The high reach extendable turret or HRET as known in the firefighting industry greatly enhances any fire department’s emergency response experience. It has been a game-changer for ARFF apparatuses used to respond in airport emergencies because of its various capabilities and advantages.
- Ability to pierce the aircraft fuselage and spray suppressing agent to knock down the fire and lower the interior temperature to reduce the risk of a flash over
- Ability to accurately and easily put water and secondary agent onto fires from angles otherwise impossible or difficult using high and low attack.
- Enable enhanced safety: first entry can be accomplished with the HRET equipped with optional FLIR and color camera attachments, allowing the firefighter to look inside and assess the situation and begin discharging water, foam or chemical agents, minimizing risk.
Over the years, the HRET has made its way beyond airports into the municipal and petrochemical sectors, and they continue to offer a different type of flexibility not available in straight stick aerials or ladder platforms. HRETs show their superiority where standard ladders or platforms face issues getting around obstacles where trees, power lines or intervening structures make it nearly impossible to get to a burning structure.
The Snozzle HRET, purchased in April 2011 by Oshkosh Corporation (Pierce Manufacturing’s parent company) and redesigned, is available in 15m and 20m variants and originally used for its airport products. It has since made its way into Pierce products serving the municipal pumper market because of its lightweight system that can be added to a single-axle vehicle, allowing the operator to run a true pumper and have the ability for an elevated master stream. Only 21 inches of frame space is required to package the Snozzle, either in front of or in back of the pump house, which keeps the compartmentation the same and the hosebed intact.
The HRET can also be equipped with a penetrating nozzle, and colour or forward-looking infrared cameras that enable firefighters to discharge from 15ft (4.58m) below grade …. as high as 65ft (20m) depending on vehicle configuration. The electronic control system was now integrated into the chassis Controller Area Network (CAN bus) for enhanced troubleshooting, easier servicing and enhanced reliability. The hardened carbide steel tip features an updated hydraulic rotary actuator, an increase range of motion (up to 280 degrees), longer piercing depth and a decreased overall width for better visibility. Inside the cab, a new control module feature simplifies operator controls and provides smoother operation.
The articulating part of the HRET is made up of upper and lower steel booms, with the upper boom incorporating a telescopic inner boom with a range of 4.58m, to which is attached the nozzle section. The booms rotate around the base and a moving joint gives the HRET ability to articulate at the desired height or go down below grade. This very ability to go below grade on the side of the truck makes the device practical for rescues or situations where a car fire could be attacked from an overpass.
The telescoping part of the aerial, when combined with the articulating sections, gives the firefighting vehicle an unprecedented range of motion, allowing the operator to reach up and over a power line and then down again to a burning area closer to the ground that requires response. This is unachievable with a straight, non-articulated boom.
HRET Applications Beyond Airports
Tom McNamara, chief of the Elizabeth (NJ) Fire Department, says his department purchased a 65-foot (20m) Snozzle from Pierce Manufacturing built on an Arrow XT chassis with tandem axle carrying a 2,000-gpm (7,560 LPM) pump, 700 gallons (2,646L) of water, and a 300-gallon (1,134L) foam cell.
McNamara’s big concern is the Conoco Phillips refinery where they have a joint response with the city of Linden. “Also, we’re responsible for the Ports of Elizabeth and Newark, which are the largest container ports on the East Coast, and are second due to respond to Newark Liberty International Airport. We looked at the hazards we faced and designed this apparatus around them.”
He says that when flowing at capacity, the Snozzle can put out more than 1,300 gallons (4,914 LPM) of foam a minute. “The piercing nozzle at the tip also is a help to us when we have to go to the airport,” McNamara adds.
The Eagan (MN) Fire Department has a 50-foot (15m) Snozzle built on a Pierce Saber chassis carrying a Waterous S100D 1,500-gpm (5,670 LPM) single stage rear-mounted pump, a 500-gallon (1,890 L) water tank, a 20-gallon (75.6L) foam cell, and a Husky 12 foam system.
Chief Mike Scott says the department has 150 volunteer firefighters, who operate out of five stations, covering an array of commercial and industrial facilities, many trucking terminals (three interstates are nearby), apartment houses, and suburban areas. “We thought the Snozzle would be a good fit for commercial structures, and it turned out to be good for residential fires too,” Scott says. “What sold us on the Snozzle was how simple it is to use, which is important when you have a lot of volunteer driver-operators. It sets up quickly, and then you put the remote around your neck on a lanyard so you can get a good view of where the water stream is going.”
In October 2015, the Malaga Volunteer Fire Department in Eddy County, New Mexico, accepted the delivery of an Arrow XT™ fire apparatus outfitted with the Snozzle High Reach Extendable Turret (HRET). Since going into service, the apparatus has proven itself in several emergency responses, protecting crude oil pumping and storage facilities located throughout southern New Mexico and West Texas.
“On a single day, in particular – during the aftermath of a lightning storm – the apparatus traveled more than 300 miles (483km) and its crew put out four different tank battery fires,” explained Pecos Davis, fire chief for Malaga Volunteer Fire Department. “On another occasion, we responded to a series of tank battery fires with a neighboring district. They were fighting it with hand lines trying to put it out. We pulled up with the Snozzle, set the foam percentage at three percent, and put it out within 15 minutes.”
“The Snozzle apparatus gives us faster set-up time, greater reach, higher volume flow, and instant access to lots of foam. Most important, it keeps our firefighters further out of harm’s way,” said Robert Brader, director of fire services for Eddy County, New Mexico. “Fires that would have taken two to three hours to put out are now taking 20 minutes or even less. Plus, we have hundreds of miles of dirt and gravel roads that support the oilfield infrastructure, so we’re not driving this rig on pretty asphalt. We’re taking it onto rough roads and, here, the TAK-4® independent front suspension has made a world of difference.”
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