Updated: Jul 16, 2020
If time is a commodity, Ultra-High Pressure (UHP) technology is priceless.
Speed of attack is one of the first things you'll hear from UHP users. It's definitely a game-changer and might just be the easiest justification for the technology, especially on a rapid response vehicle (RRV).
While we'll talk dirty details about the science of UHP in other (longer) posts, this is really about the advantages that UHP offers and one in particular that everyone from homeowners to the occupants of City Hall can understand: speed.
If you can get water on the fire quickly, you've just scored a big advantage in the battle. When used on a RRV, UHP allows you to get out the door faster, get on scene quicker, deploy the handline faster, and get water on the fire sooner.
All of this happens while your other rigs and personnel are on the way, just as they would if you didn't have an RRV.
Rapid response vehicles equipped with UHP handlines have the additional advantage of mobility. Getting down a long driveway, snow-covered road (we're in Wisconsin after all), or to the rear of the structure can happen quickly and more easily. In some situations, your engine can't even get access where an RRV can, allowing for a more strategic, efficient, and effective fire attack.
Once arrived and committed, the 3/4-inch UHP hand line deploys quickly and, if necessary, can be managed by a single firefighter. Even with one or two personnel, an aggressive transitional fire attack can be initiated within seconds, not minutes, keeping the fire in check and in some cases knocking it down altogether. Check it out in action in this video of knockdown in 25 seconds with 8.3 gallons of water using an HMA UHP line off a rapid response vehicle.
Since UHP consistently uses 1/5 the volume of water of a conventional 1 3/4 line, a solid attack can get underway with limited onboard water supply (150-250 gallons) while your engine and other rigs are en route. In fact, many fires can be knocked back or knocked down, and they're not even there yet.
In many cases, your next-in rig is used for mop-up and to top off your RRV's water tank.
The value of time saved on a fire scene can't be overstated. In that regard (as well as others that we'll talk about in future posts), HMA's UHP system on a RRV is one of the best investments you can make -- and one of the easiest to justify.