Traditional air packs that firefighters wear provide oxygen for about 45 minutes. The tanks are bulky and heavy and restrict movement in or access to confined spaces. By giving firefighters a virtually unlimited air supply, the Lifeline Firehose could change how first responders approach fire scenes. The groundbreaking technology uses a patented coupler system, which delivers both air and fire suppressants through a double-jacketed fire hose system to the end of the nozzle.
Lifeline Firehouse was able to reinvent fire hose technology to provide firefighters with an unlimited air supply and more flexibility in battling fires so they can better attend to downed personnel and victims. They did so by partnering with the DoD-sponsored LIFT, a manufacturing innovation institute and a member of the Manufacturing USA network.
LIFT engineers helped Lifeline Firehose envision and refine the lightweight coupler system and the prototyping was done at LIFT’s innovative High Bay facility in Detroit. High Bay is a 100,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2015 to help private sector members develop, optimize and commercialize their innovations in metrology and lightweight materials manufacturing. It includes design and machining capabilities.
The Lifeline Firehose system needed to work within current dynamics to have any chance of widespread adoption and impact. The system is NFPA 1962 compliant and works with existing equipment, including the standard Buddy Breather couplers that firefighters under duress have relied on to plug into an emergency air supply. The system can be operated through Lifeline Firehose’s Mobile Air Cart or retrofitted into the fire engine itself. The hose can extend up to 300 feet.
This firehose breakthrough is an example of how advanced manufacturing increasingly plays a critical role in the U.S. innovation ecosystem, supporting U.S. technological competitiveness and driving product and process improvements that strengthen the U.S. economy.