So what is this thing?
At the most basic level, it's just some remotely-controlled water valves. How they're controlled and used is where things get fun.
There are two main methods used to control these water valves: A simulated, wireless-enabled nozzle attached to a hoseline, or any type of WiFi device that has web-browsing capability. These two conrol methods are used in two different training scenarios:
Simulated Fire Exercises
When conducting simulated fire exercises in a building where you can't flow water, here's how you'd use the system:
A wye appliance is connected to the discharge of the fire pump. A wye simply splits one line into two. The interior attack hoseline is connected to one side of the wye, and the other side is connected to the training system valve outside the building. The simulated nozzle with the wireless transmitter is attached to the end of the interior attack line.
When the fire pump discharge is opened, both hoselines connected to the wye are charged. This allows the interior attack crew to operate with a fully charged hoseline. When the interior attack crew opens the "bail" on their simulated nozzle, a wireless signal tells the remote valve outside the building to open, and water flows. The pump operator must then respond accordingly by adjusting the throttle, monitoring tank water levels, wetc.
Dedicated Pump Training
To use this system during dedicated pump operator training, here's how you could set it up:
In this scenario there is no interior attack crew, since we're just training a pump operator. The remotely controlled valves are placed out of sight of the student/fire truck and are connected to various pump discharges on the truck. The instructor can remotely control the valves via smartphone or tablet with a web-browser interface. Predefined valve opening and closing sequences can be preprogrammed and run automatically to simulate actual fire water flow scenarios, and the instructor is then free to coach the student without having to worry about keeping track of which lines are flowing. Real time pressure and flow feedback is provided to the instructor's smart device via the web interface, and all data is logged for post-drill evaluation.
There are a lot of different aspects of engineering that go into this project:
- Water pressure, flow, and friction loss calculations and measurements
- Electromechanical interface (H-bridge valve control)
- Wireless connectivity (range analysis, system design, etc.)
- Analog sensing interface (pressure sensors)
- Mechanical design
- Electromechanical interface (simulated nozzle)
- Power supply and budgeting
- Aesthetic design (HA! Right! It's ugly, it's all about function for now, form will follow, maybe?)
Here's a video to explain how it works until I get the writeup completed.
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