F.I.R.E. Panel LLC
8435 N. 90th St., Suite 2,
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
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Executive Summary – Hughes Associates, Inc. Evaluation of the Ford Motor Company’s Test of FIRE Panel (10 Kb)

Full Test Report – Hughes Associates, Inc. Evaluation of the Ford Motor Company’s Test of FIRE Panel (300 Kb)

And now…the rest of the story™

August 1, 2003 — With apologies to Mr. Paul Harvey, there is more to the story about the effectiveness of the FIRE Panel than just Ford’s comments. If you’ve seen these misleading statements, we’d like to share with you the FIRE Panel perspective on these issues.

Ford states that the FIRE Panel releases its powder at the point of impact, but that no powder is available when the vehicle comes to rest. Based upon the way Ford conducted their one test of the FIRE Panel, which was not carried out scientifically, Ford prearranged the result. Rather than you trying to analyze fire testing data or argue with Ford, we sought out Hughes Associates, Inc. (HAI), one of the world’s largest and most respected independent fire protection consulting companies, to review the Ford test. Since its founding in 1980. HAI has earned an international reputation in the application of advanced technologies to solve both standard and unique fire protection problems. HAI, the independent experts, observe, “The test conducted by Ford Motor Company on the FIRE Panel™ product imposed an unrealistic and invalid set of test conditions.”

HAI’s note continues: “A more important deficiency of the test arrangement lies in the post impact release and dispersal of the dry chemical from the ruptured FIRE Panel™. In an actual rear-end collision scenario, the fuel tank and FIRE Panel™ are accelerated toward the front of the vehicle. The fuel tank/FIRE Panel™ assembly is moving forward as it strikes the differential/axle assembly and other vehicle structures. As the FIRE Panel™ strikes these structures and ruptures, the dry chemical is discharged in a cloud moving forward. In the Ford test scenario, the fuel tank/FIRE Panel™ assembly is stationary with respect to the impact device and the impact device is accelerated rearward into the fuel tank. In this case, the powder is not being accelerated forward but is at rest, hence the dispersal of the powder is not nearly as great and relatively less powder is dispersed toward the front of the vehicle.” What this means is that the Ford test does not represent a “real-world” scenario. We respectfully suggest you watch the real-world crash test we conducted at 80+ mph using real gasoline and make your own judgment as to whether the cloud of fire suppressing powder follows the CVPI to its resting point down the track—you will see it does! Finally, HAI goes on to state “There will always be some debate relative to the relevance or realism of any test protocol, but this test involved such basic flaws in its design and execution that it should not be considered a reasonable evaluation of the performance of the FIRE Panel™ product.” With this impartial assessment by Hughes Associates, Inc., one of the world’s leading fire suppression consulting firms, you judge whether or not to believe Ford’s assessment of the FIRE Panel…or believe our actual tests!

Ford states that the powder distribution from a FIRE Panel can be affected by wind or weather. This may be true; however, in the video from the tests conducted in the summer of 2002, you can plainly see that the fire suppressing powder lingers around the car for a substantial time, even in the wind on top of a plateau in the Utah desert. Also, realize that once the car comes to rest, the majority of the ignition sources (metal dragging, metal crunching, etc.) have also ceased. Without an ignition source, the fire risk is gone. So the protection need not linger long. Also, any protection, regardless of how long or short, is better than the total lack of protection.

Ford suggests that the FIRE Panel will increase the temperature of the fuel in the tank. FIRE Panel conducted real world tests, done in the heat of the Arizona summer, in which they proved that the FIRE Panel actually reduces the temperature of the fuel tank. Tests were conducted where the temperature on the face of the fuel tank was measured. After extensive driving, both high-speed and city-speed, over black asphalt, the temperature on the surface of the fuel tank was in the 170°F range. Then a FIRE Panel was installed and the CVPI driven in the same fashion, under the same weather conditions. Temperature measurements showed that the 170°F temperatures were now seen on the face of the FIRE Panel, but the temperature on the surface of the fuel tank was now only in the 140°F range. Yes, the FIRE Panel insulates the fuel tank, but this results in lower temperatures, not higher!

Ford states that the gap between the FIRE Panel and the fuel tank “could” trap debris. The gap between the FIRE Panel and the fuel tank is 0.23 inches…less than a ¼ inch. Moisture freely runs through the space and does not accumulate, and debris is not going to accumulate in this small space. Actual field experience has shown no accumulation of debris between the tank and the FIRE Panel!

Ford challenges that the FIRE Panel mounting was not “robust” enough for Police service. To date, local and state Police Departments have logged thousands of miles of real-world service. They have found the FIRE Panel mounting method to be more than adequate! One State Police Department, who has had FIRE Panels installed on CVPIs for quite some time, recently made the following statement, “The Dual Lock™ fasteners are working very well and have proven more than adequate at securing the FIRE Panels to our CVPIs through all of the miles our officers have logged.” The FIRE Panel weights about nine pounds; the 3M Dual Lock fasteners are designed to support 100 pounds. Again, through actual real world conditions, we can assure you that the FIRE Panel mounting arrangements are more than “robust” enough for Police duty!

As FIRE Panel is a patented product, we cannot comment on tests Ford may or may not have conducted on some “similar” technology.

You will also note in Ford’s assessment of FIRE Panel the extensive use of what we call “wiggle” words—debris “could” accumulate, it “may” increase fuel tank temperature. Yet we are able to support our claims through actual real-world experience by Police Departments just like yours! We feel real world experience wins out over “wiggle” words every single time!

Perhaps another way to examine this issue is to see who has something to gain from the statements Ford is making. Ask yourself: Given the many lawsuits against Ford on this issue, does Ford have something to gain by attacking every technology that is available today to address this problem? Could this be why Ford is making these negative statements against the FIRE Panel as well as other technologies that are available today to help make the CVPI safer?

We also suggest that you not take Ford’s comments as gospel. Examine both sides of the situation, and then make your own intelligent decision. With FIRE Panel, you can enhance the safety of your CVPIs today!

The Rest of The Story is a trademark of Paulynne, Inc. Corporation, River Forrest, IL.