New technology allows firefighters to tackle blazes through walls

Firefighters will be able to tackle fires from outside a burning building using technology that can blast water through concrete and steel.

Firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, at their National Training Centre in Glasgow, demonstrate ultra high pressure lances, branded 'Coldcut Cobra', which will enable firefighters to blast a fire suppressant through the wall of a burning building. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The Ultra-High-Pressure Lances, branded Coldcut Cobra, will enable crews to tackle the fire quickly from outside by injecting water through walls and doors.

The new technology will be carried on a £7.6 million fleet of 40 bespoke fire engines and initially will be rolled out mainly in rural areas.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Firefighters demonstrated the new high-pressure lance in action at the Scottish Fire and Rescue National Training Centre in Cambuslang.

They used the lance to cut through a door and blast water into a building with a fire inside, cooling the temperature hundreds of degrees centigrade in less than a minute.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Chief Officer Alasdair Hay said: “We ask our firefighters to work in inherently dangerous environments, we often expose them to temperatures of 500 degrees centigradeC as they get into the building, get on top of the fire and apply the water to it.

“What we saw is another tool in our armoury. This gives us the ability to successfully extinguish a fire externally by injecting high pressure water in through a door, a wall, a window and it doesn’t expose firefighters to temperatures in excess of 500C, it’s safer for them.

“It’s also safer for members of the public because the rate it knocks down the fire, lowers the temperature, it’s twice as effective as the traditional attack and it creates a safe pathway then for firefighters to enter the building and save anybody that is unfortunately caught up in that incident.”

He added: “This is the very pinnacle of modern firefighting – with this proven technology our crews can begin firefighting within seconds of arrival by cutting straight to the heart of the flames.

“Combined with these state-of-the-art appliances, our retained firefighters will be able to respond quickly and decisively to keep saving lives.

“But crucially, we will be able to fight many fires without putting our firefighters’ lives in danger by sending them into a burning building.”

The bespoke appliances can carry up to four firefighters, are more agile than their traditional counterparts and have been designed to meet the needs of Scotland’s most rural areas. Built by Scottish firm Emergency One, each one will also carry a defibrillator.

In addition 32, 18-tonne fire engines will also shortly be welcomed into the SFRS fleet.

Community safety minister Ash Denham attended the demonstration.

She said: “The use of this proven technology will make a real difference in enhancing both firefighter and community safety whilst delivering environmental benefits in terms of fuel economy and water use.

“The introduction of these new vehicles is an important part of SFRS service transformation, which the Scottish Government is supporting through the investment of £15.5m additional spending capacity for the Service in 2018-19.

“Rural communities across Scotland will benefit from this investment.” and I am especially pleased to see that these new bespoke appliances are being built in Scotland by Emergency One.”