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Title:
SOIL-BASED FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/071859
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Implementations are disclosed herein that relate to a firefighting system. In an embodiment, the firefighting system comprises a conveyance configured to receive and elevate screened soil, a chute configured to receive the screened soil at an entry pint, and a nozzle configured to emit the screened soil toward a fire site. In an embodiment, the nozzle comprises an augmentation device configured to increase the flow speed of the screened soil.

Inventors:
SNODGRASS, Gary, Brian (1421 Lucaccini Lane, Las Vegas, NV, 89117, US)
Application Number:
US2017/056652
Publication Date:
April 19, 2018
Filing Date:
October 13, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SNODGRASS, Gary, Brian (1421 Lucaccini Lane, Las Vegas, NV, 89117, US)
International Classes:
A62C2/00; A62C3/00; A62C3/02; A62C31/00; A62C31/02; A62C31/24; A62C31/28; A62C37/00; A62C99/00
Foreign References:
US4852656A1989-08-01
CN103736226A2014-04-23
RU2490040C12013-08-20
CN205549298U2016-09-07
ES2111424A21998-03-01
US20100218960A12010-09-02
US4169508A1979-10-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRADEN, Stanton (MU Patents, 12702 Via Cortina Suite 10, Del Mar CA, 92014, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A firefighting system comprising:

a conveyance configured to receive and elevate screened soil;

a chute configured to receive the screened soil at an entry point; and

a nozzle configured to emit the screened soil toward a fire site, the nozzle comprising an augmentation device configured to increase a flow speed of the screened soil.

2. The firefighting system of claim 1 , wherein the augmentation device comprises an auger.

3. The firefighting system of claim 1, wherein the augmentation device comprises a rotary projector.

4. The firefighting system of claim 1 , wherein the augmentation device comprises a gas augmentation system that selectively introduces a pressurized gas into the nozzle.

5. The firefighting system of claim 4, wherein the gas augmentation system comprises a tank holding the pressurized gas.

6. The firefighting system of claim 4, wherein the gas augmentation system further comprises a control system configured to selectively control the introduction of pressurized gas into the nozzle.

7. The firefighting system of claim 1, wherein the firefighting system is at least partially collapsible.

8. The firefighting system of claim 1, wherein the chute is configured to increase a speed of the screened soil by reducing an elevation of the screened soil via gravity.

9. The firefighting system of claim 1 , wherein the nozzle is configured to emit the screened soil at an exit point that is lower than the entry point.

10. The firefighting system of claim 9, wherein a differential height between the entry point and exit point is between 20 and 50 feet.

11. The firefighting system of claim 1, wherein the conveyance comprises a conveyor belt.

12. The firefighting system of claim 1, wherein a distance between the nozzle and the fire site is between 50 and 150 feet.

13. A firefighting system comprising:

a chute including an entry point and an exit point;

a conveyance configured to receive and elevate screened soil to the entry point of the chute; and

a nozzle attached to the exit point of the chute to emit the screened soil toward a fire site, the nozzle comprising a mechanical augmentation device configured to increase a flow speed of the screened soil.

14. The firefighting system of claim 13, wherein the mechanical augmentation device comprises an auger.

15. The firefighting system of claim 13, wherein the mechanical augmentation device comprises a rotary projector.

16. The firefighting system of claim 13, wherein the mechanical augmentation device comprises an impeller.

17. The firefighting system of claim 13, wherein the mechanical augmentation device comprises a blade assembly.

18. The firefighting system of claim 13, further comprising a gas augmentation system configured to increase the flow speed of the screened soil.

19. The firefighting system of claim 13, wherein the chute is configured to increase the flow speed of the screened soil via gravity.

20. A firefighting system comprising:

a conveyance configured to receive and elevate screened soil;

a chute elevated via a plurality of supports and configured to receive the screened soil at an entry point;

a nozzle configured to emit the screened soil toward a fire site, the nozzle comprising an augmentation device configured to increase a flow speed of the screened soil; and

a gas augmentation system configured to selectively introduce a pressurized gas into the nozzle to increase the flow speed of the screened soil.

Description:
SOIL-BASED FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

[0001] The present application claims priority to U.S. Non-Provisional Patent

Application No. 15/293,596 filed on October 14, 2016, entitled "SOIL-BASED FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM" the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to fire suppression, and more particularly to a system for suppressing the fires using soil.

