An outpouring of smoke, or the lack of it, may help emergency responders from Washington State Ferries locate fire.

Fire hazards, that is.

A new water-free fire sprinkler test method, which utilizes artificially created smoke to check for blockages and obstructions in pipes and heads, was given an initial trial onboard the ferry M/V Yakima at the Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility recently.

Ferry systems use primarily salt water to extinguish fires, WSF officials said, an effective but eventually destructive method. Even with proper cleanup and maintenance requirements met, salt water, of course, corrodes most kinds of metal.

The ability to use smoke instead of salt water for at least some of the required annual sprinkler tests could conceivable extend the life of a vessel and the onboard equipment by sparing it unnecessary soakings, officials said.

The smoke-based, so-called “dry deluge” testing system was designed by Siron, a Netherlands-based company, and CEO Antoon Buitenhuis was onboard the Yakima to demonstrate it for WSF and U.S. Coast Guard officials.

Similar systems, he explained, are already being used in various locales with similar special fireproofing considerations such as nuclear power stations, offshore oil rigs and other waste treatment and refinery operations.

The initial demonstration was well received, and WSF officials said the dry deluge system would most likely be advanced to more serious, comprehensive testing and further consideration.

Source: www.bainbridgereview.com