Gear: ARA FIT-5



ARA Safety Available Here
Category: Rescue Equipment
Subcategory: Axes and Accessories
Price: about $1,300
Average Rating:
(29 Votes)

More than 37 fire departments along the U.S. east coast now carry Vancouver-based ARA Safety's FIT-5 (for fire interruption technology). The device, available to firefighters since December, is a means of knocking down or even extinguishing fires in rooms, basements and attics. The FIT-5 (price tag: around $1,300) is a nine-pound (four-kilogram) red disk that resembles a land mine and is deployed like a grenade: A firefighter pulls its cord and tosses the disk into the area engulfed in flames; within seconds the FIT-5 releases a wispy cloud of potassium carbonate, a flame retardant that suppresses combustion and disrupts fire at the molecular level. The company says the device can fully extinguish a class B (fuel-based) fire in a room 2,100 cubic feet (60 cubic meters) or less and reduce fire temperatures from 1,000 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (540 to 150 degrees Celsius) in less than 10 seconds. The FIT-5 is also designed to control class A (wood-based) fires enough so that firefighters can douse them with water. Firefighters in New York State and New Jersey have successfully contained three fires (in a room on the third floor of a house and two in basements) with the FIT-5 since it hit the market.

Member Reviews

  • Firelink_seal_max30
    editor, Tue, 09 Sep 2008 17:16:27 UTC.
    1st review

    The FIT-5 is designed to be most effective in a contained space—the larger the area, the less effective, which is why it is not a good candidate for squelching, say, wildfires.

    Most handheld fire extinguishers sold at hardware stores for home use are pressurized with nitrogen or carbon dioxide to propel powdery potassium bicarbonate, liquid water or a fluorocarbon at a fire. In addition to allowing firefighters to control fires from a safe distance, the FIT-5 could also replace halon fluorocarbons, an effective fire-fighting tool until they were banned in 1994 after it was discovered that they destroy Earth's ozone layer.

    Because halon displaces oxygen, it extinguished electrical, grease and other fires that water alone could not, says Robert Kaul, ARA Safety's technical director. When a firefighter approaches a fire and pulls the rip cord located on the side of the FIT-5 device, this generates a spark of heat that leads to a thermal reaction within the FIT-5. Within 10 seconds the container releases a white cloud of potassium carbonate aerosol that expands to fill an enclosure (room, basement, attic). A FIT-5 grenade is unlikely to leak and works when wet because it is not pressurized and has a sealed outer casing that keeps moisture out. In addition, even if the rip cord is not pulled, the device will automatically dispense the when placed in temperatures exceeding 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).

    "Once the FIT-5 is done, you're left with potassium carbonate powder, which can be vacuumed or swept clean," says Michael Gardner, ARA Safety's director of marketing.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big
    Account Removed, Wed, 10 Sep 2008 05:24:24 UTC.

    awesome product

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  • 07-22-07_1045_max30
    soyrino, Thu, 11 Sep 2008 22:48:10 UTC.

    this is very good for fire man team

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  • Big_max30
    hephner2000, Mon, 15 Sep 2008 18:28:19 UTC.

    This sounds like an exceptionally awesome product. I hope it takes off in popularity like the AEDs did a few years ago. One in every mall or school. You never know when it would be benificial! Sounds better than a fire extinguisher, but a lil more costly too. Great product!

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  • Firebadge028_max30
    Phreadt, Sun, 21 Sep 2008 18:06:58 UTC.

    The FIT-5 appears to be a great product utilizing an angent that is not very hazardous to life and property. The FIT-5 concept has been available for about a century as described in the Mordern Mechanix article dated August 1935. Howerver this technology used Carbon Tetrachloride which produced phosgene gas as part of its supression reaction.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big
    Account Removed, Tue, 23 Sep 2008 15:12:27 UTC.

    i would like to try this product before spending that much on a one time use

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  • Hitch_max30
    HITCH, Mon, 29 Sep 2008 22:04:45 UTC.

    Sounds like a great tool to have. Hope that FF use it like it is to be used and not rely when the fire or room is to big.

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  • 101_1652_max30
    GBFD, Tue, 07 Oct 2008 11:47:36 UTC.

    This looks to be a very promising product. I think that every school, hospital, and day care should own at least 1. it would save a lot of lives.

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  • Me_in_front_of_the_new_truck_max30
    TAZZMEDIC, Sun, 19 Oct 2008 10:46:24 UTC.


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  • Misc_233_max30
    SVFD17, Thu, 23 Oct 2008 00:10:19 UTC.

    Excellent product for first responders. With the materials that homes are built with and filled with these days they burn hotter and faster. This would greatly improve extinguishment and rescue if needed. Anyy product that makes my job safer and easier is a product I would buy and promote.

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  • Me2_max30
    pvfdny1262, Thu, 23 Oct 2008 13:54:40 UTC.

    The Dutchess Community College Fire Science Program in conjunction with the
    Dutchess County Department of
    Emergency Response
    the Pleasant Valley Fire District
    and S & S Safety
    will conduct a test of the
    (Fire Interuption Technology)
    Saturday, Nov. 22, 0930 hrs
    Dutchess County Fire Training Center,
    392 Creek Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
    Test Burn: a 12’x 15’x 8’structure; sheetrock on wood studs,
    with a standard class A fireload of furniture, etc. will be
    ignited and allowed to flashover at which time the FIT-5 will be
    introduced into the fully involved room. Come see the results.
    Don’t be late- it won’t take long!!!! Car pooling is encouraged.

