Fire blocking gel has become a topic for us in our area. We had a pallet of Barricade donated to us several years ago along with a nozzle. We had training on it and stored the gel in our engines. Little did we know it is more of a hassle to deal with.
Every month you are supposed to go by and mix the gel up. It’s a big job for a pallet of it and to hunt the 5-gallon jugs down in your engines. If you miss a month, it becomes more solidified. Next thing you know, you can’t even stick a metal rod or stick to stir the gel up. It goes to waste.
As a fire department we are here to provide for the safety of the public through preservation of life, property and the environment. So when it comes to homes that are in threat of a fire overtaking them, we want to protect and give them a chance… with gel! The problem is, we don’t use it or need to use it enough. So it sits and goes bad.
For fully paid fire departments who rotate crews in and out, it is one thing to make it part of their every day duty to maintain the gel. Foam is great in the sense that you buy it, put it on the engine and don’t have to worry about it until you use it. When you do need to it, it is ready!
So I hope the makers of fire gel have continued their research and development on their product to become less maintenance oriented. We have come to the point of removing the gel off our engines. I don’t see us replacing it unless we get a paint mixer machine to help keep it “gel.”
I feel it would almost be more efficient for us financially and operationally in the event that we needed to gel houses, we would call in a private fire fighting company to do it for us. Besides we don’t have enough personnel to go gel houses and fight the fire. Thoughts or comments?