The traditional red fire extinguisher has received an extreme makeover at the hands of Houston-based Mauser Group with assistance from the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP), resulting in a sleek silver model that will complement even the most upscale home interiors.
Mauser Group’s Mauricio Hussmann and Sergio Amsel are developing a line of health and home safety products under the X-T brand and wanted to create an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use fire extinguisher that would be attractive and convenient for the home. (X-T holds a license from Space Legacy, a not-for-profit organization formed to create branded merchandise that will raise funds for educational programs about the U.S. Space Program.)
“In our research, one source said that only 10 percent of people have a fire extinguisher in the home,” Hussmann said. “If that is true, it is very disturbing because every home should have at least one fire extinguisher on hand for quick use. We decided to address the perceived barriers to home fire extinguishers: their appearance, ease of use and cost.”
Mauser Group’s extinguisher – now dubbed the X-T Fire™ – is a lightweight, 16-ounce aerosol can that would dispense fire suppressor through a nozzle in a manner similar to hair spray. They discovered, however, that a standard aerosol nozzle didn’t deliver the fire suppressor material in the most desirable spray pattern. Through their connection to Space Legacy, Hussmann and Amsel heard about SATOP and decided to approach the program for assistance in refining the nozzle’s performance.
SATOP Texas Project Engineer Nick Gardner paired the Mauser Group’s technical challenge with Doug Carraway at Space Gateway Support, a Bronze level SATOP Alliance Partner. Carraway is a former firefighter who works in design engineering specializing in fire protection systems at the Cape Canaveral (Florida) Spaceport. Carraway determined that an insert in the nozzle was creating the undesirable spray pattern. “These inserts are calibrated to dispense in a certain way, with different orifice sizes and patterns,” Carraway explained. He consulted a variety of resources to find the right nozzle insert, from car wash companies to spray paint manufacturers, and tested the various inserts.
Ultimately, Carraway found an insert that was the correct orifice size, but would need to be customized to provide the desired spray pattern. He then calculated a design for the customization and provided it to Hussmann and Amsel. With Carraway’s design, they proceeded with development and production of the X-T Fire.
Ed “Bear” Handwerk at Gold Level Alliance Partner MEI Technologies helped improve the fire extinguisher by providing recommendations regarding mounting brackets.
Now on sale at Space Center Houston, HEB and Kroger in Texas, the X-T Fire addresses all of the issues that Hussmann and Amsel originally identified as impeding the purchase of fire extinguishers for the home:
• It is easy to use and lightweight, utilizing spray can technology familiar to consumers
• The cost – $9.95 suggested retail – is affordable, encouraging consumers to purchase one for each point of danger in the home
• It is environmentally safe, using only non-hazardous chemicals
• It doesn’t require the extensive cleanup necessary after the use of a typical fire extinguisher
• It is attractive enough to sit on the counter in the kitchen, where most home fires start
“It’s a very exciting time for us – we’ve doubled our staff in Houston and employed eight sales reps across the country,” Hussmann said. “We attribute much of that success to SATOP. What a wonderful resource!”