2. Description of Related Art

[0003] Fires are common phenomenon in the environment, and arise from natural causes such as lightning, or human actions that are negligent or deliberate (e.g. arson). Many fires pose great danger with respect to human life, property damage, and environmental damage, and often spread if left unattended. For these and other reasons, fires often necessitate human intervention to achieve their suppression or extinguishing.

[0004] A variety of approaches to fire suppression have been developed. Many approaches involve deploying a plurality of trained firefighters, specialized equipment (e.g. fire trucks, helicopters, and/or other aircraft), and extinguishing chemicals and/or water. As such, the monetary and logistical cost of firefighting can be staggering. These and other issues may be exacerbated by the scarcity of firefighting resources and/or the increasing prevalence of environmental conditions, (e.g., drought, climate change) that are conducive to fire. Characteristics of a site at which a fire burns may complicate fire suppression as well, such as its remote location, low accessibility, etc.

[0005] Even when successfully deployed to a burn site, a firefighting brigade may face factors which reduce its efficacy. For example, a tradeoff may be imposed between the ability to closely approach a fire, yet maintain a sufficient distance to protect firefighters and equipment.

[0006] Several attempts have been made to resolve the above problems by using soil as fire suppressant. However, these attempts have various limitations and problems. For example, the attempts require vehicles to be placed in dangerous proximity to a fire, require expensive and imported sand for operation, or are not able to project soil effectively.

[0007] Based on the foregoing, there is a need in the art for a firefighting system that can reduce the cost, complexity, challenges, and risks associated with traditional firefighting approaches.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In an embodiment of the present invention, a firefighting system is provided.

In the embodiment, the firefighting system comprises a conveyance configured to receive and elevate screened soil, a chute configured to receive the screened soil at an entry point, and a nozzle configured to emit the screened soil toward a fire site. Furthermore, the nozzle comprises an augmentation device configured to increase a flow speed of the screened soil.

[0009] In another embodiment of the invention, the augmentation device further comprises an auger. In yet another embodiment, the augmentation device if further comprised of a rotary projector.

[0010] In another embodiment of the invention, the augmentation device further comprises a gas augmentation system that selectively introduces a pressurized gas into the nozzle. In another embodiment, the gas augmentation system further comprises a tank to hold the pressurized case.

[0011] In an embodiment of the firefighting system, the system is provided to be collapsible.

[0012] In an embodiment of the firefighting system, the chute is configured to increase the speed of the screened soil be reducing an elevation of the screened soil via gravity. [0013] In another embodiment of the present invention, the soil is emitted at an exit point after passing through the auger or other augmentation device. In an embodiment, the differential height between the entry point and the exit point is between 20 and 50 feet.

[0014] In a further embodiment of the firefighting system, the conveyance comprises a conveyer belt.

[0015] In an embodiment of the firefighting system, the distance between the nozzle is capable of projection to a fire site between 50 and 150 feet away.

[0016] The foregoing, and other features and advantages of the invention, will be apparent from the following, more particular description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, the accompanying drawings, and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] For a more complete understanding of the present invention, the objects and advantages thereof, reference is now made to the ensuing descriptions taken in connection with the accompanying drawings briefly described as follows.

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the soil screening process of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention; [0023] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0025] FIG. 8 is a flow chart of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

[0026] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the soil-based fire suppression system, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] Preferred embodiments of the present invention and their advantages may be understood by referring to FIGS. 1-9, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements.

[0028] The present invention is provided as a firefighting system. In an embodiment, the firefighting system is comprised of a conveyance configured to receive and elevate screened soil, a chute configured to receive the screened soil at an entry point, and a nozzle configured to emit the screened soil toward a fire site, the nozzle comprising an augmentation device configured to increase a flow speed of the screened soil.

[0029] In reference to FIG. 1, an embodiment of the firefighting system 100 is shown. At 101, soil is screened to be received by the firefighting system 100. "Soil" may generally refer to a collection of commingled environmental debris or material available at a site where firefighting system 100 is deployed. The soil may include a variety of elements (e.g., minerals, organic matter) that can be collectively referred to as soil or dirt. It is to be understood that if there is too much organic matter at the site, another location for collecting and processing soil may be selected (e.g. a proximate location having less organic matter). By enabling the use of soil at a deployment site for fire suppression, firefighting system 100 may reduce or eliminate costs and infrastructural requirements associated with fire suppression agents (e.g., water and other chemical compounds) and their collection, storage, and transportation. It will be understood, however, that fire suppression agents other than soil may be used by firefighting system 100 in combination with soil. Further, soil fed to firefighting system 100 may be collected at or proximate to the fire site 102 and/or other locations not proximate to the fire site.

