Invention turns pool water into fire suppression resource
by Andrew Alonzo | email@example.com
Claremont resident Brad Jamison has lived in the city long enough to experience two close calls with wildfires.
As a teenager and young man, he lived in a house off King Way just above a fuel bed of brush. Now 48, he and his family live in that same house, with his bright red work van out front.
“Right behind us is Thompson Creek Trail and then it’s just the forest. We’ve seen that burn down a couple times,” Jamison said, referring to the blazes of 1989 and 2003.
After viewing the destruction left by the 2018 Paradise Camp Fire and all the remaining swimming pools left full of water, Jamison got to thinking. Not wanting a third fire to be the one that did his family in, he began tinkering with ideas for how he could use his pool’s water to protect his house.
He shot down the thought of buying a gas-powered water pump due to numerous factors.
“I just thought there was a better way where I could just hook up some hoses,” he said. “I thought I was going to do a bunch of garden hoses on a manifold, but none of that worked. So, I started playing with the idea of going bigger and using wildland firefighting equipment.”
He was an engineer and welder at his family’s business at the time. Years earlier, he trained as a volunteer firefighter in Mammoth Lakes and became familiar with firefighting equipment.
After a few weeks of testing ideas, he found his lightbulb moment: messing with valves on his pool filter, he turned an elbow pipe 90 degrees upward to see how high the water would spout. Due to the pressure from his three-horsepower pool pump, water shot about 30 feet into the air. He remembered thinking, “I can make something from this.”
And he did, creating FirePool USA.
Put simply, he invented a metal pipe with a patented redirection and internal relief valve that fits onto one’s pool pump filter. When the redirection valve is turned, water going through the filter is then sent through FirePool and to its attached 50-foot firefighter quality hose. The resultant force produces a spray that can reach up to 65 feet.
“The valving is plumbed into the existing equipment,” said his wife Amanda, who is FirePool’s managing director.
“Two valve turns and it’s ready to go,” Jamison said. “It’s just there and ready to go whenever they need it.”
After getting his business permits, license and his valve patented in 2019, he introduced family and friends to his invention. A year later, FirePool USA was on the market with two options: a one-hose system starting at $1,950 and a two-hose model at $2,500.
He emphasized his invention is meant to be a “preparatory device” to allow residents to soak their homes, spray others and quell embers that drift onto one’s lawn or roof. He stressed FirePool users should not act as firefighters and should follow all fire officials’ directions in case of emergencies.
Actual firefighters, like Jamison’s neighbor Todd Cremins, who is a fire chief for a Southern California agency, said he likes the product and wouldn’t hesitate to utilize such a tool on the job if it was available.
In 2021, Cremins saw a demonstration of FirePool at Jamison’s home and said he left impressed. Since FirePool is predicated on a pool’s electric pump working, all it needs to run is electricity.
“People asked if that was a potential downside to the system,” Cremins said. He recalled Jamison’s answer: “If you don’t have power due to this freight train type fire that’s coming towards you, ‘then it’s time to go.’”
Alta Loma resident Shawn Hurley was one of Brad’s first customers in 2020 and said he had FirePool installed a year after a blaze nearly destroyed his and neighbors’ homes on Archibald Avenue. With that fire a block away and no power, Hurley and his neighbors used garden hoses as a preemptive measure. Eight homes, including Hurley’s, were soaked and survived the oncoming blaze. But a majority on the block fell. Although he’s not yet had to use FirePool, Hurley said it’s given him peace of mind.
Yorba Linda resident Dave Williams, who had FirePool installed in 2021, said, “It’s just cheap insurance when you’re up against the foothills. When you’re there [at home] and the fire’s just down the street, you’ll pay anything to have that kind of backup.”
Since 2020, Jamison has performed just 14 installs. The main impediment to getting FirePool off the ground has been marketing.
“It’s been really tough to get people to call or be interested because they just don’t know what it is,” Amanda said. “They don’t know what it can do for them.”
Jamison will host a free demonstration of FirePool at his Claremont home on Saturday, September 17. Interested folks can email firstname.lastname@example.org for time and location. Visit firepoolusa.com or call (909) 767-0229 for more info.