The same person that designed a new way to move water, in fire hose lined with high-voltage electrical wires, has designed a fire shelter with double walls which can be filled with water from a fire hose. His thinking is that since there is water in the lining of the tent walls, that the tent would survive being burned over, along with the terrified firefighters inside.
At the web site for this idea, the photo is described thusly:
The image above is a proposed water filled protective tent. Assuming that a firefighter is near a water filled hose in a hose relay, the tent can be filled with water from the hose. The water should provide good insulation from the heat of a fire in a burnover situation.
Off the top of my head, some of the issues include:
- Weight and size of the contraption. How would it be transported?
- Is this a single
victimperson shelter, or can it hold many people? If multiple firefighters have to inflate their shelters at the same time, I suppose they will simply wait in line for their turn to use the fire hose while the 200-foot wall of flames approaches. I guess we’ll throw out the requirement to deploy and enter your fire shelter within 20 seconds.
- What are the chances of it being at the location where it might be needed?
- What happens if a hot ember lands on it while it is sitting on the ground uninflated?
- You could not really stage these ahead of firefighters on uncontained portions of fireline. If burnovers are possible, the fire is probably moving rapidly. Where would you put it? And carrying them with you while laying hose may not be practical.
- If you have a functional hose lay, the chances of needing any kind of fire shelter are reduced. Not completely, but to a degree.
- How long would it take to inflate the contraption with water? In that amount of time, firefighters might be able to use their escape route to get the hell out of the area.
- How stable would it be in the kind of wind that frequently precipitates rapid fire growth and burnovers?
- And, if a hot ember lands on it while it is inflated with water, will it really not be damaged? And what about direct flame impingement with temperatures of 1,472 to 2,192 degrees F?
- Would it be cost prohibitive?
- Would you bet your life on this contraption?