Vortex Gun Could Be Next Weapon In Firefighter's Arsenal

UPDATED: Tuesday June 5, 2012 6:50 PM

Scientists at Battelle are working on a tool to help firefighters beat smoke, 10TV's Jerry Revish reported on Tuesday.

The Vortex Gun fires what looks like rings at 90 miles per hour. The rings are made up of electrically charged particles that attack smoke to instantly clear a room, according to scientist Jim Dvorski.

"In many cases, a fireman will not enter into an area that is smoke-filled without knowing specifically what they are getting themselves into," Dvorski said.

Smoke-filled spaces may conceal obstacles in the firefighter's path, places where the floor has burned through, or victims.

When the Vortex Gun is fired, it clears the room instantly, Dvorski said.  That's because it shoots out electrically charged particles which attach to the smoke.  The particles repel each other, and are attracted to the surfaces within a room. Clearing the air would allow firefighters to rescue victims faster and spot the source of the fire sooner.

The next step is to design a hand-held prototype, which Dvosrski said he hoped would be in fire departments within the next 10 years.

"It is our intent to have something that is very portable, very easily maneuvered," Dvorski said.

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