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Local American Legion, Hopewell Post 339, will be donating eighteen fire-retarding devices  to Hopewell Township Police Department.

home_FixedSystemKnown as “Stat-X First Responder” devices, these are handheld devices with a pull actuator that can be tossed into rooms with active fires to provide immediate fire suppression. The effect of this is to contain small fires within structure to allow for the rescue of people trapped in the structure, as well as to reduce the fire capacity until fire personnel arrive on the scene.

“The Hopewell Township Police Department is very grateful for the donation of these Stat-X devices by the American Legion,” said Hopewell Township Police Chief Lance Maleony. “Police Officers are usually the first emergency responders on a fire scene and these devices will prove useful in the effort to suppress and contain small fires within structures until fire personnel arrive. These suppression devices may also provide that extra time needed to rescue someone from a burning structure.”

Local firefighters have seen first-hand the success of using Stat-X, even recently. Hopewell Fire Department Fire Chief Joseph Novak shared his experience with the device with MercerMe readers.

“I believe that Stat-X is an enormous step in the right direction for fire suppression efforts. As many people know, time is of the essence when it comes to fire spread. It used to be said that a fire doubles in size every 60 seconds. However, with the introduction of more synthetic and petroleum based products into our homes, that time lapse has significantly decreased. Early detection and early application of a suppression agent is key in a successful stop of fire spread. This is where Stat-X shows its true benefits.

If the fire is small enough (one room or so involved), upon the arrival of a first responder, a Stat-X can be deployed into that space. The agent that the Stat-X emits is safe for both fire fighters and possible trapped victims. The agent interacts with the particles in the smoke and does not allow them to combust. Therefore, essentially removing the spread of fire and containing it to the original area. The Stat-X does not extinguish the fire. It stops the fire spread and buys time for both rescue efforts and the arrival of more firefighters.

In our area this is very important. We have several areas that do not have fire hydrants and we have to rely on tankers to set up a water supply. Stat-X, in the right conditions, will allow us to use less water and extinguish the fire faster.

I originally became aware of the product through Hillsborough Fire Safety in Somerset County. They had told me stories of several successful stops with it and peaked my interest. I spoke to Chief Matt Martin and he was able to get the Fire District to purchase a few units. They are not cheap. A case of 2 is around $450. However, they work extremely well and I was able to witness this first hand this past winter.

We had a fire in a 2 story 4000+/- square foot house in Hopewell Township. The occupants were awoken by the smoke detectors (again: early detection is key!!). I was the first fire unit to arrive. As I arrived, PD advised me there was a victim trapped on a roof to the rear of the structure but everyone else got out safely. I rounded the corner and observed a male who was perched on a roof 2 stories up with smoke billowing from the window behind him. The fire had started in the basement and thick black smoke had already spread throughout the entire house. The fire had broken through a basement window and had started spreading up the siding. Utilizing a fire extinguisher, I extinguished the fire on the siding. This allowed me to get close enough to the basement window to deploy a Stat-X. The first arriving crew quickly deployed a ladder and was able to get the man off the roof with very minor injuries. The crew then deployed a hose line and I directed them to the basement window I threw the Stat-X through. I instructed the crew to quickly spray into that window then go around to the back and make entry through the walk out basement door. The crew did so and the fire was essentially out by the time they made entry into the basement. The Stat-X stopped the fire in its tracks. I was convinced when I arrived that the entire house would have caught fire. The closest fire hydrant was 2800 feet away and setting up water supply would have taken some time. I truly believe that the Stat-X and the efforts of the fire crews directly resulted in not only the house not burning down but successfully rescuing a trapped victim.”

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