Fire Suppression Screen
Fires of many different types and sizes can be suppressed mechanically by use of a properly configured metal mesh screen.
A characteristic of a fine metal mesh screen is that flame will not penetrate the plane of the mesh screen; however water can be readily sprayed through a screen. The screen provides a one-way fire control capability. Lightweight and inexpensive fire suppression screens can be scaled from small kitchen use to medium scaled building protection to large scale forest fires.
The fire suppression screen is a mechanical means of preventing the spread of fire – to encapsulate smaller fires so water can then be used to spray through the screen to ultimately quench the fire – or to create a wall barrier to prevent fast moving ground fires from continual spread.
The actual device has many possible configurations depending on the nature of the fire. A simple drop-cloth for campfires to kitchen fires. Large permanent installations that can be quickly erected around building sized structures – keeping fire contained within or protecting a structure on the inside from fire on the outside.
For very large scale forest fires a modular unit can be used to quickly erect a massive wall to stop the progress of the fire. A tube with a roll of screen within can be interconnected with many others to provide miles of coverage. The screen within the tube is deployed by balloon. An onboard compressed helium canister is used to inflate the balloon which un-spools the screen in the tube. The screen does not have to structurally rigid – it needs to be securely anchored and the balloons have sufficient ability to suspend the unit of screen on their canister. The balloons themselves could be a mile or so high to escape fire damage tethered by cable to the pull-bar of the screen. The modular unit; configured in various pod sizes could operate individually or collectively. Rapid deployment is possible from a moving vehicle that was equipped to extrude the linked hot dog type containers, stamp anchor them to the ground and engage the inflating mechanism for the balloon to pull the fire suppression screen out of the canister (this final step can be delayed until wildlife passes). A secondary wall can be laid with an offset so the open seams between canisters are blocked.
After use, the entire system is recovered - the screens can be wound back into the canister by power drill, the balloons deflated and helium recharged. A modular screen suppression unit could be reused several times which provides value for constrained fire fighting budgets.
In closing, the fire suppression screen concept integrates several existing technologies to provide an inexpensive, scalable, reusable and achievable tool that mechanically fights fires. It is a one-way barrier to hold off/push back fire while easily letting water pass through. It can be configured for fixed installations, mobile personal protection or large scale modular deployment.