By Alan M. Petrillo
Makers of ventilation equipment offer models that run from small, compact units to large fans that can rapidly cool and clear big structures.
|1 Spokane Valley (WA) Fire Department firefighters perform a positive-pressure attack using a Ventry Solutions model 24GX200 PPV fan. (Photos 1-3 courtesy of Ventry Solutions Inc.)|
The ventilation options available to fire departments are varied, and how the units are carried aboard fire vehicles differs by the size of the equipment.
Gas and Electric
|2 Mica-Kidd Island (ID) Fire Department firefighters get set to deploy Ventry Solutions PPV fans during a training exercise. Note that one of the fans already has its legs extended.|
James Neils, chief executive officer of Ventry Solutions Inc., says the most popular positive pressure ventilation (PPV) fan his company makes is the 20GX160, a 66-pound fan with a 20-inch aircraft style Ventry Safety Propeller, run by a 4.8-horsepower (hp) gasoline motor that can move 17,300 cubic feet per minute (cfm). “It’s our most popular because it fits in the compartments on most fire trucks,” Neils says. “If a fan doesn’t fit in a compartment, it isn’t going to get to the fire scene.”
Ventry Solutions also makes the 24GX200, an 88-pound wheeled PPV fan with a 24-inch propeller that Neils says “fits in compartments on larger pumpers as well as on aerial ladders and rescues.” The unit develops 29,500 cfm and is powered by a 5.5-hp gasoline motor.
|3 Hauser Lake (ID) Fire Protection District personnel use a Ventry Solutions 24GX160 PPV fan during a training exercise.|
“Our base model PPV fan comes with an open flow guard, the Ventry Safety Propeller, and all-terrain legs,” Neils points out. “Wheels are a popular option that some departments choose for the 20GX160 fan as well as LED or halogen lights powered by a coil in the fan. Both of our models have a 20-degree tilt and are lifted nearly 1½ feet off the ground by the all-terrain legs, giving the fans a wider range of aiming.” Beefier wheels, new rubber leg ends, and double MIG-welded reinforced guards are some recent improvements to Ventry’s PPV fans, he adds.
|4 Super Vac makes the Valor PPV fan in gasoline-, electric-, and battery-powered models. (Photos 4-7 courtesy of Super Vac.)|
Roger Weinmeister, president of Super Vac, says PPV fans have evolved from being gasoline-motor-powered, to variable-speed electric-driven, to battery-powered units. “Variable speed electric-powered PPV fans are the main ones being purchased now because they give you the ability to get an extra punch above a standard motor speed,” Weinmeister says. “It will take a 1,700-revolution-per-minute (rpm) motor and push it up to 2,500 rpm, which is a good range for air flow. And, you can dial down the variable-speed electric motor for overhaul or cooling for rehab.”
Super Vac’s newest PPV fan is the Valor, Weinmeister says, which features an aluminum frame, making it about 10 pounds lighter than the Super Vac 7 Series, which has a steel frame and shroud. “Our Stream Shaper Guard has become popular too,” he points out, “which allows the firefighter to set the fan back farther from the door. Valor has a five-position tilt frame that allows both positive and negative angles on stairs, flat-proof tires, and a fold-down ergonomic handle and comes in 18-inch and 20-inch blade sizes.”
|5 A Super Vac Valor variable speed electric PPV fan spans a step at the front of a training house.|
The 7 Series is a classic roll cage design made out of steel, Weinmeister says, with a four-position tilt frame that will go from -10 to +20 degrees. The 7 Series is available with 16-, 18-, 20-, 24-, and 30-inch blade sizes, all of which will fit in a fire apparatus compartment except the 30-inch model.
Super Vac also continues to make traditional smoke ejectors, Weinmeister notes, because there are areas of the country where they continue to be popular. “Some departments like to carry a PPV fan and a smoke ejector on the same truck,” he says.
|6 A Super Vac electric smoke ejector works on the second floor of a training facility.|
Chad Kisner, marketing manager for Euramco Group, says his company makes RAMFAN gasoline- and electric-powered PPV fans. “There’s been an evolution toward electric-driven fans in the past several years because of concerns about carbon monoxide in the structure and the vicinity,” Kisner says, “so our best-selling fans are electric. A popular one this year is our new battery-powered PPV fan, the EX50Li, that we introduced at FDIC International 2017.”
