Shark Tank’s Season 14, Episode 8, which aired on December 2, featured an innovative fire defense system called FireFighter1, which utilizes the water in a homeowner’s swimming pool. At least two of the show’s “sharks” thought it had promise, partnering up to invest $150,000 for 25-percent equity in the business.
Bianca Wittenberg and her father developed FireFighter1, an adapter and a hose that quickly allows access to their pool water in the event of a fire.
According to the company’s website, “With a standard 2.7 HP variable speed pool pump, pool water sprays 45 feet,” which the company says produces about 80 gallons of water per minute.
Water access takes place through the main drain, and the website says users should turn off the skimmer to use the fire hose. A float valve should be installed under the skimmer basket to redirect the flow of water to the bottom of the pool once the water level drops below the skimmer line.
An alternate option is to use the vacuum line by opening the diverter valve that controls the pool vacuum and closing the return lines that send water back to the pool.
A final option is to use the inlet return line port under the skimmer basket, that reaches the lowest point of the pool.
The system is designed to be used while in safe proximity from a fire to create a defensible space while the fire is still miles away. As such, it relies on electricity to the pump prior to any evacuation orders. However, it is possible to power pumps with backup generators or other personal power sources if electricity is shut off.
Included in the purchase of a FireFighter1 is:
• A 1.5” fire hose with adjustable spray nozzle on one end and male adapter on other. 25, 50, or 100 foot.
• A female adapter – for connecting hose to 3-way diverter installed between your pool pump and filter.
• A quick release adapter for connecting the hose to diverter.
• A waterproof storage box.
Also needed (not included) but available for purchase: A 3-way diverter to connect hose with pool pump.
The 3-way diverter valve is installed on the high-pressure side of the pool pump between the pump and filter.
You need to choose the easiest place between the pump and filter to install it. If the line connecting the two is short and straight, it may have insufficient flexibility to use simple couplings during the diverter install.
If your plumbing code allows, you could use unions and/or slip joints.
The procedure to install the diverter is as follows:
• Cut the PVC pipe between the pump and filter.
• Insert the 3-way diverter valve in the cut-away and cement if the pipe has enough flexibility or use unions (or slip coupling if code allows). see videos below.
• Install the quick connect or the screw type connector on the 3-way diverter valve ready to have the hose attached.
That’s it! FireFighter1 provides recommended installers for homeowners located in California.
Service professionals interested in getting added to this list or becoming a distributor can email support@FightFireOn.Site.
• The FireFighter1 box should be stored adjacent to the pool pump.
• If not already installed, connect FireFighter1 hose adapter to the output of the 3-way diverter valve installed on the pool pump.
• Ensure the pool pump is off, then turn 3-way diverter to “On” position, engaging FireFighter1.
• Make sure the pump is ready to turn on when you press “Start”, i.e., depending on the type of pump, you may need turn on the switch or time clock at the box where pump timer is programmed.
• Grab the hose nozzle, twist to open fully and aim.
• Turn the pool pump on at maximum speed.
• Extend the fire hose completely, AIM & SPRAY!
To learn more about FireFighter1, visit www.fightfirefirst.com