When the Satellite Beach, Fla., City Council challenged fire departments to come up with ways to save money, Fire Chief Don Hughes suggested upgrading the fire hose to be 15 times more powerful.
Hughes proposed installing a fire-suppression pump system like some used in Europe that can shoot water at 1,500 pounds of pressure per square inch and blast through walls and doors like a sandblaster.
“I look at this technology and I go, ‘Holy sheep-dip, Batman.’ This is a game changer. This is a game changer,” Hughes told council members, reported Florida Today. “And even if I wasn’t having financial issues to discuss, I would be standing here and saying, ‘I want to do this anyway.’
The new hose system could be installed for $60,000 or less, Hughes said, and would allow the station to send out smaller teams to fight fires while allowing personnel to keep a safer distance from the fires they attempt to extinguish.
Not everyone agrees with the idea, including Michael Zocchi, president of IAFF Brevard County Firefighters Local 2969. “They are playing politics with the lives of their citizens. Government exists to protect the public, not to put it at risk,” he said.
Satellite Beach firefighters tested high-pressure equipment and performed a live demonstration on Sept. 5.