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New Jersey firefighters cite Fit-5 success. My only question is do you have to have two Fit-5′s in and two out?

Photo by David Gard, New Jersey Local News Service.
Photo by David Gard, New Jersey Local News Service.

They are down to just one FIT-5 in Mount Olive, New Jersey. The last one used is being touted as a success story for the fire extinguishing grenade. Flanders Fire Chief Fred Detoro Jr., rather than let the fire wait another 3-minutes for his crew to arrive, pulled the pin and threw one in after arriving at a house fire on Sunday.


Detoro believes it saved the home.

“Absolutely, no question about it,” Detoro said. “It knocked the heavy fire completely down.”

The FIT-5, retailing for $1,295, is disc-shaped and weighs about nine pounds. A firefighter deploys it like a grenade, pulling a cord and tossing the device toward the fire. It takes about 15 seconds for the FIT-5 to begin spewing potassium bicarbonate, a similar substance to what is found in fire extinguishers. The ensuing chemical reaction does not put out the fire, but it does cool the temperature of the blaze.

The National Fire Protection Agency does not have hard data on the FIT-5 but Curt Varone, division manager of the public fire protection division, said he has heard many success stories.

“The feedback is that they have worked on several occasions,” Varone said. “It is a new product and offers some potential.”

The FIT-5 was first used in the United States in December 2007 and can now be found in more than 300 fire companies across the country. Several New Jersey departments have successfully deployed the device in recent months.

Chief Detero wants to get more of the FIT-5s. Retailing for $1295 each, the chief is hoping that the victim’s homeowners insurance will reimburse the department.  If you have never seen the FIT-5 in action, here is a demonstration by the company the makes the product.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    COOL! Technology at its Best!

  • Anonymous

    I bet you could do the same with a PPV at the front door and then discharging a dry chem and let the fan blow the powder through out the structure. sort of a modified high expansion foam approach.

  • Anonymous

    No It is a large town and they have 2. There are several departments around New Jersey that have more than one per department to ensure at lease one gets on scene. There have been 4 deplayments in NJ and PA in the last week and a half.

  • http://www.njfirefighting.com/forum/topics/fit5-provides-nj-firefighters James
  • Lt FD Seattle

    OK, I’ll bite.

    How about some semi-scientific compartment fire testing w/ data collection. Let’s use a 20′x 15′ room w/ 10′ ceilings, one opening (door, window, etc.), standard furnishings, and thermocouples at the ceiling and four foot level.

    Start the fire, allow free burn time, create a second opening (as in window failure, FF opening a door, etc.), utilize a specific extinguishment technique, and record the results.

    Run test fires for a water handline, foam handline, CAFS handline, 40# dry chem extinguisher (discharged from the window or door), and of course, the FIT device. Make sure to record:
    - Extinguishing device deployment time, from simulated arrival at the curb.
    - Fire knockdown time
    - Temperature readings: during free burning, at knockdown, post knockdown.
    - Compare extinguishing agent costs.

    Since a team of fire fighters still needs to enter a structure for post-knockdown SAR & overhaul, and they need to bring a hose and wear SCBA, you can’t include those as a cost comparison item for hoseline attack vs. FIT or Dry Chem extinguisher attack.

    I would be very interested to read the results of such a comparison. I doubt the efficacy of the FIT as a Fire Service, multi-task extinguishing device (Barn Fires, car fires, tanker fires, rubbish fires, structures in the framing stage, exposure protection, multi-room fires, shipping container fires, etc.). However, it might be a great device for deployment by homeowners, security guards, facility staff, etc.

  • Tommy Daly

    How about the using our nozzles properly; or more to our advantage. The use of straight streams to knock down a stairwell and back into the unit on fire is extremely effective. Switch it up to fog to cover the advance if necessary but it seems we forget about how advantageous straight streams can be. Give it a little time to work before we “hard charge ” in. We can be extremely aggressive without killing and injuring ourselves.Just my opinion; and written by an old retired guy raised on ” don’t open it until we get there, and then hit it hard on 30 Degrees”. I hope this generates some thought and discussion. From your old neck of the woods Dave..Thank You for what you do..P.S.- Then again, the politicos have cut so bad…when was the last time an Engine had 3 guys to do this!

  • annonymous

    How about not being AFRAID of new technology? OOOOOOOHHHHHH NNNNNNNOOOOOO!!! SOMETHING NEW!!!!! Check out their website and open your ears to what these things can and have done. Don’t ya think they did tests on the dern thang before they started selling it. Dinosaur….back to the tar pits!

  • retired firefighter

    If it is filled with Potassium Bicarbonate, isn’t that the chemical formula of Purple K powder used in Fire Extinguishers for Flammable Liquids (Class B) fires? I don’t recall that chemical formulation being approved nor designed for Class A fires so one must wonder how it can actually suppress a fire in a dwelling? Would a normal fire extiguisher of the same capacity or larger accomplish the same thing (when properly discharged in the same area that is burning) for much less cost?

  • Disgusted

    Wow, the latest and greatest new tool to assist the safety Nazi, online fire science degree, fifty feet away from anything that sounds dangerous, never been confused with a fireman, firefighter in handicapping good fire departments nationwide. Can’t wait until we are so reliant on this gem of technology that we completely forget how go inside and put fires out when the FIT5 fails to do the job. Oh wait, we’re almost there.

