Local Inventor Aims to Reduce the Devastation of Fires
BY: LYN GORE
Terry Creekmore, a local Antigo resident and the inventor of the Creekmore Hatch, wants to help prevent total destruction in a structural fire. His ultimate goal is to see his product go global in an effort to reduce the risk on firefighters and to potentially save more businesses and homes. He also hopes his invention can save lives by helping get water immediately to the source of the fire, which generally starts on the inside of a structure. Terry believes his invention will be useful to firefighters, home owners and businesses world-wide.
Antigo Times: How did you get started as an inventor?
Creekmore: I grew up in Kenosha. I moved up to Antigo 15 years ago, and I just love the area and the people. My mother was a creative person she encouraged us to think outside the box. I spent my childhood taking things apart to see how they worked, radios, TV’s, and other household appliances. My grandfather was also an inventor and filed a patent for a gas saving carburetor for a vehicle in the 1950’s.
When I see a problem I see ways to improved on them. All things can be improved and I spend my time coming up with ideas to improve things to be easier to use and more cost effective and safer. Being self employed since I was 12, cutting lawns and then at 16 I started my first roofing business with 2 employees. I have been self-employed ever since doing roofing and remodeling. I took on many challenges and didn’t walk away from the problem but learned how to improve on it and make things easier as in work smarter not harder.
Antigo Times: How did you finance your business, and how have your finances changed as you’ve grown your business?
Creekmore: It is still in the infancy stages and I look for investors to help launch my invention and believe in my product. I have a patent for this product.
Antigo Times: How did you find a manufacturer for your product?
Creekmore: I am in the process of looking for a local manufacturer to produce my product. I believe in keeping everything local and to give back to my community that I am proud to call my home.
Antigo Times: What advice would you offer other inventors developing products?
Creekmore: Don’t be afraid to go with your gut instinct if it is something you truly believe in.
FIRE SUPPRESSION COUPLING ACCESS HATCH –THE CREEKMORE HATCH
The present invention is directed to the field of fire suppression, and more particularly to the field of a coupling that allows an exteriorly located water hose to connect with a water sprinkler system located inside of a building.
INTRODUCTION & BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Water sprinkler systems are a commonly used as a means to protect buildings from the damages of a fire. Whether the building is commercial, industrial, or even residential, water sprinkler systems can be quite useful to prevent a fire from spreading throughout a building. It has been
recognized in the fire prevention industry that a lot of buildings do not have the proper water capacity or pressure for a water sprinkler system to adequately quell a large fire. In these circumstances, just as in buildings without water sprinkler systems, it is imperative that a
firefighter is brought on scene with additional water capacity provided from a fire hydrant, the fire truck, or a similar water reservoir. When these firefighters arrive on scene, they typically will attach their water hose to a water reservoir such as those described above, and use the other end of the water hose to spray water onto a fire, or they may alternatively attach this water hose end to a fire suppression system. However, in order to get to the fire, a firefighter will have to physically enter a burning building, which poses many grave dangers. Besides the obvious risk of fire itself, firefighters have to combat the existence of steam in their endeavors. Steam can help smother fires, and is used at times to remove oxygen from the fire. One known firefighting method is to spray water on the interior ceiling of a building or on the upper walls of a building to create a suffocating steam to eliminate the fire in a rapid manner.
While creating this steam is effective, it may be difficult, depending on the particularities of the building and the fire, for a firefighter to enter a building and get near enough to the ceiling or upper walls in order to spray water and create this steam effect. Additionally, the moist heat created from this steam can cause burns on a firefighter’s skin, even while the firefighter is wearing their personal protective equipment. Firefighters may be able to reach a fire from up above to create this steam effect if the structural integrity of the building is not yet compromised. However some roofs, such as metal roofs, can be quite dangerous for a firefighter to stand on for any period of time due to the absorption of heat and/or the reduction in friction on many metal roofs. Such properties have caused some municipalities to ask, or even mandate, that newer buildings are not to be constructed with metal roofs, due to the hazards and difficulties for firefighters. When a building with a metal roof is on fire, firefighters might be loath to climb onto the roof, which increases the likelihood of the building becoming a complete structural loss due to the fire.
What is needed, therefore, is a coupling device such as the Creekmore Hatch, which can reduce the burden on a firefighter, by providing quick access to a fire suppression or water sprinkler system of a building, so as to increase the likelihood of quickly exterminating an interior building fire, while simultaneously reducing the inherent dangers for a firefighter to enter a building, climb to the top floor and spray water on a building’s ceiling or the upper walls.
On the exterior of a vertical sidewall on the hatch base plate, there are loops or hooks to help hold a ladder steady according to one embodiment of the present invention. These loops, hooks, or other holding devices such as clamps or ridges may be added to the present invention to keep a ladder steady while a firefighter is standing on the ladder and working, should the need arise.
To create the needed enclosure be protected from the elements a hatch cover may be provided. The hatch cover is a removable attached cover which surrounds and encloses the hatchway and is sized and adapted to prevent the hatchway from being exposed to the atmosphere and elements. The attachment method may be a simple friction seal, a clasp, or a hinge. Within the interior of the building and hatch base plate, at the distal end of the hose coupling, the hose coupling may be mated with a pipe, known as the main stack, which receives the initial water from the hose coupling and brings it towards the branch extensions or sprinkler system. The main stack will deliver the fluid or foam down to a desired height within the interior of a building, and connect with a branch multiplier, such as a tee valve or a cross valve. At this point the water will flow through the existing sprinkler system to quickly disperse water to the interior of the structure to help extinguish the flames from the inside.