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Fire Engineering

I spent two weeks in Fire Engineering 13 Bay from 21st February to 4th March 1977. In my training record I scored "usefulness and interest to me" 9/10 and "usefulness and productivity to the company" 8/10.

I spent the first week in the diesel-driven fire pump department. We carried out tests on the performance of a Leyland diesel engine driving a Lonovane pump. When on test, the engine was running at full load and there was no silencer, only a pipe taking the exhaust up and through the roof. The noise was unimaginable. In the dark afternoons, you could see the exhaust manifold glowing a dull red. When I wasn't running tests, I was making and connecting drainage pipework to the pump, fixing mesh guards to stuffing boxes and attaching electrical apparatus.

In the second week I assembled Deluge valves for Mulsifyre systems and Fullway valves for wet or dry systems. I also assisted in assembling and testing new anti-freezing drop-pipe sprinkler units. These were designed to overcome the problem of water freezing in the pipework and causing the sprinkler system to fail to discharge properly in the event of a fire. Freezing temperatures were frequently experienced inside buildings that were unoccupied during winter months. The units incorporated a specially adapted sprinkler and a rod-operated valve, actuated by the disintegration of the Quartzoid bulb. A previous method used an anti-freeze mixture of glycerine and water in the pipework but this was inconvenient to install. The units that I assembled were to be installed at Butlins in Minehead.

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