[0030] In an embodiment, screened soil may be fed to a reservoir 106 which in turn feeds the screened soil to a conveyance 108. Conveyance 108 is configured to lift the screened soil to a desired elevation, thereby imbuing the screened soil with gravitational potential energy which can be converted to kinetic energy to raise the speed and momentum of the screened soil. Firefighting system 100 may thus be referred to as a "gravity-assisted" system. In this way, a concentrated and potentially pressurized and/or high-speed stream of screened soil can be supplied to the fire site 102 for suppressing the fire therein. Once raised to the desired elevation by conveyance 108, the screened soil may be fed to a chute 110 in which the screened soil can travel toward a relatively lower elevation while gaining speed and momentum via gravity. An augmentation system, generally indicated at 112, may complement the assistance provided by gravity by further increasing the speed and momentum of the screened soil stream.

[0031] In the embodiment, following its interaction with augmentation system 112, the screened soil stream may pass through a nozzle 114, which may provide a concentraded orifice (e.g., via tapering geometry) through which the soil stream can be emitted with high accuracy, thereby reducing wasted soil. The configuration of nozzle 114 may further reduce the turbulence and/or clouding of the soil stream.

[0032] In an embodiment, chute 110 may have a diameter between 6 inches and 2 feet, a length (unfurled length) between 50 and 150 feet or between 25 and 200 feet, and may be comprised of steel or other fire-resistant materials. In another embodiment, the differential height between the entry point 116 at which the screened soil enters chute 110, and exit point 118, at which the screened soil exits nozzle 114, may be between 20 and 50 feet or between 10 and 100 feet. In another embodiment, the distance between exit point 118 where the screened soil exits nozzle 114, and the point at which the emitted soil contacts locations at fire site 102 (e.g. trees 104) may be between 50 and 150 feet or between 25 and 200 feet. In the embodiment, the screened soil is emitted in a manner that accurately targets fires within fire site 102, yet is emitted from a distance away from the fire site that sufficiently separates human operators and firefighting system 100 from the fire site. Any suitable dimensions, emission ranges and material compositions are possible, however. [0033] In an embodiment, firefighting system 100 is collapsible to enable rapid, dynamic, and reversible deployment. In an embodiment, a plurality of supports 120 are provided to stably support and suspend portions of the firefighting system 100, such as chute 110 and/or conveyance 108. Supports 120 may be collapsible via any suitable mechanism, including but not limited to being comprised of multiple sections that may be removably affixed to one another, and/or having a telescoping configuration that is axially collapsible. In another embodiment, chute 110 is configured with a concertina- type hinge mechanism to facilitate axial collapsing. In another embodiment, conveyance 108 is slidingly collapsible, for example via a sliding or telescoping mechanism. In this way, firefighting system 100 is rapidly deployable at a variety of fire sites having varying geographical properties while supporting its removal from such fire sites and reuse across different fire sites.

[0034] In reference to FIG. 2, an embodiment of soil screening process 200 is illustrated. In the embodiment, soil screening process 200 may be employed to produced screened, processed soil that can be fed to the firefighting system 100 for its application to fire site 102. At 202, unscreened soil is supplied to a coarse soil screen 204. The unscreened soil may be unprocessed soil collected from fire site 102 or a location proximate to the fire site, for example, and may be collected via any suitable mechanism, including but not limited to collection via heavy equipment such as a backhoe, earth mover, etc. Coarse screen 204 substantially filters out soil particles above a threshold size to produce a coarsely-screened soil, which is then supplied to a fine soil screen 206 at 208. Fine soil screen 206 filters the coarsely-screened soil to produce finely-screened soil at 210. The finely-screened soil may then be supplied to firefighting system 100. It will be understood, however, that process 200 is provided as an example and various modifications are contemplated, such as modifying the number and type of screens employed in the process.

[0035] The finely- screened soil may substantially include and exclude particles of various size ranges. In an embodiment, the finely-screened soil may substantially include particles less than 2.0 millimeters in average diameter. In another embodiment, the finely- screened soil may substantially include particles up to .02 millimeters and/or up to .10 millimeters, and/or up to 1.0 millimeters. It will be understood that the size of finely- screened soil produced via process 200 may vary with various environmental conditions such as moisture, clay content density, and/or mineral content. Further, while not depicted in the illustration of FIG. 2, process 200 may employ alternative or additional components such as grinders, atomizers, vibrators, vacuums, etc., and/or may include pathways for separately routing particles of different size ranges to eject excessively large particles to a location outside of the area which soil is collected for screening via the process. For example, one or more of the screens shown in FIG. 2 may be vibrated or shaken such that the soil properly filters through the screens, and such that blockage at the screens is reduced.

