Leveling up your exhaust extraction system to better protect firefighters
Plymovent’s new Crab Return System eliminates the need to manually retrieve the exhaust extraction hose after the apparatus leaves the station
With so much discussion in recent years about reducing firefighter exposure to toxins on the fireground and harmful carcinogenic diesel exhaust emissions back at the fire station, it was only a matter of time before the technologies designed to limit these exposures would get their own ergonomic and safety design upgrades.
Fire departments across the country have adopted a variety of exhaust removal systems, such as direct-source capture systems like Plymovent. Direct-source capture systems are particularly effective in protecting firefighter and emergency service personnel in that they use a sliding rail, flexible high-temperature hose and nozzle that hooks up directly to the apparatus exhaust tailpipe. The system captures the engine emissions before they can leave the vehicle’s exhaust system and be emitted into the fire station. Essentially an extension of the tailpipe to the outdoors, the system continuously extracts, filters via an optional diesel soot filter box and exhausts the diesel emissions to the outside until the fire apparatus reaches the point where the hose automatically disconnects. The system continues to run for a short period of time to exhaust all hazardous emissions from the enclosed system.
But then what? For drive-through fire stations, it is important that the hose and nozzle be returned to its connection position, not only so the exhaust removal system is ready to be immediately reattached for ongoing exhaust capture but also for the firefighters’ safety at the station. After all, while it is essential to collect all of the toxic exhaust emissions from door to door in the apparatus bay, it’s also important to contain equipment to specific areas, out of the way of active firefighters.
Plymovent’s new Crab Return System (CRS) eliminates the need for a firefighter to physically retrieve the exhaust extraction hose and nozzle after they have been disconnected from a vehicle. When the vehicle exits the facility, the nozzle will be detached automatically from the tailpipe. The CRS then returns the nozzle and hose to the connection position at the back of the station automatically via a sensor. Note: The automatic return trigger works in conjunction with Plymovent’s Pneumatic or Magnetic Grabbers® making for a seamless transition. The CRS does include an emergency override that allows the operator to stop the system at any time.
The CRS is available in three sizes, covering rail systems from 20 to 120 feet in length, virtually all fire stations. It’s important to note, however, that the system reduces the need for expanded exhaust capture hose lengths, as the CRS enables the nozzle to move along the vehicle’s side. In other words, the exhaust capture hose itself doesn’t have to extend the length of the station, as the system will move it alongside the apparatus – another feature that simplifies the system.
“Closely working with and listening to our long-standing customer demands, Plymovent’s R&D team designed and developed the innovative CRS system to be easily retrofitted to any existing Plymovent STRA, VSRX and MRP rail systems,” says Brad Pitzl, president of Plymovent Corp.
Furthermore, the system comes in an easy-to-install package that will fit either the internal crab system (IC) or the external crab (EC) system. This saves money and prevents the department from having to start over with a new system.
At the end of the day, we are all trying to be more efficient and productive at work. It’s a huge bonus when a new technology not only allows for a cleaner work environment and greater productivity but also reduces tedious workload for crewmembers who have countless other tasks to complete each shift. The CRS simplifies the hose return process, preserving energy and maintaining the focus on exhaust capture. And that’s the real end goal here – protecting firefighters from hazards, whether visible or invisible.
Watch a video of Plymovent’s CRS in action: