Photo credit: Gary Haszko.

Snozzles join New Jersey fire departments and add 'piercing' precision to firefighting operations

Published:  21 October, 2014

Elizabeth is New Jersey’s oldest city and home to and the state’s fourth largest population.  As one might guess, the city has a lot to offer – and that includes many challenges presented to the Elizabeth Fire Department. The department has a very diverse protection district, entailing, among other features, portions of Newark International Airport (in joint response with the city of Newark and the Port Authority). 

Elizabeth FD also protects a major portion of the largest container seaport on the East Coast of the US. The department is comprised of 269 firefighters and more than 50 EMS personnel all of whom are kept extremely busy. Elizabeth participates in a mutual aid network for Union County, which includes a foam task force and a large diameter hose task force. The department has a specially trained Hazmat team and a marine division.

Elizabeth’s newest piece of apparatus is from Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wisconsin. Built on an Arrow XT chassis, the vehicle features the Pierce-exclusive Snozzle High Reach Extendable Turret (HRET) with a piercing nozzle, which was engineered and manufactured by Pierce’s sister company, Oshkosh Airport Products.

An extendable hydraulic cylinder (located within the boom) enables the Snozzle to penetrate virtually any structure, from an attic roof to a composite aircraft fuselage. Its proportional controls allow firefighters to ease the tip into a material such as wood or aluminum. The device can discharge agent (up to 946 liters per minute) through perforations on the tip. ‘It essentially discharges a circular wall of water droplets that is 12-meters in circumference,’ said Tom Carle, regional sales manager at Oshkosh Airport Products. ‘The net effect is to decrease temperatures, reduce oxygen levels, and quickly extinguish a fire. Depending on how it is configured, the Snozzle can discharge water, Class A, or Class B foam.’

The vehicle will operate as a municipal pumper, and is expected to respond to more than 1,000 calls per year. When needed for more specialisist emergencies, the apparatus can switch to a foam pumper. With the amount of water and foam it can carry, the vehicle is self-sufficient. If additional foam is needed, for a longer-term emergency, the department has support tenders in the area.

More commonly found on aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles, the Snozzle HRET has many benefits for industrial and municipal emergencies. ‘The water and foam systems give it great structural capability,’ said Oshkosh’s Carle. ‘It also can be equipped with a nozzle to discharge Purple K potassium-based agent. With that, you add the ability to extinguish chemical, fuel, and even petrochemical fires.’

When responding to municipal structural fires, the Snozzle has proven to be a real game-changer. With it, firefighters are able to quickly set up, elevate the turret, penetrate a building’s structure and deploy foam faster and more effectively than with traditional apparatus. ‘It can discharge agent from a high elevation – up to 20-meters – as well as reach below grade,’ said Carle. ‘Moreover, with the operator on the ground and alongside the vehicle, it provides a significant stand-off distance, which is a tremendous safety benefit.’

  • Operation Florian

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