first responders.

"This system is ready right now to respond to fire on base," Tripolone said.

Its ability to apply extreme high-pressure water from outside the dangerous space is ideal for all types of fires that could potentially occur on base.

An advantage for shipboard usage, the PyroLance nozzle has the ability to cut through an inch of steel in less than one minute by spraying out a sand-based aggregate and water mixture. This provides a small hole though which water then can be delivered to the burning space, leaving the firefighters in relative safety.

While the PryoLance can be used today to fight fires anywhere on base, the tool may one day be used against a submarine fire.

During the testing were TRF emergency manager Tami Hinman, TRF hull division general foreman Fred Westerfeld and TRF structural superintendent Dennis Kapparis began to look at ways to modify the PyroLance from its current form so it can more easily apply to fighting fires on board a submarine.

For more news from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., visit

Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click Subscribe to Navy News Service .