    So please attend the FIT 5 test to help us send the fire service in to the future !!!!

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  • Fire_truck_max30
    kraymond, Wed, 05 Nov 2008 05:03:05 UTC.

    WOW !!!!!! sounds sweet.... the company needs to lower the price thats nuts for a device that is so simple!!! I like the product, Its a little upsetting that it is so much $$$$$

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  • Photo_user_blank_big
    Account Removed, Thu, 06 Nov 2008 01:12:14 UTC.

    Awesome but pricey!!

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  • Trojan_max30
    USC, Thu, 06 Nov 2008 04:46:26 UTC.

    One word Sprinklers will out perform this product. Get the squeeges and Salvage covers out !!!!!!!

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  • Kim_in_truck_max30
    outlawblues, Fri, 07 Nov 2008 01:13:19 UTC.

    just about perfect for first responders but too costly for most back woods fire halls the locals would never be able to justify the cost even if its the most fantastic thing to come along in years

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  • Jan_meyntjesa_max30
    jannos001, Mon, 10 Nov 2008 17:28:47 UTC.

    Pretty awesome concept as a first strike apparatus but costly. We would have to fork out at least R11,700 with the rand/dollar exchange as it is now.

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  • 00_max30
    FIRE25MAN, Wed, 12 Nov 2008 22:49:08 UTC.


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  • 100_1091_max30
    weaver1436, Fri, 14 Nov 2008 22:06:59 UTC.

    sounds great

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  • 98f9ee47e9dfc846_max30
    FFF, Sat, 15 Nov 2008 06:07:55 UTC.

    This sounds like a pretty great concept. I would love to see it in action, as a demo before purchasing for the department.

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  • Charleston9_max30
    sparky28, Sun, 16 Nov 2008 01:31:58 UTC.

    I think it a great piece of equipment for firefighters that are fighting basement fires as well as fires in confined spaces. The company should consider making a smaller version (5 lbs) for home users that can assist them in evacuation of their homes if they become trapped.

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  • Pics_072_max30
    yankee1, Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:44:34 UTC.

    I say a 4 cause it sounds good but ,if you cant afford it you cant have it , I feel the fire service needs this ,if can cut down on water and smoke damage . To bad the federal Gov. wont buy this for all paid and vol. Fire Dept.or come down on price .

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  • M_5d4c500beba51675b13fb2d1bd95c1e0_max30
    COsborne, Tue, 18 Nov 2008 06:13:28 UTC.

    I believe this product will save lives, property, and the enviornment. However, it needs to come down in price before a lot of Fire Departments jump on board.

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  • L_05a8239bc009418aa223dfefa33eb75f_max30
    Hughes, Wed, 26 Nov 2008 19:37:43 UTC.

    sounds like an awsome product... i would love to see it in action, just wouldnt want to be the one forking out all that money

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  • Photo_081308_003_max30
    bmills80, Wed, 26 Nov 2008 22:48:16 UTC.

    very innovative. I would like to see a video demonstration.

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  • At_okellys_max30
    kwash19, Tue, 02 Dec 2008 06:29:58 UTC.

    It sounds like a great concept, that would be a great asset to have in case of an emergency bailout situation or a tool for the RIT Teams ..

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  • Cimg0289_thumb_max30
    mackar56, Mon, 08 Dec 2008 18:26:56 UTC.

    I don't like this product for two reasons: 1) It takes the fun out of our job and 2) If we start using these things more often what happens when we have to revert to the "old" way and have to actually have to go in and fight the fire... firefighters will lose the practice of the real thing if we rely on stuff like this.

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  • Karen_batista_max30
    kbatista, Thu, 07 May 2009 17:41:03 UTC.

    To watch a video profile of this product to see it in action go to:

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  • Photo_user_blank_big
    dave32881, Mon, 08 Jun 2009 05:46:32 UTC.

    I highly recommend the ADA FIT-5 for any volunteer fire company that is limited in manpower during daylight hours of the week. I'm the Lieutenant for the Scott Twp. Volunteer fire department in Lawrence County,PA and we've deployed it twice so far with satisfactory results. The first time we used it was back in late November when we were called to a residential woodframed structure fire,unfortunately the fire had fully extended into the the roof and the FIT -5 had limited effects. However the second time it was deployed was last month, we were called to a working structure fire in an single story brick construced appartment complex, upon arrival heavy smoke was showing in the living room area (mostly room and content fire) The FIT-5 was deployed and the fire was completly knocked down. Other area departments have also had great results (Neshannock twp) in particular. You can view the results of our fire at, just sign up under emergency personel and click on video programs, then scroll down to "New fire technology saves house". Thanks, Dave

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  • Me_at_art_millers_funeral
    resaw, Sun, 19 Jul 2009 14:47:17 UTC.

    Like someone already said - this concept has been around for a long time but the tech has vastly improved. But like everyone else says the price is ridiculous so I only gave it 3 stars.

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