You've seen motorcycle cops, but motorcycle firefighters?
San José, Costa Rica is the latest city to add firefighting motorcycles to their emergency response fleet. City bomberos, or firefighters, recently took delivery of four BMW R 1200 RTs outfitted with Firexpress firefighting systems. Motorcycles carrying Firexpress can handle small blazes or sprint to the scene for a head start on larger fires.
Danish firm Firexpress A/S calls their system a “first strike” option, so attaching it to a motorcycle makes sense. A BMW R 1200 RT can reach places and speeds that traditional fire trucks can’t, especially in traffic jams — like the ones caused by vehicle fires — or urban centers. This is an older video, but it gives a pretty clear demonstration of the Firexpress versus a car fire.
The Firexpress system attacks blazes using a dual-action sprayer called the lance. A lever by the grip toggles between streams of high-expansion foam or micro-drops of water (7-100 microns), with a spraying range of 15 meters. According to Firexpress, spraying water as micro-drops is the most efficient way to deploy the system’s limited water supply. Fluids are stored in side-mounted tanks (20 to 25 liters each). A 6.8-liter tank of compressed air powers the system, though larger Firexpress units use a pump. Pressure is just 15-23 bars, so there’s no recoil. In addition to the Firexpress, the Beemers are kitted out with lights, sirens, and radios.
Firexpress systems are in use around the world, and can be found mounted to everything from backpacks to SUVs. BMW has specifically approved their police-spec R 1200 RT for use with Firexpress, and at around $20,000 each, they’re a lot cheaper than buying new trucks. Evidently the bomberos are happy with them, as they’ve ordered two more. Urban congestion demands new solutions for emergency responders, so don’t be surprised if you spot a firefighter on a funny-looking BMW. You may be happy to see that weird red Beemer someday.