Aerosol 'grenade' that blasts fires

Published:  16 September, 2013

Swedish fire services adopt an aerosol unit for rapid extinguishment – what can other countries learn from Sweden's experience?

The fire and rescue service is under constant pressure to review and improve performance operationally, environmentally and most of all, safely, with nothing but drastically reduced budgets. Open sharing of research and innovation can speed up learning outcomes, which is the route that Firepro UK took by joining forces with X-Fire AB, a Swedish fire specialist that has been appointed master distributor for Firepro in Sweden and Norway.

Richard Qvarfell, a retired firefighter and now MD of X-Fire AB, explains: ‘Acceleration and fire spread can occur more rapidly in fires today owing to a plethora of flammable materials and varying structures. I was keen to find how fire fighting techniques could be enhanced by integrating the use of the Firepro Lifesaver unit.’

The Firepro Lifesaver*, is a portable grenade-style device which contains 1,000 gms of condensed potassium-based condensed aerosol. When manually deployed into a fire situation the aerosol rapidly disperses as a fine potassium-based particulate which chemically reacts with fire to suppress and extinguish without any environmental impact. It will also rapidly reduce temperature.

‘To facilitate research and testing, I engaged key stakeholders such as Swedish Fire and Rescue, Lund University, various lead insurance bodies, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, as well as private fire services from the nuclear power industry. Our learning outcomes gave confidence to Swedish authorities to roll out a programme equipping both fire and some police units with – to date – around 300 Lifesaver units.' A TV news clip announcing the move can be seen via the following link:

In Helsingborg (Sweden) the safe deployment of a Lifesaver unit by a quick-thinking police officer that by chance came across a house fire while on patrol, led to the occupant's life being saved. The news story can be seen here,

Richard adds: ‘During the course of my research I met a number of representatives from UK Fire and Rescue Services which is why I shared our learning outcomes with UK Firepro distributor's Managing Director Tony Hanley.'

Tony continues: 'At the Fire Fighters conference in Sweden last year Richard clearly demonstrated how the Lifesaver contributes as a key component in a first-response scenario. Since the above incident took place there have been further positive testimonials regarding the use of the Lifesaver.'

In Sweden the take-up of the Lifesaver now includes private nuclear firefighting services and, interestingly, lead insurance risk advisors are exploring some options. They are looking into whether risk can be further reduced via the distribution of Lifesaver units to agencies that may find themselves in a first-response scenario (eg security patrols), and where the safe deployment of the Lifesaver could buy precious time before the arrival of emergency services. Tony comments: 'I believe that the UK can benefit from the learning outcomes in Sweden, as the Firepro Lifesaver unit is now actively playing a part in the drive for greater operational efficiency, much improved safety and reduced environmental impact, to the satisfaction of various involved agencies.'

The Firepro Lifesaver, along with the full range of Firepro products, is available through an appointed network of competent specialists throughout the UK.

*Update: In 2015 the Lifesaver range of products changed names to Firepro Hero. In the same year, Firepro's partner X-Fire received the Security Award from Skydd & Säkerhet for its efforts in educating the market on this technology.

  • Operation Florian

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