[0036] Process 200 enables continuous production of screened soil that can be sufficiently used by firefighting system 100 to suppress fire without degrading the firefighting system in an interrupted manner. The uninterrupted provision of screened soil may be advantageous, as the interruption of fire suppression can severely inhibit firefighting. Process 200 enables the provision of so-called "pre- screened" or "pre-sized" soil to firefighting system 100 with undesirable particle, rocks, debris, and the like removed.

[0037] The illustration of FIG. 3 presents an example of supplying screened soil to firefighting system 100. The screened soil is conveyed downwardly via a slide 302 into reservoir 106, which in an embodiment is a hopper. Reservoir 106 may exhibit a tapered shape and incudes a collapsible door 304 through which screened soil collected in the reservoir can be supplied to the conveyance 108 as further shown in the illustration of FIG. 4. Reservoir 106 may be endowed with any suitable mechanism to enable the supply of screened soil to conveyance 108, however.

[0038] In reference to FIG. 4, according to an embodiment, an example of supplying screened soil from reservoir 106 to conveyance 108 is shown. Conveyance, 108 may assume the form of a conveyor belt, but other suitable forms are contemplated. Conveyance 108 may include a plurality of steps such as step 402 that are each operable to receive a portion of screened soil from reservoir 106 (e.g. via door 306) and raise the portion for supply to entry point 116 of chute 110 as shown in the illustration of FIG. 1. In another embodiment, the conveyance may lift screened soil up to 250 feet above the height at which it is received from reservoir 106. It is to be understood that conveyance 108 may omit the steps of 402 without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure. For example, FIG. 9 shows conveyance 108 being configured to elevate and convey the soil via a continuous conveyor 902 such that soil can be continuously fed to the conveyance and subsequently to the entry point 116. As such, continuous conveyor 902 may include, or may be, a flat endless conveyor belt mounted on a roller assembly as known in the art of conveyor systems. For example, an upper conveyor belt contacting and carrying the soil may be translated upward while a lower conveyor belt (not in contact with the soil) is concurrently translated downward. The conveyor belt may be surrounded by lateral walls that keep the soil from spilling laterally off the conveyance 108.

[0039] In reference to FIG. 5, a cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of augmentation system 112 is shown. As described above, augmentation system 112 may be configured to complement the gravitational assistance afforded by the chute 110 to the speed and momentum of screened soil flowing therein. The illustration of FIG. 5 particularly shows an example implementation of augmentation system 112 in the form of an auger 502 arranged in a housing 504 and configured to emit screened soil through nozzle 114 and exit point 118. Auger 502 may include a plurality of helical blades axially spaced along a shaft, and may allow screened soil to flow proximate to the blade surfaces and between the blades and shaft. In this way, the resistance to screened soil flow can be minimized and thus soil flow maximized. Auger 502 may be comprised of any suitable material(s) such as various metal alloys, and may have blades whose angles and/or dimensions are specifically configured to move screened soil at appropriate rates given various rotational speeds of the auger and soil densities, in contrast, for example, to off-the-shelf or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) auger blades. Auger 502 may be operatively coupled to a suitable device to enable rotational blade motion, such as motor.

[0040] FIG. 5 also presents the potential inclusion of a gas augmentation system in augmentation system 112. In particular, a partial view of a gas line 506 is shown by which a suitable pressurized gas may be supplied to the interior of housing 504 to increase the flow of the screened soil through nozzle 114. The gas augmentation system may be used alternatively or in addition to auger 502 or other mechanical augmentation systems described below. Various suitable gas(es) may be supplied via gas line 506, including but not limited to carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and air, some of which may aid in fire suppression. Carbon dioxide, for example, may aid in fire suppression and may be produced from a variety of sources at relatively low cost. Regardless of the particular gas(es) employed, the gas(es) may increase screened soil flow by separating soil in housing 504. [0041] Other mechanical implementations of augmentations system 112 are contemplated. The illustration of FIG. 6 presents a cross-sectional view of another exemplary implementation of augmentations system 112 comprising a rotary projector 602. Rotary projector 602 may comprise a plurality of blades mounted on a wheel that rotates in a plane substantially perpendicular to the axis of nozzle 114. The hooked distal ends of the blades may enhance contact with, and separation of, screened soil such that centrifugal force is imparted to the soil to enhance soil distribution and flow. Rotary projector 602 may be specifically configured and/or fortified to handle screened dirt, in contrast, similar off-the shelf or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) projectors. A suitable device such as a motor may be operatively coupled to the rotary projector 602 to drive the rotary projector. The illustration of FIG. 6 also presents the potential use of the gas augmentation system describe above.