  • Anonymous

    i don’t think it is a fear of new technology. It is more of a fear that some jack@ss politician will see this and think, “Why do i even need 3 or 4 firemen at a station. We can use just one who can throw a ‘grenade’ and fix everything.” When you have to worry about losing your job rather then your Hobby, it changes the stakes just a little bit.

  • HOOKMAN

    What happens when the person designated to throw the FIT5 tears his rotator cuff….Will there be a backup thrower to come in and relieve the designated thrower or does the IC go out and talk to him on the grass to go over where he wants to throw it.
    What if the reliever is having a bad day and is all over the place and throws a wild FIT5 into a nieghbors kitchen window while there eating…..Is there a closer to put this fire out…

  • AC2201

    Having worked for a small rural VFD at one point in my career I can see advantages to having a tool like the FIT5. Often times on a small rurual VFD there are limited personnel to respond at times. There is a VFD near us that has one FF bring the engine to the scene and volunteers respond to the scene via POV. The first due engine with one man could deploy the FIT5 while others arrived and donned PPE/BA. The info for FIT5 states it does not extinguish the fire but lowers temp and reduces fire spread. This could mean the difference between a survivable/fatal fire or saved/loss structure. We still need FF’s to put the fire out so you guys are safe. I can even see a use on larger FD’s with FIT5′s placed in command/supervisor vehicles. Often times IC/supervisors will arrive on scene before the first due engine. Deployment of a FIT5 while awaiting arrival of the first due engine or the engine company to obtain a water supply, pull an attack line, or make entry may buy valuable time to save a life or the structure. I don’t see where it would be something that you would want to utilize on every fire (escpecially at $1300 a pop) but I can see a benefit to having them available for use.

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  • DaGonz

    This is a “gizmo” that cost $1300 dollars and has not been tested by any independent lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual.

    From the Fit 5 website…

    •The fire is at any stage and you suspect victims are trapped inside the structure. Deploy the FIT-5 as far away from victims as possible, and be aware that the aerosol flow may disrupt the thermal layers, causing hotter air to move towards the floor momentarily. Separate victims from the aerosol as quickly as possible and follow the powder exposure instructions in the FIT-5 manual.

    •The fire is a vehicle fire, there are victims trapped inside and water and foam are not available. Deploy a FIT-5 in an unoccupied part of the car interior or underneath the chassis. The aerosol will fill the interior and interrupt combustion. Remove the victims from the aerosol as quickly as possible and provide necessary medical care. Also use the FIT-5 to knock down a vehicle fire if other property is threatened. If deploying the FIT-5 inside the vehicle and victim extraction is not immediately possible, attempt to cover mouth and nose of victim with a breathing apparatus until the powder has cleared.

    Whiskey Tang Foxtrot, Oscar?

  • LtFD Seattle

    Or, the initial lone FF at a residential structure fire could deploy a large dry chem or Purple K extinguisher, accomplishing the same thing- of course that would be too simple.

  • http://www.DSPAFire.com DSPAFire

    A couple of items that everyone needs to understand about the FIT/FIT5.
    1. It is actually a DSPA-5, Dry Sprinkler Powder Aerosol, you can go to the actually manufactures site at http://www.DSPA.nl, they are out of the Netherlands, and have many different sizes and the 5 is the mobile knock down unit. Their North American website is http://www.DSPAFire.com. ARASafety was the former distributor and no longer hold a contract to sell DSPA, FIT, or FIT-5.
    2. The DSPA-5 is not an extinguishing system it is a fire suppression system. It will knock the fire down making life safer for the fire service and victims and creates less damage to the structure by using water.
    3. The DSPA-5 can handle 3500 cubic feet in approximately 8 seconds; there is not a fire extinguisher that can handle that amount of space so quickly without affecting the oxygen levels.
    4. It is NOT going to put any firefighter out of service, it is not the solution to everything we do, but it can help save our own, think of RIT operations, basement fires, attic fires, and time where water is not available .
    5. It does not cost $1295.00, as described; it is currently MSRP is 995.00 a piece, at distributors’ through-out North America.
    6. Those costs have been reimbursed from home owners insurance, since those are the ones saving the most money.

  • FIREENG53

    http://www.statx.com/ Stat-X is similar but it smaller (could fit in bunker pants) and is about $150 each. Watch all the videos on their website. It is that good..and it is just a tool; not going to replace anyone. Fixed systems exist too.

  • http://www.arasasfety.com Michael Gardiner, VP Marketing, ARA Safety

    As the VP Marketing of Ara Safety, I must respond to one of the statements posted above and apologize that a discussion between two companies has entered your discussion forum.

    Ara Safety, is the original marketer of Fire Interruption Technology® in North America, and continues to provide leading edge fire suppression technology to the fire service.

    It is true that Ara Safety is no longer selling the FIT-5. We are now selling the Fire Interruption Technology Pro™, featuring a made-in-the-USA activation system. The Pro provides the same powerful knockdown, in a redesigned canister, with greater reliability than its predecessor, the FIT-5. More information is available at our website, at http://www.arasafety.com.