by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
6/6/2013 – SOUTHWEST ASIA — Today’s aircraft rescue and firefighting emergencies require a quick response and the ability to access complex composite structures such as the many Air Force airframes protected by the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters here.
To do this, firefighters require top-notch tools and equipment to get the job done safely and efficiently while limiting loss of life and property. The 379th ECES fire department practiced using a PyroLance here June 4 as part of that mission. This tool gives crews access to areas where hidden fires continue to burn. This technology allows firefighters the ability to puncture and spray water into structural walls, aircraft skin and vehicle compartments without ever having to step inside a hazardous environment.
“By directing the powerful stream directly at the source of the fire, fires can be cooled and extinguished with maximum effectiveness,” said Staff Sgt. Kristopher Jaime, a 379th ECES firefighter.
The PyroLance is typically operated by two people. One person works the water tank and pump generator, while the other works the handle and nozzle. The handle/nozzle operator must be in full personal protective equipment due to the nature of the tool and its application. The PyroLance can also be combined with foam systems for extinguishing fires traveling along sources such as gasoline and jet fuel.
“This tool gives us the capability to cut through and into just about anything to put out the fire,” Jaime said.
Useful in many applications other than aviation, this high pressure technology is also a viable asset in combating municipal, rescue, hazardous material, wildland and is now included into the Air Force’s new Rapid Intervention Vehicle apparatus.
“Its versatility brings flexibility to our firefighting mission here,” said Airman 1st Class Taner Masters, a 379th ECES firefighter. “By making such a precise insertion into an aircraft or structure, instead of cutting up the skin or walls, we can effectively save the Air Force a lot of money in repair damage.”