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Spotlight: Dakota Fire Systems creates proven gel technology

The Motak Gel System provides uniform and consistent coverage of flame retardant gel even under extreme conditions



Company Name: Dakota Fire Systems
Headquarters: Rapid City, South Dakota
Signature Product: Motak

Using a primitive gel delivery system that he modified, veteran volunteer firefighter Gorden Sabo saved his home and 14 others in the Battle Creek Wildfire of 2002. The backpack system was cumbersome and difficult to use, however, he was driven to find a better way. Four years later, the world’s first pressurized gel delivery truck was ready for action.

Where did your company name originate from?
The name came from living in the state of South Dakota all my life and being involved in fire for the past 32 years.

What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
My inspiration was seeing the need for better protection of homes in wildfires and for firefighter safety. The Westberry Trail Fire in 1988 landed both myself and a colleague in the hospital after protecting one of the homes that was being severely threatened by fire. I decided right then and there that there had to be better ways of protection. I started experimenting with gel. Then when my own home was threatened in the Battle Creek fire, I had a rudimentary gel system in place and saved several homes in that fire.

Why do you believe your products are essential to the Fire Rescue community?
My one piece of equipment provides an element of protection to structures and to firefighters that has never been available before.

What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
The biggest challenge has been introducing our product to the fire service and allowing them to see the value and benefit.

What do your customers like best about you and your products?
The ease of use, versatility and that the customer can pick up the phone and talk to me directly.

Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you or your company?
In Wichita Falls, Texas we did a comparative burn of two mesquite piles with foam and gel suppression. Both piles were prepped with diesel fuel and allowed to burn for 15 minutes. Then suppression was started. Gel had the fire knocked down in 40 seconds with 15 gallons of water. Foam achieved knock down in 12 minutes with 300 gallons of water. That is a huge savings of water when water is an important commodity!

What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
Getting more awareness to the public and fire community that this one piece of equipment can provide firefighter safety, save homes and also suppress fire quickly.