[0042] Alternative or additional mechanical implementations of augmentation system

112 are contemplated. For example, an impeller may be used alternatively or in addition to auger 502, and may be of relatively smaller length, of relatively more robust construction, and/or may be more suited to denser soils and materials. As another example, a blade assembly similar to those used for blowing snow, but having relatively thicker blades and/or a relatively more severe blade angle may be used, particularly for moving heavier and/or denser soils. As yet another example, two or more impellers may be employed with either a single nozzle or two or more nozzles (e.g. a respective nozzle for each impeller). For implementations in which two or more impellers are employed, chute 110 may be endowed with one or more blades positioned in the chute.

[0043] The illustration of FIG. 7 presents a partial view of the exemplary firefighting system 110 emitting screened soil toward fire site 102 to thereby suppress fire therein. In particular, the emission of screened soil from nozzle 114 at exit point 118 is shown, a gas supply/control system 702 for selectively supplying gas to the gas augmentation system describe above and to the interior of nozzle 114. Gas supply/control system 702 may include a gas reservoir 704, which may be a pressurized tank, and may include a pump and/or suitable valve mechanism (e.g. one-way valve) for enabling the selective supply of gas therein to the interior of nozzle 114. Gas reservoir 704 may feed released gas to a control system 706, which may include various sensors and/or actuators for facilitating selective gas application. For example, control system 706 may include a pressure sensor and/or mass flow sensor for respectively measuring the pressure and/or mass flow of gas from reservoir 704. In some examples, control system 706 may control the release of gas from reservoir 704, for example by actuating the valve mechanism of the reservoir and/or by actuating its own valve mechanism. In some examples, control system 706 may include an input device to enable human operation of the control system and selective release of gas from reservoir 704. Alternatively or additionally, control system 706 may include a communications subsystem for interfacing (e.g. via wired or wireless connection) with a remote computing or input device and receiving from the device commands controlling gas supply. As such, control system 706 may include a computing subsystem to handle control, input, and/or communication.

[0044] FIG. 8 presents an exemplary method 800 of fire suppression. Mehtod 800 may be employed using fire fighting system 100 of FIG. 1, for example.

[0045] At 802, method 800 includes separating rocks form soil. The soil may be collected at a fire site or proximate the fire site. Rocks and/or other debris may be separated from the soil via process 200 as presented in FIG. 2, for example, and separation may include isolating particles of a desired size range. As such, screened soil may be obtained.

[0046] At 804, method 800 includes routing the screened soil through a bail feed. For example, slide 302 of FIG. 3 may be used to route the screened soil.

[0047] At 806, method 800 includes collecting the screened soil at a hopper. The hopper may be reservoir 106 of the illustration of FIG. 1, for example.

[0048] At 808, method 800 includes carrying the screened soil to high elevations via a conveyor belt. For example, the conveyor belt may be conveyance 108 shown in FIG. 1.

[0049] At 810, method 800 includes dropping the screened soil into a metal tubing.

For example, the screened soil may be supplied to chute 110 at entry point 116, both shown in FIG. 1.

[0050] At 812, method 800 includes air-compressing the screened soil to increase soil speed. Air or any other suitable gas(es) may be used, which may be supplied via the gas augmentation system presented in the illustration of FIG. 7, for example, to increase the soil speed.

[0051] At 814, method 800 includes emitting the screened soil through a nozzle at relatively high speeds. For example, the screened soil may be emitted from nozzle 114 at exit pint 118, both shown in FIG. 1.

[0052] In view of the above, firefighting system 100 may provide a collapsible, dynamically deployable approach to suppressing and/or extinguishing fires by utilizing naturally abundant resources available at or proximate to a fire site. In this way, the cost, complexity, and risks associated with other firefighting approaches are reduced.

[0053] The invention has been described herein using specific embodiments for the purposes of illustration only. It will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, however, that the principles of the invention can be embodied in other ways. Therefore, the invention should not be regarded as being limited in scope to the specific embodiments disclosed herein, but instead as being fully commensurate in scope with the following claims.