RAMFAN’s AC electric PPV fans go up to 1.5 hp and move 11,000 to 12,000 cfm, while its gas models move from 12,000 to 60,000 cfm, depending on the model. All PPV models are wheeled, except for the new battery fan, Kisner points out. Gas-powered fans typically weigh 80 to 90 pounds, he says, while electric fans are around 70 pounds, and the new battery fan is 54 pounds.
|7 Super Vac’s Valor battery PPV fan provides 25 minutes of run time and can be connected to an AC power source.|
Curt Johnson, director of sales for Tempest Technology Corp., says Genetech Group, which owns Leader fans, recently bought Tempest Technology. Tempest Technology also makes variable-speed electric fans and gasoline-powered PPVs, with the most popular electric unit being an 18-inch PPV that will produce between 10,000 and 12,000 cfm. Tempest’s gasoline-driven 18-inch PPV will produce 15,000 to 20,000 cfm, Johnson says. The most popular sizes among fire departments, he adds, are the 16-inch variable speed electric PPV and the 18- and 21-inch gasoline-driven models.
|8 A RAMFAN GX350 gasoline-powered PPV fan gets prepped by firefighters. (Photos 8-10 courtesy of RAMFAN.)|
Battery-Powered PPV Fans
|9 A slide-out tray holds a RAMFAN electric PPV fan along with fire extinguishers.|
Weinmeister says Super Vac is proud of its battery-powered fans, “even though they are different from the briefcase-style fans sold by others. Our Valor battery fan is full-size with handle and wheels, has the highest AMCA-certified airflow of any battery fan, yet still provides 25 minutes of run time and can be connected to AC power for continuous operation and charging.”
He points out that fire departments should know there is an inverse relationship between run time and airflow, so that should be considered when specifying battery-powered fans. “For the same size battery, you can double the run time if you cut the airflow by half,” Weinmeister says.
|10 Firefighters carry a RAMFAN smoke ejector from the scene of a structure fire.|
RAMFAN’s EX50Li uses swappable battery packs, Kisner notes. The company “learned from the rescue tool industry to simply replace a spent battery in a hydraulic tool and keep on cutting.” The EX50Li is designed to hold two batteries and will run for 23 minutes on a single battery or 45 minutes on two batteries. The unit has the option of using an ac electric cord. “It has a software-controlled ¾-hp brushless DC motor,” Kisner says, “so there are no carbon brushes making contact to make the magnetic field. The software program in a controller chip electronically commutates the motor.”
Johnson says that Tempest introduced a battery-powered PPV, the VS-1, at FDIC International 2017. The fan weighs 48 pounds, moves 10,400 cfm, has transverse wheels on the narrow side of the unit, has an AC pigtail to plug into shore power, and has a single battery that provides 70 minutes of run time at full speed and more than five hours at half speed, he says.
|11 Tempest Technology Corp. makes a variable-speed electric PPV fan such as this 18-inch unit. (Photos 11-13 courtesy of Tempest Technology Corp.)|
Large Ventilation Units
Super Vac makes the Super Ventilation Unit (SVU) with a 50-inch blade powered by a 165-hp engine, available in either gasoline or diesel. It also makes the Big Fire Fan (BFF), a unit with an 80-inch-diameter fan powered by a 500-hp gasoline or diesel fuel engine. Weinmeister notes that the gasoline-powered SVU and BFF fans are most popular. Both models can be either trailer-mounted or set up on a flatbed truck.
|12 The Tempest VS-1 battery-powered PPV fan weighs 48 pounds and has transverse wheels on the narrow side of the unit.|
RAMFAN makes three models of Large Structure Ventilators (LSVs) that are skid-mounted and can be bolted on a flatbed, pickup truck, or trailer. Models come in 24-, 26-, and 28-inch sizes, with the largest being the VX700 powered by a 25-hp Honda engine.
Tempest Technology makes a Mobile Ventilation Unit (MVU), a large PPV fan that’s mounted on a trailer or in the back of a flatbed or pickup truck. Johnson says the Tempest MVU models come in 48- and 60-inch sizes and generate 132,000 to 180,000 cfm. “They are used in large warehouses, high-rises, subways, airports, and shopping malls,” Johnson says. “They even have ventilated a three-mile-long tunnel.”
|13 Gasoline-powered Tempest PPV fans are wheeled and typically weigh 80 to 90 pounds, depending on the model.|
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.