Extraction systems help to protect firefighters against vehicle exhaust emissions.

Published:  05 April, 2013

A firelighter’s profession is to protect lives, property and the environment of our community, but who protects our firefighters? Kellie Murphy from Auto Extract Systems reports on how vehicle emissions extraction systems can help save lives.

Did you know that a firefighter’s most significant health risk in a fire station isfromvehicle emissions? Every time a vehicle is started up in a fire station, exhaust emissions cause damage to your building fabric, decoration and your employee’s health and welfare. The emissions increase the chance of cancer, strokes, heart attacks and emphysema for both long term and short term health.

Everyday we inhale airborne particles without even thinking about it. The particles enter our respiratory system and fast into our lungs and remain there. Gases are also transported into our blood vessels, which in the worse case can cause blood poisoning.

Vehicle emissions can either appear as a grey or black smoke, or be invisible. People can see particles down to 20 microns. 90% of exhaust particles are smaller than 1 micron. In comparison, a strand of human hair is 70 microns thick. This sometimes misleads people as many believe that if they don’t see the emission then there is no danger to their health. The new generation of ‘clean’ diesel engines with their invisible emissions has contributed to this problem.

Auto Extract Systems (AES Ltd) is one of the UK’s leading companies for the design, supply, installation, maintenance and COSHH LEV testing of all types of extraction systems installed within workshop facilities or industry, we have a range of emergency vehicle extraction systems designed to prevent firefighters and associated staff from emissions. These systems are different to typical workshop systems as they allow the vehicle to drive off whilst connected to the exhaust which can be tailored to suit high and low level exhausts.

`At Source Capture` is the only feasible method to eliminate all emissions from the fire station and we can provide virtually 100% effective capture as required by the latest HSE guidance.

Dublin Airport Fire Authority

In 2007 AES Ltd, were approached by Dublin Airport Authority Fire Department requiring a designed proposal for a bespoke exhaust fume extraction system within the facility. The fume problem was exacerbated by the high vehicle movements within the large 12 bay station as the vehicle exhaust fumes were being transmitted through the bays and building fabric into the offices, canteen and accommodation areas. This posed potential health problems for all staff employed and a solution was sought to eliminate the problem at source.

As with all airport fire stations, Dublin is 100% operational serving the airport and the surrounding area and it was vital that the proposed systems met certain design criteria’s that set the project apart from standard fire station projects. The station had a mixture of single and double exhaust tailpipe vehicles which exited the vehicles in differing areas i.e. at the top, back of the vehicle or vertically upwards. 

A secondary simple standard system was required for support vehicles parked within the station complete with connection hoses and clamp-on nozzles to the exhaust pipes.

The brief

1. The prescribed system must be designed to cover the current fleet and any future RIV (Rapid Intervention Vehicles).

2. The vehicles must automatically connect to the system without operator intervention or provision of access to 2.5m high exhaust pipes.

3. The system must fully automatic to detect the start up of any departing vehicle or the arrival of any incoming vehicle back to the station and operate the fan as required. 

4. It must be flexible enough to cover for all differing vehicles to come into any of the stations bays at any time.

5. The extraction fans must be mounted externally and not significantly increase the background noise of the station.

6. The systems must eliminate fumes from leaking into the work areas and extract the fumes above the roofline.

7. The system must also cope with vehicles driven out of the rear doors or reversed in if required.

8. 100% utilization of the systems if required at any one time.

9. To provide a turnkey solution including all control wiring and extraction fan electrical works.

The solution

AES Ltd designed and installed 12no. VSR (vertical sliding rail) systems within the 8no. central bays to provide extraction for up to 4no. double exhausted vehicles.

Each rail is complete with 3no. PC-500 pressure sensors and PCU-1000 central control panel to automatically operate the fans from changes in pressure within the rail systems.

3no. TEV-765 Fans (1no. per 4no. rails) with a capacity of 9,600m³/hr free-blowing were installed onto the flat roof and mounted complete with outlet discharge silencers.

Interconnecting ductwork located at high level was appropriately sized to maintain a column air velocity within the network and maintain 100% utilisation so that all lanes/bays could be used simultaneously.

12no. FBC/6 – 150mm special exhaust adapters to suit the rail systems were supplied as loose equipment for the client to modify the exhaust tailpipes of the vehicles. All adaptations to the vehicles were carried out by the vehicle maintenance division.

A full turnkey electrical installation was carried out from a 3-phase supply on site to a new purposely installed distribution board providing the 3no. PCU-1000 control panels, cabling was then run to the 3no. roof mounted fans and signal cable run to all pressure sensors on each rail to provide automatic fan control.

Simple fixed points system

4no. Fixed extraction drops were fitted to the steel girders within the building, each were fitted with a 7.5m long x 125m diameter high temperature crushproof exhaust extraction hose complete an REGD 125mm – 160mm rubber/steel clamp-on type nozzle for connection to the support vehicles.

1no. TEV-3110 Fan with a capacity of 3,100m³/hr free-blowing was installed internally and discharged through roof complete with outlet discharge silencer.

A full turnkey electrical installation was carried out from a 3-phase supply on site to the new distribution board providing standard start/stop push button to switch the fan on and off as required.

The outcome

The installation was carried out and the system was commissioned to HSG258 standards and fully complied with the design brief, providing effective vehicle exhaust extraction from the work area and the company is now compliant to HSE guidance and company health and safety standards.

  • Operation Florian

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